German pubcasters fire HD starting pistol

After several false starts German public television is reigniting its interest in the HD format with the Athletics World Championships, taking place in Berlin between August 15 and 23.

The event is seen as the most important track and field event outside of the Olympics and host broadcaster ZDF is using it as an opportunity to showcase its HD capabilities ahead of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver when HD transmissions will get underway in earnest.

A dedicated operating company BERTA 2009 (Berlin Radio Television Athletics) has been founded under the leadership of Achim Hammer (ZDF) and his colleague Manfred Straka (ARD) for the event that will be fed in HD to broadcasters around the world.

In Germany transmissions will be made on the Astra satellite (19 degrees East) as well as over the cable networks of Kabel Deutschland, Unitymedia, Tele Columbus and Kabel BW. On some networks, such as Unitymedia, the public broadcasters are free to choose how they use the capacity that has been agreed with the operator for their transmissions.