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OAF. Optus, Australis, Foxtel.




The Oaf bouquet.
An Australian Phenomenon.
Free to air pay TV.

Well I have had occasion to watch and take in a little of Optus, Austar and
Foxtel of late.  As I am a competent reviewer of nothing in particular I
feel qualified to report on the product offered by these companies.  At
least I am being paid to watch a Rupert Murdoch Movie and I do not have to
pay for the privelige. It is a 20th Century Fox film called "The Newton
Boys." Don't worry I think it will be on FTA pay TV before they encrypt it
again.

When the Optus, Austar and Foxtel  herinafter called Oaf. Parcel was born.
Newspaper reports said that "Galaxy subscribers were switched off last
night and were able to accidently recieve the Austar and Optus packages.
Technicians are frantically trying to block these signals by using another
secret code to scramble them again."  From that article I assume Optus has
to have a whip round the technical staff, raise the money, and then go down
to the local book store to buy 100 secret codes for boys! Jolly good
reporting there by the local press.

Well Oaf is still running and has spread to Pas 2 as well.
http://www.satcodx.com/pas2.shtml
It appeared with these parameters.
12,714 H Mpeg-2/clear, SR 25774, FEC 1/2
It has now changed to these parameters.
12,714 H Mpeg-2/clear, SR 29473, FEC 1/2.
I would check the fec if it does not work as it may be 3/4.
I am sure the change is not a coincidence.

Foxtel has started a bouquet FTA with the following lineup.
Showtime
Encore
Hallmark
TV 1 (Australia)
World Movies
and
UK TV.
I have not checked this out yet but others report a good picture.
Thanks to Garry Herden.

In was in Mt. Gambier over the long weekend at an Amateur Radio Convention
and this enabled me to spread the good and BAD word about satellite
television. With only 2 channels of FTA TV in Mt Gambier there is a good
penetration of satellite TV compared to the city. The provider down there
is Austar. There was a Galaxy MMDS system but that was not very successful
due to the distance to the transmitter and there were a lot of people upset
when the plug was pulled a short time after the service commenced. There
are about 6 people in the "South East " of South Australia as it is called
who have satellite tv as we know it.In addition there is a fair
concentration of viewers for the Oaf service as well.

In Adelaide, the capital city of South Australia subscribers are not very
well served at all.If you live in the country there is Austar. In future if
you are outside a cable area maybe there will be foxtel. I have rung all
the hotlines and asked how I can subscribe. I think the classic was Optus.
The lady said where do you live and I said Adelaide. Her reply was is that
the one on the Gold Coast or the one in Gippsland. I nearly pulled the
phone out of the wall and was about to throw it at the TV set when I
realised I would have to buy another set if I wanted to keep myself
interested. When I eventually got through,  the Foxtel hotline, (not the
recorded message)  told me that I could only subscribe to the cable
service.  I said I have two steel cables running past my place and she took
my name and address and said they would send someone out to see me.  She
was not listening!!!! HA! HA!  Austar said we are not in the city. Optus on
another call when I cooled down said much the same.

I found out what I can do though, get a friend in the country somewhere to
subscribe for me and move my clandestine receiving equipment into the
city.during the night!!!!
"I THOUGHT THAT WOULD BE BEING DISHONEST", or is it just good commercial
practice. Oh! I would be the last to instill dishonest practices in
anyones' mind unless I keep getting asked which Adelaide I am ringing from.
Where the H!!***k is the one on the Gold Coast anyway?

Now that revue you are waiting for!
I pick on the audio channels first as they are listened to more than the TV
that is watched  RA1 is listed as country music. It does have a following
as I found out when it was changed to pseudo radio station and called radio
extra. All this did was turn the pleasantly mediocre into grit! That is
what I was told by an irate listener. What he meant was the other
ingredient that is usually found on the bottom of a bird cage.
Bring back the country Music, there is already pl;enty of the other.
RA2 is Techno Music, possibly for the musically unemployed.
RA3 is Classical about the same level of listening as country music.
RA4 is Top 100It must be popular as it caters for people up to 30 yrs of age.
RA5 Environmental changed to Ethnic ? programming. Don't you just love that
word.
The language sounds like Italian or Greek. And yes there is a strong
following for alternative language programs. No they are not really foreign
in Australia as we have a fair mix of everybody from everywhere. My
Vietnamese neighbours next door go absolutely gereen with envy when I
mention VTV on Thaicom 3. The Chinese over the road have enjoyed a couple
of videotapes I have loaned them on occasions.
RA6 Cafe Jazz. Is light jazz and piano music and those listeners are
fanatical about it.
RA7 Radio Extra. Middle of the road and wallpaper music. Like Musak of
years gone by.
RA8 Classic Hits. Vary between Popular hits and hits of the 60s and 70s.
It is all good quality sound and as I said previously good to turn up and
annoy the neighbours. Especially that Techno stuff.


Now for the Television.
I have come home from the Drive-In theatre, and turned on Oaf. One of the
channels is The Discovery Channel. "Wings" is the programme and tonight it
is about the P47 a fighter aircraft from WW2. Another pogramme coming up is
"Animals in Danger." This is a series about endangered species. Oaf viewers
had better watch out we will be next.

Nickelodeon and Nick at Night.
At night  you get Dr. Kildare Get Smart, Thunderbirds and Bonanza. In the
daytime it is childrens programming.
I have not watched much here altough Mr. Ed the talking horse is the only
thing that approaches reality.

Fox Sports 2 at night is about as interesting as a set of colour bars.
I should record the music that accompanies the slide as this is enough to
drive the neighbours away. Foxtel! Please change the soundtrack to
something softer, I can then concentrate on reading the info on the screen.

The Lifestyle Channel has anorexia and babies, not necessarily in that
order. At other times gardening, craft and keep fit classes.

The Comedy Channel has "Hermans Head"  Next please.

World Movies has 3 American thugs shooting a guy behind a bar in sleazy
downtown somewhere. In the ensuing conversation 8 references to grit and
copious references to copulation.  This must be contemporary American
culture.

The Preview channel tells us that the parental lock is temporarily
unavailable.  The wording is subtly changed to accomodate the latest
developments in the debacle..  For information on the status of your foxtel
service ring 1-300-360-818.   A recorded message there now tells Galaxy
subscribers that foxtel has purchaseed set top boxes belonging to Galaxy.
Hard luck for MMDS subscribers that have steel cables only past their
premises and there is no June programme magazine.

Country Music Television. Sometimes there is Slim Dusty  singing "When The
Rain Tumbles Down In July"  "Duncan" and the title of the channel explains
the rest.

TNT This is the Turner MGM channel. Showing here is a B&W movie with
sleeping berths on an interconental aircraft.  These days you are lucky to
get a 600mm seating space. You do get a choice of listening to up to 16
different radio channels though. They have Techno included.

CNBC Is a business news channel and all they are telling us is how
depressing each countries currency is. Somebody forgot to wind up the
ticker as it is not on air at the moment. The economy is going to shrink
and everything else is going to slow down, get the chop and be liquidated.
It's another down day and stocks are falling and in decline. Take heart the
banks are the biggest losers and investors are disappointed. Other than
that everything is probably rosy.

God! it's all so depressing.

BBC News. No disasters in the last 1/2 hour. Rosie the cloned sheep still
gets her picture in the promos.

You can still experience the journey with ODYSSEY, except late at night
when test patterns on Asiasat 2 have more appeal.

It is late at night  and Movie One has two men insulting each other with
verbal diahorreah.

Movie Extra has an assertive woman trying to verbally outspar a man with a
pumped up ego.

Movie Greats Hmmm! Must be good it is Movie Greats.

MTV has Def Fx singing "I'll be your majik."  Quite often contains pleasant
scenes of young ladies cavorting around the stage. Hint... Turn the music
down and watch the video.
Channel V Like MTV. In all fairness there is good quality music to be heard
by all walks of life at some time during a 24 hour period. The stereo
separation sounds good when played through a 4 track synthesised system. ie
Dolby Surround sound.

Sky News Gives a good slice of British and Australian orientated news. I am
watching "Live at Five."

CNN. Is not represented on this satellite.

Sports AFL. Yep! Aussie rules 24 hours a day, every day.

ESPN Plenty of American basketball here. Indy car racing, golf, skiing and
all manner of sports people all trying to do themselves an injury or two.

Fox Sports. Australian Basketball this time.  The basketball administration
wonders why interest is falling.  The AFL and Rugby League also have the
same problem. It is called OVER EXPOSURE! Mind you shoot some of the
comentators that try to whip up enthusiasm and it may improve a little. I
found some of the stories about early sports games more interesting than
the razzamatazz of the present sporting competitions.

Showtime is into Devil worship and weirdo chasing

Encore  had a couple of naked women on it the other night. I don't even
understand what I am watching tonight.

TV 1 Fantastic stuff here. "Tales From The Crypt" and sickening snapshots.

Arena.  They have Fashion TV and on the graveyard shift they have monster
makeup.There is a piece on at the moment about the marriage business in Las
Vegas. Get married in 5 mins no previous experience required. I suppose you
then go to Mexico for the divorce.



TVSN is still saying Buy Buy and this is where I say Bye Bye! till next time.

Optus B3 still..
That Optus bouquet on 12,407 V SR 30000 FEC 3/4
There are 12 channels here with colour bars on one and a test pattern on
another. Yet another has TVSN muted and 6 audio channels. Who knows what
this will bring.

One pleasing aspect about all the channels I have seen is that there is
good sound quality and a picture to match.  When watching it in a big
screen with the associated sound it surpasses vhs videos and even the cable
services I have seen. The MMDS service was always a poor picture by
comparison and some of the Galaxy watchers I have spoken to have remarked
in the sound and picture. The phrases used are "I am getting a clearer and
more sparkly picture than before and when I play the sound through my Hi Fi
system it doesn't sound muffled anymore." I say to the vendors out there
"Don't go for a cheap grab and degrade the service that you have had on
trial. Customers seem to like SPARKLY and CLEAR pictures with CD quality
sound.

Enjoy Oaf while we have it because one day when you are old and grey and
paying for everything you can say, "Back in the olden days we were able to
watch more than 30 channels of entertainement all free to air."

Satellite TV in Australia is living in a bit of a dream world at the moment
with the Ku subscription tests being carried out. When all the deals have
been done and the dust has settled then we can look forward to life without
NBC in Asia. That is the next change we will see in this part of the world.
By the time you read this that will have happened. As Rupert Murdoch has a
stake in The National Geographic Channel will it remain free to air?

The last paragraph appears at the end of an article about satellite viewing
in the Asia Pacific region in the July August issue of Telesatellite.
Other articles from the May June issue will be reviewed in the next newsletter.
You may subscribe to this magazine by sending the equivalent of US$100.00 to
Telesatellite Subscription Service
PO. Box 263
Parkholme
South Australia 5043.
Cheques in A$ should be made payable to B.Boden.
This of course finances my next junket overseas.
You will receive your magazines though. Trust me.
The last subscriber received his first magazine in less than a week.
Airmail from Germany.

Briefly.
The real satellite world.
CCTV has a new typeface on its' idents on all channels, replacing the
familiar logo. This happened on June 1st.
GMA has departed Palapa C2 leaving even more space there.
Sky News India has dropped its' analogue service on Asiasat 2
Sky Racing channel has one channel FTA for testing and if you are watching
with a Hyundai HSC100 you can stop the flashing picture by using the pause,
pause trick.
Zheijang TV on Apstar 2 R keeps coming and going.

Oh! well cheers for now and keep writing to me.

Bevin.

 June 1998 Bevin BODEN and TeleSatellite





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