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Thursday, December 3, 2009 3:05 AM

Dec. 3, 2009 (Business Wire) -- SES ASTRA, an SES company (Paris:SESG) (LuxX:SESG), announced today that the Austrian public broadcaster ORF will start broadcasting its second HD channel on ASTRA. The launch of ORF2 HD on SES ASTRA's 19.2 degrees East orbital position is scheduled for December 5, and follows the successful roll-out of ORF1 HD in June 2008. ORF will continue to broadcast both ORF1 and ORF2 also in standard definition.

The launch of ORF2 HD marks another milestone in SES ASTRA's strategy to become the most important HD platform for Europe's leading broadcasters. In 2009, the satellite operator succeeded in almost doubling the number of HD channels and now offers close to 100 HD channels via its satellite system.

To receive the HD offer from ORF, TV viewers need an HD ready screen as well as an HD set-top box with a suitable smartcard provided by ORF. Based on figures provided by market research company GfK, about 2.2 million HD ready TV sets are expected to be sold in Austria by the end of 2009, meaning that around two thirds of the Austrian TV homes will be equipped with HD ready screens.

Alexander Oudendijk, Chief Commercial Officer of SES ASTRA, said: "We are very pleased that ORF continues its pioneering role in HDTV and has now launched its second HD channel. The fact that the number of HD channels on ASTRA has almost doubled within one year shows that HDTV is gaining momentum in Europe. We are very confident that this positive development will continue in 2010, and are looking forward to launching additional HD channels on our satellites."

Michael Wagenhofer, Managing Director of ORS, a subsidiary of ORF, said: "With the extension of the ORF HD programme, TV viewers will benefit from the highest technical quality. By broadcasting top-class events in HD, we demonstrate the advantages of HDTV – impressive images and crystal-clear sound – to a wide audience. By providing its technical know-how to national and international radio and TV-broadcasters, the ORS plays an important role for the distribution of HDTV signals to TV viewers."

Reception details:
Satellite: ASTRA 1
Position: 19.2° East
Transponder: 7
Downlink Frequency: 11303
Symbol rate: 22000
FEC: 2/3
Polarisation: horizontal

About SES ASTRA www.ses-astra.com

SES ASTRA is the leading Direct-to-Home (DTH) satellite system in Europe. The satellite fleet currently comprises 13 ASTRA and two SIRIUS satellites. The combined satellite system delivers services to more than 122 million DTH and cable households and transmits more than 2,500 analogue and digital television and radio channels. SES ASTRA also provides satellite-based multimedia, internet and telecommunication services to enterprises, governments and their agencies. With nearly 100 High Definition (HD) channels on its main orbital positions, ASTRA and SIRIUS represent the most important HDTV platform for Europe's leading broadcasters. The prime orbital positions for ASTRA and SIRIUS are 19.2° East, 28.2° East, 23.5° East, 5° East and 31.5° East.

SES ASTRA is an SES company (Paris:SESG) (LuxX:SESG). SES wholly owns SES ASTRA and SES WORLD SKIES, 90% of SES SIRIUS in Europe, and participations in Ciel in Canada and QuetzSat in Mexico. SES provides outstanding satellite communications solutions via a global fleet of 40 satellites in 26 orbital locations. For further information: www.ses.com.

(Source: iStockAnalyst )


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