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UAE Launches Middle East’s First Pay-TV HD Service

E-Vision, a cable TV provider serving the United Arab Emirates, recently premiered its first package of HD programming for UAE viewers. The move makes E-Vision the first pay-TV provider in the Middle East to launch a commercial HD service, according to the cabler.

Based in Abu Dhabi, E-Vision (an entity of Etisalat) is loading up its initial HD services with a handful of mostly niche programming, including Abu Dhabi TV HD, Luxe HD, Fashion TV HD, Showtime HD and Al Jazeera Sports HD.

The new HD service will be available to customers via a HD set-top box from E-Vision which includes a DVR and various on-demand options. HD Subs will pay a monthly fee equivalent to about $8 (the HD STB costs $272) in order to access the HD content, including three complementary channels. The STB’s DVR contains a 250-GB hard disc.

E-Vision CEO Humaid Rashid Sahoo told The National in Abu Dhabi that “with an already large installed base of HD-ready TV sets in the UAE, this service will redefine the television experience for an increasing number of customers going forward.”

No figures on how HD sign-ups quite yet, but the UAE is among the wealthiest per capita-income nations in the world.