Sat-ND, 10.6.96

Sat-ND 96-06-10 - Satellite and Media News

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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/ <<

Luxembourg all around the world
For all those years, commercial satellite operator SES from Luxembourg
would just admit the existence of their ASTRA satellites, but not much
more. This has changed. At least SES director Romain Bausch thinks big,
telling The Wall Street Journal he wants to set up nothing less but a
global, satellite-based multimedia communications system. He wants to
diversify from the European direct-to-home broadcasting market, although
there is no formal decision on this new policy yet. Because SES is merely
of regional importance, it is still looking for partners. Microsoft Corp.
or General Motors Corp.'s Hughes Electronics Corp. are just fine,
according to Mr Bausch.
His announcement does not come as a big surprise, as his company (or
rather: the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg) has registered an impressive
collection of geostationary Ka-band positions all around the globe with
the International Telecommunications Union last October. But of course,
they're not the only ones. EUTELSAT, for example, secured Ka-band
positions ranging from 88.5E to 64W.

Partial cease-fire
Decoders for digital TV in Germany will be equipped with a "common
interface", allowing customers to watch programming from either of the two
rivalling company alliances. KirchGroup and MMBG, however, again failed to
settle on a common decoder. 
Just few days ago, MMBG officials still declined to integrate a common
interface with their Mediabox because it makes the device more expensive.
The d-box used by KirchGroup's digital package DF1 has a common interface,
but according to the recent MMBG statement it is not fully compatible with
their system.
A clandestine meeting on Saturday in Paris, hosted by EU commissioner
Martin Bangemann, seems to have changed the situation  at least in part.
There are still several technical problems to be solved, while time is
running out. DF1 will tomorrow introduce its package, due to be available
from July 28.

Murdoch snatches Rugby, too
After paying 670 million pounds for live television rights to English
soccer last week, Rupert Murdoch today also snatched television rights to
England's home rugby union internationals. The five-year deal is worth
87.5 million pounds, and it also includes all English domestic club rugby.
BSkyB is still negotiating on television rights with the Scottish, Welsh
and Irish rugby authorities. Reportedly, the company's total offer is just
half of what is paid for English rugby.

No more time-outs, BT and MCI promise
British Telecom teams up with US company MCI to create "the world's first
high-speed, high-reliability global Internet network." According to both
companies, their so-called InternetPlus network will increase the global
capacity of the Internet by 30%. It is primarily targeted at business and
heavy Internet users who are fed up with connection time-outs. Traffic
will run over 20 hubs in key locations, the first being established in
Australia, Germany, Japan, The Netherlands, the UK and the US. "This
initiative will result in BT taking the lead in Europe in the same way MCI
has taken the lead in the US Internet market," said BT's chief executive,
Sir Peter Bonfield. BT believes the number of Internet users to explode
from the current estimate of around 60 million to 500 million over the
next few years. (In that case, an increase of just 30% in capacity might
just not be good enough anyway.)

* Lots of repeats are due to hit Southeast Asia and the Indian
subcontinent by this August. MGM/UA Telecommunications Group and Encore
International will provide the region with two channels guaranteed to
screen nothing but old stuff. MGM Gold and MGM Superstation are due to be
delivered via cable and satellite.
* A representative of Rainbow Television, Mike Thomson, announced that the
station will be part of (guess what) BSkyB's Multichannels package. The
channel, providing homosexual entertainment, will be on air between 19:00
and 23:00. (Jitse Groen)
* RTL 4 has found a rather interesting way to fill up programming gaps in
summer. On Saturday from 12.00 till 15.30 and Sunday from 12.00 till 15.00
there's a programme called 'Kijk nou eens!', or in English, 'Look at that
(for a moment)!'. It consists of pictures delivered by a camera pointed at
a city area. While last week Maastricht was on, this week it's Amsterdam's
turn, with pictures of the Leidseplein. Audio consists of a mix between
live sound and music. (Jitse Groen)

Letter from Egypt
Amos 1 on 4 W displayed first test cards on transponder 4, 11.492 V.
Various uncommon patterns have been used, colour bars flat, transponder
power high. Picture quality seems not to be final. No audio frequency was
On ARABSAT 1C, 31 E, on the United Arab Emirates SNG transponder, 3.870
GHz, the EURO 96 game between Spain and Bulgaria was transmitted, however
in a strange format. The colours were inverted (not a total inversion of
the picture) and the screen was mirrored. Left showed up right and the
players were playing head down. The sound was normal on 6.60 in Arabic.
On PAS 4, 68.5E, ART on 11.525 H (Middle East Beam) switches programming
daily now. During the last days, ART2, ART3, and ART4 were observed. A
display in preparation of their upcoming MPEG 2 Network, to be launched in
(Henk Cornelis Room, Cairo)

Thanks to our contributors --
Jitse Groen: jgl@dds.nl
Henk C. Room: hcroom@intouch.com

Copyright 1996 by Peter C. Klanowski, pck@LyNet.De. All rights reserved.

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