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Sat-ND, 28.7.96




Sat-ND 96-07-28 - Satellite and Media News

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"(c) Copyright 1996 by Sat-ND, http://www.sat-net.com/pck/"
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Peter C. Klanowski, Fax +49-451-5820055, pck@LyNet.De

This issue is sponsored by TELE-satellite, Europe's Satellite Magazine 
Have a look at their homepage! >> http://www.TELE-satellit.com/ <<

*** Sat-ND summer break: August 1 to August 15 ***

APSTAR 1A operational, 2R announced
APSTAR 1A will be taken into service on August 1, China's news agency
Xinhua reports. The spacecraft, which is owned by Asia-Pacific
Telecommunication (APT) from Hong Kong, was positioned at 134E. The Radio,
Film, and Television Satellite Company of China has leased eight
transponders to replace capacity on the twelve-year old CHINASAT 5. The US
satellite formerly known as SPACENET 1 is located at 116E, providing
television broadcast services for Central China TV (CCTV) and regional
television stations several provinces and autonomous regions.
APSTAR 1A was launched with a Long March rocket from the Xichang Satellite
Launch Center in Southwestern China's Sichuan province on July 3. APT have
announced to launch an identical satellite, APSTAR 2R, from Xichang in the
first quarter of 1997. A Long March 2E launcher and APSTAR 2 exploded 50
seconds after liftoff in the early hours of Jan. 26, 1995.
APT is a multinational satellite company with shareholder companies from
China, Hong Kong, Macao, Thailand, and Singapore. The company's first
satellite, APSTAR 1, went into operation on September 15, 1994. 

Digital TV launched in Germany
For the third time in his life, Leo Kirch has given an interview. Speaking
to Welt am Sonntag, the German media mogul had wonderful things to say
about his digital television package DF1: "This is the merging of
television with multimedia and online services."
DF1 was launched today on ASTRA 1D and 1E (19.2E) with coverage of the
Formula One Grand Prix, where viewers could switch between views from
German racing driver Michael Schumacher's car or from various cameras
around the track. Satellite DXers may have noticed the analogue feeds for
DF1's sports channel, DSF Plus. Interestingly, they were freely available
using the analogue PAL system, which by the way offers a far superior
picture quality that any digital system with lossy compression. (Should you
read anything else anywhere, forget it - it's not true.)
So far, only about 100 households are reported to be equipped with a
decoder to watch the 17 channels. However, Kirch expects the package to
have reached the 200,000 subscriber mark at the end of the year, offering
30 channels by then. In 2000, the turnover in German digital pay TV will be
DM3 billion, according to his forecast.
German anti-trust authorities are not quite as enthusiastic. Kirch's deal
with Bertelsmann to develop a common decoder (Sat-ND, 26.7.96) has raised
the attention of the Federal Cartel Office. Plans of distributing
Bertelsmann's Club RTL package via DF1 would amount to a distribution
cartel, an official said. 
The head of RTL Television, Helmut Thoma, expects 10 to 14 of Germany's
free-to-air channels to move to digital pay TV lastly. Only four to six
channels would be able to survive without additional fees. However, he
added that there won't be any new viewers for digital theme channels. Being
not quite in line with RTL's main shareholder Bertelsmann, he once again
declared the current hype to be the digital form of mad cows disease.

ENEX uses digital services on EUTELSAT II-F3
By Jan Melis
Transponder 45 on EUTELSAT II-F3 (16E) is no longer used for analogue
transmissions. It is leased by the members of the ENEX consortium (European
News EXchange). It consists of SKY (UK), CBS (USA), RTL (Germany), VTM
(Belgium), ANTENNA (Spain[?]), NOVA (Poland,) and TBS (Japan). 
Since July 1, the 36 MHz transponder is divided into 4 digital video slots
(8 MHz bandwidth) and 18 SCPC-carriers (200 kHz bandwidth maximum). The
video slots' centre frequencies are 12528.166 MHz, 12538.166 MHz, 12546.166
MHz and 12556.166 MHz. So from now on you can find up to four news or
sports feeds simultaneously on this transponder, should you happen to have
a professional digital receiver in your possession. Transmissions are in
standard MPEG2 at 6 Mbit/s.

CIA goes green
Recently declassified satellite imagery from the cold war era has helped
scientists to monitor long-term changes in several regions of the world --
desert boundaries, vegetation zones, and polar ice. Now, the US Central
Intelligence Agency (CIA) has announced it will partly use its fleet of spy
satellites for environmental purposes.
According to CIA director John Deutch, the agency and sister spy
bureaucracies are working with a scientists' group called Medea to watch
"selected sites of environmental significance." Deutch said the scheme
provides scientists with a record of subtle ecological shifts, enabling
them to better "provide strategic warning of potentially catastrophic
threats to the health and welfare of our citizens."
Obviously, this is not a one-way deal. "Medea has worked closely with our
analysts to develop techniques that have enhanced our ability to collect
and interpret data from our collection systems," Deutch said.
He also admitted that the cost of this co-operation amounts to "perhaps one
tenth of a percent of the intelligence budget for collection and analysis."
US espionage activities are estimated to cost US$28 billion a year. And, of
course, all this "will not interfere with collection against our highest
priority targets including the proliferation of weapons of mass
destruction, terrorism, drug trafficking and the activities of rogue
states." 

Re: Sat-ND, 24.7.96
The radio station that appeared on the R.T.M transponder (Sat-ND 24.7.96)
on EUTELSAT II-F3 (16E) identifies itself as "R.T.M. Chaîne Inter".
Yesterday, the Russian channel NTW could not only be noticed on 12169 GHz
but also on 11919 GHz on the GAL satellites. It also looked as if the 11919
GHz-signal came from a slightly more western position. Probably both GALS
satellites are involved here, but I'm not exactly sure.
Jan_Melis@qmserver.vtm.be (Jan Melis)

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

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