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Sat-na March 17th 1997





Sat-na

                                                 Volume Five
                                                   March, 17
                                                        1997


                 
                              
  Mexican privatization drive
  PowerTel TV Digital TV Operations Centre
  Hero Productions moves from Intelsat 709
  BBC Making Changes in U.S.
  PRIMESTAR Extra Innings
  Wegener Digital Audio Equipment
  Nokia first to launch digital terminal
  Scientific-Atlanta PowerVu MPEG-2 Encoders
  European Satellite Multimedia Services Company Formed
  Style -- the first TV channel designed
  CRTC's new distribution policy framework
  Advent Communications
  TRL Technology wins Inmarsat contract
  NextLevel digital cable set-tops
  Upcoming Launches
  New files and documents at our WebStand
  In Brief


                    
                 Mexican privatisation drive


     U.S. satellite operators are extremely interested in
the upcoming summer auction of Mexican broadcasting
spectrum.
     Part of the auction includes the sale of the Morelos
and Solidaridad satellites, but of more interest is the DBS
slot assigned to Mexico. With the recent announced possible
merger of ASkyB and Echostar, other US providers are looking
for more space to offer a larger number of channels and
services.
     Below is a current transponder capacity by company.
Currently, Hughes has 70 transponder available (DirecTv and
USSB) while Sky will have 118 transponders (Echostar and
ASkyB)
     The value of the direct-broadcast license could easily
reach as high as  $500 million, slightly under what ASkyB
paid for its slot, while the remaining assets including the
satellites could bring in a further $500 million.
     US  companies hold three of the five primary North
American DBS slots, two of which will be owned by Sky
(Echostar/ASkyB). DirecTv, owned by Hughes, needs another
slot to compete with Sky. PanAmSat Corp., soon to be a
Hughes asset, may actually do the bidding for Hughes.
     The Mexican government reports that interested parties
include, Echostar, Loral, Lockheed Martin, Daimler-Benz AG
of Germany and Nahuelsat SA,  MVS Multivision and Hughes,
and  Mexico's Grupo Televisa SA.


  Direct-to-Home Satellite Capacity

   Company    Transpond
                 ers
  Echostar       90
   DirecTV       54
  MCI/ASkyB      28
Loral/Contine    22
    ntal
    Tempo        22
  Dominion       16
    USSB         16
 Unassigned       8
  Total U.S      256
Total Mexico     64

                              
          PowerTel TV Digital TV Operations Centre


     PowerTel TV plans to bring southern Ontario consumers
an alternative to cable television.  The wireless digital
television company announced that it has secured a state-of-
the-art operations facility that will serve as its source of
digital signal transmission.
     PowerTel TV's multichannel multipoint distribution
system (MMDS) service will be delivered from the same
Milton, Ontario facility that currently serves as the
digital earth station for AlphaStar Canada, a licensed
Canadian direct-to-home (DTH) service provider.  From this
digital TV operations centre, PowerTel TV's signals will be
conveyed to the CN Tower and other transmission sites by
fibre-optic cable and broadcast to the company's subscribers
across southern Ontario.  All consumers will need a small
flat-plate antenna and set-top box to receive 100 channels
of high-quality digital television.
     PowerTel TV has applications to serve southern Ontario
now before the CRTC and Industry Canada.
                              
          Hero Productions moves from Intelsat 709

     Hero Productions has relocated its long-term lease on
Intelsat 709 to Intelsat 601 at 332.5 deg East. The
relocation allows the international teleport and television
production facility to offer clients capacity on the same
satellite beaming CNN, ABC, CBS, BBC, Country Music
Television, Radio Caracas Television, Telefe, Travel Channel
Latin America, HTV and GEMS into Latin America.
     
                              
                 BBC Making Changes in U.S.

   The BBC is expected to cut jobs and make organisational
changes once its proposed  joint venture  with Discovery
Communications has been signed. The BBC and Discovery plan
to launch cable channels in the UK, US and other countries.

Already, BBC Worldwide has cut 16 out of 60 jobs at BBC
Worldwide Americas as part of a reorganisation. Sarah Frank,
chief executive of BBC Worldwide Americas, has resigned.

As reported previously, PBS and A&E cable network could
loose programming supplied to them as part of existing co-
productions.


                              
                   PRIMESTAR Extra Innings

               PRIMESTAR is offering its Major League
Baseball "Extra Innings" package for a discounted price of
$119 until March 31, 1997.
     The PRIMESTAR Spring offer comes on the heels of the
company's announcement that it will add eight regional
SportsChannel networks to its line-up on April 20, 1997.
The additions will mean an enhanced "Extra Innings" offering
with games from teams in several different States including
California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio
and Pennsylvania. After March 31, 1997, "Extra Innings" will
cost $139.
                              
               Wegener Digital Audio Equipment

     Wegener Communications, Inc. has received an order from
IMPSAT De Ecuador in Quito, Ecuador and from Radio Programas
in Lima, Peru for MPEG digital audio transmission and
reception equipment.  Both orders represent the first
Wegener digital audio networks in the respective countries.
     The equipment purchased by IMPSAT De Ecuador will be
used by Quito broadcaster Radio XS. The Wegener equipment
will be used to distribute Radio XS programming to six radio
stations throughout Ecuador.
     Radio Programas will use the Wegener equipment to
launch a new musical format to 16 sites throughout Peru.
The existing network (news/talk format) will not be
affected.  Radio Programas will control its network with
Wegener's Addressable Network Control System (ANCS).
     Both broadcasters will use Wegener's DT96Q QPSK Digital
Audio Transmit System and DR96Q QPSK Digital Audio
Receivers.
     The DR96Q receivers may be controlled using rear panel-
mounted switches, local terminal, dial-up modem, or through
Wegener's ANCS (Addressable Network Control System).  ANCS
is a powerful control software system developed by Wegener
to control receivers in an addressable network.  Receivers
may be individually manipulated or may be assigned to
groups.  ANCS uses group assignments to control large
numbers of receivers simultaneously thereby automatically
routing programming, commands and messaging to appropriate
sites in the network.  ANCS currently controls more than
100,000 sites world-wide.


                              
            Nokia first to launch digital terminal

     As part of a European launch, Nokia Multimedia Network
Terminals is launching its Mediamaster DVB 92008 Free To Air
- an easy-to-use digital satellite receiver with
capabilities to receive clear unencrypted digital programmes
- the first manufacturer to launch a digital satellite
receiver in the UK.
     The Nokia Mediamaster DVB 9200S Free To Air is a member
of a new family of multimedia terminals and digital
satellite receivers from Nokia and is not only fully DVB
(digital video broadcast) MPEG 2 compliant but is a flexible
and easy-to-use digital satellite receiver.
     It has a dynamically variable bandwidth from 2 to 54mhz
(1 to 45MS/s) allowing optimal use of any transponder and is
capable of receiving both SCPC (single channel per carrier)
and MCPC (multi channel per carrier) channels from both Ku-
band and C-band satellites. The Mediamaster's Electronic
Programme Guide enables users to scroll through hundreds of
channels on offer and preprogramme their own personal
selection of channels. The receiver will also sort channel
numbers and satellites so programmes or broadcasts can be
selected by name.
     The Mediamaster DVB 9200S Free To Air is available from
the end of March 1997 and has a retail price of 529.99.

                              
         Scientific-Atlanta PowerVu MPEG-2 Encoders


     Scientific-Atlanta's MPEG-2 compliant digital video
delivery capability through its PowerVu digital video
compression system has been validated by the successful
completion of the full range of CableLabs conformance
testing.
     According to the test results, the Scientific-Atlanta
encoded bitstreams conform to all MPEG-2 system and video
checks currently implemented in CableLabs' Digital Video
Conformance test suite.
     This compliance verification follows interoperability
testing performed with Scientific-Atlanta PowerVu equipment
at INTELSAT in 1996 and 1997, and demonstrations of
interoperability conducted at the NAB `96 show and
conference.
     More than 100 system transport stream elements and over
70 video stream elements are checked to comply with the MPEG-
2 Main Profile at Main Level definition.  These include
verification of bitstream syntax and semantics, program
multiplexing information, timing, synchronisation,
buffering, as well as system and video valid parameter
ranges.
     PowerVu digital video compression systems are currently
in service for a variety of programmers and broadcasters
domestically, and around the world, including,  The Family
Channel, Discovery Channel, The Weather Channel, Viacom, and
Turner Broadcasting.

                              
    European Satellite Multimedia Services Company Formed

         Intel Corporation and Societe Europeenne des
Satellite (SES) at the CeBIT technology fair (Germany)
announced the formation of European Satellite Multimedia
Services S.A. (ESM), a new Luxembourg based company to
provide satellite delivery of multimedia content directly to
personal computers in Europe.
     ESM will launch ASTRA-NET, a communications platform
using SES's ASTRA satellite system, which will allow a wide
range of services to be offered by various service and media
companies targeted at PCs in businesses and homes via
broadband satellite at substantially increased speeds
compared to standard telephone lines.
     With more than 16 million PCs bought in Europe in 1996,
according to the research firm Dataquest, and almost 23
million European households having direct access to ASTRA
satellite transmissions, there is already wide acceptance of
the standardised technologies involved.  The service will be
DVB compliant.
ASTRA-NET reception throughout Europe will require a
satellite dish pointed at the ASTRA Satellite System
connected to a  Pentium processor-based PC equipped with a
DVB compliant PC card.  ASTRA-NET will be operational in the
second half of 1997.

                              
                            Style

     A new television channel designed exclusively for women
in the Middle East has launched on Showtime, the regional
satellite television network. Called Style, the channel
features fashion and fitness programming mixed with glamour,
beauty and romance.
     Targeted primarily at women in the 18-50 age group, the
channel offers an entertaining mix of intelligent and
thought-provoking documentaries and entertainment on seven
genres of programming comprising childcare, fashion and
beauty, health and fitness, food and travel, lifestyles,
talk and entertainment, and primetime drama.

                              
          CRTC's new distribution policy framework

      The CRTC introduced a new policy framework it intends
to apply to all distributors of broadcasting services in
Canada, including both terrestrial distributors using
wireline or wireless technologies and DTH satellite
distributors. The new policies are designed to foster fair
competition in the broadcast distribution market in a way
that will benefit consumers and strengthen the presence of
high-quality Canadian programming in our broadcasting
system.
     The announcement follows a public consultation process
during which the Commission examined some 5800 submissions
from all sectors of the broadcasting industry and the
public, and which included a week-long public hearing last
October.
     Competition as a means to increase consumer choice
Competition in broadcast distribution will allow consumers
to choose their supplier of broadcasting services from among
different competing distributors. This should result in
better service, new product offerings and price competition.
At the same time, the Commission intends that competition
will support the Canadian production sector, which will
contribute to increasing the range and quality of Canadian
programming available to consumers.

     Financing Canadian programming and community expression
The Broadcasting Act stipulates that "each element of the
broadcasting system shall contribute in an appropriate
manner to the creation and presentation of Canadian
programming." Based on numerous comments received on this
matter, the Commission has concluded that all distributors
(except small terrestrial systems serving remote areas)
should be required to contribute at least 5% of their gross
annual broadcasting revenues to assist in meeting the
objective set out in the Act.
Contributions by satellite distributors

     Contributions by satellite distributors would go
entirely to an independently administered fund, namely the
Canada Television and Cable Production Fund.
     Contributions by terrestrial distributors With respect
to contributions by terrestrial distributors, the Commission
intends to provide these distributors with the flexibility
to support both local community programming and Canadian
programming for wider audiences, according to their
circumstances. Distributors would have the option of
allocating the entire 5% programming contribution to the
Production Fund. Alternatively, undertakings serving larger
communities (Class 1) could generally devote up to 2% of
their gross annual broadcasting revenues to the funding of
local expression, with the remainder of the 5% total
contribution to be allocated to the Production Fund.
Undertakings serving smaller communities (Class 2) could
devote the entire 5% programming contribution to local
expression, in order to maintain and enhance the level and
quality of local programming in those communities.
     The Commission estimates that, under its proposal,
contributions to the Canada Television and Cable Production
Fund would amount to more than $75 million per year,
beginning in the third year of the new regulatory regime.
These contributions would provide an effective and stable
funding mechanism to support the production of attractive
Canadian programming.
     The new policy framework, which is intended to guide
the transition to a competitive environment, would treat all
distributors fairly and equitably. As a general rule, new
entrants would have to meet the same signal carriage and
substitution requirements that are imposed on the incumbents
with whom they compete. The framework also removes barriers
to the entry of new competitors into the broadcast
distribution market.
                              
                    Advent Communications

     A new expanded range of NewSwift mobile uplink systems
will be on displayed by Advent Communications Ltd at NAB97
from 7th to 10th April 1997.
     The latest vehicle mounted, motorised versions will be
on show in 90cm, 120cm and 150cm diameter options. These
systems feature an improved mechanical arrangement that
allows for two upconverters, two HPAs with associated
variable power combiner or waveguide protection switch
assemblies to be integrated into the antenna mount assembly
close to the feed and hence minimising losses.
     This integrated design of NewSwift makes installation
quick and easy on a variety of vehicles with the minimum of
interfaces, with only low power L band RF cables, low power
dc cables and RS485 serial control cable between the roof
mounted antenna and the remaining indoor equipment. All the
antenna mounted equipment is fully weatherproofed and
surrounded by an aerodynamic weatherproof enclosure ensuring
total protection at all times.
     NewSwift is fully compliant with Satellite Directives
including BZT and CE approvals and may be operated on any
digital transmission standard and a variety of digital
broadcasting standards such as MPEG-2, DVB, ETSI/CCIR and
MPEG-PRO, etc.

Vehicle Systems
     New from Advent for this NAB is the introduction of a
dual antenna truck system. This system allows for two
complete uplink chains to be accommodated on a single
compact vehicle.
     Typically the system includes a 2 metre Advent Lynx
motorised antenna and a 1.2 metre Advent NewSwift motorised
antenna. The design of these antennas allows for the larger
Lynx Antenna to `clam close' over the smaller NewSwift
Antenna when the antennas are stowed for transit maintaining
an extremely low vehicle profile.
The system has a number of advantages over the traditional
single antenna solutions offering the service provider
considerable operational flexibility with the ability to
supply two independent programmes to two separate
satellites. Systems are available which are analogue only or
analogue digital.

                              
            TRL Technology wins Inmarsat contract

     TRL Technology Ltd. of Tewkesbury, England has been
awarded a contract from Inmarsat, worth in excess of 1M, to
develop and supply equipment for the Inmarsat satellite
communications network infrastructure.
     TRL will supply 360 demodulator units and related
software upgrades which will enable Inmarsat to carry out
operational measurements (traffic data, channel loading and
quality of service measurements) over the Inmarsat satellite
communications network. The equipment supports a wide range
of Inmarsat services including A, B, C, D, M and
Aeronautical. The new demodulator equipment will be
commissioned during the second half of 1997.
     Inmarsat has been using TRL demodulator equipment to
evaluate service quality since 1994 at their Headquarters
Building in London and also from their facilities at Perth
and Goonhilly Land Earth Stations. The availability achieved
by that equipment_greater than 99.97% since it was
commissioned - was a significant factor in Inmarsat's
decision to place this new order with TRL.
The new equipment will be installed in the Perth (Australia)
and Goonhilly (UK) Land Earth Stations as well as Inmarsat's
London headquarters. They will provide full site redundancy
for the Operational Measurement and Alarms System.

                              
              NextLevel digital cable set-tops

     General Instrument Corporation's,  NextLevel Broadband
Networks Group has been selected by the three largest cable
operators in the United Kingdom, Telewest Communications plc
(Telewest), Bell Cablemedia plc (including Videotron
Holdings plc) (Bell Cablemedia) and NYNEX CableComms Group
(NYNEX CableComms), to provide digital cable set-tops.
     Like GI's digital set-top terminals for the North
American market, which began commercial deployment last
year, the company's products for the UK will enable system
operators to meet increasing consumer demand for enhanced
picture and sound quality, expanded channel counts and the
ever-evolving selection of interactive services.
     To date, GI has manufactured more than 200,000 of its
DCT-1000 digital cable set-tops for the North American
market, and has shipped 20 digital headends to customers,
enabling them to reach some 3 million homes. It has customer
commitments for some 4 million set-tops over the next few
years.

                              
                      Upcoming Launches

    "    Check our web site for current listings of 1997
                          launches.
                "    Click on "Launch Info".

      Next Atlas Launch             Next Ariane Launch
                                             
   GOES-K  April 24 , 1997     Thaicom --Apr. 11, 1997  TBA
     1:56am - 3:19 am ET                     
                                             

                              
                                    
                          In Brief


"    Tele-Communications International, Inc. has signed a
 Memorandum of Understanding to acquire up to an additional
 39% interest in Argentina's Cablevision S.A. With operations
 primarily in metropolitan Buenos Aires, the company provides
 its over 570,000 subscribers with Argentine and
 international programming.

"    Cablevision Systems, which is acquiring control of
 Madison Square Garden, plans to merge its Sportschannel New
 York into MSG Network.

"    Pegasus Communications Corporation has completed its
 previously announced acquisition of substantially all the
 DBS assets of Blocker Electronics, L.P., an independent
 provider of DIRECTV serving approximately 1,750 customers in
 areas of Arkansas for approximately $2.4 million in cash.
 The acquired territories comprise approximately 36,500
 television households and 3,600 business locations.


(c) 1997 Sat-na 

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