Sat-ND, 30.5.96

Sat-ND 96-05-30 - Satellite and Media News

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"(c) Copyright 1996 by Sat-ND, http://www.sat-net.com/pck/"
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This issue is sponsored by TELE-satellite, Europe's Satellite Magazine 
Have a look at their homepage! >> http://www.TELE-satellit.com/ <<

Murdoch and TCI in talks over news channel
It hasn't been easy for niche channels targeting the UK. They had to be on
ASTRA, and they had to be encrypted. There was no way of getting around
Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB and its proprietary system Videocrypt. Most of the
theme channels now included in BSkyB's multichannel package had to pay
BSkyB a certain price, usually an equity in their UK venture. But in the
US, it's just the other way round. Rupert Murdoch has problems getting his
24-hour cable news network into the country's cable systems most of which
are controlled by Tele-Communications Inc. (TCI.) Now, both media giants
are talking. They're talking about a 20% stake in Murdoch's news channel
offered in exchange for a nation-wide cable distribution on TCI's
networks. TCI has confirmed negociations, but according to a spokeswoman
"to characterise it as on a fast track is overstating it." The deal might
involve Murdoch's cable channels f/X and Fox Sports, and there may even be
implications on Murdoch's digital TV package for the US. TCI, which has no
domestic license for digital TV via satellite, plans to sell two of its
satellites to Telesat Canada. They will be positioned on unused Canadian
orbital slots and leased by TCI for a digital package of their own 
unless Murdoch and his partner MCI invite TCI to take part in their
digital venture, as expected on Wall Street. There's a small problem,
however: Murdoch's news channel is a competitor to Ted Turner's CNN, and
TCI holds about 24% of Turner Broadcasting. Stay tuned.

Mexico to buy new satellite
Mexico is to replace its MORELOS 2 satellite (116.8W) with a new bird by
late 1998. Two of the five companies originally interested in the project
have dropped out (CTA from the USA and Aérospatiale from France.) Three
placed their bids: Lockheed-Martin, Space Systems/Loral and Hughes Space &
Communications. The total transmission power of MORELOS 2's successor will
amount to 8,500 watts, a significant increase compared to the 777 watts of
old-timer MORELOS 2 which was launched November 27, 1985. Officials from
Telecomunicaciones de Mexico will review the company's proposals, assisted
by Comsat (US signatory member of Intelsat) and Canada's Telsat. The
winner will be announced in the first week of July.

Brazilian spy satellites?
Brazil will enter the remote sensoring business using a micro-satellite
built by French Aérospatiale. According to the Brazilian newspaper Gazeta
Mercantil, the deal also allows for launching satellites from Brazil.
Another contract, signed with France's Société de Propulsion Européenne,
will supply Brazil with research and testing facilities to control and
operate satellites.

Mysterious transmissions from 36E
Christian Lyngemark from Sweden has discovered two signals at 36E he
believes to originate from GALS 1 or 2. Judging from the frequencies used,
it should be GALS 1. On 12.170 GHz rhc, the Russian channel ACT can be
seen (Audio 7.00 MHz). In Northwest Germany, undisturbed reception is
possible with a 2.4 meter dish (8 ft). NTW can be found on 11.844 GHz lhc,
although in less brilliant quality. However, it's still enough for
reception in colour. (Martin van der Ven)
According to current data from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, both
GALS satellites were stable on 71.0E this morning. Instead, the Russian
RADUGA 28 which was drifting between 36 and 38 degrees the last few weeks
appeared to be on 36.0E. It is yet unknown whether one of the GALS
satellites was repositioned without NASA noticing it. Both satellites as
well as the planned GALS 3 and 4 were leased by an American company in
order to supply Asia with digital TV services. What's more, the position
36E is allocated to EUTELSAT and not to Russia's Statsionar system of
geosynchronous satellites. The closest available Stationar slot is at
35E, but according to data from the International Telecommunications
Union, it is not registered for services in the 12 GHz frequency range
(whereas EUTELSAT's 36E-slot is.) Besides, the mainly defunct and heavily
inclined EUTELSAT I-F1 was recently seen on 36.1E by NASA. -- Ed.

Pay-Audio on your computer?
The BUMA/STEMRA, a Dutch government company controlling payments for the
use music in office situations, broadcasting, etc., demands money from
every Dutch Internet user who has audio-files on his system. BUMA/STEMRA
asks 10 Dutch guilders a month for use of audio (more than 5 minutes of
audio costs 100 guilders a month). It doesn't matter if the fragment is
short, or if it is the entire song. Also, the quality of the audio-file
has no effect on the amount of money to be paid. Francisco van Jole,
editor of the Daily Planet, a free Internet publication and among the
largest newsletters in the world, wanted to confront the BUMA/STEMRA with
some questions. But BUMA doesn't want to talk to him, because he had
already done enough harm by making 'such a fuss about it'. Van Jole had
said that the fee demanded was out of any proportion. 

Committee wants major change in US cryptography policy 
A committee of the National Research Council has told the US government it
should abandon is restrictive policy on cryptography on the Internet.
Instead, the commercial use of 'secret writing' should widely be promoted,
driven by market forces instead of government regulations. The panel
pledged for releasing all restrictions within the US while at the same
time relaxing export restrictions on cryptography software. "The many
benefits to society of widespread commercial and private use of
cryptography outweigh the disadvantages," said committee chairman Kenneth
Dam, law professor at the University of Chicago.
Actually, banning any kind of secure cryptography (like PGP in France)
doesn't make too much sense anymore. As always, the Internet is one step
ahead. Confidential data may be hidden in picture or sound files without
anyone being able to notice it, especially when used in combination with
programmes to strip off PGP headers. The technique is called
steganography, and you can find out all about it here:

Search engines react to AltaVista
The introduction of Digital's incredible WWW Search Engine AltaVista has
had some impact on its competitors. Lycos has introduced major
improvements to its service yesterday, including "CentiSpeed" search
technology, which processes a search dramatically faster than preceding
technologies. Spidering technology (the gathering of Web addresses, that
is) has also been improved by introducing access to multimedia files,
client side images and graphics and password-protected sites. Besides,
most European languages are also indexed.
At the same time, California-based Yahoo! Inc. and Ziff Davis Publishing
have formed Yahoo! Europe. Local versions of Yahoo! like the one recently
launched in Japan will be available in the UK, France and Germany later
this year. A Yahoo! company survey indicated that 10% of Yahoo! users come
from Europe. At least in Germany, the service will probably run into
difficulties. The domain name yahoo.de has already been reserved by 1&1 
a company mainly occupied with promoting Deutsche Telekom's online service

Thanks to our contributors --
Jitse Groen: jgl@dds.nl
Martin van der Ven: vanderVen@T-online.de

Alle Angaben ohne Gewähr. Copyright 1996 by Peter C. Klanowski,
pck@LyNet.De. All rights reserved.
Einsender erklären sich mit Bearbeitung und Veröffentlichung

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