TS News - Malaysia To Launch Digital TV

TELE-satellit News, 29 September 1996

Malaysia To Launch Digital TV
  KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, 96/09/29 (SatND) -- Malaysia's MEASAT 1 (91.5E,)
launched last January, will offer a digital radio and TV service as from
next month, officials said during a somewhat premature launch ceremony last

  Twenty two digitally compressed TV channels will be offered alongside
eight radio channels, all of them receivable with a 60cm dish. "It will be
the most advanced television system in Asia," promised MEASAT's chief
operating officer Paul Edwards.

  Speaking at the launch, Information Minister Mohamad Rahmat said the
government will introduce amendments to the Broadcast Act in parliament next
month to legalise the use of parabolic dishes and decoders for ASTRO, as the
service will be known. "Inevitably, we will open our sky, but just a little,
with the use of a specific satellite dish approved by the ministry," Mohamed

  Malaysia earlier banned the use of satellite dishes to keep its airwaves
clear of sex, violence and -- above all? -- unwanted news.

  Subscribers will have to pay 80 ringgit (US$32) per month in addition to
estimated installations costs of 1,500 ringgit (US$600.) They will receive
Malay, Chinese and Tamil language channels. Hong Kong's TVB will supply
programmes for the Chinese channel, and India's state-run Doordarshan will
provide Indian-language programming. MEASAT will produce own programming at
its "All-Asia Broadcast Centre" near Kuala Lumpur which the company
describes as "the world's largest all-digital broadcast and production centre."

  There's also going to be a lot of foreign programming, including news and
business channels such as CNN International, NBC, CNBC, and Asia Business
News. Star Sports, Star Movies, Star Plus, ESPN, HBO, MGM Gold, Disney
Channel, Cartoon Network, and the Discovery Channel will provide sports and
entertainment programming.

  By 1997, MEASAT hopes launch MEASAT 2 while extending its subscriber base
to other countries in its footprint, i.e. India, Indonesia, Taiwan, the
Philippines and eastern Australia. In 1998, MEASAT 3 will be launched --
according to Paul Edwards, a satellite much larger than its predecessors
with the capacity "to deliver hundreds of channels to niche markets around
the world."

  By: Peter Klanowski

(c)TELE-satellit 1996. All rights reserved.

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