ProSiebenSat.1 channels remain unencrypted in SD on Astra; Kabel Eins Doku HD joins HD+January 15, 2020 11.01 Europe/London By Jörn Krieger Following Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland, German media company ProSiebenSat.1 has also decided to continue broadcasting its free-TV channels unencrypted in SD resolution via the Astra satellite system (19.2 degrees East).This is ensured by a new, long-term distribution contract for the use of satellite capacity with Astra operator SES. In addition to the SD channels, an agreement also covers the distribution of the HD versions of the free-TV channels on subscription platform HD+, operated by SES. Sat.1 HD, ProSieben HD, Kabel Eins HD, sixx HD, Sat.1 Gold HD and ProSieben Maxx HD thus continue to be available on HD+. The contract also includes the non-linear distribution of HD content including features such as instant restart and the catch-up TV services as well as rights for smart TV and mobile applications.A new addition is documentary channel Kabel Eins Doku HD, which will be offered on HD+ from January 17, 2020 as the platform’s 24th channel. ProSiebenSat.1 and HD+ also plan to broadcast more Ultra HD content via satellite in the coming months, including for the first time content from Kabel Eins Doku, in addition to programmes from Sat.1 and ProSieben. A ProSiebenSat.1 spokesman didn’t want to comment on the duration of the contracts when approached by Broadband TV News.“We have a longstanding and successful partnership with Astra and HD+. Thanks to the new contractual basis with both partners, our viewers will be able to receive our seven free-TV channels via satellite in HD quality in future,” said Nicole Agudo Berbel, Chief Distribution Officer & EVP Digital Publishing at ProSiebenSat.1. “In addition, our viewers will also be able to watch the content of the ProSiebenSat.1 channels on HD+ on-demand and time-shifted.” The move by ProSiebenSat.1 follows the recent announcement by Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland of a new contract with SES for the unencrypted distribution of its free-TV channels via Astra until 2024. Germany’s two largest commercial broadcast groups have committed themselves to the Federal Cartel Office anyway to broadcast their free-TV channels unencrypted in SD resolution until the end of 2022. In contrast, German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF are considering dropping the SD distribution of their channels on Astra as early as this year, driven by demands from licence fee commission KEF, which sees this as a way to save costs. The public broadcasters benefit from the fact that their HD channels are unencrypted, which means that their reach is significantly higher than the encrypted commercial HD channels.