TS News - Spanish Digital Decoder Battles Begins

TELE-satellit News, 1 February 1997

Spanish Digital Decoder Battles Begins
  MADRID, Spain, 97/02/01 (SatND) -- The first digital TV service for Spain
launched yesterday, using the Astra satellite system, despite efforts by
the government to introduce a common decoder standard.

  CanalSatelite Digital (CSD,) controlled by Sogecable, which comprises
Promotora de Informaciones (PRISA,) Canal Plus and Antena 3, started their
service; claiming its decoder standard is both legal and compatible in the
European Union. We all know what that means: those boxes work with the
package it was designed for. Should it receive anything else, it is just a
malfunction that will be rectified by the next software update that is
distributed via

  The Spanish government favours a different platform to be offered by
de Espana, in which the state holds a 20.9 percent stake (that will later
be privatised.) It will be available maybe in April, maybe in November;
anyway not on Astra but on the Spanish satellite system Hispasat.

  Other backers include Radio and Television of Spain (RTVE), Mexican Grupo
Televisa, as well as various regional channels and editorial groups.
Earlier, Antena 3 had defected from the consortium -- a bitter loss as this
channel holds what seems to be crucial for any European pay-TV service's
success: football rights.

  The Development Ministry claims that a universal standard is necessary in
order to protect viewer's rights. The government was expected to approve
new legislation today that, in effect, would turn the Canalsatellite
decoders already ordered from Philips and Sony "into scrap," a government
source said. Canalsatellite plans to bring up the affair before the
European Commission.

  By: Peter Klanowski
  Source: Sat-ND

(c)TELE-satellit 1997. All rights reserved.

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