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TypePrivately-owned subsidiary
FoundedMay 2009
HeadquartersUnterföhring, Germany
Key peopleWilfried Urner (CEO)
ProductsSatellite and broadcasting services
  (Redirected from HD Plus)
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This article is about the television service "HD+"; for the computer screen resolution see Computer display standard.

TypePrivately-owned subsidiary
FoundedMay 2009
HeadquartersUnterföhring, Germany
Key peopleWilfried Urner (CEO)
ProductsSatellite and broadcasting services

HD+ is a package of high definition digital satellite TV channels for German-speaking viewers and (as HD PLUS GmbH) the company providing that package, based in Unterföhring near Munich, Germany. HD PLUS is a subsidiary company of SES based in Betzdorf, Luxembourg.

HD+ provides a broadcast platform from satellites at the Astra 19.2°E position, independent from TV operators, for channels outside of the established pay-TV networks, and requires a dedicated receiver or an HD+ conditional access module and viewing card. Since summer 2011, HD+ channels have also been available to Sky Deutschland subscribers.

The company grew out of SES Platform Services (then ASTRA Platform Services) and offers the technical management and the marketing of HD programmes for all broadcasters, including the distribution of the smart cards required for reception.


HD+ Channels

The HD+ service launched on November 1, 2009 with two channels, RTL HD and Vox HD; Sat.1 HD, ProSieben HD and kabel eins HD were added in January 2010. Other German free-to-air HD channels broadcasting from Astra 19.2°E such as Das Erste HD, Arte HD, and ZDF HD can also be received with the same receiver used for HD+ and also with any independent free-to-air HD receiver.

In the months leading up to the launch of HD+, it was reported that MTV and DSF – already broadcasting in HD from Astra 19.2°E – were in discussions to join the package.[1] DSF HD (now called Sport1 HD) began test broadcasts in August 2010 and commenced a full service on the first anniversary of the launch of HD+, on November 1, 2010, becoming the first channel in the HD+ package from outside the RTL and ProSiebenSat.1 groups. As of May 2012, MTV has not joined HD+.

On December 1, 2010, German women's entertainment channel sixx (which, like kabel eins, ProSieben and Sat.1, is owned by ProSiebenSat.1 Media) launched a high definition service on the HD+ platform

In October 2010 it was announced that entertainment channel RTL2 would launch in high-definition in the HD+ package in early December.[2]

In June 2011, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon from MTV Networks joined the HD+ platform[3] and it was announced that news channel, N24 would join HD+ from July, bringing the number of channels offered to 11.[4]

Service uptake and criticism

Before HD+ launched, there was some criticism because of limitations it might impose on the use of the service. Some channels had already announced they were going to deny the viewer some regular functions by software, e.g. fast-forwarding during commercials or the ability to record broadcasts to watch at a later time. Some viewers even formed Anti-HD+ campaigns, trying to prevent HD+ becoming accepted.

However, in May 2011 – some 18 months after the launch of the service – SES announced that as of March 31, 2011, 769,000 households in Germany were receiving HD+ via satellite, that 827,000 HD+ receivers had been sold, and that of the 172,000 HD+ viewers who had purchased an HD+ device with an HD+ card between November 1, 2009 and March 31, 2010 (and who had therefore exceeded their free trial period) 114,000, or 66%, had renewed their HD+ service by paying the annual €50 fee. HD+ CEO, Wilfried Urner said that "In a country where the question of whether people are willing to pay for television has been discussed for more than 20 years, the first figures of HD+ are certainly remarkable. A conversion rate of 66 percent is clearly above the expectations".[5]

By May 2011, the number of households receiving HD+ had more than trebled, to over 2.6 million, with about 2.1 million users utilizing the12-month free trial period, and over 500,000 paying the €50 annual service fee.[6]


Viewers buying an HD+ certified receiver also receive an HD+ smart card valid for 12 months' viewing of the HD+ package. At the end of the free viewing period, the validity of the card can be extended for a further year on payment of €50, either online or by phone from HD+, or in stores.[7]

The decision to charge for access to the HD+ package, while promoting it as free TV, was met with some criticism within Germany. However, Ferdinand Kayser, then president and CEO of SES Astra, has denied that HD+ is pay-TV. "HD+ is free TV," he said in September 2009 at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin and compared the commercial arrangements to cable TV, in which access to free channels costs money. He said that the annual cost of HD+ is a service fee "which is related to the reception of the offer and not to specific content, parts or packages of the offer".[8]

In April 2011, HD+ and Sky Deutschland announced agreement that all the HD+ channels would be available to Sky Deutschland subscribers from the summer, without an HD+ receiver or CAM. Sky subscribers with a standard Sky HD satellite receiver and smartcard will then be able to watch and record the eight HD+ channels, along with the 12 existing Sky HD channels and five free-to-air German HD channels (which also broadcast via Astra 19.2°E). The HD+ channels will be available to Sky subscribers for free for the first 12 months and then for an annual fee of €50.[9]


The HD+ channels are encrypted using Nagravision encryption, and reception and decryption is only possible with certain combinations of receiver and conditional access module (CAM).

The primary route to HD+ reception is with the receivers designed especially for HD+. As of February 2010 HD+ reports that there are eight models of HD+ receiver available, ranging from simple single tuner units to twin-tuner, recording receivers with Internet access.[10] HD+ certified receivers carry the HD+ logo on the packaging and/or the receiver’s front panel.

Existing receivers and TVs with integrated satellite tuners that are capable of tuning to the DVB-S2/MPEG4 HD+ signal can also be used provided they are equipped with a CI+ or CI 2.0 common interface socket (including content protection to allow the blocking of recording broadcast content) for a plug-in Nagravision HD+ CAM which will be available in Spring 2010 for a price of about €100, including the HD+ smart card.[11]

Some DVB-S2 receivers with a standard CI (not CI+) common interface socket can also be fitted with a (different) HD+ CAM and receive HD+ channels when new firmware is downloaded to the receiver to imitate the CI+ content protection. CI CAMs (with the HD+ smart card) are expected to be available from stores in the Summer of 2010 for €100.[12]

See also


  1. ^ Briel, Robert MTV and DSF might join HD+ Broadband TV News September 28, 2009
  2. ^ "RTL2 LAUNCHES IN HIGH DEFINITION ON HD+ IN GERMANY" (Press release). SES Astra. October 25, 2010. http://www.ses.com/4233325/news/2010/4490844. Retrieved January 26, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Nickelodeon HD and Comedy Central HD join HD+" (Press release). SES Astra. June 1, 2011. http://www.ses.com/4233325/news/2011/4494407. Retrieved January 26, 2012. 
  4. ^ "German news channel N24 joins HD+" (Press release). SES Astra. June 15, 2011. http://www.ses.com/4233325/news/2011/4494518. Retrieved January 26, 2012. 
  5. ^ "New TV service HD+ in Germany successfully established" (Press release). SES Astra. May 2, 2011. http://www.ses.com/4233325/news/2011/4493668. Retrieved January 26, 2012. 
  6. ^ "HD+ Viewers Surge". OnAstra.com. May 14, 2012. http://www.onastra.com/11518863/2012-14-05-hd-plus-viewrs-surge. Retrieved May 30, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Private Broadcasters To Launch HD With HD+ On November 1, 2009" (Press release). SES Astra. October 12, 2009. http://www.ses.com/4233325/news/2009/4469675. Retrieved January 26, 2012. 
  8. ^ Briel, Robert Kayser rebuffs critics of HD+ platform Broadband TV News September 10, 2009
  9. ^ "Sky Deutschland expands market leading HD service with 8 additional channels" (Press release). Sky Deutschland. April 11, 2011. http://info.sky.de/inhalt/eng/medienzentrum_news_uk_en_11042011.jsp. 
  10. ^ HD+ Empfang via HD+ Receiver HD+ website list of HD+ receivers (German). Retrieved February 22, 2010
  11. ^ "HD+ künftig auch über HDTV-Receiver mit CI-Schnittstelle" (Press release). HD Plus. December 22, 2009. http://www.hd-plus.de/download/presse/ses-astra_ci-schnittstelle.pdf. 
  12. ^ HD+ Empfang via CI Modul HD+ Modul website information on CAMs (German). Retrieved February 22, 2010

External links