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SES ASTRA and European Partners agree to HDTV specs

SES ASTRA, a direct-to-home satellite system provider in Europe, and more than 60 of its broadcast customers, hardware manufacturers and other industry partners, have agreed on the technical aspects and the timetable for the introduction of HDTV services in Europe via the ASTRA satellite system.

The agreement came at their second European HDTV Forum session, held this month at SES ASTRA’s headquarters in Luxembourg,

SES ASTRA, with more than 94 million pay TV subscribers, developed the transmission of HDTV services in Europe with EURO 1080. Europe’s first dedicated HDTV offering has been broadcasting via the ASTRA satellite system at 19.2 degrees east since January 1. Additional HDTV channels are expected to launch this year on the ASTRA system.

SES ASTRA and its industry partners have agreed on the minimum technical specifications for HDTV broadcasts, based on MPEG-2 or MPEG-4 AVC standards. Some technical specifications include: HDTV ready displays need a minimum of 720 lines vertical resolution; scan formats of 720p50 and 1080i25 for HDTV; and standard interfaces for peripheral equipment.

SES ASTRA and its industry partners have also agreed on the launch of an HDTV label, which will be deployed to identify future-proof HDTV displays. The label is intended to ensure consumer confidence when acquiring new display devices and will be used in the upcoming HDTV marketing campaigns of the different manufacturers promoting the pan-European HDTV initiative.

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