SES ASTRA and Euro1080 to pioneer HTDV in Europe Euro1080 to launch on ASTRA 19.2° East in January '0423.10.2003
SES ASTRA, an SES GLOBAL company (Luxembourg and Frankfurt Stock Exchanges: SESG), and Alfacam, the Belgium-based TV facilities provider and European leader in High Definition recording, are pleased to announce their cooperation in bringing Euro1080, Europe's first high-definition television channel, to audiences across Europe via the continent's prime orbital position of 19.2° East.
Starting in January 2004, Euro1080 will broadcast exclusively in high definition, and offer high-quality programs on music, sports, shows, cultural events, and documentaries. Europe's first HDTV offering will consist of two channels: the Main Channel serving European households, and the Event Channel, providing special event programmes, such as music, sports, shows, cultural events and documentaries to e-cinemas throughout Europe.
Comments Ferdinand Kayser, President and CEO of SES ASTRA: "With the launch of Europe's first full-fledged HDTV offer, SES ASTRA is once again charting new, promising waters. HDTV is already a reality in countries such as the US or Japan, but Euro1080 on ASTRA 19.2° East represents Europe's first foray into a new exciting TV viewing experience poised to be the next TV evolution: More and more European consumers are purchasing flat-screen displays, and prices for LCD and plasma screens are expected to come down significantly over the next few years. As a consequence, viewers are asking for DVD-like viewing experiences when watching broadcast TV. And satellites are ideally suited to manage the bandwidth requirements of HDTV transmissions. SES ASTRA will contribute to kick start European HDTV with a variety of initiatives like the satellite distribution of Euro1080."
Gabriel Fehervari, General Manager Alfacam and CEO of Euro1080 states: "We look very much forward to a continued fruitful cooperation with SES ASTRA, following the successful trial transmissions via ASTRA during the recent IBC 2003 in Amsterdam. The trials have proven that satellite is the ideal means for distributing HDTV programs. Because of its outstanding DTH market reach, attractive content neighbourhood and technical expertise, we regard ASTRA as one of the key players for the successful roll-out of HDTV in Europe."
Euro1080 Main Channel will be present itself as a free-to-view TV channel, offering four hours of original program a day, between 8 pm and midnight, and repeated the next day between noon and 8 pm. To promote Euro1080 in public places, the signal will also be available in small venues like pubs, sports bars, conference centres, airports, etc.
Euro1080 Event Channel will distribute programs via satellite to cinemas equipped with electronic projection systems and 5.1 surround sound systems. The High Definition experience is similar to the actual live experience, and in some cases might even exceed it. Some events will be live and once, others can be transmitted via satellite overnight, and stored temporarily on a local server for repeated screenings.
For further information please contact:
Press Relations, SES ASTRA
Tel +352 710 725 311
Press Relations Euro1080
Tel +32 3 460 39 30
About SES ASTRA
The ASTRA Satellite System is Europe's leading Direct-to-Home satellite system chosen by a wide range of television and radio broadcasters and multimedia service providers for the delivery of free-to-air and pay broadcast and broadband services to more than 92 million Direct-to-Home and cable households in Europe. The ASTRA satellite fleet currently comprises 13 satellites, transmitting more than 1100 analogue and digital television and radio channels as well as multimedia and Internet services. ASTRA's two prime orbital positions for DTH (Direct-To-Home) services are 19.2° East and 28.2° East. Professional services like SNG (Satellite News Gathering), Occasional Use and Direct to Cable (DTC) are offered from the orbital positions of 23.5°/24.2° East and 5.2° East.
SES ASTRA is wholly owned by SES GLOBAL, a publicly quoted company with securities listed on the Stock Exchanges in Luxembourg and Frankfurt (SESG). SES GLOBAL wholly owns two operating companies, SES AMERICOM and SES ASTRA, and has strategic holdings in other leading regional satellite service providers around the world - AsiaSat, NSAB, Nahuelsat and Star One. Through these SES GLOBAL can provide outstanding satellite communications solutions via a fleet of 41 satellites across the globe. Additional info at: www.ses-global.com.