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Canada: Astral Ramping Up French HD in Autumn

Astral Media, a multimedia firm specializing in PPV, plans to roll out its first menu of HD programming this fall. The company's six French specialty channels will start offering up to 30 percent of it overall content in HD, beginning in October.

Super Écran (sort of the French version of the English-language Movie Channel), will also offer some HD content, when available. Astral program execs are claiming that the proprietary channels will offer the most HD programming in the French language, in terms of both array of content and viewing hours, than any other Canadian electronic media source -- including Radio Canada, the CBC French-language service.

The proportion of available PPV HD programs will increase in coming quarters, especially since an increasing number of French-speaking consumers are now inquiring about HD, according to Astral.