The number of high-definition channels in Europe continues to rise sharply, with a total of 941 available across the continent by October 2012, compared to 274 at the end of 2009 and 612 by the end of 2011, according to public body the European Audiovisual Observatory.
Sport remains the dominant genre for HD channels, followed by film and then general interest channels, documentaries, entertainment and television fiction channels. The gap between sport and other genres is described as having increased “dramatically” over the past year.
Satellite and digital cable are the most important platforms for the provision of HD channels, according to the body, which adds that managed IPTV also provides a significant offer of HD channels.
Regarding digital terrestrial television (DTT), in October 2012 there were 116 HD channels available on DTT networks throughout Europe (free and pay), with the general interest public service and private channels being the most present on the free DTT networks.
The United Kingdom emerges as the most important home of HD channels with 229, followed by Germany with 108 and then France with 95.
The UK’s lead is attributed the fact that it is home to many important families of channels such as Discovery and National Geographic that target the rest of Europe, while BSkyB also offers a significant number of HD channels.
France is home to a wide range of Eurosport channels targeting the rest of Europe, and Sweden is the origin of the Viasat channels that target the Nordic states.
The HBO family of channels that provide HD channels to a range of countries in central and eastern Europe are based in the Czech Republic. The Sky satellite platform in Italy contributes to the HD market with 30 channels. More than half of the adult HD channels in Europe are based in the Netherlands.