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incorporating TV Briefly
: Issue: 072 :--------:Published Weekly:-------: Date: 09/03/92 :
:--------------(C) Copyright 1991,92 Darren Ingram--------------:
: SATNEWS is published weekly by Darren : HOW TO CONTACT US :
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: Editor/Publisher: Darren Ingram : Contact Satnews :
: Contributors : Dave Plumb : for details on a :
: : Dr. Helmut Vahlbruch : special Internet/ :
: : Robert Smathers : CIX access deal :
: : And others : that saves money! :
IN THIS WEEK'S EDITION:
* NEW INDEPENDENT SNG UPLINK IN JERUSALEM
* BSKYB'S SERVICE HIT FOR SIX
* BIG DISH SIGNALS AT SMALL DISH SIZES
* DISCOVERY LAUNCHES A LITTLE BIT OF TLC
* INDECENT BROADCASTS GET GO AHEAD FROM AMERICAN GOVERNMENT
* JAPANESE INDOOR SATELLITE
* VISNEWS EQUIPS LONDON FACILITIES HOUSE
* CHANNEL 4 SIGNS L50 MILLION NETWORK CONTRACT WITH BT
* NEWS IN BRIEF
* EUROPEAN SIGHTINGS
* NORTH AMERICAN SIGHTINGS
* ELECTRONIC MAIL CONTACTS
* SATNEWS SPECIAL FILE
NEW INDEPENDENT SNG UPLINK IN JERUSALEM
VisEurope has set up the first independent satellite uplink in
Jerusalem, bringing the international film agencies operations
outside of local PTT control.
The new facility will be used to provide a daily feed out of
the country, and VisEurope claims that it is a significant move
towards faster and cheaper news gathering in the region.
Until the new uplink was established, VisEurope was paying
heavy licence fees to the local PTT (US$ 100,000 during the Gulf
The new uplink operation is a joint venture between Visnews,
Jerusalem Capital Studios and Bezeq (the Israeli PTT). The
uplink is open between 1540-1550 GMT from Sunday to Friday. An
agreement for a further 100 ad-hoc transmissions throughout the
year has also been signed.
BSKYB'S SERVICE HIT FOR SIX
British television viewers have gone cricket crazy, and British
Sky Broadcasting has been deluged with people wishing to have
satellite television installed to watch live coverage of the
Sky normally has about 15,000 new installation orders each
week, but this rose to 21,000 in the first week of live cricket
and 28,000 in the second.
Cable companies are also noting an upturn in orders for
Highlights of the cricket have not been shown on terrestrial
channels in the U.K., and viewers are limited to two-minute clips
in news programmes. BSkyB says that it will bid aggressively for
more exclusive sporting action in the future.
British Opposition leader Neil Kinnock (Labour) urged
cricket-loving Prime Minister John Major to regulate against
BSkyB's success, but Major declined to restrict a "free market"
company's activities, against a public corporation.
BIG DISH SIGNALS AT SMALL DISH SIZES
The U.K.'s Space and Scientific has launched its Sigmasat system,
an electronically controlled device which allows weak C-band
signals to be received using small dishes.
Sigmasat uses up to four small (1.8 metre) dishes and
combines the reception of the dishes into one large signal, for
downconvertion and reception by the user.
Offset antennas are used to make systems as unobtrusive as
possible. When dishes are installed on a flat roof, S&S claim
they are almost impossible to see, and that the system is capable
of emulating the performance of 5-6 m dishes.
DISCOVERY LAUNCHES A LITTLE BIT OF TLC
The Discovery Channel Europe has launched The Learning Channel,
an educational channel directed at cable viewers in Europe.
TLC will be broadcast from 1200 to 1500 hours daily on
Discovery Channel Europe's cable channel. Satellite viewers can
tune into the service on the Intelsat VI satellite, located at
Joyce Taylor, Discovery's CEO is quoted in Cable Guide as
saying: "We see this as an important addition to the cable-
exclusive channels currently transmitting."
Some cable channels are not taking advantage of this
additional feed. Videotron in Southampton (U.K.) say they have
no immediate plans to carry the channel, as it does not want to
increase its customer-pricing package more than once a year.
INDECENT BROADCASTS GET GO AHEAD FROM AMERICAN COURT
According to a recent hearing at the American Supreme court,
indecent broadcasts via satellite should not be banned, but the
Federal Communications Commission should try and designate a
watershed time where children could be expected to watch
While the case was pending, the FCC said that indecent
broadcasts were best broadcast between 2000-0600 hours, as a
parent supposedly had more control over their childrens' viewing.
Many American lobby organisations are fighting for a 24-hour
ban. The Children's Legal Foundation in Arizona says that
millions of children can watch television throughout the night.
In America, indecent material is protected by the
constitution, and defined as material including "sexual or
excretory activities or organs."
JAPANESE INDOOR SATELLITE
Japanese electrical manufacturers are selling satellite dishes
which will pick up broadcasts inside houses. And Japanese
broadcasters NHK say that these sales are making their job of
collecting viewing fees from viewers harder.
NHK employ part-time spies to report back on satellite
dishes noted in residential and business districts, and NHK
salesman subsequently visit premises to sell subscriptions.
Officially, NHK says that it is not concerned over the
presence of indoor antennas, saying that people will eventually
install dishes outside. Sources within NHK, however, say that
NHK is holding high-level talks to address the problem.
VISNEWS EQUIPS LONDON FACILITIES HOUSE
Visnews Facilities, the commercial arm of Visnews - the
international news agency - has installed a 525 line NTSC, D3
video tape facility for client use.
The new unit will complement two, 625 line D3 units which
are currently installed.
Visnews Facilities says that the new 525 line unit will
enhance the international re-mastering and post production
services offered to clients.
CHANNEL 4 SIGNS L50 MILLION NETWORK CONTRACT WITH BT
Channel 4 Television, a British terrestrial broadcasting network,
has signed a L50 million contract with BT Visual and Broadcast
Services to provide one of the most advanced television networks
in the world.
The ten-year contract will allow Channel 4 to introduce the
wide-screen PAL Plus wide-screen broadcasting format, a
terrestrial pseudo-HDTV format.
Viewers will need to buy a L3,000 television set to take
advantage of PAL Plus. Existing viewers will be able to view PAL
Plus broadcasts, although a "letterbox" black-border will be
Channel 4 says that the network, which has backup
provisions, will be more resilient to failures. Service will be
restored within a guaranteed 30 seconds says BT.
NEWS IN BRIEF
Satellite Digital Audio Broadcasting Corp. in Japan has commenced
supplying its programmes to CATV operators, for downlink onto
cable networks. The Pulse-Code-Modulated signals will be
converted into analogue signals at the headend. Five cable
networks have initially agreed to carry the service.
GEC Avionics has been awarded a contract by the British
Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) to replace an ageing video
distribution system with a fibre-optic network called RACE at a
BBC main broadcasting centre. The new network will utilise
Wavelength and Time Division Multiplexing (WTDM) techniques.
Home Shopping Network, Inc. recently announced that
negotiations are going on for a possible merger of the Home
Shopping Network and QVC Network, Inc., another home shopping
service. The talks are continuing and no agreement has been
reached, writes Robert Smathers.
The Japanese Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications has
announced that the satellite services division of NTT Corp. lost
US$8.9 million over the last fiscal year.
Hughes STX Corp. has been granted rights to be the exclusive
world-wide marketer, distributor and licenser of data from the
Almaz 1 Russian Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite.
Rohde & Schwarz has launched its Video Analyser UAF, a video
tester which analyses 25 video and test line parameters and
distortions, which can be plotted over the entire video field.
Radio Luxembourg will be hosting the Astra Radio feature on
the Astra stand at the Cable & Satellite '92 show in London
(April 13-15, 1992). Astra will be on stand 1510.
Videotron Southampton (A cable company in the U.K.) says
that it will drop JSTV - a Japanese satellite television channel
- from April, as the channel will become subscription-only.
British Aerospace Space Systems Ltd. has been awarded a L10
million contract by the British Ministry of Defence for the
future provision of Skynet satellites.
News Corp. says that it plans to raise US$300 million
through a convertible debt offering in the U.S. The company
expects this to be completed within a month.
GEC Plessey Semiconductors has launched an 18 pin, surface
mount version of its SP973T8 studio quality video Analogue-to-
Gateway Store Radio in the U.K. is likely to commence
broadcasting on the Sky News transponder aboard Astra, using an
audio-subcarrier frequency of 7.74 Mhz, reports Interspace.
Howard M Svigals has been named vice president and general
manager of satellite services at GTE Spacenet. Svigals was
formerly VP of finance at the company.
Skyline America Inc. has announced third quarter revenues of
U$2,742,000, compared to US$3,435,000 the previous year.
C&A, a European clothing company, has signed a sponsorship
deal with MTV Europe for its 3 From 1 programme.
Adventures in Wonderland, an Alice in Wonderland clone, will
premiere on The Disney Channel on March 23 at 0730 EDT.
By Dr Helmut Vahlbruch
Eutelsat II-F3, 16 East: on 11.675 GHz horizontal "TV PLUS" is
transmitting in D2-MAC, 16:9, American (?) films with subtitles
in Dutch. A testcard says that the uplink comes from the Dutch
The uplink of "Eurosport" to Eutelsat II-F1, 13 East, 10.978
horizontal, comes from Betzdorf - so a well known Astra testcard
on a Eutelsat (observed at around 0630 UTC).
Jurgen Bartels adds that the Greek TV ET1 (Eutelsat 7E,
11.550 Ghz) appears to have a strange mode of operation, as the
channel alternates between SECAM and PAL transmissions on a daily
NORTH AMERICAN SIGHTINGS
By Robert Smathers
This is a new feature for Satnews, and will appear in the main
electronic edition. Robert Smathers is the publisher of SatScan
Satellite Services Chart and moderator of the UNI Satellite TV
echo in the U.S. He can be contacted via Internet on rob...@triton.unm.edu
Launch vehicle problems prevented the launch last Thursday night
of the Hughes Communications Galaxy 5 satellite. Galaxy 5, the
replacement satellite for Westar 5, was scheduled to be launched
by a General Dynamics Atlas Centaur rocket from Cape Canaveral,
Florida. The next launch attempt for Galaxy 5 will be Tuesday
March 10. North American dish-owners may find a feed of the
launch somewhere between 6 pm and 9:30 pm Eastern Time on Galaxy
The Las Vegas Television Network has announced a startup
date on April 1 on the North American satellite SpaceNet 3. No
channel has been announced yet. LVTN features five channels (The
Gambling Channel, The Barter Channel, Willie Nelson's Outlaw
Music Channel, The British Channel, and an adult service called
Around the World After Dark) in one transponder.
A new service has showed up on the North American satellite
Satcom F4R. The New England News Channel is a news service
featuring news from the New England region of the United States.
ELECTRONIC MAIL CONTACTS
Satnews administration is in the process of centralising its e-
mail contact addresses, in a bid to remove costs.
Since most subscription on-line systems can send messages
through the Internet mail network, this will be used as the prime
point of contact WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT. Send Internet mail to Sat...@cix.compulink.co.uk
- this account is checked daily.
Satnews will be retaining its Compuserve and MCI Mail
accounts, although these may be checked on a weekly or bi-weekly
basis only. Please route mail through the Internet wherever
Telex, Facsimile and Fidonet connections remain. Messages
from other networks such as GEnie should be routed through your
network distributor ONLY if you do not have access to external
mail/mail interconnect. Please note that it may cost network
distributors to route your mail. Failing that, please send
comments through the regular postal service.
SATNEWS SPECIAL FILE
The Satnews Special File this week contains BSkyB highlights for
April 1992, edited by Dave Plumb. Unfortunately, internationally-
distributed versions of Satnews will not contain this file, due
to copyright restrictions.
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/ / Robert Dickel, University of Strathclyde, aka
/__ ___ /__ rdi...@cs.strath.ac.uk
/__/ /__/ /__/ "Reality used to be a friend of mine"