An OAF review

I thought I had better say thanks to the OAF people for letting me and a
few others watch the various programmes presented on the 3 Pay TV bouquets
over the past months. By what I can gather there were not many freeloaders
watching as the bulk of people had ex Galaxy boxes or were already
subscribing to the Optus and Austar services anyway.When I say not many I
an talking probably 300. Anyone else got better figures? And I don't mean
the ones in the shopping centres either.

It was March when it all came about and I was treated to a plethora of
movies, I could choose from up to 6 at any one time, if I did not like them
I could get a bit of culture from ovation, learn from Odessy and Discovery
channel or check out my Lifestyle. My lifestyle was never featured on that
channel. I could discover reality with Popeye or The Flintstones on The
Cartoon Network and there was always a bit of "The Other" late night on The
Comedy Channel and World Movies. Come to think of it there was always a bit
of "The Other" at any time of the day. Ever sat down to your evening meal
watching "A bit of the other" instead of the News. There is a definite
tendency to put a fork full of food in your ear instead of your mouth. One
thing though you are oblivious as to what your other half is talking about.
"Yes dear I will do it later."

I remember one night in May after looking at the 30 odd options on Pay TV,
the five options on terrestial TV and the other 30 odd options of Chinese,
Indonesian and American TV I TURNED IT OFF.........Thought about the
consequences,,,,,,and read TeleSatellite magazine. Wether it's the
technical aspect of satellite TV or just wanting to see what is out there
Telesatellite has it all. I can not emphasise more that the more you read
this magazine the more educated you become about what is the leading edge
of technology today. Satellite reception is very much leading edge
technology with the introduction of satellite cellular phones, using Leos.
The Global Positioning Satellites are definitely magic insomuch as you do
not need a sextant to find your way around at night and the clouds made
them useless at night anyway. There are articles on various launch systems,
all types of satellite descriptions and even construction articles for the
electronically minded. There are product reviews and these are especially
useful for dealers who are trying to keep up with demand. All these things
have been touched on in the magazine at some time or other. It is not just
a satellite magazine but a leading edge technology magazine. Single copies
are available by ordering on the internet for US$18.00 a copy. Look at

Well back to the bouquets.
In all fairness to those who wish to catch up on movies and older
television programs the satellite option is preferable to the cable option.
There is more choice via cable but the picture quality of the satellite
feeds is impressive. The audio feeds are excellent and on a weekend I can
exercise the old digital surround sound and listen to what I consider as
good as listening to a CD. I did not hear any cable sound that equalled it.
When I wish to leave the television on I usually watch Sky TV News or CNN.
I watch Wings on Discovery and this is about all there is that interests
me. The cooking shows, travel shows and money have all aired on local
television. The football and rugby generally air live on terrestial tv
first. The motorbike Grand Prix is a plus for pay TV as they do show all
the races live. 125cc, 250cc and 5oocc events. I have had a lot of comments
from satellite viewers that what they like is LIVE as it happens TV.... NOT
1/2 HOUR DELAY FROM THE EASTERN STATES.... touted as live television. I
think the trade practices act would apply in the case of blatant lies told
daily by the terrestrial networks.

All in all satellite DTH is here to stay BUT... I think the cost needs to
come down. Maybe this will come about by not rising with inflation but
become affordable in years to come using atrition. Optus has a deal in the
eastern states where they charge A$10.00 a month for a limited number of
channels. I believe some of these are Sky News; TNT; TVSN; CNBC; CNN; and a
couple of other utility channels. This seems like a good way to get a
customer on line and encourage investment in other channels when necessary.
If I was able I would buy into this one tomorrow. Some of the one off
prices for special events seem overpriced at $29.00 and $39.00 dollars a
hit. You can get World Championship Wrestling for $19.00 I think. No! I
don't even watch it for free on the Indonesian and Chinese channels. In
order to get penetration into Australian homes I think Irds' need to be
subsidised and the installation becomes the property of the householder.
The C/A card as always is the property of the pay TV provider and the
viewer should be able to use his Ird for FTA television if he so desires.
More like owning an IBM computer than an apple where you seem to pay and
pay for service and application programs for the device. Subscribers like
to own their equipment and as long as the monthly payment is not too great
more will accept pay tv. Market it similar to cellular phones but not
necessarily so heavily subsidised.

I have spoken to people who have it and one bought it to impress the
neighbours, a couple of others got it because they thought it would be
cheaper than the local tv service, the unemployed in a commune have it to
pass the time away between fortnightly payments. Split four ways thats
about $13.00 A MONTH. Movie buffs and screen studies students like it as
they can see lots of movies but then again four students in a house. News
freaks who are desperate also buy it. There those who buy it just for the
discovery channel. I think they then discover some of the other on
nightmoves and that, is what the others buy it for.

Those that do not want it.. Go to the video store and rent one. One video
store has five old movies for $5.00 and you can rent five oldies and two
recent releases for $12.00 There is enough sport on local TV. Whats wrong
with the radio and CDs? I only pay $40 a month for electricity. I am sorry
but the only interest I got was from people in the outback with time and
money to spare. Coober Pedy, Andamooka, and Roxby Downs.Yeah! it would be
great to get pay tv here. Don't tell the Imparja man I can receive Imparja
here in Adelaide. That is not allowed. It's B-Mac. Up north they really
don't care. They have time to watch pay TV and they earn enough money to
not miss $40.00 a month.

Because of territorial problems you cant buy into Austar in the city and
you can't buy into foxtel in the country. Ask me and the people in Coober
Pedy, we cant buy cable or satellite TV at all. Yes I can do it
dishonestly. I am not allowed to watch Imparja down here in Adelaide so
don't tell them will you. Here is a little equation that was suggested to
me. Australia has Pauline Hanson and Pay Television has Prof. Allan Fels.
It was suggested neither person knows a lot about the subject they are
making decisions on. I think our pollies need a couple of issues of
TeleSatellite to enlighten them.

Galaxy paid too much for its' look into leading edge technology, the same
as Bondy only borrowed the nine network from Kerry Packer. The Guvm'int got
squillions in licence fees and they don't understand digital television
either. The OAF group has it all now and if they are fair to the Australian
public they will get a fair return. Don't go for big bucks, just be
reasonable and present a friendly face.

While I am putting this lot together I am at the Drive-In again showing
Black Dog and The X Files. People paid $10.00 a car to see this movie and
when you split that 4 ways it's $2.50 each. The drive-in churn rate is not
as great as pay tv either. For the uninitiated that is the rate of repeats
you get on pay TV. A quick look at programs tells me that there are about 6
new hours programming of movies each day.

In all fairness to Optus Austar and Foxtel I invite correspondence from
these organisations so as to present a balance to my jaundiced view of the
industry. I think it has a great future and I would like to see it
promoted. There are not enough positive articles in magazines or newspapers
to entice people to the medium. A weekend of previews FTA on one channel
now and then would assist people in realising what they are missing. It's
one thing to get TVSN FTA but then that is another sad story developing. I
was told today that TVSN have filed for bankruptcy protection. I wish them
well in their endeavours. How is the AFL sports channel doing?

I am home now watching what might be my final program of wings for a while.
Then it will be back to the Indian B-Mac service on Pas 4. It is the
morning of August the 4th.and 0105 EST and I am listening to that Melbourne
radio station sport 927. It has shifted to 12564 H leaving a clear channel
on 12626 H Ooh! there's a bit of the other on Movie Extra. Fox Sports 1,
has World Championship Wrestling..Next!!! Magnificient Men in their Flying
Machines on Encore. Lawn Mower Man 2 on Showtime. You can catch Seinfield
and The Jacksons on TV 1. Arena, A LOT of the other!!! (A naked female
person all chained up) Channel V, Music video. Nick at Nite, American
sitcom. Discovery, has dragons. Fox Sports 2 has that dreadful repetitive
music and coming attractions. Lifestyle, Cooking at home on the range.
Movie Extra, More of the other. It's a repeat, seen it before. Oh well all
the rest is night time entertainement and I must get some sleep for now.

The following is the noose tightening on those FTA Indonesian stations.

To keep you up to date here is the latest info
Palapa C2:
The Indovision package on 3,460 H (MPEG-2) ceased a few days ago.

Not able to see it here.

A new package has started on 3,820 V, MPEG-2/clear, SR 26661, FEC 3/4:
1901/1902: RCTI
2901/2902: TPI
3901/3902: CNN Int.
4901/4902: CNBC Asia
5901/5902: MTV Asia
6901/6902: TV 5 Asie
I don't hold hopes of seeing this vertical package in Adelaide either.
Looks like bye bye to another couple of entertaining Indonesian stations.

OAF: An anacronym used by Sat-Australia to describe the Optus, Australis
and Foxtel FTA bouquets after the demise of the Galaxy service.


This newsletter is sponsored by TeleSatellite Magazine.
 Copyright August 1998 Bevin Boden.

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