Saturday, April 12, 2008

BPB 1066 HD struggle in The Netherlands

Sports will be the bootstrap for HD television in Europe this summer. Sporting events with the tennis competition at Roland Garros, the European soccer championship, The tour de France and ending with the Olympic Games, will have to trigger the acceptance of HD Television.

In the UK BSkyB did the groundbreaking work. BBC is making use of this and nature channels like National Geographic, Discovery Channel and Eurosport make use of the infrastructure with much success. The Belgian telecom operator Belgacom will present HD Television programs on VDSL and composes a bouquet of programs already mentioned with additions like Disney Cinemagique en Exqi. Belgacom has about 300 HDTV users. Yet 60 percent of the Belgian population can receive HD broadcasts.

In the Netherlands the cable operators are ready for HD Television. The public and commercial television companies are not. The public companies lack money, as usual. The commercial companies stick it out as they have not much to gain. The Dutch public broadcast organisation has landed the rights to Roland Garros, the European soccer championship, The tour de France and the Olympic Games. So the Dutch public broadcast organisation with the help of Sony has set up a HD television studio. But after the Olympic Games the studio will be abandonned. The Dutch public and commercial broadcast companies do not know where to pick up the money. The cable companies can ask money for the HD channel as they do for the digital channel.
The cable companies are now ready for it. But in 2006 HDTV started on the wrong foot in The Netherlands during the World soccer championship. Decoders of UPC were not ready and few people had a proper screen. Only 20.000 households could see the games in HDTV. In 2008 there is growing audience of more than two million screens, ready for the HDTV format.

After the summer the Dutch public and commercial broadcast companies are not sure whether they will keep broadcasting in the HDTV. Of course the cable operators will continue and the game players using Blu-ray players, Playstation 3, a HD camcorder or HD photographs. The viewers love HDTV.

The public and commercial companies indicate that the television programs are 20 percent more expensive for HDTV. The public broadcast companies do not have that money. The commercial stations are lukewarm to invest. Yet they know that they will have to change over someday. The most logical date would be in the year 2011 or 2012, as the present equipment will have been written off. Besides the viewer stats will not principally change, if all the programs were in HDTV format. The Dutch ministry of Economic Affairs is reviewing its policy and may help the broadcast companies and production companies, depending on the steps of the commercial broadcast companies.

The companies and the cable operators also point at the viewers and hope that they will start paying for HDTV. Representatives of the Dutch broadcast companies think that the viewers should pay for a higher quality.

Blog Posting Number: 1066

Tags: television, HDTV,

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