Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland’s free-TV channels can currently be received as DVB-T in the metropolitan areas of Berlin/Brandenburg, northern Germany, North Rhine-Westphalia, the Rhine-Main region and Bavaria. Later this year, viewers in the Stuttgart region will be the first to additionally receive the two Pay-TV channels RTL Crime and Passion on DVB-T as a free introductory offering during the first year. The technical reach in the region is around 1.6 million households.
The Stuttgart region will become the first place in Germany where Mediengruppe RTL will introduce a new technology standard for DVB-T. Compared with the MPEG2 techniques used today, it allows for increasing the number of programmes on a DVB-T channel by 50 per cent. To receive Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland’s four free-TV channels and two pay-TV channels, viewers in the greater Stuttgart region will need a receiver which supports the MPEG4 standard. The same receiver can be used to view the region’s existing DVB-T offerings. These devices will be available in stores from the middle of the year. The marketers at Eutelsat Visavision will handle customer service and activate the offerings on the receivers.
After the Executive Board of the State Broadcasting Authority for Communication (LFK) had already approved the allocation of the channels to Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland earlier, the Media Council followed suit in its session last Monday.
Andre Prahl, the Cologne Broadcasting Center management board member in charge of Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland’s programme distribution, says: "Our new engagement in Stuttgart and the extension of our contracts with Media Broadcast in the other DVB-T regions through 2014 constitute a clear commitment to DVB-T by Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland. By establishing the new standard, we are bringing more variety to a DVB-T region where there was no private-sector engagement to date.”
LFK President Thomas Langheinrich comments: “I am pleased that our intensive talks with Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland over the past two years regarding an engagement in Baden-Württemberg have come to a positive conclusion. The Stuttgart metropolitan region will blaze the trail for a new generation of DVB-T that makes it possible to offer viewers a greater spectrum of programming and added digital services in future.”
No changes are planned in the existing DVB-T regions at this point.