Amidst controversy ZDF chooses 720p/50

By Robert Briel | June 22, 2009

German public broadcaster ZDF has chosen the EBU recommended HD standard 720p/50 and will increase the number of HD showcase programming on satellite.

The broadcaster will increase the number of showcase programming from this year’s consumer electronics fair IFA onwards. Also, during the Christmas holiday season a large number of HD programmes will be broadcast.
Regular HD broadcasts will start with the 2010 Winter Olympics.

ZDF production director Dr. Andreas Bereczky explained that the chosen format is best suited for fast moving pictures, while 1080i/25 is better for still pictures. The BBC has chosen the 1080 variety, according to Bereczky, because this decision was taken a few years ago.

The decision to opt for 720p/50 was met with scepticism on the German market. By contrast, the Dutch public broadcasters have chosen for 1080i instead. This decision was taken following viewers’ complaints about the 720 standard which was used last year during the Olymlics.

ZDF will offer the HD channel to all cable nets and other platforms, but Bereczky said he expected that some of the smaller operators will not be able to feed the HD signal to their customers. He also confirmed that the broadcaster is involved in ‘intensive talks’ with IPTV provider Deutsche Telekom for inclusion of the channel in the T-Entertain service. For the moment, DVB-T carriage is not possible.