Digital decoder accord in Germany

Deutsche telcos agree on standard for cable systems

GERMAN — German telco Deutsche Telekom AG, the Kirch Group and Bertelsmann have agreed on a digital decoder standard for German cable systems, according to press reports.

Telekom and media giant Bertelsmann will each take 33% shares in Beta Research, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Munich-based Kirch Group, German weekly Der Spiegel asserts. Beta will be responsible for developing decoder software based on the D-Box decoder currently used by Kirch’s DF1 digital pay TV platform.

Bertelsmann and Kirch agreed last week to take equal shares in pay TV web Premiere, and distribute the D-Box to Premiere’s 1.5 million subscribers. According to Der Spiegel, cable gatekeeper Telekom, which controls access to 17 million cable households, has been ordered by the postal minister to grant all digital nets access to its systems, no matter what decoder is used.

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