Sat-UK-News #256 26.05.98: W1 Info, Sky Digital Info

Sat-UK-News Report #256:
- More info on W1
- Information on Sky Digital
- Sky Digital gears up
- TV3 Reception Report
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:

---------- More info on W1
 As reported yesterday, Eutelsat's latest satellite, W1, has been
damaged in a fire and the launch has subsequently been delayed. Rumours
were exaggerated, however - the satellite is still operational and will
be launched, hopefully, in August of this year. It appears at thought
the extent of the damage, caused by a fire at Aerospatiale's satellite
facilities centre in Cannes, is a bit of soot and charred edges.
According to Eutelsat, W2 will not be used to cover for W1 and will
proceed to 16 east as pre-planned. This problem also causes a set-back
for the launch of Sirius 3, which was to be the second payload of the W1

---------- Information on Sky Digital
(source: Sat-Digital-UK- by Chris Muriel)
 Sky had an impressive-looking auditorium running a video to announce
the great   opportunities to the retailer with "Britain's first & best
digital tv service". It was exactly the same video & announcement that
Sky showed at another show one month previously! No specific timescales
were given.Details given (& also in their handouts) were :-
 - Sky Movie Multiplexing -5 movies starting every hour.
 - Sky Box Office -blockbuster movies,sport & entertainment events.
 - Sky Music Choice Channels -up to 50 channels of digital quality
 - Existing New & Free-to-Air channels - existing analogue line-up,new
ones & up to 15 FTA.
 - Interactive Services -access to home-shopping, banking & information
 - Electronic Programme Guide - "putting the viewer in control".
 Elsewhere it briefly mentions email & games. There's a mock up of the
new elliptically shaped black mesh dish - less than 40cm in height.I
also saw a Pace & a Grundig receiver -both marked "Sky digibox". The LNB
was from Cambridge. The Pace receiver has 2 card slots-1 for the dig
smartcard (NDC Videoguard) & one for a Mondex smart bank-card. There's a
description of the Pace receiver in the May 1998 Cable & Satellite
Europe magazine.This confirms that the video encoder includes
Macrovision 7.01 for all composite & RGB output signals.Symbol rates
covered are 20-30 Megasymbols/second.Also included is   16:9
(widescreen) aspect ratio support,an RS-232 interface,a V32 (with
V42bis) modem and 2 scart sockets -although Sky's own specification only
calls for one. 1 intended use of the RS-232 port is to download games to
a PC directly from BSkyB. AN IEEE 1394 (firewire) port could allow
connection to DVD players.There are 2 RF outputs & 4 MBytes each of
flash RAM & SDram.
 Subscription charges are said to be "broadly in line with analogue" &
dealers are supposed to have Sky digital equipment to sell "in good time
for the start of the peak sales season" when their "massive consumer
advertising & promotional campaign begins in early autumn". At 1 point
the English ex-cricketer Ian Botham appeared as a special guest on the
Sky stand. How boring! (for me at least); now if only they'd got Madonna
or even those nice ladies from the Playboy Channel!!! My own opinion is
that the whole pitch comes across as vague. I don't see that Sky have
much alternative until they sort out their differences with BDB (digital
terrestrial) over inter-operability of EPG & CA systems.

---------- Sky Digital gears up
 And, in order to prepare for next month's launch, channels have begun
transmitting in earnest in Sky Digital. Fully encrypted and up and
running are Sky One, Sky Movies 1 & 2, Sky News and Sky Sports 1, all on
11.837 H (don't shoot me if that freq.'s wrong!)

---------- TV3 Reception Report
"I'm getting TV3 loud and clear here in SE England, who needs 1.8M?"
1.2M Echostar offset dish
0.8 dB Grundig Universal
Echostar lt 8700

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.

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