Europe: Astra Ups HD Fare to 26 Channels

Two different DBS providers on two continents appear to be in competition with one another over HD offerings, and from the looks of it, it seems that HD subscribers will be the direct beneficiaries.

Astra, with operations in Europe, had announced a couple of months ago it would soon begin offering as many as 20 HD channels to its subs. In fact, the firm said this month it is now broadcasting 26 HD channels across Europe.

Some of the new HD offerings from Astra now include: CANAL+, M6, and TF1 from France; Premiere, ProSieben, Sat1 and Anixe from Germany; Discovery, National Geographic, and the History Channel from the U.K. and U.S.

Astra is also planning to match DirecTV's recent claim in the U.S. that it soon will offer up 100 HD channels--but it may be closer to 2010 before Europe reaches the 100-plus channel milestone, according to Engadget HD.