Sat-ND, 14.3.97

Sat-ND 97-03-14 - Online magazine for Quantum Theory and Soft Porn

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April 12 has reportedly been confirmed by Arianespace as the launch
date for THAICOM 3. An identical satellite, THAICOM 4, is expected to
be launched early next year -- or even within six months in case
something goes wrong with THAICOM 3. 
THAICOM 3 will be located at 78.5E and replace THAICOM 2, which will
be moved to 120E. The satellite operator, Shinawatra Satellite Plc.
of Thailand, hopes to expand its business beyond the borders of its
country. So far, just ten percent of the THAICOM capacity were used
by foreign companies. The half of THAICOM 3's transponders, however,
will be used by customers from outside Thailand.
It is yet unknown whether THAICOM reception in the C-band will remain
possible in parts of Europe; a side-effect that according to earlier
Shinawatra statements was by no means unintentional. (In fact, it
seems to have sparked off the pay-TV channel Thaiwave in Europe.)
DXers will have to wait and see: THAICOM 2 moves to a position that
is invisible from Europe. THAICOM 1 will stay at 78.5E but be used
for telecommunications purposes. Television broadcasts will mainly be

U.S. telecommunications giant AT&T has completed the sale of its
Skynet Satellite Services to Loral Space & Communications. However,
AT&T couldn't cash in US$712.5 million as expected. The sudden death
of AT&T's TELSTAR 401 last January will bring the company insurance
proceeds of US$132 million, but that doesn't compensate for much
lower sum AT&T received for its remaining TELSTARs: just US$478.1
Loral Space said it expects to expand Skynet into an international(!)
network of geostationary satellites which will connect with other
networks to provide seamless, multimedia accessibility to the
information highway. What else.
However, the money may make AT&T the world's number 1
telecommunications company again. As far as the company value is
concerned, AT&T was overtaken by Deutsche Telekom whose stocks surged
in the last days.

AlphaStar Canada president David Lewis said that the combined U.S.
and Canadian services of the digital TV venture needed just a total
of half a million subscribers to break even. On the other hand, they
have almost nothing right now -- 40,000 subscribers in the U.S., a
license for a Canadian service, and a few transponders on AT&... er,
no, Loral's TELSTAR 402R. 
Lewis said that keeping the costs down included an approach different
from that of most of its U.S. competitors. AlphaStar bought neither
satellites nor satellite slots, and besides, the company's parent
Tee-Comm Electronics Inc. is manufacturing the set-top boxes that are
necessary to receive the service. 
Next July, AlphaStar is to move to TELSTAR 5, thus doubling its
channel capacity to 150. Instead of offering what all the others
offer, too, AlphaStar will pursue niche markets, providing speciality
language and other programming to ethnic groups and businesses such
as hotels.
There is "quite a line of credit" availble to AlphaStar, but Lewis
indicated that the venture will need some additional funding within
the next six months.

Scientists have warned that temperature measurements carried out by
satellites don't say too much about global warming on a long-term
scale. The problems seems to be caused by so-called Microwave Sounder
Units (MSUs) which are used to monitor temperatures from space. While
data provided by any single of those units are undisputedly
consistent, it seems that different MSUs produce different results.
This causes a problem as the usual lifetime of the satellites
involved lasts ten years.
In the latest issue of the science magazine Nature, James Hurrell and
Kevin Trenberth from the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric
Research examine some discrepancies between data supplied by surface
instruments and those that come back from satellites.
As to the satellite data, some major changes in the measured
temperature coincided with satellite changes in 1981 and 1991. Of
course, that does not disqualify satellite-based temperature
measurements on a year-to-year basis. The scientists cautioned
against long-term satellite measurements, stressing that both
satellite and ground sets are needed to interpret the mysteries of
global climate.
* German pun, roughly saying that no measurement can be exact. Seems
to be somehow connected to Heisenberg's uncertainty principle in a
way. Sorry for that. Just read on -- instead of Quantum Theory,
there's some porn to come! Eek!

A soft porn channel seems to have become a political issue in
Australia. "We find the moves by members of the federal parliament to
ban Nightmoves totally objectionable and we are prepared to take the
matter to the High Court," said Peter Rose, head of programming at
pay-TV channel Galaxy. Parliament members have proposed a ban on all
R-rated material on pay-TV. Rose announced the company would take the
federal government to the national High Court should it plan to ban
Galaxy's soft porn channel 'Nightmoves.'
He insisted that Galaxy had "gained all the necessary approvals from
the government and its various departments and statutory authorities
for Nightmoves, as well as imposing strict self-censorship on the
material we screen.
"It is ridiculous that consenting adults can not watch adult
entertainment at restricted hours of the day, while also requiring a
special pin number to access the program," he said. There have been
no complaints so far "apart from those who want more explicit
action." According to Rose, Nightmoves has 12,000 subscribers, the
majority of which were women. Currently, the channel is available to
subscribers from 10.45 p.m. to 4 a.m. local time.

It has been announced for quite a few years now, but from April 15,
EuroNews will take up broadcasts in Arabic on a separate satellite
sound carrier. The pan-European news channel, which reaches 38
countries, already offers English, German, French, Italian and
Spanish soundtracks.
The announcement was made by the channel's president Jose Vila
Abello, who also told reporters that EuroNews will record a loss of
FFr30 million in 1997. He still hopes to increase the channel's
revenues from commercials in order break even in 1999. 
EuroNews is owned by 17 members of the European Broadcasting Union
who control a 51 percent stake. 49 percent are held by France's still
state-owned Alcatel-Alstholm, which has announced to sell its stake.

Here are some more answers to the question 'Who watches what in
Poland?' Thank you very much, Piotr and Irek.

"We have got three terrestrial channels available in all of Poland:
TVP1, TVP2 and Polsat. There is a network of regional TVP stations
with high transmitters power (as TVP Krakowia). Canal+ Polska has got
about 14 low power transmitters in large cities (all 1kW). TV Wisla
is a private regional broadcaster and covers south of Poland (with
low power transmitters). There also is a large number of local
private TV stations, for example TeDe TV in Wroclaw, they usually use
one or two low power transmitters placed in large cities. 
"A few weeks ago our broadcasting council KRRiTV announced two more
regional licences for private TV channels. It will be NTV for north
of Poland and Nasza Telewizja for the central region. All regional
networks will collaborate to compete with Polsat which, with its
second channel, is going to dominate the market.
"The strong contenders on satellite are RTL7, Polsat, Polsat2, Canal+
and TV Polonia (owned by TVP.) There also is Italian Polonia 1, but
you might just as well forget about it. Rai UNO is available only in
Krakow (it's something like BBC World in Berlin)."
(Piotr Jasniewicz)
[By the way: not only is Polonia 1 Italian; RTL7 is actually a
Luxembourg-based channel. Canal+ Polska surely is at least dominated
by the French pay-TV company Canal+. -- Ed.]

"Big exaggeration: Rai UNO is NOT available in all of Poland! It is
available only in Krakow via a small transmitter. The main purpose of
the transmission is to broadcast Pope Sunday speeches to the city
from which he jumped to Rome. "
(Irek Defee)
[Shouldn't they be rebroadcasting TelePace instead, or whatever that
Vatican channel is called? They can get it directly from the horse's
mouth there ;-) -- Ed.]

Long time ago, MTV was a part of Rupert Murdoch's Asian venture Star
TV. The Viacom channel got kicked out, not for political reasons like
the BBC, but just because Mr Murdoch thought he could do it cheaper
himself. The result was Channel V. Soon, both channels will fight it
out in Australia.
MTV has announced to launch an Australian channel by the end of March
while Channel V will take over the music channel Red. That fits
nicely into the Australian pay-TV landscape as MTV Australia will be
available on Optus Vision's cable system (from March) as well as on
its satellite distribution systems (from July.) 
Red will become 'Channel V Australia' in July, carried by Galaxy's
competitor Foxtel, but also by Galaxy, Austar and East Coast
Mr Murdoch's Star TV owns 50 percent of Channel V. Record companies
Bertelsmann AG, Thorn EMI Plc., Sony Corp. and Time Warner Inc. hold
the rest. (Not too different from the line-up of the successful
German music channel Viva, by the way. Quite a convenient way to
promote their own records, i'n't it?)
"Channel V is one of the most exciting and fastest growing TV brands
in the world, with 260 million viewers and six years broadcasting
experience in Asia," Sony music CEO Denis Handlin said at a press
conference. However, it was just three years ago that Channel V
replaced MTV in Mr Murdoch's Star TV package. But never mind the
"We really need [Channel V] in this industry because the real goal is
to break artists locally and explode them globally," Handlin said.
Channel V currently offers for different versions of programming for
Asian markets. Australia would be Channel V's first move to conquer
Western territory. 
Channel V General Manager Don Atyeo said the launch of Channel V just
weeks before the re-launch of MTV in Australia was a coincidence,
pointing out that Channel V had three times the viewers at their
launch than their competitor. 

Copyright 1997 by Peter C. Klanowski, pck@LyNet.De. All rights

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