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Germany: Kabel BW blasts 'HD Politics'

See if this sounds familiar… Broadcasters and cablers are squabbling over HD issues and rack it up to politics.

In Germany, cable operator Kabel BW is voicing its gripes about how commercial broadcasters are rolling out their respective HD channels by charging that stations are "concentrating very heavily on satellite distribution, or more precisely the Astra project HD-Plus, and are investing exclusively there into distribution," That's at least what Kabel BW is telling a German trade pub, Digitalmagazin.

The frustrated cabler said this is allegedly occurring while broadcasters continue their "partially overblown demands" regarding their signal protection, especially on cable. This has led to the impression, says the cabler, that commercial broadcasters apparently have forgotten cable viewers, which it says comprise about half of all German dwellings.

In early November, channels RTL and VOX launched on the HD-Plus tier on Astra DBS, Kabel BW said, while failing to yet appear on cable or IPTV. In another few weeks (Jan. 31), Sat. 1 and ProSieben also are set to begin airing on the HD-Plus satellite platform. But not on cable.

According to the Digitalmagazin, "Industry insiders see the sticking point as the usage limitations demanded by commercial broadcasters for their HD program content through which they hope, for example, to prevent commercials from being skipped or content being copied. It seems that cable companies want to avoid these restrictions being implemented on their networks [since] they fear complaints from angry customers..."