UPC Netherlands 'HD Mediabox' Will Ship for World Cup

UPC DTV customers in the Netherlands who seek to broaden their programming to HD content and interactive services need only pay an activation fee of 50 euros ($60.65) for UPC's Interactive HD Mediabox, manufactured by UPC partner Philips. UPC Nederland announced the payment scheme in Amsterdam at the Kabel in de 21e Eeuw ("Cable in the 21st Century") confab.

The HD STB will be available by early June -- just in time for the start of the World Cup. Chellomedia pay TV channels Film1 and Sport1 will offer HD content without additional charges. UPC customers will be able to watch the World Cup from Germany in HD on the public broadcast channel Nederland 2.

UPC Nederland said it will also offer a special HD package that will include the National Geographic Channel (which is being used as a major incentive by several HD providers in Europe). Prospective MediaBox subs can sign up online at the UPC Web site. The firm said it currently has more than 170,000 digital-tier customers.