Sat-ND, 21.11.96 (the real one)

Sat-ND 96-11-21 - 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/ <<

Sorry once again, I screwed it all up. Email subscribers got a completely
obsolete issue of Sat-ND today. This is completely my fault, really. Here's
what's really should have been sent. Pardon me for being an idiot. -- PC 


Hot Bird 2 finally up
Whoever watched Euronews this evening may have had some fun (or simply fell
asleep.) Anyway, he or she did not see the launch of an Atlas 2A carrier
rocket with Hot Bird 2 on board. The rocket blasted off at 3.47 pm EST
(2047 UTC) from pad 36B at Cape Canaveral Air Station. 27 minutes later,
Hot Bird 2 separated from the rocket to enter its geostationary transfer
It will be the third satellite to be positioned at 13 East, joining Hot
Bird 1 and EUTELSAT II-F1, and the first EUTELSAT satellite to operate in
the DBS band (11.7-12.5 GHz). Launches for Hot Birds 3 and 4 are expected
in 1997. In 1998, Hot Bird 5 will eventually replace EUTELSAT II-F1. 
Hot Bird 2 is the first of four television satellites to be supplied to
EUTELSAT by Matra Marconi Space. Equipped with 20 high-power transponders
(120 watt output power) and with a life expectancy of 15 years, it will
provide coverage of the entire European continent and North Africa as well
as the Middle East as far as the Gulf States. Transponders can be switched
separately from Superbeam to Widebeam according to client requirements. It
is expected to be used primarily for digital TV services whilst up to five
transponders may be used for analogue transmission.

Chile today demanded an explanation why a Russian Mars probe didn't land on
Mars but on the Earth instead, just about 720 nautical miles from Chile's
Easter Island. "The Russian authorities have an information policy that we,
at least, don't completely understand," Chile's defence minister Edmundo
Perez Yoma told reporters. Reportedly, the country's authorities were
completely unaware of the fact that MARS 96 crashed in the Pacific Ocean
last Sunday because nobody warned them. 
Well, the Russians obviously couldn't do it. In fact, as soon as they lost
contact with the probe they asked the United States for help. Their experts
expected the probe to come down somewhere over Australia -- luckily, it
didn't. Reportedly, U.S. president Clinton even phoned Australia's Prime
Minister John Howard to discuss the problem.
The probe's plutonium canisters that now probably rest at the ground of the
Pacific Ocean are designed to withstand the pressure that is exerted on
them by the water. Chilean officials pointed out that any radiation set
free during the accident would be negligible in comparison to that released
by French atomic tests in the South Pacific last year.

Chinese Television System Corp. of Taiwan will use PAS 2 (169E) to
transmit news feeds from within Taiwan, Northeast Asia and the western U.S.
to its studios in Taipei. The feed capacity is expected to be used from

Respite for Radio 101
The Croatian media council has revoked its decision to effectively shut
down the independent radio station Radio 101 by the end of November. 101's
frequency will, however, be subject to another licensing procedure. In
effect, Radio 101 will be able to continue its broadcasts for the time
being, a spokesman for the media council said on Croatian state radio
tonight. It is yet unknown whether Radio 101 may re-apply for the new
The attempt to shut down the popular commercial station for an alleged
"lack of objectivity" had sparked protests in Zagreb and led to
international concerns about the freedom of speech in Croatia.

Digital TV still no success in Germany
Company officials of Germany's first and so far only digital TV service DF1
today admitted they won't reach their original goal of attracting 200,000
subscribers until the end of 1996. Up to know, just a tenth of this figure
has been reached. Actually, not even that. 20,000 people have bought or
ordered the decoder called d-box, but that doesn't mean they would
automatically subscribe to DF1. (As reported, the box can also be used to
watch digital SCPC feeds, for example.)
Company spokesman Gottfried Zmeck mainly blamed Deutsche Telekom that so
far refused to carry DF1 on its nation-wide cable network. Negotiations
continue even though the channels reserved for DF1 on cable will probably
not offer enough space to carry the whole package. Zmeck repeated earlier
predictions that forecast 3 million subscribers until 2000. To exploit the
seasonal business, DF1 will pump DM12 million (US$8 million) into an
advertising campaign that will run until Christmas.

News from The Netherlands
By Jitse Groen

Access or excess?
XS Radio, a new fully interactive Dutch radio station, started off
yesterday. XS Radio allows the listener to pick his or her own broadcast,
ranging from satellite information (the first issue is about the Astra
system) to information for the visually impaired. One can also call up
back-ground information or request some by snail-mail. 
users are asked for their postal-code and home number. Obviously, this is
meant for distributing commercial mail, but XS Radio has made it clear that
it will not mix up commercial and editorial information. On the other hand,
this is not the whole truth. An item on cars, for instance, has a lot of
Korean words in it -- mainly "Daewoo", which of course has its own link on
the very same page. 
XS Radio uses real-audio with speeds up to ISDN. Other stations in the
Netherlands broadcasting on the Internet are Radio Noordzee Nationaal and
Arrow Classic Rock, the newest Dutch radio station. These two however, aim
mainly at cable listeners opposed to XS Radio.

That sport channel again
* According to researchers from the Erasmus University in Rotterdam, Sport7
is a victim of 'mass hysteria'. A negative atmosphere has been created
around Sport7 by the media, and has (apparently) been adopted by the
masses. 2100 people were called, and 89% of them believed they would be
better off when Studio Sport of the NOS still had the rights. Only 5% feel
they're better served with Sport7.
* The public broadcaster NOS has secured television rights for the
Champions League for 1997 through 2000. NOS holds these rights at the
moment as well. Sport7 also tried to get them, because these rights could
be crucial in their fight to get paid by the individual cable viewer. They
already delayed their plans for two years with regard to these payment. It
remains unclear how much NOS has paid for the moment.

MTV for free
MTV won't ask money from Dutch cable operators any more. Since MTV began
asking for a fee per customer, a lot of cable companies have dropped MTV in
favour for Dutch music channel TMF-9. MTV is now hoping to get those
customers back, but this hope is probably in vain, since room on cable is
scarce and TMF is favoured by the Dutch audience. According to MTV they
'have realised that the situation in the Netherlands is different from the
rest of Europe'. This is of course the case, since 93% of all households
are cabled and these systems have been primarily been introduced by the
government, keeping prices low (around 18 guilders on average). Still, the
influence of the government in these cases is large, making chances for
accepted pay-TV of radio in The Netherlands very slim.

New plans for Radio 3
Radio 3 will probably split up in three separate channels: one for dance
music, one for experimental music. The third one has yet to be defined but
will probably be used for traffic information and contemporary music. Radio
3 is trying to hit back after their losses to commercial stations since
those stations were allowed air-frequencies. This is more or less starting
to work, the 3FM losses have now stabilised. Radio 3 thinks it has more
chances for the air-frequency action in April '97 by introducing this plan.
A bit strange, since Radio 3 probably will not have to give up their old

Endemol sells shares to Endemol
Endemol has sold its shares to... their owners John de Mol and Joop van den
Ende. The two bought it for 20,7 million guilders, while also taking over a
bank guarantee of 39 million. The reason for the shares being sold is that
the new Endemol-fund couldn't take the risk it had in 19,5% of the Sport7
shares. Endemol shares had already come down dramatically, after a very
good initial public offer only weeks ago.

Multichoice decoder sales
Dutch news agency ANP reports that MultiChoice has now sold 50,000 digital

Zeroes and Ones -- No-nonsense edition
By Grandpa Zheng <http://www.sat-net.com/pck/zheng/>

Internet tax?
The U.S. Treasury department rejected plans for an Internet tax that would
have affected electronic commerce. Even though the electronic raised many
new questions, it should not be treated different than any regular
commerce, the Treasury said. In a paper issued today, the Treasury
nonetheless warns that some definitions may need to be reworked for
electronic commerce as the Internet has effectively eliminated national
borders for the trading of many services.

UUNet buys EUNet
U.S. telecommunications company UUnet Technologies takes over German
Internet Service Provider (ISP) EUnet which started back in 1982 as a
project at the University of Dortmund. Ten years later, it was transferred
to a commercial company in which UUNet took a 40 percent stake last spring.
Now, UUNet will pay US$12 million to take over the remaining 60 percent
from German companies.
EUNet is known in Germany for fast but relatively expensive Internet access
services. It has expanded to some East European countries since. UUNet is
partly owned by Microsoft Corp. and provides the company's online service
MSN with some infrastructure. Last April, the company announced its merger
with the ISP MFS Communications Company, creating a company with revenues
of some US$1 billion, 50,000 company customers in North America, Europe and
Asia as well as nearly 600 access nodes.

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

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