Sat-ND, 30.01.1998 Ashtrays with inscriptions
This service is provided free of charge for personal use. It may be used and redistributed for non-commercial purposes only, provided the following notice is included: © Copyright 1998 by Peter C Klanowski
Further information: http://www.lynet.de/~pck/ or http://www.sat-net.com/pck/
Comments and contributions: pck@LyNet.De
Hit the switch and unsubscribe right now!
This does not work with all browsers. For information on how to do it manually, have a look at the end of this message.
sponsored by TELE-satellite International
More international mailings lists: http://www.sat-net.com/
Looking for a specific channel on satellite? Try http://www.satcodx.com/
Technical questions? Find the answers at http://www.drdish.com/
ZakNet brings Internet to the Philippines
Wherever you thought you spotted a small "l" that should've been a capital "L" in yesterday's issue of this so-called newsletter, there actually was a capital "L." Come on, you're making things up ;-)))
I can remember that time very well: two years ago, everybody was talking about the emerging satellite market in Asia but what goes up must come down. The Asian economy crisis has led to the cancellation of several regional satellite projects and has now started to affect U.S. satellite manufacturers.
Space Systems/Loral (SS/L,) a subsidiary of Loral Space & Communications, will eliminate up to 300 jobs, or approximately 9 percent of its work force of 3,400 employees over the next few months due to the suspension of work on three satellites for two Asian programs. SS/L's current backlog is approximately US$1.8 billion after the de-booking of these projects.
SS/L has been building two high-power satellites for the Asia Broadcasting and Communications Network Public Company, Limited (ABCN) of Bangkok, to provide direct-to-home television services throughout India, Southeast Asia, China and Taiwan. The satellites, known as L-STAR 1 and L-STAR 2, were scheduled to be delivered to ABCN in the 2nd quarter, and the 4th quarter of 1998, respectively.
In addition, SS/L has been building one high-power multimedia satellite for P.T. Pasifik Satelit Nusantara of Jakarta, Indonesia. The satellite, M2A, was scheduled for delivery on orbit in early 1999, and is to provide multimedia and telephony services throughout Asia.
However, Loral chairman Bernard L. Schwartz admitted that the satellites weren't useless but "may be deployed to other customers who will benefit from early delivery." He added that if the satellites were not sold on schedule, SS/L could have a reduction in 1998 revenues of as much as US$400 million.
Mr. Schwartz said that he did not expect the Asian currency crisis to have any impact on Loral's other businesses, including Globalstar, the Loral-led world-wide mobile satellite system.
USELESS FACT: The word 'haywire' is not the legacy of an early and futile experiment in the transmission of electricity.
Satellites pose an increasing problem to radio astronomers, London's Daily Telegraph reported today.
Astronomers have a hard time nowadays. In many areas, the night sky isn't as dark as it used to be. It may sound ridiculous, but in fact street lamps are to blame for that effect to a great extent. In urban areas, it may even be difficult to watch stars with the naked eye.
Radio astronomers have a similar problem: The growing number of satellites creates unwanted background noise that spoils their work. Their difficulties will increase with the planned low-Earth orbit satellite systems such as Iridium. [By the way: the Iridium satellites already in orbit have so far sparked off a number of comet and UFO "sightings".]
The problem for the radio astronomers is that even though some frequency bands, such as the range between 1610 and 1613 MHz, have been reserved for their use satellite systems will use adjacent frequencies. It's a natural law that any kind of transmitter also sends out some unwanted noise on additional frequencies. In this case, they may not interfere with any other commercial space application but nonetheless with the sensitive instruments that are, for instance, used to detect extra-terrestrial life [if there's any, that is.]
Of course, there are regulations, and there are talks. The Daily Telegraph quoted an Iridium spokeswoman as saying "We are working with them [astronomers] to mitigate the possible level of interference." But even that won't solve all problems. Dr John Ponsonby of Jodrell Bank told the paper that "There's one signal we get interference from that no one will own up to. It's been there for years. It's presumably a spy satellite, but it's in a band allocated to radio astronomy."
USELESS FACT: Americans pay over US$30,500 in federal, state, and local taxes every second.
France Telecom has been sentenced to pay FF24.2 million (US$4 million) in damages to Canal France International for a technical glitch that occurred last July and had some grave consequences.
As frequently reported in this so-called newsletter, CFI educational programming on Arabsat was interrupted by some minutes of what the French service of Associated Press chose to call "la diffusion d'un film pornographique." The programme, titled "Club privé au Portugal," was to be broadcast to "la zone Pacifique" where it was shown scrambled on Canal Plus.
A Paris commercial court stated that France Telecom committed "une faute lourde" ("a serious error," as the English service of Agence France Press chose to translate this term.) However, the sum falls short of the FF123 milion CFI wanted in damages for subsequently being kicked off the Arab-owned and operated Arabsat satellite system.
USELESS FACT: The most common injury in ten pin bowling is a sore thumb.
The UK's commercial TV broadcasters are in for a present by the Independent Television Commission (ITC.) The watchdog indicated it might bow to the demand of commercial TV (ITV) companies and reduce the UKP420 million (US$687 million) fee they pay the government for their licences.
Although licenses are valid ten years and don't have to be renewed earlier, the ITC reportedly will start demanding lower license fees as soon as January 1, 1999. ITC chief executive Peter Rogers told a news conference that amid increasing competition from satellite and cable channels, the aggregate value for ITV licences would "probably be less" in real terms.
This could lead to some companies, especially those that paid up to UKP40 million for a license, to seek early renewal. Others such as Scottish Television, owned by Scottish Media Group and Carlton-owned Central, which bid just UKP2,000 for their existing franchises, are expected to go the full ten-year term before applying for a new license.
A cut in the levy could yield millions of pounds in savings for commercial broadcasters such as Granada Group Plc , United News & Media Plc and Carlton Communications Plc -- the big three companies which dominate the ITV network in England and Wales.
USELESS FACT: John Lennon's assassin was carrying a copy of "The Catcher in the Rye" when he shot the famous Beatle in 1980.
Singapore-based Japan Entertainment Television Inc., set up by Sumitomo Corp. and Tokyo Broadcasting System Inc., plans to distribute Japanese television programs in China from April.
By that date, local authorities are expected to approve the project, reports the Nihon Keizai Shimbun.
The company will offer dramas, music and animation, some dubbed in Mandarin, broadcast on PAS-2. It is initially targeting hotels and condominiums for foreign residents, Sumitomo officials said. The company also plans expand to cable television networks in late 1998, as the networks are spreading to major cities including Beijing and Shanghai.
Japan Entertainment Television has been operating a similar service in Taiwan, Thailand and other countries since January 1997.
USELESS FACT: In China, the Big Dipper is known as "the celestial bureaucrat." [Not even Douglas Adams has invented something like that in his books which are otherwise full of rather strange things.]
My favourite news agency reported that there will be something like a TV channel from the Vatican soon.
Well, I don't watch TV nowadays, but I remember from the early years of satellite TV that there already has been a Vatican TV channel, called Telepace, which was [is?] broadcast on some Eutelsat bird.
Anyway, the new channel to be launched on February 9 [my mother's birthday, actually] will be called SAT 2000. What a great idea! What will they call it one 2000 is over? SAT 3000?
The name indicates, anyway, that the new channel will be delivered via satellite and, unlike the international Telepace, be targeted at Italy. So it's more or less the channel the Italian Episcopal Conference has been planning to launch; and indeed, it's the Conference that will finance SAT 3000. Er, 2000. Broadcasting in Italian, the channel will initially offer six hours of programming every day or rather, two hours repeated three times.
All that is done once again to convert the heathen or, as it is called nowadays, to "incite dialogue among both the faithful and non-believers and preach to the non-converted." Okay, keep on dialoguing but leave me out!
USELESS FACT: Artificial forms of birth control are condemned by the catholic church. They recommend as is abstinence instead there's an idea.
Japan's PerfecTV, the country's first DTH satellite service, will probably merge with Rupert Murdoch's Japan Sky Broadcasting on April 1, according to Kyodo News Service.
The companies are likely to merge on an equal basis, which means that the eight major shareholders will hold equal stakes. They are Itochu, Mitsui and Co., Nissho Iwai and Sumitomo (PerfecTV) and Sony, Fuji Television, News Corp. as well as Softbank (JSkyB.) A merger plan is expected to be formally announced in mid-February.
PerfecTV offers 100 channels to about 500,000 subscribers. JSkyB said it would launch its 100-channel service this spring. They will compete against Hughes-backed DirecTV Japan, which started its 90-channel service las t December.
A PerfecTV spokeswoman confirmed the two companies were discussing a merger but haven't reached an agreement yet. An official at JSkyB said the two companies will soon announce whether they've decided to merge.
USELESS FACT: Native speakers of Japanese learn Spanish much more easily than they learn English.
Video game giant Nintendo Co. Ltd and semiconductor manufacturer Kyocera Corp. unveiled a plan to join forces and enter Japan's lucrative satellite broadcasting business in 2000, coinciding with the planned launch of a major digital TV satellite.
As a first step, the companies said they will acquire major equity stakes in Satellite Digital Audio Broadcasting Co Ltd, a domestic company that broadcasts digital music and data programmes and is better known as St. Giga. [Nothing new under the sun. In June 1996, Nintendo planned to set up a satellite-based online service in co-operation with Microsoft, to be distributed by St. Giga cf. Sat-ND, 26./27.6.96. The plan was later cancelled, and Microsoft has not been involved in talks on the new broadcasting project.]
St. Giga is expected to obtain a government license for satellite broadcasting in the latter half of 1998. It doesn't really matter that both Nintendo and Kyocera have no idea what to broadcast, except that (1) it will be digital and (2) not be dominated video-game type programming. Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi told a news conference that he believes "both the format and quality of broadcasting" to change dramatically by 2000. "We will take this into account when discussing the character of our new broadcasting with Kyocera," he stated.
USELESS FACT: The word for "name" in Japanese is "na-ma-e," in Mongolian "nameg."
Alphastar, the ill-fated and bankrupt digital North American TV service, is back... says Egyptian-born Mahmoud Wahba, president of Greenwich, Conn.-based Champion Holding which last December bought the remaining assets of AlphaStar's U.S. operation for US$4.65 million.
According to Wahba, his plans include establishing three subsidiary companies. A broadcasting unit would represent AlphaStar's re-entry into the DBS market. AlphaStar PC Webcasting will provide video, audio, text and data to computers via satellite. Champion also intends to transport signals for intranets, or private networks.
Whether all of that will happen or not: buying the remaining assets of Alphastar, Champion Holding got hold of an uplink facility in Oxford, Connecticut, valued at US$72 million (says Mr Wahba.) "We made a good deal," Wahba said. "But the price is the easy part."
True. Unfortunately the deal did not include Alphastar's satellite capacity on Loral's Telstar 5. In fact, Mr Wahba would have to find some satellite capacity for his ambitious plans. He claims to have regained capacity on a Loral satellite, reaching Puerto Rico, Alaska and Hawai unlike other U.S. DTH services.
While Alphastar had 60,000 subscribers when it went into receivership, the three leaders of digital DTH broadcasting in the U.S. (DirecTV, Primestar and Echostar) have a combined audience of 8.4 million. An additional US$50 million is needed to get AlphaStar up and running again, Wahba said, adding that it requires about 200,000 subscribers to break even.
The former Canadian Alphastar service, by the way, is obviously not affected by all that.
USELESS FACT: An estimated 25 million Americans travel in the nation's 9 million RVs. Over half of likely RV buyers are age 30 to 49.
EchoStar faces increasing opposition from U.S. TV networks that don't want their affiliates' local programming transmitted via satellite in a US$4.99 pay-TV package.
TV stations in Atlanta and Washington D.C., owned and operated by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.'s Fox Network, have reportedly refused to carry advertising for EchoStar's new local TV station package.
While the U.S. broadcasting industry generally supports satellite distribution of all local TV stations, it is concerned with EchoStar's plan to offer a limited package of local TV channels. Of course offering all local channels simply is not feasible, even when using digital compression in order to squeeze eight channels ot so onto a single satellite transponder.
Besides, there are other reasons for Fox to refuse EchoStar commercials. Fox's parent company News Corp. still holds a grudge over its failed effort last year to merge its American Sky Broadcasting DBS venture with EchoStar's assets. [Instead, Mr Murdoch had to sell his assets to the cable guys, i.e. PrimeStar, in exchange for non-voting stocks. Quite humiliating.]
EchoStar has argued that federal law allows it to deliver local channels as long as the customer can't receive a clear signal from the same stations. [Other companies have tried that before using analogue broadcasts. Their efforts haven't been quite successful so far.]
Echostar's move to deliver local channels has sparked an inquiry by the U.S. Copyright Office which was expected to begin work on a rulemaking this week. A final ruling is expected no earlier than next March. This is, however, different from the question whether EchoStar has to offer all available local channels on satellite this has to be decided by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.
USELESS FACT: About 70 percent of all living organisms in the world are bacteria..
European satellite organisation Eutelsat and Hungarian domestic broadcaster Antenna Hungaria said they would launch Central Europe's first satellite-based Internet service this spring.
The service, which should be available in March or April, would greatly speed data flow to users over high speed channels available from Eutelsat's "Hot Bird" satellites and is aimed primarily at corporate clients, officials said. [Quite ridiculous, of course. Did you notice that transmission rates on the Internet depend on many factors but usually not on your access provider?]
And of course, Hungarians still needs a regular telephone line (and a common Internet access provider) to select the data desired. Download via satellite will be, in theory, at up to two megabytes per second, about 40 times faster than the conventional Internet. Neither Eutelsat nor any other company in the world can, however, guarantee that speed. It's just the maximum speed that may or may not be encountered while surfing the 'net.
Jean Grenier, Eutelsat's director general, told a news conference that "setting up of a digital platform with Antenna Hungaria, the first in central Europe, is a key step towards establishing multiple gateways to our satellites so that business and the general public can receive digital content via the television set and, or, the personal computer."
Officials did not disclose all financial details of the deal, claiming some information was confidential for competitive reasons. Gyula Szabo, Antenna Hungaria's deputy director general for technical affairs, said the Hungarian company had purchased a ground station for about US$2 million [huh?!?!] and overall investment would be about one billion forints [US$5 million.] Very cheap indeed.
Antenna Hungaria officials said they hoped to attract customers in neighbouring countries as well. The Hot Bird satellite footprint in theory reaches potential customers throughout Europe and North Africa. However, capacity on Eutelsat satellites is already being used by similar ventures in other European countries.
USELESS FACT: The stress in Hungarian words always falls on the first syllable.
More Internet via satellite. Kuwait's ZakNet has launched a satellite-based Internet service in the Phillipines, offering transmission rates of up to 800 kbps in theory, again.
It's another one-way service that requires a conventional Internet access provider for transmitting requests to the Internet. The response will be transmitted via Asiasat 2, a satellite that covers 53 countries in the Middle East, Asia, East Africa, Eastern Europe, and part of Australia.
Anyway, users of this service will mostly be found in companies as the minimum equipment consists nt only of an Internet account with a local provider and a 28.8kbps modem but also of a 90 centimeter to 2.4 meter satellite dish (depending on location), a PC with a 32-bit PCI Bus slot (a 120-MHz Pentium µP will do) with a minimum of 16 megabytes RAM and 20MB free hard drive space.
USELESS FACT: The yo-yo originated in the Philippines, where it was used as a weapon in hunting. Other sources claim yo-yos were used as weapons by warriors in the Philippines in the 16th century.
To unsubscribe, send Email to Majordomo@tags1.dn.net (not to me, please, and not to any other address) and include the line
in the body of your message. If that does not work, append your email address, e.g.
unsubscribe sat-nd firstname.lastname@example.org
Or have a look at