Firms jostle for position in Spanish pay-DTT box

Iñaki Ferreras

A group of companies offering audiovisual products in Spain have reached an agreement over the technical specifications that future pay DTT boxes should integrate. Companies involved in the agreement include TV set manufacturers, set-top box manufacturers, conditional access card manufacturers, and are led by network operator Abertis Telecom with the blessing of the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce.

Among other specifications the pay-DTT boxes will have to be ready to incorporate three CA providers, among which Kudelski's Nagravision, Irdeto, Spain's Sidsa (KeyFly) and Conax are fighting to be chosen. In particular Nagravision has already reached an agreement with TV set and decoder manufacturers to guarantee the broadcasters the availability of boxes compatible in the shops from next August.

Among the main brands party to this agreement are Panasonic, Philips, Samsung, Oki, Sagem, ADB and Spain's Ikusi. Other technology companies such as Irdeto and Spain’s Sidsa are having talks with Abertis Telecom in order to incorporate their products on the future platform.

The agreement also involves an obligation on manufacturers to include a certifying logo guaranteeing equipment is ready for pay-DTT and also for HDTV over DTT.

By means of this agreement - of which just some little aspects have to be fulfilled to be finalised - those TV channels wanting to operate pay-DTT will have a green light to start their services from August.

Spanish producer Mediapro, owner of the laSexta channel, announced some weeks ago the launch of its sports pay-TV channel Gol TV on DTT in August under the payment model.

Abertis Telecom is counting on the technology which is ready in order to create an open platform for all broadcasters. The operator is betting on the horizontal model in which Abertis will have an open relationship with those broadcasters who hire services on the pay-DTT platform, and also with the transport of its signal and conditional access services. Manufacturers will reach direct agreements with Abertis.

The first producer to reach this type of agrreement is Mediapro for the launch of Gol TV. This channel will broadcast 24 hours a day through one of laSexta's DTT muxes.