11.9.1997 Accidents will happen
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did you but that VCR for?
many funerals lately
in Mexican deal?
- By Dr Sarmaz
- The article on the BBC's planned digital all-news channel
(Sat-ND, 8.9.97) was a bit outdated. Indeed, the BBC has backed down
for the time being following threats of its rival BSkyB.
The BBC plans to offer the channel, which is to be financed by
licence fees, free to cable operators. Such a move could have
created a 50 percent reach, in other words: a million cable
households. Sky News, part of Mr Murdoch's BSkyB, was not amused
especially as it had proposed to increase its cable charges to cable
operators from 46p to 49p per subscriber per month. At least one
operator already thought about dropping Sky News from its network.
- With BSkyB threatening legal action, the BBC asked the Culture,
Media and Sports Secretary to withdraw the permission that had been
given last July. In its request, the BBC said the Secretary may not
have had all relevant information when he took the decision. The
permission has meanwhile been withdrawn. The BBC will submit a new
application next month, taking into account BSkyB's complaints about
misuse of licence-payers' fees.
- (Thanks to Michael Klontzas who contributed to this article.)
did you but that VCR for?
- TV viewers will soon begin to realise what digital TV is
really about and that's neither better picture quality [which
isn't true anyway] nor just more channels.
It's about better exploitation of broadcasting rights, and notably
the better protection of them advantages for the service
operator, but not necessarily for the customer. In effect, you will
not have the slightest chance of receiving digital TV from
neighbouring countries even if you were prepared to pay for them. It
also means you will not be able to record anything you want on your
- British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) has licensed Macrovision's
pay-per-view (PPV) copy protection technology for inclusion in its
digital video network. Under the agreement, BSkyB will implement
Macrovision copy protection in its satellite uplink centres and in
the digital set-top decoders. In addition, BSkyB will include copy
protection control capability in its system software, and will
require copy protection capability for its digital set-top decoders.
- Ian West, Director Digital and Business Development at
BSkyB, explains what this actually means: "This will allow us
to protect copyrighted programme material, and is designed to
prevent unauthorised recording of PPV programmes."
- Macrovision said in a statement its PPV technology "allows
consumers to view, but not record, programs that are copy protected
at the direction of system operators or program suppliers. The
technology is designed to deter unauthorised home taping of
digitally delivered PPV programs. This allows copyright owners to
minimise cannibalisation of their home video revenues while
maximising PPV system operator revenues."
- Now, I don't want you to do anything illegal or to breach any
contract with a digital service operator. Far from it! But you may
nonetheless wonder whether a signal that can be displayed on
a TV (remember, it's an ordinary, analogue video signal when it
comes out of the box) cannot be recorded one way or the other.
many funerals lately
- India has temporarily relaxed its strict media laws after the
death of Mother Teresa.
The move will allow foreign broadcasters such as CNN and the BBC to
cover the the five-hour state funeral next Saturday. India's
broadcast rules normally don't allow any satellite uplinks of
foreign companies from Indian soil.
- More U.S. radio stations will be carried live on the Internet
but they won't use Real Audio for a change.
At first look, the deal comprises all 71 stations owned by SFX
Broadcasting, ten of which are already available on the Internet. As
reported (Sat-ND, 25.8.97,) Dallas-based investment/buyout firm
Hicks, Muse, Tate, & Furst Inc. reached a tentative agreement to
acquire SFX Broadcasting. The deal will probably create the largest
U.S radio station group ever as Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst [just
love that name] controls two other groups of radio stations which
together operate another 340 stations, including pending
- Okay then, where will it happen? At Audionet
What do you need? Microsoft's NetShow 2.0. Sorry, Billy-bashers! I
know, you'd like to have his money, and so do I.
- CNNRadio and Canadian Satellite Communications Inc. (Cancom)
have formed a first-time agreement whereby Cancom's Audionet Digital
Skyway becomes the exclusive sales, marketing and distribution agent
for CNNRadio in Canada.
This agreement marks the first formal distribution deal for CNNRadio
outside the United States, providing the service with unprecedented
distribution opportunities to more than 3.7 million homes. For
Cancom, this agreement supports Audionet's long-term plans to
provide Canadian radio with the best satellite distribution service
possible. These plans also include development of an exclusive
content portfolio, of which CNNRadio is the cornerstone.
- Cancom is Canada's leading provider of digital satellite
services. CNNRadio is a full-service network providing more than 500
U.S. and international affiliates in seven countries the latest
information in news, sports and business.
haven't tried this but I'm sure it'll work ;-)
in Mexican deal?
- Here's yet more proof you shouldn't believe everything you
The Mexican business daily El Financiero speculated about an
alliance between Telefonos de Mexico (Telmex) and the satellite
company Iridium, Inc., quoting confidential sources.
- The alliance would imply "an investment of around 4.5
billion dollars to launch a private telecommunications satellite
operated by Telmex," the sources added. Telmex was trying to
get into a leading position prior to the deregulation of local and
long distance telephone services.
- While all that may be true in a way, a satellite that actually
costs US$4.5 billion probably yet has to be devised. Actually, the
whole 66-satellite Iridium system is expected to cost that much (up
to US$5 billion, actually.)
- The United States will send three special aircraft to Bosnia
in order to jam radio and TV transmissions.
That's the only explanation of this move as these planes, equipped
with transmitters, are capable of just that (apart from flying.)
U.S. media said this was a reaction to what the Department of
Defense (DOD) referred to as "political agitation"
allegedly broadcast by Bosnian-Serb TV stations.
- The planes are normally stationed in Brindisi, Italy, and that
makes the whole story even more dubious. What the f*** are they
doing there waiting to jam European radio and TV
transmissions the U.S. DOD doesn't like? Apparently so. It's
interesting to notice that the United States obviously do not export
their very own concept of Freedom of Speech [which I do admire] to
other parts of the world.
- Detlef J. Schmidt knows the difference between bits and
bytes, unlike me. Shame on me, then!
I claimed that TWR's planned satellite system (Sat-ND, 9.9.97)
offered transmission rates of up to 3 Gbytes per second. Complete
rubbish, as most of what I write ;-) I also wrote the system would
offer "T1 rates (1.5 Mbytes/s)."
- "To my knowledge a T1-Link goes at 1.5 Mbit/sec, this is a
factor of 8 below. Probably the same applies to 3 GBytes/s: my guess
is it's more likely to read it as 3 Gbit/sec (which is indeed a very
- Yes, you're right, I just interpreted the "GB" from
the press release as "Gigabytes." Somebody by the name of
Hubert who preferred to stay unnamed [oops!] sent in an email to the
same effect. Thanks for the correction!
- Just one thing I'd like to make clear: my recent comments on
the features of operating systems (or rather, the lack of such) were
not intended make any readers switch to Windows.
I use Windows 95 for my daily work, and as matter of fact, it works
just fine for me. I don't hate Bill Gates neither do I admire him. I
thinks he earns far too much but that's a political issue. From a
business point of view, he actually deserves it.
- In case you'd like to know, I received reports that the HTML
format is handled well by email clients under OS/2, and if I
understand it correctly, it can also be displayed by Lynx on U**x
systems. Well, great! I don't know about Macintosh users
that's about the only OS I haven't tried so far, simply because I'd
have to buy a very expensive new computer in order to do so, and I
just don't feel like that at the moment.
- Any guesses that I use just Windows are false: I have also have
a computer running under Linux. Hower, it's not involved with the
tedious production process of this so-called newsletter.
09.97 by Peter C. Klanowski, pck@LyNet.De.
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