[linux-dvb] Upcoming DVB-T channel changes for HH (Hamburg)

Tobias Stöber tobi at to-st.de
Tue Jan 27 09:30:17 CET 2009

Moin, moin,

... and sorry Barry that I've to correct you on some parts of your 
summarization ;) I hope you don't mind.

BOUWSMA Barry schrieb:
> Certainly. Just as a background, for the one or zero persons who
> care,the situation in germany can be vaguely described thus: There
> exist national public service, regional public
> service,national/regional private commercial, and local broadcasters.

So what do you mean with local broadcasters? Or what is the difference 
in regional private versus local?

>  In general, the local and private broadcasters focus theirattention
> on large markets (Berlin, Frankfurt/Main, Hamburg,München, and so
> on), and are not to be found so much outsidethese limited regions --
> with exceptions, like in Oberbayernfrom the Wendelstein, but while
> the public service broadcastershave a remit to reach the general
> population, the privatebroadcasters have chosen to focus their
> financial investmentin those markets where they can reach a larger
> audienceshare for little investment.  That is, the RTL and
> Pro7Sat1families can be seen in, say, Hamburg, but far from
> thesemetro areas, you are pretty much limited to a subset of
> thepublic broadcasters.

That is partially correct. The real reason is in the structure and 
history of the German broadcasting market and the introduction of DVB -T 
services in different stages.

After the World War II the western Allies decided to organise 
broadcasting similar to that of the BBC (and also a bite like networks 
in the US) and give West-Germany a structure of federal states, which 
became responsible for broadcasting. Therefore the national government 
in Berlin is in most parts not responsible for broadcasting (apart from 
public service that is financed from there like Deutsche Welle radio & 
tv). The idea behind that was, that the broadcasters should be free from 
interference from the government and managed as an independent public 

All decisions and legislation have to be made in the 16 federal state 
parliaments (and sometimes the Bundestag to), e.g. the 
"Rundfunkfinanzierungsstaatsvertrag" (State Treaty on the Financing of 

This law btw required people living in Germany to pay a broadcasting fee 
if they possess a radio oder tv set. This fee is use to finance the 
public-law broacasting services (like the stations organized in the ARD, 
ZDF, national radio service Deutschlandfunk/Deutschlandradio  and some 
other institutions). You'll be charged for the possession, nit for 
actually listening or viewing these stations. I won't go into detail...

First their existed only the federal public-law broadcasting system, 
where a broadcasting institution was responsbile for one (or sometimes 
more) federal state(s) / Bundesland. Apart from the where national radio 
stations like Deutschlandfunk ... as we talk about DVB-T I will from now 
one skip info on radio.

These stations all are organised in the „Arbeitsgemeinschaft der 
öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunkanstalten der Bundesrepublik Deutschland“ 
(ARD) and have their own local programme (often refererred as he "third" 
programme (das Dritte) and also contribute to a national programme 
called "Das Erste" (oder sometimes also called "ARD").

The leading role for a specific programme contribution rest with a 
specific broadcaster (sometimes this changed between them). For 
instance, the newscast "Tagesschau" or "Tagesthemen" are produced in 
Hamburg and the station in lead is NDR. The political magazine "Report" 
is produced and lead be either Bayrischer Rundfunk (BR), then called 
"Report München" or SWR, then called "Report Mainz". The magazine "FAKT" 
  is produced by MDR etc. pp.

Later there was a national TV service establised, the ZDF with its 
headquarters in Mainz and local studios in every federal state. This is 
also resembled in the name "Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen" (second German TV).

East Germany had a state controlled national service before 1990, with 2 
TV programmes and adopted the federal system after reunification. East 
and West Berlin were served by SFB (Sender Freies Berlin) For the 5 new 
federal states the NDR took over Meckelnburg-Vorpommern (as it was 
already responsible for all other coastal regions in Niedersachen, 
Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein), Brandenburg became the ORB 
(Ostdeutscher Rundfunk Brandenburg), later merged with SFB to now RBB, 
and the three other federal states are served by MDR (Mitteldeutscher 

There are then other public-law TV stations which result from 
cooperation between broadcasters, e.g. KiKA (children channel, coop of 
ARD and ZDF), 3sat (coop of ARD, ZDF, ORF from Astria and SRG swiss TV), 
arte (coop between ARD, ZDF and France television) etc. or are part of 
additional or digital bouqets (like ZDF.info, ZDF.doku, phoenix, 
Eins.extra etc.).

Interestingly there was the situation, that if you had only analogue 
reception, you had to pay for e.g. 3sat and arte (broadcasting fee), but 
could not receive them, because the were mostly broadcasting via 
satellite or cable tv! This changed with switchover to DVB-T as they are 
part of the relevant multiplexes.

Later in the 80ies regulation allowed for privately owned TV station 
which then formed. Today their are 2 large private broadcasting networks:

RTLGroup: RTL, RTL II, VOX, SuperRTL and others
ProSieben-Sat1: ProSieben, Sat.1, Kabel Eins, N24 and others

The stations must also be licensed in one of the federal states and are 
required to broadcast are local/regional programme there(!), which 
results in the fact, that on DVB-T (and before on analogue TV) there are 
programmes targeted to the region and which are not available on 
satellite TV. For RTL in Niedersachen/Bremen there is a programme called 
"Guten Abend RTL" between 18h00 and 18h30, or on Sat.1 there is then a 
programme called "Sat1 - 17.30 live NDS/Bremen" between 17h30 and 18h00.


The private stations emerged before German unification, therefore they 
were only present in western Germany and West-Berlin. After unification 
they did - to my knowledge - not offer analogue service in Eastern Germany.

When the switchover from analogue to digital started, it began in 
metropolitan area like Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, and parts with more 
population like e.g. Hannover/Braunschweig or Cologne, Düsseldorf etc.

In all these areas there are at least the following multiplexes:

* "ZDF Digital" with ZDF, 3sat, KIKA and ZDF doku (time sliced, calles 
"Partagierung" in German) and another programme, mostly ZDF infokanal

* "ARD/Das Erste" with Das Erste, arte, phoenix and one of the digital 
ARD programmes like Eins.festival, Eins.extra etc.

* "Dritte" (third programme multiplex) with the main third channel of 
the relevant area (e.g. NDR in Niedersachsen/Hamburg/Schleswig-Holstein 
and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, RBB in Berlin and Brandenburg, MDR in 
Sachsen, Sachsen-Anhalt and Thürigen and so on) and 3 other programmes 
of the surrounding federal states / public-law broadcasters of ARD

* RTL-Group: RTL, RTL II, VOX and SuperRTL

* Pro7-Sat.1 Group: Pro7, Sat.1, Kabel Eins and N24

* at least one multiplex for other and regional private broadcasters, 
which may contain all sorts of stations with space for at least 4 
programmes/stations, maybe more if they are time sliced

Nationswide this often contains ComedyCentral and an example for a time 
sliced space is DMAX + Bible Channel in Niedersachen.

The introduction of DVB-T was in part funded with public aid money. The 
EU commission criticised this as an illegal grant in respect to the 
fact, that also private broadcasters like RTLGroup and Pro7Sat1 got 
their expenses reimbursed.

So the real reason for RTLGroup and Pro7Sat1 to not be present in DVB-T 
regions that where switches in later phases of switchover are:

- stopped funding (means costs would have risen)
- lack of interest (fewer viewer in rural areas compared to metropolitan 
- stations were only required to be present where the were licensed and 
had analogue service before

Therefore we have large areas where they are not present (whole Eastern 
Germany except Berlin, at lot of the south of Germany and rural parts of 
large states like Niedersachen (Lower Saxony) and Nordrhein-Westfalen 
(Northrhine-Westphalia) ... e.g. Cologne and Düsseldorf are have 
RTL/Pro7 and Müsterland in NRW or Oldenburg in Niedersachsen hove not.

There are then also some special local DVB-T phenomena, like radio 
stations over DVB-T in Berlin or special projects like the private 
"Leipzig 1" - multiplex which experiments with a small cell SFN nework 
of low-power transmitters within a very small area (area of the city of 
Leipzig) with 6 transmitters in that (Leipzig-Mitte, Leipzig-Messe, 
Leipzig-Grünau, Leipzig-Markkleeberg and Leipzig-Lößnig). This project 
does include TV and radio stations (Leipzig Fernsehen, Infokanal 
Leipzig, BBC World, Bibel TV, Radio Horeb, Radio Leipzig).

More info on that can be found on the website of Sächsische 
Landesanstalt für privaten Rundfunk und neue Medien (SLM).


Maybe there are other such projects, that I don't know of, because I am 
mainly interested in the area, where I live, work and travel, which is 
mostly Niedersachen and the North, Sachsen-Anhalt, Sachsen, Thüringen, 
Berlin and Brandenburg ;)

> Of the national and regional public broadcasters, the DVB-Tsituation
> can be pretty much described as thusly... There is a truly national
> broadcaster, the second germanbroadcaster, ZDF, which has a multiplex
> known as ZDFmobilwhich is available nationally, and is identical
> whetherreceived in Flensburg or Passau (hey, no heckling, that wasa
> beloved train ride for me years ago). The other nominally national
> broadcaster, ARD, known as thefirst german broadcaster ("Das Erste"),
> suffers regionalisationboth through a local identity in a particular
> Bundesland,as well as a regional DVB-T multiplex management that
> doesnot always translate well to match those of neighbouringlands. 
> This regionalisation is due to sub-management by a thirdparty, which,
> perhaps as a super-regional manager, isresponsible for more than one
> Bundesland (for our originalcase of Hamburg, this would be NDR,
> together with itsdaughter Radio Bremen).  These `third parties'
> takentogether form that first german broadcaster, as well ashaving
> their own distinct regional identities.

See above, I am no sure about ZDF mux to be identical in the whole of 
Germany but for Hamburg ONLY NDR is responsible and for Bremen and 
Bremerhafen ONLY Radio Bremen is responsible.

As DVB-T is regarded, there are work group in which alle partner, say 
public-law and private broadcasting stations, the local media 
authorities (Landesmedienanstalt) and the technical service providers 
are present, which decide about technical parameters, transmitting sites 
and parameters etc.

For all other corrections see my first part of the intro ;)

> The practical example of this would be that while onecan see the same
> content via ZDFmobil anywhere, theso-called ARD multiplex may
> contain, by region, EinsPlusor EinsFestival, or perhaps in that
> region, that regionalmanager's so-called ``Dritte'' (third, after ARD
> beingfirst and ZDF being second) programme.

Not correct, the ARD-Das Erste multiplex does NOT contain regional 
("third") programmes! There is always a seperate multiplex for the 
"third" programmes.

> In other words, nationally, one can receive the ZDFmultiplex, plus
> two others, which will depend on howthe regional management has
> decided to configure theirmultiplexes.  Services such as Phoenix and
> `arte' willbe available nationally, while the `dritte' multiplexwill
> contain a selection of out-of-area regionals ofinterest due to
> geography or whatever.

Correct. The out-of-area third programmes are selected due to georgraphy 
and the fact, that a lot of people may work and or live in another 
federal state (Bundesland) adjunct to the area.

So in the NDR area of Hannover/Braunschweig there is NDR + MDR, HR and 
WDR (which are the federal states, that border in this area.

> Now, while ZDF has a unified national service, the sameis not
> necessarily true for what you can receive ina selected Bundesland.
> For example, in Hessen, dependingon where you are, you may be able to
> receive the localprogramming from the nearest Bundesland; in the
> southof Bayern you can see SWR Baden-Württemberg but temporarilynot
> Hessen (or the DVB-H which replaced it), while inthe north you will
> instead see `mdr', although you mayhave previously received SWR,
> which is the reason thatBad Mergentheim in BaWü, near the border,
> will need itsown DVB-T transmitter sometime this year.

I don't get this info or what you want to really say into my head. So 
what's your point?

> Now, anyway, for the zero readers who care, that's mysummary of
> german public broadcasters approach to DVB-T.I'm happy to be
> corrected, because I'm an outsider.

Well, hope I could clear some facts, although I am also an outsider.

> So, anyway, there's been forces to cause merging of thedifferent
> regional broadcasters; NDR covers severalBundesländer, with Radio
> Bremen retaining a bit ofindependence; 

Radio Bremen is independent! But, because it covers a very small area, 
therefore has a small budget (which results in Radio Bremen to get money 
from the ARD's compenmsation fund) it is wise to closely cooperate with 

It would be - just my opinion - a good idea, that the few very small 
public-law broadcasting institution like SR (Saarländischer Rundfunk) 
and Radio Bremen merge with others.

For instance, there was the time, where a merger of Berlin and 
Brandenburg (as federal states) were discussed (which later did not 
happen, I don't want to discuss that further). But it had the effect, 
that ORD and SFB merged to RBB, which is resonable, because a lot of 
people commute between Berlin and its surroundings.

> SWR has engulfed SWF and
> pretty-much-identical-save-for-a-few-half-hour-bits-here-and-thereprogramming
> can be seen on SWR-RP, SWR-BW, and evenSR from the Saarland.  This
> can probably be seen bylooking at the different frequency plans,
> although Iam too lazy and disinterested to do so now.  Anyway,the
> Genève frequency allocations look to be based ongeographical
> locations, independent of the regionalbroadcast administrator
> responsible.

Well maybe, I don't know a lot about that.

> What am I saying by all this tripe?  Well, there is aregional
> frequency allocation that is presently usedby the public service
> broadcasters, but so far hasseen spotty adoption by the local and
> commercialbroadcasters apart from a handful of larger metroregions,
> leaving most of the land by area dependentupon satellite reception
> for these programmes.

See first part. A part from sat reception there is also a widespread 
coverage with cable.

> Now, as far as changes since Nov.2008, when a good numberof
> government drones were running about proclaiming thatthe digital
> switchover was complete, well, they weren'tquite right, but anyhow...
>  There haven't been, as far as I know, any changes sincenovember.
> There are planned changes to one multiplexfrequency in Aalen (BW) and
> introduction of a new DVB-Tsite in Bad Mergentheim (BW) and
> Garmisch-Partenkirchen(BY), if not more, and eventually, abandoning
> presentVHF frequencies, seen in Berlin, parts of Bayern, and asnoted,
> Hamburg, for example.

The problem as such is, that in topographically flat areas like say 
Hamburg it is difficult to sort out what stations you receive from what 
transmitter site when actually using DVB-T.

This may also be true for areas, where the borders of different federal 
states meet, because you do not only receive your areas programmes and 
transmitters but also other sites.

To really verify those information you would have to rely on "official" 
documents and maybe have access to a directional antenna (aerial), where 
you could try to "locate" (or at least determine a direction) from where 
you receive the mux.

> If I ever get around to a more detailed study of eachBundesland, I'll
> offer more feedback, although I haven'treceived any concerning my
> proposed enhancements to B-Wsome months ago, so it may not matter...

Well, the only I can do is, offering you my help on the areas that I 
live and travel in.

On the webpages of the different projects there are often very recent 
and detailed technical information, which are sometime hard to find 
within the website.

The web pages and pdf files at dvb-t-nord.de are updated regularly and 
seem (as much as I could check) to reflect the current status of 
transmitters and parameters, e.g. Braunschweig (Brunswick) area again:


It does also contain information which out-of-area transmitters can be 

Maybe you'll really have a deeper look because "DVB-T Nord" also covers 
Hamburg and the whole NDR/Radio Bremen area.

Regards, Tobias

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