Germany: Arts Channel Airs First HD Opera via SES Astra

World Cup soccer wasn't the only HD coming out of Germany last week. European satellite firm SES Astra said the German-French public channel Arte broadcast in HD for the first time last week, using its facilities. Arte aired Bizet's "Carmen" from the national opera house in Berlin during prime time.

SES Astra, based in Luxemburg, said it has played a major role in the creation and the development of HD, and it will keep on promoting HD for future ventures in Germany, Luxemburg, France, and other Western European nations.

Astra's satellite system serves as a major DBS provider, delivering services to an estimated 107 million DBS and cable households, the firm said. Astra's fleet currently includes 13 satellites transmitting approximately 1,600 analog, DTV, and radio channels. Astra is an SES Global company, which wholly owns two additional satellite operators besides SES Astra -- including SES Americom in the U.S. and New Skies Satellites, which serves regions other than North America and Europe.