ORF, the Austrian public broadcaster, has selected Astra as its platform of choice for the launch of its second HD channel, ORF2.
The launch of ORF2 HD on SES Astra's 19.2 degrees East orbital position follows the rollout of the ORF1 HD channel in June 2008. ORF will continue to broadcast both ORF1 and ORF2 channels in standard definition.
The launch of ORF's new HD channel sees satellite SES Astra almost doubling the number of HD channels it carries to close to 100. And based on figures provided by the market research company GfK, around 2.2 million HD-ready TV sets are expected to be sold in Austria by the end of 2009, meaning that around two thirds of the Austrian TV homes will be equipped with HD-ready screens.
Alexander Oudendijk, Astra's chief commercial officer said: "The fact that the number of HD channels on Astra has almost doubled within one year shows that HDTV is gaining momentum in Europe. We are very confident that this positive development will continue in 2010, and are looking forward to launching additional HD channels on our satellites."
Michael Wagenhofer, managing director of ORS, a subsidiary of ORF, added that "with the extension of ORF HD programmes, TV viewers will benefit from the highest technical quality. By providing its technical know-how to national and international radio and TV broadcasters, the ORS plays an important role for the distribution of HDTV signals."