CanalDigitaal And TV Vlaanderen Launch HDTV Bouquet On ASTRA For Dutch And Belgian Markets

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008
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Bouquet launches on ASTRA 23.5 degrees East orbital position; After only one year 23.5 degrees East reaches over 300,000 homes in the Netherlands and Belgium

BETZDORF (Luxembourg) — SES ASTRA, an SES company (Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG), today announced the launch of a new High Definition (HD) bouquet on ASTRA targeting the Dutch and Belgian markets. As of this month, Dutch satellite TV provider, CanalDigitaal, and Belgian sister company, TV Vlaanderen, broadcast their new HDTV package via the ASTRA satellites at the 23.5 degrees East orbital position. The capacity for the new offer, namely two transponders, was already contracted to the broadcasters in September 2007. With the addition of the CanalDigitaal/TV Vlaanderen High Definition offering, there are now 34 HD channels transmitted via the ASTRA and SIRIUS satellites.

The initial offering includes the documentary channels, Discovery HD and National Geographic HD, as well as the Dutch-based classical music and opera channel Brava HDTV. The launch of additional HD channels is planned for the near future. Furthermore, CanalDigitaal concluded an agreement with Dutch public broadcaster, NOS, for the HD transmission of the European Soccer Championship 2008 and the Olympic Games via ASTRA 23.5 degrees East.

According to the latest issue of the ASTRA Satellite Monitor, over 300,000 satellite homes in the Netherlands and Belgium are already receiving programmes via 23.5 degrees East by using the ASTRA DUO LNB 60 or other ASTRA multi-feed reception solutions. Over 240,000 of these homes are located in the Netherlands, representing half of the total Dutch ASTRA DTH market.

States Bill Wijdeveld, Managing Director of ASTRA Benelux: “The growth of the ASTRA 23.5 degrees East household reach has been tremendous, especially taking into account that this new DTH position was introduced in the Benelux market only one year ago. The start of the HDTV bouquet is another important milestone in the development of ASTRA 23.5 degrees East as an additional DTH position for the Netherlands and Belgium.”

Apart from the CanalDigitaal/TV Vlaanderen HD channels, the Dutch regional channels and thematic bouquets from CanalDigitaal and TV Vlaanderen are available on ASTRA 23.5 degrees East. Via the same orbital position, Dutch and Belgian consumers can now also enjoy the benefits of high speed internet and VoIP (voice over internet protocol) services via ASTRA2Connect. The new two-way broadband service is purely satellite-based and will be marketed in Belgium and the Netherlands as of June 1, 2008 by the provider Satelliet Electronics and in cooperation with Siemens and Budget Phone Company.