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Europe: SES Astra Providing Multichannel HD Olympics Platform

Satellite firm SES Astra said it is providing services for more than a dozen HD national channels that are dedicated exclusively to cover the Beijing Olympics in many major European markets.

The HD channels broadcasting the Olympics using SES’s orbital services include: BBC HD (Great Britain); 2 HD and CANAL+ HD (France); Anixe HD (Germany); TVP HD (Poland); STV3 (Slovak Republic); 1 HD (Netherlands); een HD (Belgium); Teledeporte HD (Spain); Viasat HD and SVT HD (Spain) and SVT HD and ORF HD (Austria).

SES Astra said in a statement that the growing number of broadcasters covering the Olympics in HD and using its services this summer, compared to only four years ago in Athens, is a telltale sign that HD television “is taking off in Europe and satellite is the infrastructure of choice for HD transmissions.” The typical European viewer's experience of watching virtually all of the Olympics in HD (where available), SES said, is greatly helping to further promote HD across Europe.

SES Astra’s satellite fleet now includes 14 Astra and two Sirius satellites, and it said its combined satellite system serves more than 115 million direct-dish and cable households.