WATCHING THE NEIGHBOURS Austria is just a week away from officially launching a new digital terrestrial TV service based on the DVB-T2 broadcasting standard, which was first tried and tested in the UK for Freeview HD.
The Austrian DVB-T2 service launches on the 15th April. German website digitalfernsehen.de reported the first wide-scale appearance of DVB-T2 channels across Austria this week following earlier tests restricted to the Vienna area. In total, three DVB-T2 multiplexes are poised to launch - three times the current Freeview HD capacity in the UK.
According to reports, viewers will need to register in order to watch HD versions of public service broadcast channels ORF1 and 2, plus Servus TV in HD. Additionally, viewers can subscribe to a service called SimpliTV to access German public service channels Das Erste HD, ZDF HD, plus commercial channels RTL HD,
ProSieben HD, Sat.1 HD und VOX HD. The service will be operated by ORS.
In total, the Austrian terrestrial service will be able to offer up to 40 TV channels with a mix of HD and standard definition services. Until now, only 8 standard definition channels have been available across the whole country using two multiplexes that broadcast using the traditional DVB-T standard, used - as in the UK - for standard definition channels.
Regular DVB-T2 broadcasts first launched in December 2009 in the UK, when Freeview HD began broadcasting from Winter Hill and Crystal Palace transmitters. Broadcasts were initially limited to the trade and test households before Freeview HD equipment officially became available to all domestic consumers in March 2010.
Previously in this series:
German Commercial Broadcaster RTL to exit DTT (20/01/2013)