SAT-na V1.13 Part Two
From: Satellite Journal <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 17 Dec 1996 01:09:51 -0500
From firstname.lastname@example.org Tue Dec 17 01: 11:59 1996
V1.13 December 15 1996
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North American News
MCI And British Telecommunications Plc Seek FCC Consent
MCI Communications Corp. (MCI) and British
Telecommunications plc (BT) have filed applications under
the Cable Landing License Act and Sections 214(a) and 310(d)
of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, requesting
Commission approval of the transfer of control to BT of
licenses and authorisations held by MCI subsidiaries. This
transfer of control would take place as a result of the
proposed merger of MCI, a U.S. corporation, and BT, a U.K.
public limited company, which would create a single
telecommunications company named Concert plc (Concert).
After the proposed merger, MCI and BT would become wholly-
owned subsidiaries of Concert.
MCI and Echostar given "greenlight"
The Federal Communications Commission's International
Bureau has cleared the way for introduction of new video
programming services to consumers by finding that MCI
Telecommunications Corporation and Echostar DBS Corporation
can receive authorisation to provide direct broadcast
satellite service. Each company will receive its
authorisation upon payment of the balance owed to the U.S.
government on the high bids each company made for satellite
licenses at the DBS auction the Commission conducted
earlier this year.
In determining that MCI's DBS authorisation could be
granted, the FCC's International Bureau rejected petitions
to deny MCI's application made by Echostar, and DIRECTV,
The Bureau concluded that the Commission's DBS rule
restricting a lien ownership, does not apply to DBS
providers like MCI that propose private carrier subscription
service. Such providers are not subject to the essentially
identical alien ownership restrictions found in section
310(b) of the Communications Act, the statutory provision
upon which the DBS alien ownership rule is based.
The decision by the International Bureau on MCI's
application is entirely separate and distinct from the
decisions the Commission will make next year with respect to
MCI's recently filed applications to transfer control of its
licenses, including its DBS authorisation, to British
Telecommunications plc . "Our action today does not in any
way prejudge whether or not the Commission should eventually
approve MCI's applications to transfer control of its DBS
authorisation and other authorisations and licenses to BT,"
said Gips. "Those decisions will be made independently by
the Commission. There will be a full opportunity for the
public and the Executive Branch to file comments and reply
comments and the Commission will intensively review whether
the public interest will be served by granting each of the
transfer of control applications, pursuant to section 310(d)
of the Communciations Act and all other applicable statutory
provisions and Commission rules."
The DBS auction conducted by the Commission earlier
this year ushered in a new era of DBS service to the public
by assigning scarce DBS orbital slots swiftly and
efficiently. The auction and follow-up orders reflect the
Commission's commitment to foster greater consumer choice of
improved video programming, to increase services available
to remote and underserved areas, and to encourage the
introduction of new DBS services.
At the auction MCI successfully bid $682.5 million for
the authorisation to provide a nation-wide DBS service from
the 110o W.L. orbital location. Echostar bid $52.3 million
for the authorisation to provide coverage to the western
region of the U.S. at the 148o W.L. orbital slot.
Once MCI and Echostar submit the balance of their bids,
$546 million and $41.8 million respectively, the Commission
will grant each final authority to construct, launch and
operate their DBS systems.
Jonathan B. Sallet, MCI Chief Policy Counsel said,
"Today's decision by the Federal Communications Commission
to issue the DBS license won by MCI in last January's public
auction is a win for competition, a win for American
taxpayers and a holiday present for consumers. MCI will move
quickly to transfer the balance of the $682.5 million
payment for the license to the U.S. Treasury."
Wegener MPEG-2 Products Selected By Turner
Wegener Corporation announced it has received an order
for six sets, with commitments for an additional eight sets,
of its Series DV2000 MPEG-2 digital video products from
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (TBS). Replacing existing
analogue channels, the equipment is being used to transmit
daily, live-anchored news broadcasts from CNN's production
centre in London and live news coverage from Moscow for use
on CNN and CNN International program services. Turner
Broadcasting, for many years a customer of Wegener, placed
the order after extensive testing and competitive
evaluation. This order is to be shipped in the second
quarter of fiscal 1997. Specific terms were not disclosed.
The DVT2000 transmitter features multiple video input
formats_serial D1, composite, and S-Video. The transmitter
is controlled locally with a front panel keypad and LCD
display, remotely through an RS232 modem port, or
addressable with Wegener's network control protocol. The
DVT2000 transmits one compressed video signal (either DVB
compliant or secure), up to six mono audio channels (or
three stereo pairs), one optional synchronous data channel,
and one 9.6 kbps asynchronous data channel for customer use.
The audio input signal for the DVT2000 may be analogue or
The DVR2000 IRD occupies 1.75" of rack space and is a
complete L-band Integrated Receive/Decoder. It features
composite, S-Video, and Serial D1 video outputs. It also
provides relay contact closures for control of external
Globalstar receives final FCC Authorisation
The FCC has granted Globalstar unconditional approval
to build, launch and operate its low-Earth-orbit (LEO)
satellite telecommunications system.
The FCC issued an Order and Authorisation granting
Globalstar final authorisation for its requested feeder link
frequencies, ensuring Globalstar's access to the U.S.
domestic telecommunications market, and paving the way for
the approval and licensing of Globalstar's local and
regional service providers by regulatory authorities around
the world. (Feeder links are the frequencies used between
satellites and gateway earth stations).
Until this judgement by the FCC, Globalstar's license
for its feeder links assignments had been conditional,
pending the grant of a waiver filed by Globalstar to allow
the use of spectrum (5091-5250 MHz uplink and 6875-7055 MHz
downlink) allocated for world-wide use by the International
Telecommunications Union in November, 1995.
The $2.5 billion Globalstar system, comprised of 48 low-
Earth-orbiting satellites and a global network of ground
stations, will allow people in areas currently underserved
or not served by existing wireline and cellular
telecommunications systems, to make or receive calls from
almost anywhere on Earth. Globalstar will also provide data
transmission, paging, facsimile and position location
services to global travellers through dual-mode (cellular-
Globalstar will start launching its 48 LEO satellite
constellation in the second half of 1997. Commercial
service is scheduled to commence in the latter part of 1998.
Bell Canada Selects G. I.
Bell Canada has signed contracts to purchase GI's MPEG-
2 digital network systems products for use in two trial
locations in London, Ontario and Repentigny, Quebec. With
the new digital equipment, Bell Canada will have the ability
to provide analogue clear broadcast, digital tiered-access
controlled broadcast, and services such as an interactive
program guide and Near-Video-on-Demand (NVOD) to their
subscribers in the trial locations.
Bell Canada has signed equipment contracts for General
Instrument encoders, headend and transmission equipment, as
well as digital consumer set-top terminals.
Business Television Consortium Select G.I.
General Instrument Corporation announced that a
consortium made up of Convergent Media Systems Corporation,
Hughes Network Systems, Electronic Data Systems Corporation
(EDS), and Westcott Communications, has adopted GI's digital
television systems technology.
Under the agreement with the consortium, GI will
provide its DigiCipher II/MPEG 2 video compression system,
which allows users to cost effectively utilise space segment
by transmitting multiple television signals on one satellite
transponder. GI will also license its new Network Control
System, which will allow the Consortium's customers to
efficiently control and manage their subscribers.
Convergent To Supply Scientific-Atlanta
Scientific-Atlanta, Inc., has been chosen by Convergent
Media Systems to supply a new PowerVu MPEG-2/DVB digital
video compression system to upgrade the Postal Satellite
Training Network (PSTN). The U.S. Postal Service (USPS)
uses its business television network to transmit information
and training to postal employees throughout the United
States. The new digital system will replace a Scientific-
Atlanta analogue B-MAC satellite network system used by the
USPS since 1990.
"Convergent selected the PowerVu encoder system for
the U.S. Postal Service's migration to a digital network
because it satisfies the technical criteria to deliver seven
channels of programming in three simultaneous transmissions
over a single transponder," said John Ball, director of
engineering at Convergent. "The encoder system supports the
MPEG-2/DVB standards as well as variable rates for single
and multiple channel operation. Additionally, the PowerVu
business satellite receiver provided a lower cost decoder
solution that includes features critical to private network
The PowerVu digital video compression system will
provide the USPS with opportunities for significant savings
on satellite transponder costs, plus the ability to increase
both the amount and number of employee training programs it
can distribute. To maintain high levels of customer service
as it processes nearly 200 billion pieces of mail a year,
the USPS will use its PowerVu system to exceed the 3700
hours of training broadcasts it currently offers, while
lowering satellite transponder requirements and costs.
The majority of the USPS training programs originate at
its Technical Training Centre in Oklahoma. From there, the
broadcasts will be uplinked to the SBS-6 satellite for
delivery to any of the 315 postal facilities in the United
States to be equipped with a new PowerVu Business Satellite
Receiver. In addition to supporting employee training, the
network will also be capable of supporting employee
communications and will provide the ability for the
Postmaster General to communicate directly with postal
Three satellite-linked PowerVu systems will be
installed by Convergent to create the digital BTV network.
A four-channel PowerVu system will be used at the USPS
Technical Training Centre in Norman, OK, a two-channel
system at the William F. Bolger Centre for Leadership
Development in Potomac, MD, and a one-channel system at the
USPS headquarters in Washington, D.C. will complete the
digital network. These redundant systems will provide
automatic redundancy switching, and will use the PowerVu
Command Centre 2000 for network management, signal security,
and subscriber access control.
The Weather Channel Selects PowerVu
The days of text-only local forecasts and simple cloud
and raindrop icons for an extended look at the weather are
being replaced with exciting new digital applications by The
Weather Channel. Using Scientific-Atlanta's MPEG-2/DVB
PowerVu digital video compression system, the Atlanta-based
cable programmer is launching a European rollout of new
customised forecast capabilities early next year that is to
be implemented in Latin America and the U.S. later in 1997.
"By using the high-speed data capability available with
the PowerVu system, we can usher in a new era in customised
and localised weather programming," said Mark McKeen, senior
vice president of operations at The Weather Channel. "This
capability, coupled with major enhancements to our
programming and the technology to deliver it, will enable us
to fashion The Weather Channel into a completely new on
screen product for our viewers."
The initial rollouts for the new localised
forecast programming will occur in Europe. The Weather
Channel England is scheduled to be the first to deliver the
new format to about 60-80 cable headends across the United
Kingdom. A Dutch-speaking version for broadcast to the
Netherlands is also scheduled for inclusion in the initial
rollout. Then, approximately 120 German cable headend are
planned to receive the enhanced forecasts on Der Wetter
Kanal via an uplink purchased by Bosch Telekom from
The Weather Channel will also use PowerVu for
enhanced local product in the U.S. The main programming
signal will continue to be delivered by analogue. At the
same time, however, The Weather Channel will use a PowerVu
compressed digital signal on a small portion of satellite
transponder bandwidth to transmit signals containing
customised local forecasts for cities across the service
area. These signals will be delivered to The Weather
Channel's new Weather Star XL system to await a cue that
will recall and play them when local forecasts are scheduled
The new format for the forecasts includes delivery by an on-
air announcer using a variety of new digital imaging
capabilities recently announced by The Weather Channel.
This replaces the text- and icon-based local forecasts
previously supplied for local forecasts.
Business Television Consortium
A consortium made up of Convergent Media Systems
Corporation, Hughes Network Systems, Electronic Data Systems
Corporation, and Westcott Communications, has adopted GI's
digital television systems technology.
Under the agreement with the consortium, GI will
provide its DigiCipher II/MPEG 2 video compression system
and its new Network Control System.
One consortium member has already received a number of
orders utilising the new GI system. Convergent Media has
received contracts from Nebraska Educational Television
Communications, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co.,
Massachusetts Corporation for Educational Television,
Kentucky Educational Television, Grand Valley State
University, KIMO Television and the State of Georgia. These
networks will deploy both Multiple Channel and Single
Channel Encoders and GI's DSR 4200 integrated receiver
Court upholds Spice's motion
Spice Entertainment Cos. Inc. announced that the U.S.
District Court in Delaware has granted its Motion for Stay
of Enforcement Pending Appeal of Section 505 of the
Telecommunications Act of 1996.
This Motion was filed in response to the Nov. 8, 1996
decision by a three-judge panel in U.S. District Court in
Delaware denying a request for a preliminary injunction
against enforcement. This action effectively continues to
prevent enforcement of Section 505 until the U.S. Supreme
Court renders its decision on its constitutionality. No
date has yet been set by the Court for a hearing on the
Section 505 requires cable systems to fully scramble
the audio and video signals of adult programming networks
such as Spice and The Adam & Eve Channel. If a cable system
cannot comply with the full scrambling requirement, it can
only distribute the programming during the "safe harbour"
hours of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., a practice known as "time
"We are obviously quite pleased with the Court's
decision in this matter," said Steve Saril, president of
Spice Networks, a Spice Entertainment operating unit. "The
ruling ensures that there will be no rush to implement this
restriction to the First Amendment's free speech guarantee
before the nation's highest court renders its decision."
DIRECTV adds America's Health Network
DIRECTV Inc. has added America's Health Network to the
America's Health Network airs 24 hours of original
programming a day, seven days a week, including two-hour
episodes from eight live Ask The Doctor series. The world-
renowned Mayo Clinic provides medical content support to
America's Health Network.
America's Health Network will automatically be added to
four DIRECTV programming packages: Total Choice, Total
Choice Silver; Total Choice Gold; and Total Choice Platinum.
America's Health Network will be carried on DIRECTV channel
254, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
HGTV Poised To Hit 22 Million
Home & Garden Television's subscriber count, through a
series of new major market launches, will grow to 22 million
households by year end 1996. The network also has
commitments to launch in an additional 6 million households,
which will bring HGTV's total subscriber base to 28 million.
The network is in the process of launching in New York,
Chicago and Los Angeles on Continental, Cox, Comcast and TCI
Time Warner Cable buys G.I. Digital cable
General Instrument Corporation will provide Time Warner
Cable with its MPEG-2 digital cable set-tops. GI's digital
set-tops, which are now being delivered in quantity to cable
systems throughout North America, will provide Time Warner
with the capability to launch digital services in 1997.
Time Warner joins TCI, Comcast, Cox, Jones, Rogers, Shaw and
some 75 other cable operators, both large and small, that
have placed orders for GI's digital cable system. Some 3.5
million units are on order, and more than 100,000 set-tops
are expected to be manufactured in 1996.
The Bulls Are Back On WGN
WGN and the National Basketball Association have
reached agreement on a multi-year contract which returns the
Chicago Bulls to superstation WGN beginning with the Bulls
December 23rd game against the New Jersey Nets. The
agreement allows WGN's satellite audience of over 40 million
to see 12 games this season and 15 games per season through
the year 2001.
WGN has exclusive coverage of 143 Cubs games, 61 White
Sox games, and DePaul NCAA basketball games in addition to
the Bulls telecasts.
The Bulls telecasts had been barred from superstation
carriage due to ongoing litigation pitting WGN and the Bulls
against the NBA. The efforts of WGN to bring these games to
the Chicago superstation's viewers are unprecedented," said
Derk Tenzythoff, UVTV's director of programming.
CHICAGO BULLS 1996/1997 WGN SATELLITE SCHEDULE
Dec. 23 vs. New Jersey Mar. 21 @ Indiana
Jan. 11 vs. Houston Mar. 22 vs. Detroit
Jan. 23 @ Cleveland Mar. 27 @ Toronto
Feb. 27 @ Cleveland Apr. 03 @ Washington
Mar. 03 vs. Milwaukee Apr. 10 @ New York
Mar. 15 vs. Atlanta Apr. 14 vs. Toronto
PRIMESTAR Signs On MSNBC and CNBC
PRIMESTAR has reached a distribution agreement to add
MSNBC and expand CNBC within its basic programming package
early next year after the launch of its successor satellite
In recent weeks, PRIMESTAR has also announced more than
a dozen of the new channels it will add when the new
satellite is launched, including: HGTV, Game Show Network,
WGN, C-SPAN2, Sundance Channel, Showtime, Showtime 2,
Outdoor Life, Speedvision, VHl, The History Channel, Court
TV, The TV Food Network, BET and CNN/SI, in addition to more
audio channels from Digital Music Express.
The Outdoor Channel coming to Galaxy X
Management of Global Outdoors Inc. has acquired
satellite capacity from Hughes Communications Inc. (HCI) to
distribute The Outdoor Channel to more than 14,000 cable
television head-ends across the United States.
The Outdoor Channel will transmit from a C-band
transponder on HCI's new Galaxy X satellite, following its
launch in 1998.
Among the other cable networks committed to Galaxy X
are The Movie Channel, MTV, Nickelodeon, Showtime, Sundance
Channel, Computer Television Network and others pending.
Cancom BTV to Provide Digital Satellite Services
An agreement was signed through which Cancom Business
Television (BTV) will provide a digital satellite network
for the Ontario Jockey Club (OJC), linking approximately 500
sites across Canada and Continental United States.
This private network will be converted to digital video
using Scientific Atlanta equipment for encoding and
decoding. OJC's direct feed, from several tracks, will be
uplinked out of Toronto and distributed using the Anik E2
Cancom will provide uplinking and space segment for two
full time racing channels as well as the digital receivers
at all of the off-track sites. All off tracks sites will
receive the new Scientific Atlanta D9234 Integrated Receiver
Decoders (IRD), a first in Canada.
DIRECT CHOICE T.V. INC. CHANGES ITS NAME
Direct Choice T.V. Inc., the publicly-listed parent
company of Star Choice Television Network, announced today
that it will change its name to Star Choice Communications
Star Choice Television Network recently received CRTC
approval to offer a Canadian direct-to-home satellite
service. Last week, it announced that the company has
secured satellite transponder space from Stentor Canadian
Network Management and is on track for a launch of its
service in the first quarter of 1997. Its parent company,
which will now be known as Star Choice Communications Inc.,
is based in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
Grupo Televisa Signs Agreement
Grupo Televisa, S.A. has signed an agreement with
Telefonica Espana and a group of Spanish broadcasters to
create a platform for digital television (DTH) in Spain.
The DTH company will begin broadcasting throughout
Spain in the first half of 1997, and will eventually provide
70 channels. Pilot broadcasting of the direct-to-home
service via satellite is scheduled to begin next month.
Grupo Televisa, along with the other broadcasters, will
provide programming content. Telefonica Espana will manage
the technical side of the broadcasting service.
Grupo Televisa will have a 17% interest in the new
venture as will Radio Television Espanola and the private
station Antenna 3. Telefonica Espana will control 35%;
Television de Catalunya, 6%; TeleMadrid, 4%, Channel 9, 2%;
and Television Galicia, 1%. The remaining 1% will be
assigned at a later date upon majority agreement.
Italy's Telepiu and Disney/ABC
Telepiu, Italy's first pay television service, and
Disney/ABC International Television have entered into a 10-
year pay-per-view and exclusive pay television agreement, it
was announced by Robert Hersov, Chief Executive Officer,
Telepiu, Herbert A. Granath, Chairman, Disney/ABC
International Television and Etienne de Villiers, President,
Disney/ABC International Television.
Disney/ABC will license pay television and pay-per-view
rights to Telepiu for live action feature films, including
Disney, Hollywood, Touchstone and Miramax pictures.
There is also an agreement for Telepiu to carry a newly
developed premium Disney channel for Italy on Telepiu's
digital bouquet (Telepiu Satellite), with launch anticipated
in late 1997.
Check our web site for an updated listing of 1997
launches. Click on "Launch Info".
New files and documents at our WebStand
DVB News International Vol. 1 No 12
PBS December programming schedule
PBS Weekly Previews
A&E December Prime Time schedule
Primestar and Showtime Networks have reached an
agreement to carry early next year, Showtime, Showtime 2 and
MuchMusic and Bravo! (Canada) are now being digitally
transmitted on Anik E-2 KU Band T-17. on virtual channels
130 and 110 respectively, utilising Digicipher 2. Feeds in
analogue for both channels have now been discontinued.
PRIMESTAR will add two special interest channels: Home
& Garden Television and Game Show Network; and one of
America's largest superstations, WGN, to its Variety Tier
line-up after it launches its successor satellite early next
MCA INC. has reached an agreement with the Luxembourg-
based media group CLT, for a 50% partnership in RTL7, the
free, satellite- and cable-delivered general entertainment
local language channel in Poland. RTL7 which launched
NEC Corp has received an order from the Russian
Satellite Communication Co (RSCC) to supply 1,000 VSAT
systems over a three-year period starting next March.
PRIMESTAR, will add C-SPAN2 to its line-up after it
launches its successor satellite early next year. C-SPAN2
will join existing C-SPAN in the PrimeValue programming
HTV has signed a five-year agreement with STV
Comunicacoes for broadcast in southern Brazil. With the new
launches HTV reaches 2.7 million households in Latin
America, Iberia and the United States. In the US, HTV is on
GE1 Tr5 [digital]
AsiaSat will lease two additional 36MHz C Band
transponders on AsiaSat 2 to provide television services to
several provinces in China.
The planned-for-December commercial launches of foreign
satellites by the Russian booster rocket Proton have been
postponed. The Tempo and Iridium satellites are apparently
to be launched in February-March next year.
(c) Satellite Journal International - TELE-satellit
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