HDPlus Wants to Move to Support UltraHD

Agnes HDPlusGeorges Agnes runs the SES HD Plus initiative in Germany and he talked about the plans for UltraHD and multiscreen. HDPlus has a platform that costs €5 per month to get 20 pay channels and 30 FTA channels.

The service has grown from 2 to 20 pay channels, and has gone from 37,000 subscribers after one year to 1.6m paying subscribers in 2014.

Planning is currently being undertaken to support multiscreen. Homes in Germany have two or more sets and the question is, “How can you bring encrypted content to the other devices?”. The firm wants to exploit Sat>IP to distribute encrypted content but this needs to be developed (see later items on SAT>IP Man. Ed). There is no real bandwidth restriction when you are delivering content by SAT>IP, so there has been work with Nagra to bring encrypted content at FullHD onto other devices.

The architecture uses an HD+ server that receives the Sat>IP. The SAT>IP technology is not complicated, but it is hard to explain to the trade and to the consumer so that they understand how to make it work. The first version of the multiscreen technology will have an iOS app to handle the protection.

Later there will be a hardware client and also an HD+ Multiscreen App on Android.

Turning to UHD, so far there is not a service on HD+. For German consumers, when buying a set the top factor is to get a bigger screen (78%), the second is picture quality (66%) and smart TV (63%) is third. The demand for all these three features have gone up between 2013 and 2014.

German TV demand by size

The top selling TV screen in Germany is now the 47″ and soon 55″ will be the biggest segment. By the end of this year, there will be about a milllion UHD-ready sets in Germany. There is a plan for a demo channel on HD+ from 20:00 to 8:00am – complementary to the commercial demo channel. Content will include user-generated content in UltraHD, action content, lifestyle and documentary content. Although still relatively short form content, there will be much longer loops on the consumer demo channel, whereas the one designed for stores has quite a short loop.

There will be a new CI Plus module and a new UltraHD receiver that will become available by December 2015.

In response to a question, Agnes said that it would not be charging for multiscreen access, at least initially.