Sat-ND, 5.11.96

Sat-ND 96-11-05 - Satellite and Media News

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Golden Words
"My networks run a lot of programming that I'm not happy with. And that
bothers me. But does it bother me enough to do something about it? No, not
"People are beginning to realise the total effect of watching so much
stupid, sleazy, lousy, violent, exploitive [television]. It's bad for our
Ted Turner, vice president Time Warner, speaking to broadcast company
officials today at the Museum of Television & Radio, Manhattan

Some satellites never can say good-bye
The Pegasus XL launcher is a device designed to put light-weight satellites
into low earth orbits. Unlike others, however, it isn't launched from the
ground but from an aircraft at the height of some 40,000 feet (13
The latest launch, performed yesterday at 12:09 EST, was to put two
experimental satellites into space. One of the spacecraft, the first ever
built in Argentina, is called SAC-B (Scientific Applications Satellite.)
Carrying also scientific instruments contributed by the United States,
Italy and Brazil, SAC-B was designed to monitor natural resources,
agricultural production, fishing activities, and natural disasters. The
other satellite, HETE (High Energy Transient Experiment,) was designed to
look at solar flares and gamma ray bursts.
As it seems, both spacecraft did not separate from the rocket's third
stage. NASA sent commands and received data from the SAC-B spacecraft at
its Wallops Flight Facility tracking station at the end of the first orbit
but failed to acquire the satellite. Based on data currently available, it
is believed that both spacecraft did not separate from the rocket's third
stage as planned.
Both Orbital Science Corporation, which owned the Pegasus XL rocket, and
NASA appointed boards to investigate the failure.
Orbital Science Corporation: http://www.orbital.com/

BBC's "ludicrous" line-up
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and TCI subsidiary Flextech Plc have
announced the line-up of their digital package to be launched in the UK
next summer. One of the eight theme channels will obviously attempt to
transfer radio to the TV screen, however that may work. The music channel
called "One-TV," described by BBC officials as "the spirit of Radio One,"
will be targed at 15- to 24-year-olds. No surprises with the other
channels: They will cover comedy, drama; lifestyle, cooking, travel;
culture, theatre, music; learning; sports; archive material; and repeats
("Catch up.")
Not everybody seems to be satisfied with this melange. A Labour Party
spokesman call the line-up "ludicrous." He criticised the BBC for "looking
totally backwards to the past" and refused its demand for an increase in
their license fee.
Pearson Plc, in the meantime, looks to expand its business to the
Continent. Its unit Thames Television reportedly is set to buy a 20 percent
stake in Portuguese TV channel Televisao Independente (TVI.) There are
other potential investors in TVI, such as Scandinavian Broadcast System
(SBS,) but negotiations so far produced no results.

Locomotion launched
It was announced in July, it launched today: Locomotion, a 24-hour
all-animation channel for Latin America and the Caribbean. The channel is a
partnership of Cisneros Television Group and The Hearst Corporation and is
available to all subscribers to DirecTV throughout 23 countries, in
Spanish, Portuguese and English.
This isn't too exciting, but it sheds some light on Hearst's media
activities aside from its well-known role in the newspaper business. Hearst
is a founding partner in the Lifetime, A&E and The History Channel cable
networks. Hearst and ABC wholly own the Lifetime network as equal partners.
The two media companies are also equal partners in the A&E Network, in
which NBC owns a separate 25 percent. Hearst also owns 20 percent of ESPN.
Recent cable programming ventures between Hearst and ABC include ESPN2 and
The History Channel, which is a service of A&E Networks. Hearst and ABC
also own 20 percent of Brazil's TVA.

Jamaica to sell off radio and TV
Jamaica may sell its state-owned TV and radio services to its main
commercial competitor. Under these plans, Jamaica Broadcasting Corp., which
runs a TV and two radio channels, would be sold to Radio Jamaica, the
Island's most popular radio station. The resulting local media giant is
then expected to be granted a license to set up a pay-TV service.

RAI in Australia
I dont know if you're interested in this for your newsletter or not, but
here goes:
Well, I can now confirm that RAI (Italian TV) is coming through loud and
clear down here in Melbourne, so the rest of Australia too I imagine.
For anybody interested, here are the details needed to get the channel:
* AsiaSat 2 100.5 deg East 
* Transponder 10B (C band) 
* need a 1.5metre or larger dish 
* Horizontal Polarisation 
* QPSK Modulation 
* 28125 kBd symbolrate 
* FEC 3:4 
* DWtv 2x128 kb/s
ps. Something interesting happened late last night while searching for this
channel. I had the colourful RAI test pattern on the screen when all of a
sudden the image changed to some grey setup screen with a whole heap of
technical options and you could "see" that somebody was moving a cursor up
and down the options and changing various settings. Real weird it was :-)
(Tony Molina) 

ARD sues Viacom
German pubcaster ARD (Arbeitsgemeinschaft der öffentlich-rechtlichen
Rundfunkanstalten in Deutschland, just in case you'd like to know) has sued
U.S. media giant Viacom. The quarrel is not about money, it's just about
the digit 1. ARD uses the 1 as a logo for its TV channel (the first in
Germany,) but so does Viacom's channel VH-1. Their planned logo consists of
a prominent 1, integrating the letters VH, and above all adding "music
first." ARD claims the VH-1 logo could be confused with their own.
Judges at a higher district court in Cologne, Germany, indicated they would
follow the ARD's reasoning but suggested an out-of-court settlement. Over
the past few years, ARD sued quite a few competitors for similar reasons
and actually was successful in most of these cases.

Quite a personal view at a recent announcement made by Texas Instruments
Once again, a company claims to have invented the ultimate killer-chip that
will not only change the way we watch TV but also change the way we live.
This is just my interpretation, of course. What really happened is that
Texas Instruments (TI) announced its TMS320 digital signal processor (DSP)
chip that "may allow the set-top box atop a television to become much, much
more than just a channel changer." 
Oh yes, I remember TI... at school, we used only TI calculators. TI-30,
wasn't it? Didn't they produce home computers as well, some decades ago
when we were young? As far as I can remember, their main feature was that
they could "speak." I always wanted one of those, but on the other hand,
Clive Sinclair's ZX Spectrum wasn't too bad as well, apart from its funny
rubber keyboard. Who does still know what those home computers were? Who
cares anyway? (Do I get off-topic? Not at all. TI didn't change our way of
life back then, and guess whether they will now.)
The new chip will let TI's latest "smart" set-top boxes offer Web-browsing,
give them the ability to display multiple information windows on the TV
screen, offer new services such as home-shopping, and provide improved
programme guides to hundreds of available channels. The TMS320 replaces up
to seven conventional chips while adding even new features. Manufacturers
will now be able to divide the screen into multiple viewing areas so
consumers can track news via the Internet and check their programming
guides while watching a feature movie or sporting event, TI said in a press
release. (Wonder if they asked a single customer whether she wants to do
so. I wouldn't be interested in that kind of multimedia overkill, anyway.)
Rich Templeton, president of Texas Instruments Semiconductor Group, put all
of today's big hype issues in one sentence when he proclaimed that "The
development of new classes of digital entertainment products that combine
features of digital satellite TV, digital cable TV, and digital cameras is
being made possible by TI DSP solutions like the one we are announcing
"Consumers will shortly be seeing affordable, interactive and more useful
home entertainment products based upon this new chip." It's about time they
saw any content rising from the hype, just for a change.
Texas Instruments: http://www.ti.com/

Rupert Watch
By Dr Sarmaz <DrSarmaz@aol.com>

Murdoch, MCI and BT
As reported in yesterday's Sat-ND, even Reuters wasn't quite sure whether
the BT/MCI merger was good news for Mr Murdoch. Anyway, it became clearer
today that MCI will reduce its investment in Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.
and the planned U.S. digital TV service ASkyB.
MCI's investment in News Corp. is currently worth US$1.3 billion. While it
is still unknown whether MCI will reduced it, the company has once more
announced to cut its stake in ASkyB from 50 to 20 percent. 
Nonetheless, there are several links between Mr Murdoch and BT, who do a
bit more than providing him with some transponders on the ASTRA satellite
system. BT itself is barred from offering video services before 2002 by UK
legislation. Recently, BT tried to offer discounts for telephone customers
who also signed up to BSkyB. Britain's Office of Telecommunications ruled
in October that this promotion violated BT's license. (Sat-ND, 25.10.96.)

Zeroes and Ones
By Grandpa Zheng <http://www.sat-net.com/pck/zheng/>

Internet censorship, part 5966
Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim today announced his country
will be censoring the Internet more comprehensively than others but
declined to give further details. The proposed "cyberlaws" will initially
be introduced in the Multimedia Super Corridor, an area near Kuala Lumpur
set up to attract international multimedia companies.
"The government hopes to table the matter in the present parliament session
or, at the latest, in the March or April sessions," Anwar said at the
opening of an information technology conference.
A government minister recently said the Internet legislation would cover
digital commerce, intellectual property rights and Internet information

Re: Sat-ND, 4.11.96
There was a very stupid error in yesterday's Sat-ND which most of you may
have noticed. If not, read on. 
In order to make the joke work, please replace the word "Iraqi" with
"Kuwaiti" in the following sentence which unfortunately was published:
"Would _Iraqi_ officials be ready to swap that filthy, rotten Western
influence with a double-dose of Saddam Hussein, even though he's still
trying to get his own satellite channel on the air?" 
Thank you very much.

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

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