17.9.1997 Boredom, boredom, boredom!
Is there something to do?
Same as above, high-end version
Chinasat, a division of the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications (MPT) of China, has commenced construction of the first commercial Globalstar gateway in China. Chinasat has also set up the China Telecoms Mobile Satellite Telecommunications company, which will manage all Globalstar operations in China.
The gateway is located at Chinasat's extensive satellite control and telecommunications facility on the outskirts of Beijing, and is the first of three gateways to be built in China. Subsequent gateways will be built shortly thereafter in Guangzhou and Lanzhou. Globalstar expects to serve more than 200,000 subscribers in China by the year 2002. China's telephony penetration rate is currently less than 5 percent.
The gateway is the first of the 36 gateways recently purchased by Globalstar's partners in a US$275 million order placed earlier this year. Four gateways are nearing full completion in Aussaguel, France; Yeoju, South Korea; Dubbo, Australia; and Clifton, Texas, United States. The initial gateways now under contract will provide service coverage to 81 countries, and will develop approximately 75 percent of the projected revenue for Globalstar's services world-wide.
Including China, Globalstar now has service provider agreements in more than 105 countries covering 85% of Globalstar's business plan. The US$2.5 billion Globalstar system, comprised of 48 low-earth-orbiting (LEO) satellites and a global network of 100 ground stations, will allow people around the world to make or receive calls using hand-held, vehicle-mounted and fixed-site terminals. Globalstar will also provide data transmission, paging, facsimile and position location. [But it won't mow your lawn, it won't even fetch a beer from the fridge, so what good is it anyway ;-]
Globalstar is a partnership of the world's leading telecommunications service providers and equipment manufacturers, AirTouch Communications, Alcatel, Alenia, Dacom, Daimler-Benz Aerospace, Elsag Bailey, France Telecom, Hyundai, Loral Space & Communications Ltd., Qualcomm Incorporated, Space Systems/Loral and Vodafone.
Hughes-Avicom International (HAI), a unit of Hughes Electronics Corp., and Turner Non-Theatrical Services, a division of Turner Private Networks Inc. will jointly develop a satellite-broadcast television channel designed specifically for airlines.
Turner is looking to the CNN Airport Network for the channel-programming format and transmission source. The offering will be a bit frugal, as a consequence: a single-channel being developed as a cost-effective alternative to multichannel in-seat video systems. Its content is to meet the unique needs of the airlines, offering news, sports and entertainment segments.
Hughes-Avicom is a leader in the inflight entertainment industry, pioneering direct-broadcast satellite TV for commercial airlines. The Turner and Hughes-Avicom affiliation will provide airlines with proven longevity and track records, Highes-Avicom said in a press statement whatever that means.
Think the last bit was boring? You won't survive this one then.
DirecTV, the United States' leading direct broadcast satellite (DBS) television service, and Delta Air Lines today announced an agreement to include Directv programming in Delta's Crown Room Clubs and international airport lounge locations across the contiguous United States. Major Delta airport hubs include Atlanta, Cincinnati, Dallas, New York and Salt Lake City.
Delta Crown Room Club members will be able to view more than 42 popular cable channels such as Bloomberg Television, CNBC, CNN, C-Span, Discovery Channel, E! Entertainment Television, Headline News, MSNBC, The Weather Channel and up to 24 regional sports networks via the Directv Business Value programming package.
Individual Crown Room memberships, which cost US$300 for the first year and US$200 for each yearly renewal, enable members to enjoy all 48 clubs throughout the United States and Canada. Delta SkyMiles participants also may redeem 30,000 SkyMiles for a one-year membership. [Why don't they offer just the same to anybody who rides 2,000 miles a year on his/her bicycle? Just asking.]
Liberty Media Group ("Liberty"), a unit of U.S. cable monolith Tele-Communications, Inc., announced today that Time Warner, Inc., as expected, has exercised its option to acquire the business of Southern Satellite Systems, Inc. ("Southern".)
Liberty conducts the business of uplinking and distributing TBS Superstation in the US and Canada through Southern. Pursuant to the option, granted June 24, 1997, the consideration for the purchase of the business of Southern will be US$213.3 million in cash or stock as the parties mutually agree, together with the assumption of certain liabilities. The transaction is expected to close on December 31, 1997.
WorldSpace has announced Sud FM from Senegal will be the first francophone African broadcaster to use its AfriStar satellite.
German public television networks have renewed their claims not to be excluded from the country's digital television market.
There were two mistakes in that sentence: digital TV in Germany is almost non-existent from a consumer's point of view, and secondly there won't be a market but more or less a giant cartel. Pubcasters ARD and ZDF are increasingly afraid of finding themselves shut out.
ARD chairman Udo Reiter demanded that the alliance, set up by Deutsche Telekom , media giant Bertelsmann and domestic media mogul Leo Kirch, ensures the public stations' digital access to cable networks by the spring of 1998.
"We call for a legally binding, if necessary litigable, promise from the Telekom-Bertelsmann-Kirch consortium that access will be granted soon," Reiter said. Officials said the public broadcasters had the option of lodging a complaint with the EU Commission or with the German cartel office to press the alliance to meet its demands.
ARD and ZDF want to have a say in the development of the German standard decoder box which is required for digital TV reception over cable lines. To ensure that, the pubcasters demand equal participation in BetaResearch, which is owned by Telekom, Bertelsmann and Kirch and develops the technical standard for digital TV decoders. The main problem is that the pubcasters want to offer an advanced Electronic Programming Guide (EPG) that so far is not completely supported by Nokia's d-box, which probably will become the standard box as it will be used by Bertelsmann and Kirch.
ARD launched its digital TV package last month, offering 30 free digital channels over satellite with almost new content whatsoever so, if Germans don't hold the world record in pay-TV stupidity (Sat-ND, 12./14.9.97,) maybe they can still claim the title in the "redundant channels" competition.
WebTV Networks Inc. has rolled out the second generation of its television-based Internet access service that allows users to view television programming and the Web at the same time even though there's nothing any mentally sane adult would want to do less.
By the way, it won't water your flowers simultaneously, neither will it hoover the carpet or fetch you yet another beer from the fridge, sorry! The Microsoft Corp. subsidiary said it will offer a system dubbed Web TV Plus that integrates a cable-ready TV tuner and a 1.1GB hard drive into its set-top box, providing Internet access via a TV set. The equipment, priced at less than US$300 and slated to be available in the fall, will offer a picture-in-picture display of the Web and TV programming.
To the existing client base, an upgrade will be delivered free this month. When the WebTV Plus Receiver lands in stores, the regular price of around US$300 will be cut for a limited, undefined time period to US$199 by the manufacturers. Additionally, WebTV itself is offering a US$100 rebate; therefore, customers can buy the unit for US$99. Still, users must pay monthly fees of US$19.95 for unlimited access to the WebTV network.
The product introduction marks Microsoft's latest bid at building a business in the interactive television field. In theory, programmers will be able to publish Web sites designed to augment their television shows and to be viewed simultaneously on the WebTV system.
Web TV claims there are 150,000 subscribers but others reportedly estimate the figure to be around 100,000.
What a coincidence! NextLevel Systems Inc. engineers are currently developing a feature that would let high-end service subscribers, guess what, watch TV and surf the Internet at the same time while using a single digital set-top box.
By the way, it won't refuel your car, tidy your room or fetch you the third beer from the fridge, sorry! Provisionally dubbed Watch 'N' Record, the sensational capability will be incorporated into NLS's premium DCT 5000 set-top boxes for yet another US$50.
The base DCT 5000's functionality includes compatibility with Multimedia Cable Network Systems (MCNS) cable modem specifications, including the ability to deliver high-speed data at 27 Mbps. Details may be available at http://www.nlvl.com/, but certainly NOT at http://www.nextlevel.com/
09.97 by Peter C. Klanowski, pck@LyNet.De.
All rights reserved.
For information on how to subscribe or unsubscribe, send Email to Majordomo@tags1.dn.net (not to me, please, and not to any other address) and include the line