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SES lines up three more UHD channels

SES uplink antennaSatellite operator SES has signed client agreements for three new Ultra High Definition (UHD) channels in Europe, it has revealed.

In its half year earnings announcement, SES said that the new channels will be launched by the end of the year and formally announced in the coming months.

The news follows SES’s recent UHD deals with Sky Deutschland and German shopping channel Pearl.tv, which claims it will be Europe’s first commercial free-to-air UHD channel.

Earlier this month, Sky Deutschland signed the additional capacity agreement with SES for UHD broadcasts – though Sky has not formally announced plans for a dedicated UHD channel launch.

SES meanwhile signed a multi-year contract with Pearl.tv in May, with the network due to broadcast in native UHD from September 2015.

SES launched a demonstration channel for marketing UHD last year and now broadcasts UHD demo channels across Europe using three orbital positions – 19.2 degrees East, 28.2 degrees East and 5 degrees East.

In North America in April, SES and various TV and broadcast partners created an end-to-end UHD transmission and delivered three days of UHD broadcasts to a cable system.

SES claims that the demo, which included a mix of pre-recorded and live content, was the first ever live and linear UHD broadcast to a cable system.

Following this, SES launched its first UHD demo channel for North America, which broadcasts over SES-3 at 103 degrees West and will allow cable TV operators to prepare and test their networks for UHD trials.

For the six months ended June 30, SES reported revenue of €999.1 million, up 6.4% year-on-year, and EBITDA of €740.0 million, up 6.7%. However, on a constant foreign currency basis revenue was down 2.6% year-on-year and EBITDA was down 2.5%.

“Full Year 2015 growth expectations lowered to around -3% for revenue and around -3.5% for EBITDA at constant FX, mainly due to impact of stronger US dollar in fixed data, and reduced capacity available to serve this vertical,” said SES.