Sat-ND, 16.12.96

Sat-ND 96-12-16 - Satellite and Media News

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Galaxy Latin America (GLA) has announced the launch of another satellite
for its digital television service DirecTV in Latin America. 
GALAXY VIII-I, a Hughes HS 601 HP, will carry 32 Ku-band transponders,
providing a capacity of 238 channels of digitally compressed audio and
video. The transponders will cover the Southern Cone, with 16 carrying
programming mostly in Portuguese. The other 16 will service the Southern
Cone and the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean with programming
mostly in Spanish.. Scheduled for launch in September 1997, it will be
co-positioned with GALAXY III-R (95W.) 
Galaxy III-R was successfully launched in December 1995, and was the first
satellite to bring digital direct-to-home television to Latin America via
DirecTV. Currently, GALAXY III-R provides 24 transponders covering Mexico,
Central, South America and the Caribbean. The transponders on GALXY VIII-I
will be equipped with 118 watts travelling-wave tube amplifiers (TWTAs),
almost twice the power of those aboard GALAXY III-R.
GLA announced it had negotiated an option to continue to simultaneously use
its transponders on Galaxy III-R after the launch of Galaxy VIII-I, which
will be subject to normal regulatory approvals. Therefore, the combined
transponders on both satellites will be able to beam up to 22 transponders
of programming and entertainment services to Mexico.
With both satellites combined, DirecTV will have available 102 channels for
video, 43 for pay-per-view movies and sports, and 27 others reserved for
data and entertainment services being developed today. Additionally, it
will also have the capability to broadcast 66 music channels.
Galaxy Latin America(TM) (GLA) is a multinational strategic partnership
between DIRECTV International, Inc., a Hughes Electronics company;
Venezuela's Cisneros Group of Companies; Brazil's Televisao Abril, and
Mexico's MVS Multivision. The company, based in Nassau, Bahamas, also has
offices in Buenos Aires, Caracas, Fort Lauderdale, Mexico City and Sao

Indonesia buys another satellite
Indonesia's P.T. Pasifik Satelit Nusantara has entered into a contract with
Loral Space & Communications Ltd's Space Systems/Loral unit. The deal calls
for delivery of a high-power satellite as well as the provision of parts
for an optional satellite. It also includes options for five more
The total value of the contract is US$350 million with roughly US$100
million going to France's Alcatel Alstholm, Alcatel Espace will in
association with Space Systems/Loral provide the communication repeater
module for the satellite dubbed Multimedia Asia (M2A.)
The launch is scheduled for 1999 aboard a Russian Proton rocket. Once
positioned at 118E or 134E, M2A will cover China, Indonesia, Japan, South
Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, Australia and the Indian subcontinent.
The satellite will provide telephone services, direct video on demand and
video conferencing services.
Speaking of Indonesia, you should just forget those satellites for a while
and search the Internet for "East Timor", a part of Portugal and hence the
European Union that is occupied by Indonesia (although the EU just doesn't
seem to care.) An introduction is available at

Mystery satellite not ready yet
Russia will have to wait until next year for the first satellite launch
from its Far-Eastern Svobodny cosmodrome. Indeed, the whole story is a bit
strange. The launcher, a modified SS 20 combat missile that was
re-christened Start-1, has been waiting there for three months now to lift
a pretty mysterious satellite into orbit (Sat-ND, 19.11.96.)
Once its name was given as Zeya, but now Russian news agency Itar-Tass
claims it's yet unnamed. Other details given earlier, such as those on the
satellite's mission (navigation, geodesy,) weren't repeated either.
Anyway, the launch that was scheduled for this month was postponed until
next year, simply because the satellite isn't ready yet -- it still has to
undergo some tests, Itar-Tass reported.
Establishing a cosmodrome at Svobodny is one of several moves that are
intended to make Russia's space industry become less dependent on
Kazakhstan's Baikonur launch site. Apart from its favourable geographic
location, Svobodny also has some infrastructure left from the cold war
days, such as launch silos and equipment. Three divisions of the country's
strategic missile forces used to be stationed there in the Soviet era.

Personalized Patent
The blooming digital TV industry in the USA faces its first major legal
challenge. The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has commenced an
investigation of DirecTV, Inc., United States Satellite Broadcasting, Co.
(USSB), Thomson Consumer Electronics, Inc., Hughes Network Systems, Hitachi
Home Electronics, Inc., (America), Toshiba America Consumer Products, Inc.
and Matsushita Electric Corporation.
A company by the name of Personalized Media Communications, L.L.C. (PMC)
claims that set-top boxes imported and/or sold by those companies in the
USA infringe a U.S. patent the PMC owns. The company said it offered to
license its patents to these companies but they were "unresponsive."
PMC also announced it filed a lawsuit charging patent infringement against
DirecTV, USSB and the five named DSS manufacturers in the United States
District Court for the Northern District California San Jose Division.
The Patent in question (No. 5,335,277) covers new technology that allows
end-users to customise the processing of a broadcast signal to exert
greater control over programming content displayed on a television. 

Last merger of the year?
To most readers, it's probably no news that Boeing will take over McDonnell
Douglas in a giant merger worth US$13.3 billion. So, I won't comment on
that -- the deal has its major implications in the aircraft business. But
keep in mind that those formidable Delta rockets will in future be Boeing
products. Boeing is also involved in the SeaLaunch venture that uses
Russian rockets to lift satellites into orbit from a sea-going platform
(Sat-ND, 12.12.96.)
What's remarkable, though, from a statistical point of view: during the
last twelve months seven of the eleven biggest U.S. mergers in history
either were announced or completed, many of them in the broadcasting and/or
telecommunications business. The largest deal was the merger of Bell
Atlantic Corp. with Nynex Corp. (US$22.7 billion.) 
There were also some TV mergers: Time Warner took over Turner Broadcasting,
Westinghouse bought CBS, Disney swallowed ABC. In Europe, similar
tendencies emerged: the announced merger of Luxembourg's CLT and Germany's
Ufa will create the largest European media company, and pay-TV will be
dominated by the joint forces of Canal+ and NetHold.
There were more aerospace mergers, though. Lockheed Martin Corp. purchased
most of Loral Corp. for US$9 billion, Boeing bought most of the defence and
aerospace operations of Rockwell International Corp. for US$3. And besides,
Hughes said it would take over PanAmSat Corp.

News from The Netherlands
By Jitse Groen

Publisher Concentra will sell its 25% share in the Vlaamse (Flemish) Media
Holding to the other VMH-shareholders Roularta and De Persgroep. VMH owns
55% of the shares in the Vlaamse Televisie Maatschappij VTM, followed by
VNU with a 44.3% share.

PTT Telecom, a division of KPN (Royal Dutch PTT) will start offering
subscribers ADSL-connections from the beginning of '97. This involves a
field-test at first, but will spread slowly across the country. ADSL offers
video, telephone and Internet connections at speeds of 50Mb/s. Nevertheless
the effective throughput will be 'only' 2-6 Mb/s, still beating
contemporary 28k8 modems by about a factor 100.

The former head of Euro7, Post, will start a new Dutch station called
Studio Oranje (Studio Orange). Studio Oranje will broadcast during daytime
on a channel 'already on cable, but not occupied during daytime'. Most
likely candidate therefore is TV10. Programming will mainly target specific
audiences. Studio Oranje will (how appropriate) be launched on
Koninginnedag (Queensday) at the end of April. 

Re: Sat-ND, 14.12.96 [AMSC 1 defunct]
Well, it isn't really kaput. The US$135 million law suit against technology
corporation Spar Aerospace, which provided the communications payload of
AMSC 1, claims that the satellite's capacity is cut by about 15 percent. 

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

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