Satellite Journal Weekly 503
Date: Mon, 20 Jan 1997 07:12:38 -0500
From email@example.com Mon Jan 20 07: 14:31 1997
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AT&T Declares Telstar 401 Out of Service
AT&T has been unsuccessful in attempting to re-
establish contact with Telstar 401 and has declared the
satellite permanently out of service. The satellite's
telemetry and communications abruptly stopped early last
`'It's stable in its orbit,'' Mike Granieri, the AT&T
spokesman, said. `'We know where it is.'' But it is out of
commission and nobody knows why or what to do about it. `'
We've come to the conclusion that we're not going to be able
to re-establish communication,'' Granieri said. `'There is a
possibility that it might never come back.''
AT&T is continuing to negotiate agreements with other
companies and re-establish Ku-Band services on Telstar 402R
to provide transponder capacity for customers still without
service, which include program syndicators, transponder
resellers and distance learning customers.
One of these customers is SpectraVision, a Richardson,
Texas-based subsidiary of On Command Corporation. The
satellite was being used to provide a portion of
SpectraVision's pay-per-view movie service to approximately
980 hotels nation-wide.
On Command has informed the hotels and related
management companies of the outage and of the steps it is
taking to restore service. Of the affected hotels,
approximately 40 percent also have Guest Choice on-demand
movies which do not rely upon satellite transmission.
Traditional cable channels and off-air broadcast channels
were similarly unaffected. On Command and SpectraVision
provide entertainment and information services to
approximately 2,100 other hotels which are not dependent
upon satellite service. The Telstar 401 satellite service
is supplied to SpectraVision through an arrangement with
Electronic Data Systems Corporation.
AT&T will petition the FCC to move Telstar 302 to
Telstar 401's orbital slot at 97 degrees west longitude to
provide temporary transponder capacity for customers.
Telstar 5, which is under construction by Space
Systems/Loral, is scheduled to be launched in May, and will
be the permanent replacement for Telstar 302 at 97 degrees
west longitude, subject to FCC approval.
On Telstar 5, C-band transponders will be used by
commercial broadcasters and syndicators while Ku-band
transponders will be used for direct-to-home broadcasting.
AT&T plans to re-establish public broadcasting, distance
learning, and satellite news gathering services on Telstar
402R Ku-band as soon as possible, in conjunction with the
start of service on Telstar 5.
AT&T is working closely with Lockheed Martin, the
manufacturer of Telstar 401. AT&T has established a joint
technical review board with Lockheed Martin to determine the
root cause of the problem.
On September 25, 1996, AT&T agreed to sell AT&T Skynet
Satellite Services to Loral Space & Communications. Both
companies remain committed to the transaction and are
holding discussions on the terms of the sale. The companies
will issue statements detailing the results of the
discussions upon their completion.
"Loral fully supports AT&T's swift and dedicated
efforts to make out-of-service Telstar 401 customers its top
priority," said Bernard L. Schwartz, chairman and chief
executive officer of Loral. "We have every intention of
proceeding with the transaction to purchase Skynet and will
continue to work constructively with AT&T to resolve all
Telstar 401 was launched in December, 1993 and began
providing satellite services to a variety of customers in
CRTC Public Hearing
The Commission will hold a public hearing commencing on
17 March 1997, at
the Conference Centre, Phase IV, 140 Promenade du Portage,
Hull, Quebec, to
consider the following:
Application (199614459) by ELECTRONIC DIGITAL
DELIVERY INC. for a broadcasting licence to carry on a
national English- and French-language pay television
programming undertaking providing a digital video-on-demand
service to be distributed by satellite. The service will
provide new feature films, classic and foreign films as well
as non-theatrical programming.
Application (199614441) by THE PARTNERS OF VIEWER'S
CHOICE CANADA, a general partnership, for a broadcasting
licence to carry on a national English-language pay
television programming undertaking providing a video-on-
demand service to be distributed by a combination of
satellite and terrestrial distribution. The service would
provide movies, special events, series, educational, news
and current affairs programming.
Application (199614996) by ALLARCOM PAY TELEVISION LTD.
for a broadcasting licence to carry on a national English-
and French-language pay television programming undertaking
providing a digital video-on-demand service to be
distributed by a combination of satellite and terrestrial
distribution. The service will consist of information and
entertainment programming including, but not limited to,
recently-released feature films.
Application (199614467) by ALLIANCE COMMUNICATIONS
CORPORATION and SHAW COMMUNICATIONS INC. on behalf of a
general partnership, for a broadcasting licence to carry on
a national English- and French language pay television
programming undertaking providing a digital video-on-demand
service to be distributed by a combination of satellite and
terrestrial distribution. The programming offered by the
service will consist of new and classic feature films,
children's programming, taped musical concerts, educational
programming with a focus on courseware and taped sporting
Application (199614475) by THE PARTNERS OF CANAL
INDIGO, a general partnership, operating as Canal Indigo
S.E.N.C., for a broadcasting licence to carry on a national
French-language pay television programming undertaking
providing a video-on-demand service to be distributed by
fibre optic link to broadcasting distribution undertakings.
The service will provide first-run or archive feature films,
special events, drama series, educational programs and other
Turkish broadcaster ATV has placed an order for two of
DMV's compact Digital Satellite News Gathering (DSNG) Codec
systems. Designed specifically for satellite news gathering
applications, the DSNG Codec offers broadcasters a complete
MPEG-2/DVB digital compression system for remote
ATV will use the two systems in remote news gathering
situations across Turkey. Commenting on the purchase, Samih
Kaya, technical director of ATV said., "Broadcasting across
a country as large as Turkey creates a need for compact and
versatile DSNG systems that enable us to move quickly to get
to a local story in time. It is impractical and uneconomical
for us to have permanent uplinking facilities in every
region of the country, so we decided to invest in these two
DSNG Codec systems to meet our commitment to deliver timely
local news across the whole nation."
The order increases ATV's relationship with DMV. At the
IBC exhibition in September 1996 ATV and DMV announced that
ATV had purchased a System 3000 MPEG2-DVB digital video
compression system. DMV's System 3000 takes television
signals, compresses them digitally, multiplexes them
together into one data channel and modulates them for
transmission over satellite, terrestrial or cable channels.
HBO Ole and HBO Brasil to add Buena Vista
Buena Vista International Television will acquire an
equity interest in HBO Ole and HBO Brasil as part of an
exclusive long-term pay television licensing agreement with
the two entities.
Through its distribution agreement with HBO Ole and HBO
Brasil, BVI-TV will license exclusive pay television rights
for live action films, including Disney, Hollywood,
Touchstone and Miramax Pictures. This new relationship with
HBO complements BVI-TV's existing shareholding in TVA, a
leading Brazilian programmer and distribution company which
is itself also a shareholder in HBO Brasil. Plans are also
underway for the launch of a Disney Channel in the region
soon but no commitments have been made to any distributors.
PanAmSat licensed in Pakistan
PanAmSat Corporation has been awarded a license for
private satellite services operations from the Pakistan
Telecommunications Authority. This new license designation
will enable PanAmSat to provide satellite capacity for
domestic data services within the country. Already, the
company has attracted three customers who will use the PAS-4
Indian Ocean Region satellite as their transmission platform
for domestic data communications services. The three
customers_Acsys Ltd., Comstar-ISA and Fascom Systems_are
licensed providers of value-added domestic
telecommunications services in Pakistan.
Acsys, Comstar and Fascom will use transmissions
capacity on the PAS-4 C-band South Asia/Middle East beam to
provide value-added data services, such as private business
networks, within Pakistan.
Microspace's digital video service, Velocity, debuted
recently with the successful launch of the new GE Americom
GE-1 satellite. Velocity is a satellite-based MPEG2/DVB
video and high-speed data service for which business and
distance learning has had a tremendous need.
According to Joe Amor, Vice President and General
Manager of Microspace, "Private satellite networks have
existed for a number of years, but the cost to implement
them has prevented their rapid growth. Velocity addresses
this cost issue by offering affordable satellite time with
inexpensive receive site hardware." The network is created
using small 39-inch antennas and digital MPEG2 satellite
receivers that incorporate "smart card" technology. As a
result, the network is completely secure and the business
has complete control of which sites receive specific
programming. For example, a client's video programming can
include corporate cultural presentations, new product
introductions and employee training. Data broadcasting
applications can include multimedia and even Internet pages.
Playboy Enterprises, Inc. and The Cisneros Television
Group plans to launch the Playboy TV and AdulTVision
networks in Spain and Portugal. This represents the
expansion of the two companies' joint venture, Playboy TV
Latin America L.L.C. The announcement was made by Christie
Hefner, chairman and chief executive officer of PEI, and
Carlos Cisneros, managing director of The Cisneros
The networks will be carried by both DTH and cable
distribution and are expected to be launched in the second
calendar quarter of 1997.
AMC gives viewers a sneak peek of romance
On Jan. 26, AMC gives television viewers a 24-hour
"sneak peek" of its new spin-off service, ROMANCE CLASSICS.
"Super Romantic Sunday" is a day-long sampler of ROMANCE
CLASSICS' best programming, from classic films and
miniseries, to adaptations of romantic literature and
informative original programs.
"Super Romantic Sunday" kicks off at 6 a.m. with a
presentation of the premiere, half-hour episode of
television's first prime time serial, "Peyton Place."
Videoconferencing companies plan to merge
VTEL Corp. and Compression Labs, two of the leading
companies in the rapidly growing videoconferencing industry,
announced that their respective boards of directors have
unanimously approved a definitive agreement to merge the two
corporations in an exchange of VTEL common stock for CLI
The transaction is valued in excess of $80 million. The new
entity will retain the VTEL name and will have annualised
revenue of nearly $200 million, making it one of the larger
players in the videoconferencing industry.
EchoStar Communications Corp. is offering current cable
customers $100 off the DISH Network satellite television
system upon presentation of their cable bill.
The limited time offer will be in effect through March
2, 1997. To be eligible for this nation-wide offer,
subscribers must purchase a one-year subscription to the
company's America's Top 50 CD programming package and
present a bill from their cable company to one of DISH
Network's retailers. EchoStar is limiting the offer to one
satellite system per household and may not be combined with
any other offer.
MATAV-CABLE SYSTEMS announced that the Exceptional
Cases Committee of the Ministry of Communications has
decided to obligate Israeli cable companies to extend cable
television services to peripheral geographical areas.
Commenting on the ruling, Robert Avi-Tal, President and
Chief Executive Officer of MATAV said: "We are obviously
disappointed with the decision and are considering a legal
challenge. We are also investigating various ways of
complying with the ruling, including delivery of services
via underground cabling, direct broadcast satellite (DBS) or
other means. Until we determine the proper course of action
it will be impossible to assess the financial impact on the
MATAV is a leading operator and provider of broadband
Cable TV services in Israel. As one of five CATV operators
in Israel, the Company operates in exclusive franchise areas
which cover approximately 25% of Israel's households, with a
penetration rate of 69.5%. The Company is also involved in
projects in other geographical regions including Poland and
Philips Broadcast Television Systems
ART Avezzano, the new Rome based TV production studio
complex designed exclusively for Satellite transmission, has
chosen Philips Broadcast Television Systems equipment as the
basis of its 10 studio complex.
With installation of the project completed, satellite
transmissions are now being broadcast mainly to satellite TV
channels in the Middle East. With a current availability of
16 channels, future expansion is planned.
This GBP 3 million plus order for Philips BTS includes:
9 LDK 10 cameras and 11 LDK 10P cameras all with base
stations. DD3 0 and DD 10 digital video mixers, Mars Audio
Matrix, Digital Distribution and Analogue Distribution
GE Americom Invests in Nahuelsat
GE American Communications, Inc. has acquired 17.25
percent of the $100-million equity of Nahuelsat S.A., the
Argentine regional communication satellite system for the
Nahuelsat S.A. was founded in 1993 with an initial
capital of $20 million by the three European aerospace
companies Daimler-Benz Aerospace (Germany), Aerospatiale
(France) and Alenia Spazio (Italy). Since then the equity
has grown to $100 million through the integration of
strategic partners such as IFC (World Bank Group), the local
partners Telecom Argentina and Antel (Uruguay) as well as
major Argentinian banks and investment funds: the Banco de
la Provincia de Buenos Aires and BISA (Bemberg Group).
Adaptec Signs Agreement with DIRECTV
Adaptec will manufacture DSS receiver cards that will
enable the DIRECTV direct broadcast satellite (DBS) service
to be received on a PC.
The computer connection will enable PCs to receive
digital data, video and multimedia programming services from
DIRECTV. Adaptec is developing the broadband I/O
(input/output) technology that creates a link between the
satellite and the PC, enabling DIRECTV to bring high-quality
digital video, Internet or Web content and data information
into the office or the living room.
Adaptec broadband products will deliver DIRECTV
programming and information to PCs at speeds of up to 30
Telenor and NetHold
Telenor and NetHold have jointly decided to establish a
new company, primarily to introduce satellite-carried
digital TV channels and services to Nordic viewers. The new
company intends to co-operate with both Nordic and
international TV-channel providers in order to deliver the
best possible offer for Nordic TV-viewers.
The new company will be responsible for the
distribution of satellite based analogue and digital TV-
services, and will be owned on a 50/50 basis by Telenor and
NetHold. The head office is to be located in Oslo.
The venture is planned to include joint functions for
pay-TV and encrypted TV-channels, and will initially
concentrate on the direct-to-home (DTH)-market. The parties
have agreed to share the high investment costs necessary to
establish digital TV, and to rationalise their highly
competitive pay-TV distribution-activities. The new company
will actively market both analogue and digital services in
the years to come.
The existing SMS-activities (Subscriber Management
Systems) will be fully owned by the new company. In Norway
and Finland, CTV and Multichoice, will merge their
operations. A separate company, Telenor CTV AS, however,
will still be responsible for the distribution rights of the
existing analogue CTV-package in the region. In Sweden and
Denmark, the new company will fully own the present
Telenor and NetHold have agreed to introduce set-top
boxes with a common interface, which can be used to receive
signals from all TV broadcasters. Telenor and NetHold
emphasise that the introduction of an open digital set-top
box based on MPEG2/DVB `Common Interface' standard adopted
by Cenelec, will protect the interests of the viewers. Other
distributors and broadcasters will also get the opportunity
to harmonise their plans in favour of open set-top-box-
solutions. Telenor and NetHold will provide the programs so
far offered by NetHold available to customers in possession
of Irdeto/Nokia's digital set-top-boxes.
An unmanned Delta rocket carrying a military navigation
satellite was destroyed seconds after lift-off, showering
debris over the ocean and launch site. No injuries have been
reported, and media personnel and others watching the 11:28
a. m. EST launch were immediately evacuated. (an .avi file
of the launch is available at our web site)
Scientific-Atlanta announced that Viacom Inc. has
initiated transmission of its Nickelodeon and MTV services
to Mexico, Central and South America, and selected Caribbean
countries using Scientific-Atlanta's PowerVu MPEG-2/DVB
digital video compression system.
Spice Entertainment Companies Inc. announced that
programming provided by its Spice International unit is now
an option for European subscribers to the digital television
packages of NetHold, the Netherlands-based pay-television
group. The Adult Channel and Eurotica were added in November
to the NetHold digital package, available since September
1996 in Benelux and soon to be launched in the Nordic
region. The channels have also been signed for digital
distribution in Central Europe.
Gemstar International Group Limited said that Thomson
Consumer Electronics plans to incorporate Gemstar's TV Guide
Plus+ system, a subscription-free on-screen electronic
program guide, into a range of its TV product line in 1997
in the United States. Thomson becomes the third major
manufacturer to adopt the TV Guide Plus+ system into its
product line. The TV Guide Plus+ system was introduced in
the fourth quarter of 1996 in JVC TVs and Magnavox TVs and
French pay-television group Canal Plus has signed a
long-term agreement with PolyGram Film Entertainment, the
film division of the U.K. music producing company PolyGram.
The agreement will allow Canal Plus to air PolyGram movies
over its pay TV station, as well as through its satellite
station CanalSatellite and the movie channel Cine-Cinemas.
Philips NV has received a contract to supply Sogecable
SA with digital set-top boxes for a pay-television channel
Tele Danmark AS plans to take over 35,000 pay-TV
decoder customers from cable TV company MultiChoice Danmark,
part of the Canal Plus SA group.
Hughes has signed a contract to provide a new satellite
for Orion Asia Pacific Corp. The new satellite, Orion 3,
will serve users in Asia Pacific markets, including Korea,
China, India, Japan, Australia and Hawaii.
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Posted: Monday, January 20, 1997
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