x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Launch date for high-definition channel

Abu Dhabi Media Company will launch its high-definition cable television channel in October.

Abu Dhabi Media Company will launch its high-definition cable television channel in October, it announced yesterday. The channel, Abu Dhabi HD, will feature programmes including English Premier League football matches, documentaries from National Geographic Abu Dhabi, drama and film - all in high definition. "If you look at the way that HD has been marketed around the world, it has been mostly focused in two areas: movies and sports," said Karim Sarkis, the executive director of broadcast at ADMC, which also owns The National. "And nature documentaries are also one of the most spectacular things you can see in HD. So the choice of content - movies, documentaries and sports - is really playing up the best that the format has to offer."

The channel will be available through E-Vision, Etisalat's cable television provider, to UAE viewers with compatible high-definition sets and set-top boxes. E-Vision launched the Middle East's first commercial high-definition cable service earlier this month, which experts say offers a picture four times better than standard definition television. Mr Sarkis said the cable market was the logical place to start offering HD, since the higher resolution required more information to be transmitted, which would be expensive for satellite broadcasters.

"It's much more cost-effective for us now to launch on the E-Vision platform, because, one, we don't have to worry about connectivity costs; two, our rights costs are lower, because we only have to worry about one territory, which is the UAE; and three, we can monetise from the very beginning," he said. However, he said, starting on cable did not preclude a move into the satellite market later. khagey@thenational.ae