Sat-Birmingham News Report #: 004

Sat-Birmingham News Report #: 004

E-MAIL :  uksat@sat-net.com
WEBSITE:  UK Satellite Control: http://www.sat-net.com/uk-satellite

- UK Satellite Control (Sat-Birmingham) maintains a www.site 
- with relevant Worldwide Satellite Information, News and Archives,
- Worldwide Frequency Charts, Links, Features and UK DTT Information.

 TODAYS NEWS: Saturday 1st November 1997.

---------- UK-TV ON AIR

UK TV  started regular transmissions tonight. first starting with a
promo which started at 5.50pm. on UK Gold and on Astra Transponder 56.
UK Gold had a new logo change at 6.00pm (UK TIME).
UK Horizons, Style TV, and Arena started transmissions in full on the
Intelsat 803 Satellite in digital at the same time.
all channels excluding UK Gold are targeted at cable TV subscribers
and will not be available on Astra for the time being anyway.

Having said that on Astra Channel 56 is now home of the UK-TV Preview
This Channel has a selection of full programmes from the UK-TV range
which are watchable apart from the scrolling message at the bottom of
the screen. The Preview Channel is also in the clear (FREE).

To tune to the UK-TV preview Channel follow these instructions:

Astra transponder 56 is on the Astra 1D Satellite. Equipment purchased
before Jauary 1994 may not receive this channel, If this is the case you
can purchase a frequincy converter from your local satellite retailer.

To tune into the UK-TV Preview Channel refer to your satellite receiver
instruction manual.

1) Select the tuning function and tune into frequincy 10.8175 GHz

2) Select the polarity function and set to V

3) Store the setting on your preferred channel number.

IF you have any problems regarding this please do not e-mail UK
Satellite Control, but you can call ASTRA on 01442 235540.

---------- Sky TV gets the makeover treatment

Sky Television has, as expected, got a complete revamp. The logotypes
for all of the Sky channels have been completely changed - they now all
feature the egg-shaped SKY logo and the name of the channel beneath. Sky
1 has reverted back to its old name of Sky One - the numeral has simply
been displayed alphabetically, a move which seemed logical after the
closure of Sky 2. Sky Movies has changed its name to Sky Movies Screen
1, and The Movie Channel has become Sky Movies Screen 2. The theme tunes
have also changed, and Sky News has had a complete new look.

---UKSC Gets new Look
Talking of new looks UK SATELLITE CONTROL will undergo a new look in the
next few days.
I am aiming to make the site even more informative and easier to use. 
The site is regulary visited by cable operators and University students
and has provided information many times before with success.
The new look will provide more valuable material for these visitors and
enthousiasts alike.


Satellite Takes Program Access, Carriage Fee Fights To Capitol Hill

Program access and the controversial 27-cent fee for satellite broadcast
of superstation and distant network signals - two issues impacting DTH
businesses and their customers - took center stage at separate hearings
on Capitol Hill. 

The House Subcommittee on Telecommunications, Trade and
Consumer Protection and the House Subcommittee on Courts and
Intellectual Property took testimony from several industry leaders and
others from competing industries. DTH executives speaking before the
two bodies agreed that if home satellite is to be an effective 
in the multichannel business, they need to be on the same level as 

At one hearing, Rep. Billy Tauzin, a Louisiana Republican and a key
Washington telecom figure, said the decision by Librarian of Congress
James Billington to raise fees for superstation and distant network 
should be overturned. He has hinted legislation may be necessary to
reverse the fee, which kicks in Jan. 1. 

"I don't believe that it should stand," Tauzin said of the 27-cent fee. 
added consumers will be hurt most by the decision. 

Chuck Hewitt, president of the Satellite Broadcasting and
Communications Association, also argued the 27-cent fee should be
eliminated. He told the House Committee on Courts and Intellectual
Property that the process in determining fees set in the Satellite Home
Viewer Act (SHVA) should also be put to a review. 

"The recommendation by the Copyright Arbitration Rate Panel to the
Librarian of Congress on Aug. 28 to raise DTH copyright fees across
the board to 27 cents should be a signal that something is very wrong
with the rate determination process espoused by the SHVA," Hewiit
said. "That such a rate could have been arrived at in the first place is 
serious matter which should be examined because of the vast
ramifications which it has for our industry." 

Rik Hawkins, owner of Starpath of Hardin County in Kentucky, told the
same committee the fee and the process that developed the 27-cent
proposal will negatively impact rural home satellite subscribers. 

"It is very important that I pay a great deal of attention to 
and the cost to consumers for the various program packages we sell.
That's why even in rural Kentucky something as arcane as copyright fees
for superstations and networks takes on new meaning," he said. "This is
especially true when I see that the fees will be increased significantly
because of the Satellite Home Viewer Aact." 

Steve Cox of DirecTV said that if the fee isn't stayed or overturned, it
will be passed onto subscribers. He also said it will have a detrimental
effect on the ability of DBS operators to compete with cable. 

"At the 27-cent rate, satellite will be paying almost 270 percent more
than cable for the exact same superstations, and 900 percent more than
cable for the exact same networks," he said. "This enormous disparity in
the copyright fees paid for the same signals will result in rate 
increases to
satellite subscribers, which in turn will have a negative impact on
competition between cable and satellite." 

Despite forceful testimony on the detrimental effects on rural satellite
subscribers of the copyright ruling, the subcommitte appeared more
concerned with protecting copyright holders than consumers. Still,
members made it clear that they recognize a need to change a rule which
charges the satellite industry up to nine times as much as the cable
industry for the same programming. 

This led one cable industry observer to worry that the subcommittee
might be considering a boost in cable rates as a way to level the 

The program access hearing, held by the House Subcommittee on
Telecommunications, Trade and Consumer Protection, created fiery
testimony between home satellite and cable TV interests. Participants
debated access to channels such as Comcast SportsNet, a regional
network offered only to cable operators, and the NFL's Sunday Ticket,
offered exclusively to DirecTV and C-Band customers. 

Larry Chapman, executive vice president at DirecTV, said the DBS
service and others haven't achieved its role as competitor since the
industry has encountered trouble accessing programming, a lot of which
is controlled by cable interests. 

"Until it can accurately be concluded that local markets for the 
of video programming are competitive, Congress and the Commission
must continue to be vigilant in foreclosing attempts by incumbent cable
television providers to stifle competition in the multichannel video
market," Chapman said. "And, unfortunately, recent industry and
regulatory developments do not bode well for competition." 

As for Comcast, Chapman said the company has "deliberately
attempted to circumvent the program access rules by distributing
Comcast SportsNet, using terrestrial rather than satellite facilities." 

Cable/Programming Leaders Blast Broadcast Moves Into HDTV

Cable and programming executives criticized broadcasters' flip-flop on
high-definition television arena Thursday, and suggested that 
over the direction of HDTV could create more long-term confusion for
consumers and the marketplace. 

Leo Hindery, president of Tele-Communications Inc., said assertions
from broadcasters that they may use their new spectrum for delivery of
several new channels rather than for clear, digital pictures is
inappropriate. "They want to steal some of that spectrum and get into 
cable business," Hindery told a crowd during a panel discussion on
HDTV in Denver. 

"Preston Padden took a wonderful summer and screwed it up," he said,
referring to the ABC Television President and his comments that
broadcasters may abandon HDTV for multicasting. 

Padden's comments drew fire from Congress, which has mandated the
change to HDTV. Padden later quieted his remarks, and said ABC
would still consider a switch to HDTV. 

Hindery also said broadcasters may have a tough time if they can't
"figure out how to come up with six multicasting channels." There also 
tremendous cost broadcasters will encounter with developing
multicasting content and with the switch to HDTV itself, he added. 

John Sie of Encore, through his explanation of HDTV, said the
technology "is like the Concorde," in that the technology is superior 
but it
has nowhere to go. 

He also was critical of broadcasters' use of their new spectrum and how
they will use it. He said stations "should be getting one-sixth of the
spectrum. The rest should be put up for auction." 

The lone broadcast representative, Marv Rockford of KCNC in
Denver, was unable to attend the forum. 

EchoStar Announces Another Offering

EchoStar Communications announced that it will sell 3.1 million shares
of Class A Common Stock. 

EchoStar is also concurrently offering 2 million shares of 6-3/4-percent
Series C Cumulative Convertible Preferred Stock. The proceeds are
expected to be approximately $160 million. 

The money will be used to fund the expansion of EchoStar's DISH
Network subscriber base, marketing expenses and other corporate

Ariane-5 Launch A Success

The Ariane-5 program and its second rocket launch successfully placed
two satellites in orbit after a flawless lift-off from French Guiana. 

The first Ariane-5 rocket exploded 37 seconds after launch 17 months
ago, a severe setback for the launch vehicle. The $9 billion Ariane-5
program, developed by the 14-member European Space Agency, will
help keep the organization's heavy satellite business intact well into 
next century. 

A half an hour into the flight, two dummy satellites separated from the
rocket. The rocket is designed to launch into Geostationary Transfer
Orbit - the orbit used on most large commercial satellite. 

PROGRAM NOTES: Holyfield/Morrer Fight On Satellite

PrimeStar and EchoStar's DISH Network will show the rematch between WBA 
Heavyweight Champion Evander Holyfield and IBF Heavyweight Champion 
Michael Moorer on pay-per-view. The bout is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 
8, at 9 p.m. Eastern Time.
*"WOLVES" A HIT FOR DISCOVERY - Discovery Channel's one-hour special 
chronicling six years in the life of a wild wolf pack in the Idaho 
Mountains achieved a 3.5 prime-time average rating during its Oct. 27 
airing, according to the network. "Wolves At The Door" became the sixth 
highest rated program for Discovery Channel, and scored the highest 
rating among women for all multichannel viewers for the evening.
out-of-market college basketball package featuring up to 450 games, tips 
off Nov. 14 with six games, including a match-ups for top 10 teams 
Kansas and Purdue. The package is available on both a residential and 
commercial basis through cable operators and DirecTV. Residential 
subscriptions are available for $79 through Dec. 31, after which the 
price goes up to $89.
free previews of its NHL Center Ice and NBA League Pass to subscribers 
during the next two weeks. The NHL Center Ice special will be available 
Nov. 7-14 while the NBA package preview will be shown Oct. 31 to Nov. 3.

    All contents (C) 1997 Neil Anthony Powell UK SATELLITE CONTROL
     Some material (c) 1997 Dominic Sedghi, www.sat-net.com/sat-uk
             and Skyreport (c) 1997 All Rights Reserved. 
       The above may not be reproduced without written consent.
       Information is subject to change and/or may be incorrect.

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