The satellite, Eutelsat 8 West B, will be delivered to the Ariane launch site in French Guiana in mid-July for a launch that is scheduled for August 18. It is set to be commercialised from October 1 and will carry 30 Ku-band transponders, giving it capacity for an additional 180 HD channels.
Currently more than 1,000 channels are broadcast from 7-8° West to 250 million viewers across the MENA region.
“This satellite will accelerate the transition to HD services and facilitate the rapid deployment of advanced television services such as Ultra High Definition broadcasts. With the launch of this new satellite Eutelsat is ensuring that the bandwidth is available for broadcasters to deliver High Definition today and the immersive viewing experience of Ultra HD in the future. The satellite will be co-located with Nilesat at the regional hotspot at 7/8° West which means that television viewers across the region can access easily the widest choice of viewing options, using one single dish,” said Ali Korur, CEO of Eutelsat Middle East.
“High Definition broadcasts are the new normal and in two years we expect to the see the launch of Ultra High Definition – or 4K – television broadcasts which will take the viewing experience to a new dimension. Ultra HD requires much more bandwidth and so with the launch of Eutelsat 8 West B we are future proofing the broadcast environment to provide that capacity. Our commitment to invest now will ensure that television viewers get even more choice and better quality broadcasts in the future. The viewing experience of major sport events, movies and documentary programming, will be unlike anything seen previously.”