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ARD criticises commercial b'casters’ HD plans -
ARD criticises commercial b'casters’ HD plans
Fritz Raff, vice chairman of German public broadcaster ARD, has criticised the plans of Germany’s large commercial broadcasters to distribute their HDTV channels on the encrypted platform HD+. The platform is currently being prepared by satellite operator SES Astra and will charge viewers a reception fee.
During a forum of ARD and fellow public broadcaster ZDF’s production and technical commission held at consumer electronics fair Internationale Funkausstellung in Berlin, Raff expressed fears that the plans could act as a brake to the quick market penetration of HDTV. “It would be fatal if viewer uncertainty were to now delay the uptake of HDTV,” he said.
Raff called on platform and channel operators not to endanger the introduction of HDTV in Germany through plans which are not viewer friendly.
ARD and ZDF will in any event continue to distribute their channels free-to-air and without additional costs, he stressed. “They can of course also be recorded.” Raff’s comment refers to the recent announcement by SES Astra that viewers using set-top-boxes with current generation common interface slots through so-called legacy modules will probably not be able to record programmes on HD+ due to copyright restrictions.
Raff said that the introduction of HDTV is another major step forward into the digital world. “The next big milestone in the digitalisation process will be the ending of analogue satellite distribution. ARD and ZDF want to promote this development and can imagine the changeover to purely digital satellite distribution taking place in early 2012.”
He stressed that for this goal to be reached it would be important that viewers are closely accompanied and supported in the switch to the digital television age and comprehensively informed about the various reception possibilities. “We will do this with a broad information package,” said Raff.