Copy of: Satellite News NA v1.7
From: Satellite Journal <71165.2032@CompuServe.COM>
Date: 03 Oct 96 11:25:33 EDT
From firstname.lastname@example.org Thu Oct 3 11: 34:30 1996
V1.7 1 October 1996
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Discovery Communications and the BBC will work together to
launch a new TV channel in the United States. After years of
speculation it appears this will finally bring long sought
British programming to the United States. Discovery
Communications Inc., will finance the channel and the BBC
would provide the programming library. The agreement,
expected to be in effect by summer 1997, will give the BBC
its own cable channel in America. There is no word how this
will affect PBS but it likely that the Arts & Entertainment
network will loose programming.
Hughes, PanAmSat Agree to Merge
Hughes Electronics Corporation and PanAmSat Corporation
have agreed to merge their respective satellite services
operations into a new publicly held company.
Under the terms of the agreement, the Hughes
Communications Galaxy business of Hughes Electronics will be
combined with PanAmSat to form a new public company to be
named PanAmSat Corporation. In connection with the
transaction, PanAmSat stockholders will receive an aggregate
of $1.5 billion in cash and 28.5 percent of the new company.
In addition, Grupo Televisa S.A. will repurchase PanAmSat's
options to obtain equity interests in Spanish-speaking
direct-to-home ventures in the Americas and the Iberian
Peninsula. Immediately after the merger, Hughes Electronics
will own 71.5 percent of the new PanAmSat.
The transaction requires government review and receipt
of other approvals, including that of the U.S. Federal
Communications Commission, which are expected to be
completed within six to 12 months.
INTELSAT Announces Results
INTELSAT announced results from an extensive round of
digital compression interoperability testing. The testing
was held last month at INTELSAT's Technical Laboratories in
Washington, DC, in conjunction with the Inter-Union
Satellite Operations Group, and involved nine manufacturers
of MPEG-2 digital compression equipment.
The testing was voluntary and open to all manufacturers
in the industry. It was undertaken to promote growth of
digital television equipment transmission. Initially in the
occasional use and SNG environments, and to better the
industry's understanding of the interoperability between the
equipment of different manufacturers.
INTELSAT had undertaken a preliminary round of similar
testing in May 1996,
and found that the open-ended nature of the MPEG-2 (Main
Profile at Main Level) specifications required the
establishment of common operating parameter sets (e.g., data
rate, FEC ratio, modulation scheme) to allow for the true
testing of the interoperation between equipment types.
While six operational parameter sets were subsequently
selected, it was determined that it would be most practical
to focus on just one of these for the August testing.
The new test results showed successful interoperation
of encoders and decoders from all participating
manufacturers under INTELSAT's laboratory conditions.
However, continued development will be necessary for
universal interoperation of all codecs under fixed baseband
NB: A more comprehensive story including results are in the
October issue of DVB News Itl.
PanAmSat Corp. successfully completed its first-ever
live broadcast transmissions via satellite from the
Democratic People's Republic of North Korea (DPRK). PanAmSat
transmitted news coverage of the International Investment
and Business Forum, held Sept. 13-15 in Rajin, North Korea,
over PanAmSat's PAS-2 Pacific Ocean Region satellite for
NHK, Japan's national broadcaster. Japanese
telecommunications operator KDD provided ground segment
services in Japan for the North Korean transmissions.
Live feeds of the conference were relayed over PAS-2's
Northeast Asia beam from Rajin to NHK Studios in Tokyo. The
footage was incorporated into NHK's world-wide news service
and broadcast across Asia via PAS-2's C-band Pacific Rim
Beam and throughout the Middle East and Europe in Ku-band
via the PAS-4 Indian Ocean Region satellite. The
International Investment and Business Forum was held to
initiate direct contacts between DPRK project sponsors and
potential foreign partners for the development of selected
industrial projects and other business opportunities. The
Forum also gave foreign companies and business associations
the chance to investigate North Korea's geographical and
Arianespace Wins New Contract
Takuya Yoshida, President of Japan Satellite Systems
Inc. (JSAT) and Charles Bigot, Chairman and Chief Executive
Officer of Arianespace, officially announced that a contract
for the launch of the JCSAT-5 telecommunications satellite
was signed. This is the 12th Japanese satellite to be
launched by Ariane.
The JCSAT-5 launch from the European Spaceport in
Kourou, French Guiana is set for late 1997 or early 1998.
Charles Bigot emphasised the importance of this order,
stating: "We are
very honoured that this major private Japanese operator has
once again expressed its confidence in Arianespace. In
1989, the second commercial ARIANE 4 launch placed JSAT's
first satellite into orbit. We are also very pleased to
consolidate the predominant position earned by Arianespace
in the Japanese market, and we are proud to have all of this
country's telecommunications operators, both public and
private, as our customers."
JCSAT-5 is the second satellite entrusted to
Arianespace, after the launch of JCSAT-1 in March 1989.
Using an HS 601 platform built by Hughes Space &
Communications of El Segundo, California, the satellite is
equipped with 32 Ku-band transponders. Positioned over the
Pacific Ocean, the spacecraft will provide telecommunication
and data transmission services for Japan, Hawaii and the
entire Asia-Pacific region.
Multivision Acquires Additional Pay TV System
Multivision Communications Corp. has acquired TeleVideo
Codificado S.A., a large pay TV system operator in La Paz,
Bolivia. Televideo operates a fully addressable (wireless
MMDS) pay TV system and serves more than 5,600 subscribers
in La Paz. The acquisition of TeleVideo will strengthen
Multivision's current operations in La Paz, Bolivia. Its
licenses cover an additional seven cities, with total
households in excess of 150,000.
The acquisition increases the Company's existing
subscriber base to more than 17,000 with a total potential
market in excess of 900,000 households. The transaction
provides an opportunity to develop additional license areas
and strengthens Multivision's position as the country's
leading provider of satellite programming and premium
Pasifik Satelit Nusantara
P.T. Pasifik Satelit Nusantara reported its Asia
Cellular Satellite is progressing steadily, with the launch
of the Garuda satellite targeted in late 1998 as scheduled.
It is expected that the selection of launch vehicle will be
finalised in the third quarter of the year. Meanwhile,
negotiations with Ericsson on the development of the dual-
mode handset have already reached a mature stage, with
formal agreement expected by late 1996.
US and Canadian News
Loral to acquire AT&T SkyNet
Loral Space & Communications Ltd. has entered into a
definitive agreement to acquire AT&T's SKYNET Satellite
Services for $712.5 million in cash. The acquisition
creates one of the world's largest satellite-based
SKYNET is a leading U.S. satellite operator
specialising in the distribution of entertainment and
educational programming to mass audiences throughout the
nation via a network of C- and Ku-band geosynchronous
satellites.. The company also operates two satellite
telecommunications control stations and an advanced research
and development facility.
In addition to Space Systems/Loral, Loral has two other
major initiatives under development as part of its global
network strategy. In the second half of 1997 Loral's
Globalstar will begin launching a constellation of 48 low-
earth- orbiting (LEO) satellites for its world-wide
telephony system. Loral also plans geostationary satellites
(GEOs) operating in the Ku- and Ka-band for CyberStar, its
two-way digital communications system for the low-cost
transmission of broadband data, planned for a phased roll-
out beginning in late 1997.
Among SKYNET's customers are some of the strongest
content providers in the broadcast industry, including ABC,
Fox, PBS, Viacom, EDS, and Western Telecommunications, Inc.
Additionally, SKYNET leases satellite capacity to direct-to-
home service provider AlphaStar. Loral SKYNET, as the
company will be called upon closing, will also continue to
serve AT&T's VSAT customers and will support other AT&T
Cycle Sat, Inc. Completes Digital Encoder
Cycle Sat, Inc. has now completed its fifth and final
successful digital MPEG 2 encoder installation in Detroit,
Michigan. The installations include DigiCipher II, MPEG 2
digital encoding equipment supplied by General Instruments,
GI Communications division and GI's DSR-4400 digital
satellite receivers. Cycle Sat is using a transmission data
rate of 19.5 Mb/s and will also implement high speed
isochronous digital data at rates up to 9 Mb/s.
NSN to move USA satellite network clients to GE-1
All NSN USA satellite network clients will be moved to
GE-1 during October, 1996. NSN owns transponder 13, with 60
watts and 36 MHz Ku band capacity. The satellite is
currently in geosynchronous orbit, and will replace GSTAR-1
at 103 degrees west longitude.
Baton And Electrohome Merge
Canada will have a strong new broadcasting company
resulting from the merger of Electrohome Limited's
broadcasting assets with Baton Broadcasting Incorporated.
The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and
consents, including CRTC approval.
Electrohome will receive 8.3 million Baton common
shares and cash. The cash component will be $35 million less
the cost of purchasing 1 million Baton common shares. Baton
will purchase these shares under a normal course issuer bid
for up to 1.4 million Baton common shares to be made by
Baton through the Toronto Stock Exchange and the Montreal
Baton and Electrohome also are proceeding with the
completion of their two 50/50-owned strategic alliances in
Western Canada and Eastern Canada, originally reported in
September 1995 and approved by the CRTC in the summer of
1996. The strategic alliance in Western Canada is comprised
of CFCN-TV Calgary and the six television stations owned by
Baton in Saskatchewan, known as BBS-Saskatchewan. The
Eastern strategic alliance is in South-western Ontario and
is comprised of CFPL-TV London, CKNX-TV Wingham, CHWI-TV
Windsor and CKCO-TV Kitchener.
Electrohome will transfer its interests in the two
strategic alliances, together with CFRN-TV Edmonton, to
Baton upon completion of the merger transaction. With the
closing of the transaction, Baton will own 42.9% of the
shares of CTV.
Telesat To Use Anik C1 for Canadian DTH
Telesat Canada announced plans for the return of the
Anik C1 satellite to serve Canadians in 1997, by meeting the
initial needs of one of Canada's direct-to-home (DTH)
television companies. For almost four years, Telesat has
operated the Anik C1 and C2 satellites for Paracom Satelites
of Argentina, under a multi-million-dollar international
agreement that allowed Argentina to establish its own
domestic Ku-band satellite communications system.
Anik C1 is one of a series of spin-stabilised, high-
power communications satellites operating in the 14/12 GHz
FSS band. It was launched on April 12, 1985. In 1993, the
Anik C1 and C2 satellites were put into service to bring
broadcast services to Argentina until the completion of that
country's permanent system at the end of 1996. The
satellites were sold to Paracom Satelites, in which Telesat
maintained a 10 per cent interest.
Telesat has been planning the reacquisition of the Anik
C1 for some time, as its service in Argentina comes to a
close right on schedule. Telesat now resumes ownership of
both satellites, with plans for Anik C2 still to be
Argentina plans to launch its Nahuel 1 satellite in
January or February of 1997. After traffic is successfully
transferred to the new satellite, Telesat will move Anik C1
from its current position of 72 degrees west to Canada's
orbital slot at 114.9 degrees west. This should make the
satellite available for Canadian use by the spring of 1997.
It will operate in an inclined orbit for the provision of
specialised services such as DTH television.
Landmark invests in Canadian weather television
The Weather Channel, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of
Landmark, has acquired a significant interest in Pelmorex.
As a result of the investment, the two companies will
be pursuing joint opportunities in the international weather
programming services market. The alliance calls for an
international joint venture which will develop weather
programming services in countries outside the U.S. and
United Video Satellite Group had announced its
intention to make an investment in Pelmorex. Following that
announcement, Pelmorex received an unsolicited proposal from
Landmark. United Video determined to terminate further
discussion with Pelmorex.
In-Flight Phone Corporation Teams with DirecTv
Starting next summer, some of the most popular TV
programming "on the air" will also be "in the air," with
more than 20 channels of satellite-delivered programming
dubbed "Live TV".
Phil Bakes, Chairman and CEO of In-Flight Phone
Corporation said, "Our LiveTV system will integrate with
our current FlightLink system with a colour video screen and
telephone at every seat, allowing each passenger to channel
surf at their seat and watch whatever they want."
Continental Airlines will be the launch airline for
LiveTV on FlightLink. Continental has contracted 300 planes
for LiveTV with installation scheduled to begin next summer.
PRIMESTAR Adds BET to its Programming Line-up
PRIMESTAR will add Black Entertainment Television (BET)
to its PrimeValue package when it launches its GE2 successor
satellite early next year. The addition of BET comes on the
heels of PRIMESTAR's announcement that it will also add
CNN/SI to PrimeValue.
IndeNet begins commercial traffic over MPEG-2
IndeNet is now transmitting TV commercials over its
Digital Spot Network. Major advertisers and agencies have
signed up to participate in the spotPilot digital roll-out
program. The program will allow advertisers and agencies to
digitally transmit their TV spots in "master quality" from
coast-to-coast. TV spots will be sent via The IndeNet to
stations outfitted with IndeNet's Digital Spot Servers,
proprietary integrated receiver/decoders supplied by the
company. Each TV station is also supplied with an 18-inch
satellite dish, which is aligned to Galaxy IV, allowing for
unattended 24-hour-a-day reception.
Speedvision to Air Daily Coverage
SPEEDVISION will provide daily updates of Craig
Breedlove's historic attempt to establish a new land speed
record, exceed 700 mph, and, ultimately, break the sound
Starting September 30, Speedvision will offer daily
coverage, airing at 8 p.m. Eastern Time, to the network's
five million subscribers. Additionally, Speedvision will
provide a daily highlight feed of each day's activities to
broadcasters throughout the world via a special satellite
feed from 4:30 to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time, through the
following satellite co-ordinates:
September 30 - October 4 SBS 6 - Transponder 15
October 5 & 6 SBS 6 - Transponder TBA
October 7 SBS 6 - Transponder 15
October 8 SBS 6 - Transponder TBA
October 9 T401K - Transponder 6-Full
October 10 & 11 SBS 6 - Transponder 15
October 12 SBS 6 - Transponder TBA
October 13 SBS 6 - Transponder 15
Tee-Comm Electronics Inc.
Tee-Comm Electronics Inc. has reduced the price of its
entire line of small dish digital satellite receivers
including the Star Trak 1000 brand and all OEM receivers.
Complete systems, including the receiver, antenna and LNBF,
will now be available to consumers for as low as $399. The
price reduction is effective immediately.
Tee-Comm subsidiary AlphaStar Television Network Inc.
also announced that it will offer new subscribers who choose
annual subscriptions a discount of $60 per year ($5 per
month), on any of its programming packages. Current
subscribers who pay monthly have the option of locking in
their introductory rate by purchasing an annual subscription
before December 1st.
BET Links with Encore Media
BET Holdings, Inc. and Encore Media Corporation have
joined forces to launch BET Movies/STARZ!(3) , the first
urban and black-oriented movie channel devoted to showcasing
black film artists. The channel will launch in February
1997, coinciding with Black History Month.
BET Movies will benefit from STARZ!(3)'s long-term
output deals with Hollywood's biggest studios_including
Miramax, Universal, Touchstone, Hollywood Pictures and New
Line_for exclusive first-run theatrical releases.
In additional to the best first-run movie selections,
BET Movies will draw upon ENCORE's extensive library of over
6,000 movies, amongst them many landmark black films.
Time Warner's next step in TBS integration
Time Warner Inc. announced additional steps for
integrating TBS into Time Warner. The following business
activities will be consolidated at Warner Bros.:
* Libraries: the classic Warner Bros. film and animation
libraries, the MGM film library, the TBS film and television
libraries and the Hanna-Barbera animation library
* Animation: all animation production activity, including
Hanna-Barbera and Turner Feature Animation
* Syndication: worldwide syndication operations,
* Consumer products: worldwide activity, including retail
stores, merchandising and non-promotional licensing
* Home video: Turner Home Video activity
* Technical support: all supporting technical functions,
including library management, film preservation and dubbing
Flextech to Form Joint Venture With BBC
Flextech plc plans to form an exclusive joint venture
with BBC Worldwide Limited to create a series of
subscription television channels for the UK.
Final details of the joint venture are expected to be
agreed by the end of this year. The first Flextech/BBC
Worldwide channels may launch as early as the summer of
A parallel agreement has also been reached between
Discovery Communications Inc., part-owned by Tele-
Communications Inc. (TCI) which is the parent company of
Tele-Communications International, and BBC Worldwide, which
will develop channels for the U S and other overseas markets
(see US news in this issue).
Arianespace Chosen to Launch Britain's SkyNet 4F
Armand Carlier, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of
Matra Marconi space and Charles Bigot, Chairman and Chief
Executive Officer of Arianespace, signed the launch service
contract for the British Ministry of Defence's SkyNet 4F
satellite in Velizy (near Paris). The satellite will be
launched from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana
during the second half of 1999.
SkyNet 4F is the last in a series of six British
military communications satellites. Built by Matra Marconi
Space in the United Kingdom, it will weigh approximately
1,500 kg (3,300 lb.) at launch and will offer 1.5 kW of
Design life is seven years. SkyNet 4F will provide
government communications links for various land, sea and
airborne terminals. Following the launch of SkyNet 4B in
December 1988 and SkyNet 4C in August 1990, Arianespace
plans to launch SkyNet 4E and 4F in 1998 and 1999,
Starting with this issue, SJI will on a periodic basis
cover news from the satellite newsgroups on the Internet. We
will attempt to ensure accuracy but none is inferred.
There is a new mailing list for satellite TV fans in
Brazil. This new group intends to discuss all Satellite TV
matters focused on Brazil. The goal is to discuss Brazilian
Satellite TV of any kind and is a list primarily for
Portuguese speakers, but Spanish and English subscribers are
welcomed. To subscribe send a message to:
firstname.lastname@example.org , and body of the message type
Subscribe BRASILSAT. To send a message to all members of the
list use the address: email@example.com, and place your
message as usual.
For those people living in Southeast Asia and Australasia
this may be of interest to you...
A number of European state broadcasters started
transmitting in MPEGII / DVB in May `96 on the newly
launched AsiaSat 2 located at 100.5 deg East. Currently
DeutscheWelle TV and Radio, the French TV5 (from Paris) and
soon starting in October RAI from Italy are sharing
transponder space with a number of radio stations including
RadioCanadaInternational, DW, RFI, WRN.
The problem has been the lack of availability of IRDs
for this service. The signals are `free' but the IRDs are
nearly impossible to get. On Tuesday of this week, DWradio
had a segment during their `Podium' show in which they gave
out details ...
* AsiaSat 2 100.5 deg East
* Transponder 10B (C band)
* need a 1.5metre or larger dish!
* Horizontal Polarisation
* QPSK Modulation
* 28125 kBd symbolrate
* FEC 3:4
* DWtv 2x128 kb/s
Currently they only recommend ONE IRD manufacturer,
DIGIMEDIAVISION and their IRD 3000 The bad news is this is
a commercial grade receiver and will set you back
approximately DM 4000.
* Arianespace will launch Malaysia's second satellite
into orbit on November 13.
NEWS IN BRIEF
* BBC World and Country Music Television will be added to
Australia's Austar's line-up.
* HBO will launch English-language channel Cinemax
starting on November 15 via Apstar 1
* The Alcatel MDR-7000 microwave digital radio will be
rolled out beginning the first quarter of 1997. The digital
radio operates in the 15, 18, 23 and 38 gigahertz bands.
* China has signed with NEC of Japan and STS of the US to
build another 13 satellite earth stations in China.
* The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. has decided to drop
U.S. soap operas and other regular U.S. programming from its
daytime line-up by September 1998.
* Tescorp, Inc. has closed its purchase of a 96.0 percent
joint venture interest in the assets of TV SIS S.R.L., a
company that provides cable television service to the
Argentine cities of Reconquista and Avellaneda which are
located in Santa Fe Province.
* The Indonesian satellite Garuda-1 constructed by
Lockheed will be launched into orbit on a Proton rocket from
the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in the second half of
* The second Ariane-5 rocket (V502) due to be launched in
mid-April 1997 will launch two "dummy" satellites into orbit
to try to demonstrate its reliability.
* A Proton-K successfully blasted off from the Baikonur
cosmodrome (Kazakhstan) and deployed a Express satellite.
Express is an updated version of the Gorizont satellite.
After the final launch next year of the last Gorizont, all
10 vehicles will be gradually replaced by Express and Gals
* MTV announced a third Asian music channel, MTV India
* The first television channel of Israeli Broadcasting
Authority is transmitting via Amos satellite. The downlink
frequency is 11,475 MHz. polarisation is vertical. One of
audio sub-carriers will transmit the Israeli radio "Kol
Israel reshet bet". All Israeli television channels are
preparing themselves to begin transmissions on the Israeli
* EchoStar Satellite Corporation and Directsat
Corporation have filed a request for special temporary
authority to operate the eastern satellites of their
respective Direct Broadcast Satellite systems at 118.95 W.L.
and 119.05 W.L., respectively.
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Copyright 1996 Satellite Journal International
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