Three main channels whose availability is being made possible by the ProSiebenSat.1 Group have joined the Astra HD+ DBS platform serving Germany, following a delay of about a month. Channels Sat.1, ProSieben and Kabel Eins became available to HD customers on Jan. 31.
The trio of HD outlets joined channels RTL and Vox from the RTL Deutschland Group, which started broadcasting on the DBS platform last November.
Satellite subs are being required to purchase dedicated Astra HD+ receiver boxes — which include smart cards activated for an initial 12-month period. (After the first year, subs will be required to re-activate their smart cards for about $70 annually.)
Astra said for owners of legacy boxes, a special module (brand name "CI Plus") will become available later this spring for a price "less than" $140," including the Astra HD+ smart card. (Legacy receivers will also need a software update.)
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