Fascinating to see how each La 1ère station is responsible for distributing the other France Télévisions channels in their respective areas. They should be one station down when France 4 closes in August, unless it's been given a reprieve due to Covid-19.
I believe the plan is (or was) that once France 4 and France Ô close, there'll be enough room on the ROM1 digital terrestrial multiplexes in each overseas territory for the La 1ère channel to go HD. All channels on each one are currently MPEG4 SD.
I've always been interested in how the technological aspect of getting the French TV channels to the territories spread out across the globe works too.
Someone on an American-based forum kindly gave me a transponder dump of the France Télévisions satellite transponder on the Intelsat 34.5°W Caribbean beam, which feeds Martinique, Guadeloupe and Guyane and presumably looks pretty much the same as the feed for Réunion and Mayotte on the 16°E South East Africa beam (it's the master feed of the channels from Paris, but also works as the feed used by any of the local satellite operators).
France 2, France 3, France 5, France Info and Arte are all in HD on that transponder, along with each La 1ère channel. The transponder also carries the network information (NIT and EIT EPG
) for each respective territory's DVB-T TNT multiplex, audio feeds of the La 1ère radios and France Inter, and Radio France FM RDS data.
I guess the DVB-T network data gets passed through by the equipment at each local site to wherever the DVB-T multiplex is generated. I had assumed these would be completely satellite fed like in metropolitan France, which may have been the case when the feeds were SD. Now there's no SD versions of some channels on the satellite feed, downscaling and re-encoding must be taking place locally.
The France Inter radio transmitters in the territories have RDS with dynamic Radio Text (which comes from Paris via this satellite link). I saw this for myself when I went to Martinique/Guadeloupe/Saint Martin last year!