Sat-ND, 20.6.96

Sat-ND 96-06-20 - Satellite and Media News

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"(c) Copyright 1996 by Sat-ND, http://www.sat-net.com/pck/"
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This issue is sponsored by TELE-satellite, Europe's Satellite Magazine 
Have a look at their homepage! >> http://www.TELE-satellit.com/ <<

Warner Brothers join BSkyB...
Rupert Murdoch is still busily collecting transponders on the analogue
ASTRA satellites. Nobody really knows how many he has already leased or
will lease, and little is known about the programming subscribers can
expect there. Things became at least a bit clearer yesterday when Warner
Brothers announced the launch of WBTV in the UK in November. The Warner
Channel will of course be part of the BSkyB Multichannels package. Warner
said it will offer a "variety of quality programming suitable for
audiences of all ages."

...but where?
The (scrambled) insert on the former TV3 Norge transponder on ASTRA has
changed. According to Holger Zeissler, the text now reads as follows: "A
brand new channel will be broadcast on this frequency in the near future.
Further details will follow soon. (Available in UK and Eire only)." During
the last days, the new channel was announced to be available from August
1. (Stefan Hagedorn)

Come together
French pay TV company Canal plus will decide upon its relationship with
Germany's media giant Bertelsmann by the end of the year. Canal plus's
main shareholder, French groups Havas, announced that their president
Pierre Dauzier will meet with Bertelsmann boss Mark Wössner shortly. The
current situation is "not satisfying" for both Canal plus and Bertelsmann,
Dauzier stated today. While competing with Luxembourg's CLT in France,
Canal plus would be forced to co-operate with the same company in Germany
following the planned merger of Bertelsmann subsidiary Ufa and CLT.
The decoder used by the so-called alliance to introduce digital pay TV in
Germany was developed by Canal plus and Bertelsmann. Nonetheless, Canal
plus reportedly was talking with Germany's Kirch Group during the last few
days to join their digital package DF1, which uses a different decoder.
Canal plus may be the second partner to leave the "alliance" after Rupert
Murdoch, also involved in it, declared that it "can't go on like this."
While Leo Kirch will have the first 30 channels of his package up and
running on ASTRA by the end of July, his competitors are far from
presenting anything. Apart from business problems, there are technical
issues to be solved, and nobody in the "alliance" even seems to think of
programming issues. It seems like Leo Kirch once again was right in
trusting his instincts when he gave up the agreement on a common decoder
used for German digital TV a few months ago.

ITN does it for less
British news organisation ITN reported a record profit of more than 18
million pounds in 1995. The money comes at the right time as ITN's
contract with British commercial Independent Television (ITV) expires at
the end of 1997. "They have been consistent supporters through difficult
times and they should enjoy the benefits of what has been achieved," ITN's
chief executive Stewart Purvis declared. So far, ITV is believed to pay
about 58.5 million pounds a year for ITN's service. 
ITN also produces news for Channel 4, NBC Super Channel and the
Independent Radio News. It is due to supply the planned Channel 5 starting
1997 with news although presenters and correspondents will de different
from the service on the other channels.

US radio giant to emerge from merger
TV merger mania is over  now it's radio merger mania. In a deal worth
US$3.9 billion, Westinghouse Electric Corp. will buy Infinity Broadcasting
Corp. Westinghouse already is the largest US radio broadcaster with
Infinity ranking second. Together, both companies will own 83 radio
stations, cashing in advertising billings of nearly US$1 billion.
Westinghouse also owns the CBS television network and 15 TV stations.

Another COSMOS spacecraft to strengthen Russia's defence
Russia was to launch another of its COSMOS spacecraft tonight from its
Plesetsk cosmodrome using a Soyuz-U rocket. According to news agency
Itar-Tass, the satellite serves "defence purposes". The last Soyuz-U
launch attempt from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, failed on May 14. A COSMOS
satellite due to take high-resolution photographs of the earth's surface
for "American firms, companies and private persons" was lost. 

European mission on Columbia
Space Shuttle Columbia lifted off today at 16:49 CEST from the Kennedy
Space Center in Florida for a 16 day mission. The orbiter carries a
seven-member international crew and its cargo bay is fitted with Spacelab
-- designed, developed and funded by the European Space Agency ESA as a
contribution to NASA's Space Shuttle system. More than half of the
experiments on board are under ESA's responsibility and are housed in five
main ESA research facilities, the agency today said in a press release.
The mission involves dozens of scientists and research institutes with
principal investigators from Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy,
Switzerland, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The Shuttle crew further reflects the international nature of this
mission: Jean-Jacques Favier, an astronaut from the French space agency
CNES with the role of payload specialist on this mission, and Robert
Thirsk, also payload specialist from the Canadian Space Agency, complement
the five NASA crew members. ESA astronaut Pedro Duque, from Spain, and
Luca Urbani of the Italian space agency ASI are back-ups for the flight.

Transponders were swapped on GALS 1 (36E) today. ACT is now at 11.844 GHz
lhc, news channel NTW at 12.169 GHz rhc. However, reception quality of
both channels stayed extremely poor in Berlin. (Norbert Schlammer)

Thaiwave has problems
Asian channel Thaiwave today quoted "decoder problems" at its London
uplink as reason for reducing on-air time to just one hour a day. In
contrast to numerous announcements during the past few months, the channel
still isn't scrambled at all. Neither are its main programming sources on
THAICOM 1 and 2. 
Thaiwave can now be received between 1930 and 2030 UTC on EUTELSAT II-F3
(16E). As of July 1, the channel will be back in full length, Thaiwave
representatives claimed. (Norbert Schlammer)

According to the EUTELSAT agency in Germany, next week should see a
decision on who's going to use the frequency 11.055 GHz h in the future.
Last week, German station Kabel 1 left the transponder. (Norbert

Zeroes and ones 

China has extended its ban of satellite reception to the Internet. The
Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications recently adopted a set of
measures to tighten control on linking computers to international
networks, China Daily News reported. All connections have to be routed
over "international in-and-out channels provided by the country's public
telecommunications network." Neither organisations nor individuals are
allowed to connect with the outside world directly, and this includes
Internet connections.
Give the nature of the Internet, this probably will not be enough to apply
complete censorship, but it should be enough to track the users'
activities. Besides, they have to sign "liability documents" agreeing to
"the rules and principles to be observed in using public networks."

Here comes the sun
Sun Microsystems now know the difference between coffee and programming
languages. The company admitted it has threatened a number of Web sites
with legal action although they were not infringing on the Java trademark
(Sat-ND, 16.6.96.) Although the president of JavaSoft, Alan Baratz, had no
better explanation to offer than the haste in which the notorious letters
were sent, he offered his apologies. "We're not about to take legal action
against the island of Java or a coffee roaster or an Indonesian travel
service," he assured.

The Internationale Funkausstellung in Berlin, a fair marketed abroad as
"world of consumer electronics," has launched a World Wide Web site
previewing things to come in 1997. It's always worth a visit although
hotel rooms in Berlin are pretty expensive. (Olav Surawski/pck)

Thanks to our contributors --
Stefan Hagedorn: DXStefan@aol.com 
Norbert Schlammer: 100415.3560@compuserve.com
Olav Surawski: http://www.obh.snafu.de/~olav/
Copyright 1996 by Peter C. Klanowski, pck@LyNet.De. All rights reserved.

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