Sport1, Film1: First HDTV channels in Holland

The World Cup In Germany this year is going to be the big opener for HDTV in Europe.

When I was in Berlin mid-last year there was a lot of talk about it, and with the annoucment below, it’s clear that that HD mania isn’t going to just be restricted to Germany, as Holland follows suit.

Sport1, a new pay-TV channel will be the first HDTV channel in Holland and on the back of it they’ll be launching Film1 – no prizes for guessing what they’ll be putting on that.

Dutch Sport1 and Film1 to launch HDTV channels with World Championship football

News release follows

Amsterdam, 21 February 2006 – New Dutch pay-TV service Sport1 will air the World Championship football in Germany in the HDTV (High Definition Television) format to kick off the first Dutch HDTV channel fully dedicated to sports. A Sport1 HDTV channel will launch early June, driven by the start of the World Championship on June 9, and will also show matches from the main European football competitions as well as a wide variety of international sports in the HDTV format. Launching at the same time in early June, a Film1 HDTV channel will show the latest Hollywood movies in the HDTV format.

The launch of these two channels is an important step forward in making the superior HDTV broadcasting available in the Netherlands. chellomedia, the owner of Sport1 and Film1 in the Netherlands, has concluded an agreement to this effect with the digital cable platforms of UPC, Essent, Multikabel and CaiW. These Dutch cable operators are currently preparing their technical infrastructures for the launch of HD services. Digital cable is optimally suited to HDTV transmission due to the very high capacity of the cable infrastructure.

chellomedia, which bought the film and sports rights for the Netherlands from Canal+ last year, first concentrated on the launch of Sport1 and Film1 as a digital pay-TV service. The main goal was more content and more channels for the consumer at a lower price. The launch of HD channels for Sport1 and Film1 is a logical next step in the strategy to become the leading provider of sport and film content in the Netherlands. Another step, in advance of the launch of the HDTV channels is the change to broadcast Film1 and Sport1 in the anamorph widescreen format (16:9), coming from the older 4:3 screen format related to analogue television (as far as the content allows for this).

HDTV: far better picture and sound
Jeroen Bergman, Managing Director of chellomedia Benelux added: “A growing number of consumers are buying high quality flatscreen TV systems for their homes, with which they enjoy a better viewing experience. HDTV transmission here provides a huge improvement of picture and sound quality over current standards of transmission. HDTV offers television viewing of the future. There has not been such a technological revolution since the move from black and white TV to colour. We are proud to be among the initiators of the future of a new standard of television viewing.” Consumers need a HDTV ready TV set and HDTV ready digital decoder for viewing in the HDTV format.

Film1 and Sport1
Film1 and Sport1 are Dutch pay-TV services of chellomedia, the European content and digital services division of Liberty Global, Inc. Film1 boasts four movie channels and broadcasts first-rate films that are making their first appearance on Dutch television. These vary from blockbusters to independent and art house films.

Sport1 is a 24-hour sports channel with an extensive range of live sports. This channel can be extended to maximally eight sport channels, enabling viewers to decide for themselves what matches to follow. Sport1 televises all the major European soccer leagues, as well as the UEFA Champions League, the English FA Cup and the Copa Libertadores, as well as hockey, basketball, baseball, darts, golf and tennis.