European HD channels boom

European HDTV is flourishing with 198 more channels by the end of 2011 than a year earlier, according to the latest data from the MAVISE TV database, developed by the European Audiovisual Observatory for the European Commission. This brings the HD total to 612, 8.3-percent of the total 7,400 channels based in the European Union and candidate countries, which itself increased by 375.

Sport remains the most important genre in HDTV, accounting for about 20 percent of HD channels, followed by film and general channels on about 15 percent each. There was an increase in the distribution of HDTV channels as well as their number. In 2011 satellite packages offered more than 50 HDTV channels in Italy, Poland, the United Kingdom and Ireland, and more than 30 in Germany, France and the Netherlands. The biggest cable penetration of HDTV is in the cable strongholds of Portugal, the Netherlands and Germany, with over 30 channels in each case. The best countries for HDTV under IPTV are Switzerland, Poland, Portugal and the Netherlands, even though France is the leading IPTV nation as a whole. Then on DTT, HD channels are now available on networks in 18 countries, compared to just three at the end of 2009.