Sat-UK-News #252 22.05.98: Sky Boxes revealed

Sat-UK-News Report #252:
- BSkyB Digital unveils plans at CABSAT '98
Friday 22.05.98
Email: dsedghi@TELE-Satellite.com OR dominic@bigrp.demon.co.uk
Sat-UK-Web: http://www.sat-uk.com/
UK Satellite Control: http://www.sat-net.com/uk-satellite/
And now the news:

---------- BSkyB Digital unveils plans at CABSAT '98
(source: UK Satellite Control)
 UK Satellite Control was at Cabsat '98 in London on Monday, where Sky
unveiled its four digital set-top boxes together with a unified remote
control, dishes and Lnb's, taking the UK's first and best digital
broadcasting service a big step towards the consumer launch this autumn.
Drawing on ten years experience in the pay-TV market, Sky has developed
ground-breaking technology which is easy to use, easy to demonstrate and
easy to sell. A development group comprising leading hardware and
software suppliers as well as Sky's in-house digital team has been
working closely together to ensure optimum performance and peak
compatibility from dish to TV screen.
 The first set-top boxes or digiboxes are made by Pace, Panasonic,
Grundig and Amstrad. Beneath their distinctive individual design styles,
the four Digiboxes share a common specification believed to be the most
powerful and technologically advanced of any digital decoders to date. 
This exceptionally high specification has been developed by Sky to
ensure the maximum possible future-proofing as well as to support Sky's
sophisticated yet easy-to -use Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) and to
handle future interactive services. They will be easily
software-upgradable in the future by satellite down-link - a major
advantage in removing potential consumer concerns about obsolescence.
The Digiboxes, which are of similar size to Sky's existing decoders,
feature powerful main microprocessors and MPEG decoders both designs to
meet Sky's unique specification. Dolby Pro-Logic compatible digital
stereo sound will stimulate the home cinema market and increase wider
retail opportunities offered offered by Sky digital satellite.
 UK Manufacturer Channel Master has been approved to supply dishes for
Sky Digital Satellite.  Lenson Heath and other manufacturers are working
on similar designs which are expected to be approved shortly.  At the
Cable and Satellite Show UK Satellite Control saw Channel Master's
elliptical dish which was displayed.  Sky's smallest - ever dish, it
measures less than 40cm vertically by 53cm horizontally. Sky believes
that the discrete size, stylish shape and co-ordinating dark-grey livery
will make the dish a better product than ever before.
 Cambridge has been appointed as an approved supplier of Sky digital
LNB's Grundig and others are to be expected to be approved shortly. The
cambridge LNB was shown to UK Satellite Control at the Cable and
Satellite Show in partnership with the Channel Master dish. Like the LNB
is elliptical: the two manufacturers worked closely together with Sky to
produce products which perfectly complement one another and which
deliver the maximum performance from the smallest dish. 
 Sky's universal remote control will operate all four Digiboxes as well
as the great majority of TV's sold in the UK.  The remote control is
ergonomically design to be as easy to use as possible.  It will give
fast access to all the features of Sky digital satellite including
EPG's, pay per view functions and future interactive services. Equally
friendly to both left and right handed viewers, it features a
colour-coded layout and special cursor control for easy navigation.
Working with Universal electronics and Phillips, Sky as developed a
unique command set to work with all four Digiboxes and has established a
unique code library which makes life easier for manufacturers, retailers
and consumers alike as there is no need to become familiar with a number
of different handsets and operating systems. For instance, this means
that it will be far easier to talk consumers quickly through any problem
which may arise by telephone, thereby reducing no-fault-found calls for
retailers. The fact that the remote control also operates the great
majority of TV's on the UK market increases opportunites for in-store
cross selling of wide-screen and dolby pro-logic TV's, demonstrating how
un-complicated life with Sky digital satellite can be.
 David Gosen, Sky's DTH Marketing and Distribution Director, said the
hardware package now in place should convince dealers of Sky's
commitment to providing the best possible digital service to viewers and
retailers alike: 
   "We have developed state of the art high technology to deliver the 
   very highest quality, performance and reliability.  Yet it's all 
   outstandingly easy to demonstrate, to sell and to use.  As far as the 
   consumer is concerned it's 'high street as well as high tech' - the 
   product looks neat and very stylish and is simple to use.  But they 
   have reassurance of a massive investment, leading-edge technology 
   and co-operation with leading hardware and software partners behind 
   the scenes." 

All contents (C) 1998 Dominic Sedghi, except where indicated. All
rights reserved. Contents may be reproduced providing the following
is included: "Provided by Sat-UK - www.sat-uk.com/".
Information is subject to change and/or may be incorrect.

      CONTACT ME AT dominic@bigrp.demon.co.uk

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