FRANSAT, Free DTT Via Satellite Offering, Launches across France

Monday, June 29th, 2009
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FRANSAT Facilitates Switch to Digital for Homes Beyond Terrestrial DTT Reception and Enables 1.5 Million Homes Receiving French Analogue TV via ATLANTIC BIRD™ 3 to Access Free DTT Channels With no Change to Their Dish

PARIS — Eutelsat Communications (Euronext Paris: ETL), Europe’s leading satellite operator, today announced the full commercial launch of FRANSAT, the new service giving satellite access in metropolitan France to all French free DTT (Digital Terrestrial Television) channels.

Commenting on the launch Giuliano Berretta, Chairman and CEO of Eutelsat Communications said “The launch of FRANSAT on our ATLANTIC BIRD™ 3 satellite underscores Eutelsat’s objective to support the seamless transition of broadcasting in France into a fully digital environment, as mapped out in the government’s “Digital France 2012″ Plan. The Plan expressed the ambition for a solution to switch to digital for the significant number of satellite homes already receiving analogue TV in areas not served terrestrially. Our 5degrees West orbital position has been delivering French national analogue channels to terrestrial transmitters for more than 20 years. Over this period a large installed base of Direct-to-Home and community satellite antennas has developed to deliver these channels to homes in areas beyond terrestrial reception. Five months before the programme for switch-off of terrestrial analogue broadcasting begins it is natural for Eutelsat to propose a solution which enables these homes to switch to digital without any need to adjust their dish.”

To receive FRANSAT households can buy a labelled Pack comprising a decoder and a FRANSAT conditional-access smartcard. Packs are already available at typical points of sale for satellite TV (individual suppliers and antenna installers, as well as major DIY centres, specialist retail warehouses and hypermarkets), with particular emphasis on availability in “white zones”. The new service is principally addressing the 10-15% of TV homes in metropolitan France which will be unable to receive terrestrial DTT or who will have poor reception with the definitive switch-off of terrestrial analogue broadcasting, scheduled on 30 November 2011.

FRANSAT: for an immediate transition to a fully-digital environment:

  • All free-to-air DTT channels, including HDTV channels:

    FRANSAT offers access to France’s 18 free DTT channels, plus France O and the four HD channels TF1 HD, France 2 HD, M6 HD, ARTE HD.

  • A subscription-free service with no time limit:

    Based on the same model as terrestrial DTT, satellite reception of France’s free DTT channels via FRANSAT is subscription-free and not time-limited.

  • A solution for homes unable to receive DTT terrestrially, requiring no dish change for the 1.5 million homes equipped for analogue reception of France’s national French channels:

    For homes equipped with a dish fitted with a universal LNB to receive France’s six national analogue channels via ATLANTIC BIRD™ 3, by replacing their analogue decoder with a digital FRANSAT Pack they will get instant access to France’s free DTT channels with no change to their dish.

  • A label guaranteeing quality and simplicity:

    As a guarantee of high-quality equipment and optimal satellite reception of France’s free DTT channels, FRANSAT has developed the “FRANSAT Via Eutelsat” label. Decoders with this label offer a series of functions including fast installation and automatic numbering of channels, availability in metropolitan France with Viaccess conditional access, a parental lock, automatic decoder upgrades, multi-satellite reception (DiSEqC facility) as well as access to all channels broadcasting via ATLANTIC BIRD™ 3 and other satellite positions.

A broad range of decoders to meet all needs and budgets:

  • Four manufacturers and distributors (Aston, Metronic, Servimat, Wisi) are providing labelled FRANSAT decoders tailored to individual needs. This product range will be progressively extended to offer consumers the widest possible choice. Decoder prices depend on the functionality provided (high definition, recording function…).

A non-proprietary system open for multi-reception:

  • FRANSAT-labelled decoders are designed to give users full freedom to deploy their equipment in compliance with laws for interoperability of reception equipment.

A full set of technical solutions for community reception of satellite-delivered free DTT channels:

  • A single cable per home is sufficient to distribute all television and radio channels in a community building, including FRANSAT. Users simply need to connect their FRANSAT decoder into the plug-in socket.