Freeview update, unfortunately now starting late April
Amc 23 12690 V sr 6510 "news backhaul" feed has switched from 4:2:2 to normal video
American idol this popular show is once again screening FTA in English on XING KONG, Asiasat3S, seen Monday 12.am NZ time. I think it actually screens twice and there is another broadcast of it 5 hours earlier? also a report of it being on Global TV Palapa C2.
Feeds Asiasat2 Saturday via vetrun.com
4050v 6666 7/8 (won't load)
3886v 6111 9MHz,PAL, 1 Audio (no pic nor sound)
3895v 5631 3/4 Golfworld feed
3705v 6111 3/4 Tandberg Service (shuttlecock game - pic below)
Feeds Sunday morning
12338 H sr 6670 308 256 Euromedia
12662 H sr 6670 308,256; Astralinks
12679 H sr 7210 49,52. Seven Digital
D1 12650 H 6625 Boxing
B3 12554V 6670 A-League
From my Email & ICQ
RE: Asiasat3S Dwelle outage
"There was an outage on the fibre network carrying the DW signal from
Europe, but should now have been restored. This was related to the fibre
cuts resulting from the recent Taiwan earthquake. Sorry for the
From the Dish
Intelsat 701 180E 10958 V "Tahiti Nui TV" has started on , Fta, SR 6450, FEC 3/4.
Pas 8 166E 4037V Sr 21500 "CTN Asianet Plus TVK ACQ ADD Dakshin ArianaDMS SRTV" started (Temp link for G.cast?)
KazSat 1 103E 11488 V "Kazakhstan Kuzylorda" has started on , Fta, SR 2975, FEC 7/8.
AsiaSat 2 100.5E 3778 V "AJK TV" has left .
NSS 6 95E 11037 H "ETV Madhya Pradesh and God TV Asia" have left .
NSS 6 95E 12595 V "IBN 7" is Fta.
NSS 6 95E 12595 V "Nepal 1" has left .
NSS 6 95E 12647 H "AXN India" has left .
NSS 6 95E 11037 H "NE TV" is now Fta.
ST 1 88E 3523 H "TTV, PTS and Hakka TV" have left again.
ST 1 88E 3632 V "BBC World" is encrypted again.
ST 1 88E 3473 V "Videoland Japan" has left .
ST 1 88E 3591 H "Royal Movie Channel and Broadway Movie Channel have replaced Asia Movie and Taiwan Music Channel" on , Viaccess.
Express AM2 80E 11606 V "Debut TV" has left .
Express AM2 80E 11043 H "WorldMadeChannel" has left .
Thaicom 5 78.5E 3600 H "Roshni" has left .
Thaicom 5 78.5E "Korean Central TV" has left 3424 H, moved to 3665 H.
Thaicom 5 78.5E "AVCTV Channel 3-6 and 8-9" have left 3480 H.
Thaicom 5 78.5E 3920 V "My TV" has started on , Fta.
Telstar 10 76.5E 4082 H "Angel TV" is back on , Fta, SR 2563, FEC 3/4.
ABS 1 75E 3673 H "Rung TV" has started on , Fta, SR 2800, FEC 3/4.
ABS 1 75E 12640 H "TBN Asia-South Pacific, JCTV and Smile of a Child" have started ,Fta.
ABS 1 75E All channels in the mux on 12640 H are Fta.
PAS 10 68.5E 3768 H "Zee Sports" is Fta.
PAS 10 68.5E "ETV" has moved from 3716 H to 4167 H, Fta, SR 4600, FEC 2/3.
Could BigPond Cable become the fastest broadband in Australia?
Rumours are circulating that BigPond could be set to upgrade its cable broadband technology to leapfrog ADSL2+ operators, as Foxtel prepares to shut down the analogue channels on its cable.
Foxtel CEO, Kim Williams, said late last year that 99% of all Foxtel subscribers were already on Digital pay TV, and the remaining one percent should be switched over by January.
Once that happens, Foxtel will be able to completely shut down its analogue pay TV network, which runs in parallel over the same cable as Foxtel Digital and BigPond Cable. It will free up a massive amount of bandwidth on the cable, opening the door for BigPond to dramatically increase broadband speeds.
Although Telstra has been slow to come to the table with faster broadband, its main complaint has been infrastructure access regulations - the company is adamant that its competitors shouldn't be allowed to sell services based on Telstra's network at what it claims are below-cost wholesale rates.
However, the cable network is already completely closed and unregulated, which gives BigPond the exclusive rights to resell it. It's likely that Telstra will seize on this opportunity to market BigPond Cable as the premium broadband choice in Australia.
BigPond recently completed a total network upgrade (including replacing older CLDP customer modems) to the Data Over Cable Interface Service (DOCSIS) 1.1 standard, which allows download speeds of 40Mbit/s and upload speeds of 30Mbit/s. To date, Telstra has only marketed plans at 17Mbit/s, but with extra Foxtel bandwidth, it could ramp up speed significantly.
The DOCSIS 3.0 standard, only finalised in August last year, boosts speed to 160Mbit/s downstream and 120Mbit/s upstream. Telecommunications analyst Paul Budde says it probably won't be affordable until 2008-10, however Telstra's new management team has shown a willingness to install expensive new technologies - its HSDPA wireless network was among the first in the world and is the largest.
Foxtel sweetens pot for AFL deal by extra $10m
A DEAL to show four AFL matches a week on pay-TV has edged closer, with Foxtel putting as much as $10million extra in advertising and promotions on the table during resumed talks with networks Seven and Ten.
The free-to-air stations rejected a bid from Foxtel in late December, which included $5million from regional pay-TV group Austar, to screen four games a week.
But the latest offer from Foxtel, which totals about $60 million in cash and contra, as well as a $10 million contribution to production costs, is understood to have resuscitated almost year-long talks. Contra is largely on-air and other advertising and promotions of AFL broadcasts.
"A deal is closer than it has ever been," a source familiar with the talks said.
Under Seven and Ten's $780million contract with the AFL, all games, eight each weekend, must be screened live - a sure-fire winner in the southern states but a ratings disaster in league-friendly NSW, ACT and Queensland.
The answer is seen to lie in selling four games a week to Foxtel, allowing the free-to-air networks to broadcast big-rating shows to compete with Nine's coverage of rugby league.
If a deal with Foxtel cannot be struck, Seven and Ten may be forced to screen four AFL games each, playing havoc with their programming schedules. On Saturdays, Seven and Ten would be forced to go head-to-head with live football in the afternoons and evenings. This would split the audience, and is causing scheduling tensions between the partners over who should carry games that will be ratings losers in some markets.
Seven is understood to be working on a fallback position in which games would be broadcast on a combination of SBS and community station Channel 31.
For Foxtel, which is 25 per cent owned by The Australian's publisher News Limited, it would leave a huge hole in its winter sports schedule, potentially alienating subscribers.
But for Fox Sports, co-owned by News and James Packer's Publishing and Broadcasting Limited, it would mean a drop in advertising and subscription revenues in the southern states.
Foxtel, 25 per cent owned by PBL and 50 per cent owned by Telstra, has taken a tough line in negotiations.
The talks were launched after Seven and Ten beat rival Nine, also owned by PBL, by paying $780 million for a five-year deal to screen AFL matches.
The losing Nine bid included a deal with Foxtel worth between $45 million and $60 million for four games a week.
In 2001, a syndicate of Nine, Ten, Foxtel and Telstra seized the rights from Seven, which had held them with only a short interruption, for more than 20 years.
One observer suggested that Foxtel would want to strike a deal before the second week in February, the deadline for its program guide for March, when the season kicks off.
Satellite VoIP For Dili Air Services
The logistics command centre located inside the ADF compound at Dili Airport in Timor can now make VoIP calls to the Australian PSTN via Newsat satellite.
The service, made possible by URSYS, MyNetPHone and satellite company, Newsat could pave the way for more satellite VoIP deployments by MyNetPhone.
Although located within the ADF compound the customer is an Air Services Logistics company, providing support to the Australian defence presence in Timor.
"Our satellite communications partner, URSYS, provides new routing technology to optimise VoIP traffic across satellite with the MyNetFone service," said Andy Fung, Managing Director of MyNetFone.
"URSYS has now connected all major teleports operating in Australia into the MyNetFone service delivering business quality voice calls from any location within the satellite footprints covering Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia. As a result, we expect significant VoIP satellite business for MyNetFone this year," he said.
Grahame Cover, CEO of URSYS said: "To run business quality voice services over satellite, you have to compress the voice packets in a trunk and prioritise the voice data via a secure tunnel all the way back to MyNetFone's platform. This has the added bonus of zero packet loss and low traffic congestion resulting in business grade call quality."
"We currently support dozens of URSYS clients operating in what we now call ‘Managed Space Segments' as opposed to ‘Public Space Segments'," said David Atkinson, General Manager - Teleports at NEWSAT.
"With the move away from Public Space we will able to greatly improve the security and performance of our Client Networks," he said.
TV3 for sale for a price-Forsyth Barr
CanWest Global will eventually sell their prize New Zealand asset, TV3, but the price is the big question, says one media analyst.
In the middle of a major review of its Australasian holdings, the Canadian company has called for bids for its 56.4 per cent stake in Australia's Ten Network Holdings, worth about $A1.75 billion ($NZ1.98b), in the next month.
Its New Zealand interest, a 70% holding in CanWest Media which owns TV3, youth-focused channel C4 and commercial and radio network RadioWorks, is also being reviewed.
While RadioWorks is estimated be worth $250 million by some analysts, there has been little official talk about the sale of the company's television holdings, but Forsyth Barr head of research Rob Mercer said the stations would be likely to go too when the price was right.
"It would make very good sense for CanWest to execute a sale; they are good assets and it's just a matter of what is an appropriate price," he said.
CanWest Global had not been performing well for some time, Mercer said, and it was looking to regroup around its core geographic base, which left Australia and New Zealand a long way out. "Media assets are selling at good prices, so the timing is right."
But a lucrative rash of Australian media asset sales did not mean the prices would be as grand in New Zealand, because of different regulatory environments.
"There's a stakeout of change happening in Australia. There are a lot of strategic premiums being paid. The value does not translate that well," Mercer said.
Additionally, with programming costs increasing and TV3's central contract with Fox Television coming up for review in 2008 there would be extra cost pressures on top of a waning advertising market.
"The cost of content for free-to-air TV3 is a key risk to its business over the next few years," Mercer said.
The channel had a firm foothold in the key 6pm to 7.30pm current affairs slot and still had a lot of valuable advertising revenue, but it was still "the meat in the sandwich" between the Government-funded TVNZ and a "dominant pay TV company" in SkyTV, he said.
SkyTV only had about 20% of the television market but was growing at 40,000 subscribers per annum, making it harder for free-to-air to retain market share.
"If you look forward five years, that is still a reasonable challenge for TV3."
It was logical for CanWest to sell, but what they would settle for was the unknown factor, Mercer said.
NZer may become CEO of European satellite broadcaster
There is speculation a New Zealander will take over as chief executive of satellite broadcaster BSkyB - a top job in the European media.
It is reported New Plymouth-born Tom Mockridge will fill the shoes of James Murdoch, who is planning to go to Rupert Murdoch's News Corp in the US to the headquarters of the company owned by his father.
The report by the Mail on Sunday is being played down by BSky B as "just speculation" and it has declined to comment further.
47-year-old Mr Mockridge started his career at the Taranaki Daily News and is now the head of Sky Italia.
Filling up Pacific's space junk graveyard
A graveyard for spaceships 3900km southeast of Wellington has received its latest junk - a Russian Progress M-57 launch vehicle carrying rubbish from the International Space Station.
The ship undocked from the space station as normal and the parts that failed to burn up in Earth's atmosphere splashed into the Pacific Ocean about 4.15pm (NZT) on Wednesday.
The site is regularly used as the end point for supply flights to the orbital station. Believed to have been in use for the past 30 years, the cemetery is the final resting place for the remains of many spacecraft, including the defunct Mir space station.
When supply flights to the International Space Station unload fresh vegetables and fruit - plus about 2.5 tonnes of other food, water, fuel and equipment - the rubbish from the previous supply craft is loaded back into the cargo spaceship and dumped in the Pacific.
Matthew Pavletich, from the New Zealand Spaceflight Association, said the watery grave was the last stop for most Russian spacecraft.
The supply shuttles were usually launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, about 2100km southeast of Moscow in Kazakhstan.
The cosmodrome was also the launch site for Sputnik 1, the world's first artificial satellite.
"They [mission controllers] probably picked the area off Wellington because shipping is reasonably sparse," Mr Pavletich said.
"They do take some consideration as to the normal shipping lanes."
He said warnings were put out when the shuttles were to return to Earth.
"Now if you're a yachtsman just tooling around out there, you probably wouldn't want some space junk falling on your head," Mr Pavletich said.
While pieces from Russian spacecraft have been occasionally found in New Zealand, most of the craft burn up on re-entry. "They are normally made out of aluminium, sometimes stainless steel," he said.
"It's usually only the steel part that survives, unless they're particularly massive."
Chinese Missile Blast Adds To Space Junk
In blowing up one of its orbiting satellites, China created a vast debris cloud that heightens concerns about the growing threat space junk poses to spacecraft and the expanding networks of weather and communication satellites.
The blast, which occurred Jan. 11 and was confirmed by U.S. officials Thursday, spread material across 2,000 miles of space, said Harvard astronomer Jonathan McDowell.
The Union of Concerned Scientists estimated that there are nearly 800 debris fragments 10 centimeters or larger and perhaps 2 million smaller pieces that also can cause damage because they travel at high speeds, some about 18,000 miles an hour. Much of it will remain for decades, adding to the inventory of spent rockets, working and dead satellites and other used equipment and materials orbiting Earth.
“It used to be with space flight people worried about meteor showers. Now the much bigger danger is from man-made debris,” said McDowell.
The U.S. Space Surveillance Network uses 30 telescopes and radar units to track satellites and debris. Before the Chinese rocket destroyed the satellite, the network was monitoring 14,000 pieces of orbiting hardware put into space since the Soviet launch of Sputnik I in 1957.
Each year, about 200 new pieces of debris are added to the inventory. To qualify for monitoring, a fragment must at least be 10 centimeters in size — roughly the size of softball.
“Everybody's job today is a little harder than it was maybe two weeks ago,” said Nicholas L. Johnson, chief scientist and program manager of the for NASA's orbital debris program.
Johnson said the effect of the Chinese blast will not be known for at least another week when more data become available from the space surveillance network, based in Colorado Springs, Colo. But scientists say they know the impact will be severe.
“This debris cloud is all over the place,” said McDowell.
The Union of Concerned Scientists used NASA formulas for calculating the effects of a blast. In addition to the largest and smallest fragments, there could be 40,000 from 1 centimeter to 10 centimeters, it said.
On Friday, the group called on the United States to enter discussions focused on banning the testing and use of anti-satellite weapons.
Experts say the remains of the Chinese satellite and missile pose little risk of falling to Earth. Debris that reaches the atmosphere will be so small it should burn up. But the Chinese satellite was in an area heavily used by military and commercial satellites and because it was more than 500 miles up, much of the debris will remain in space for at least a decade, said David C. Wright, a physicist.
“This was a particularly bad place in space to do this,” he said.
The Chinese test was the first of its kind since the U.S. and the former Soviet Union destroyed satellites with missiles in the mid-1980s. But those satellites were at lower altitudes, so debris reached the atmosphere faster and was destroyed, Wright said.
Since the Challenger explosion in 1986, NASA's space shuttles have had to reroute their paths to avoid space debris half a dozen times, Johnson said.
An average of two windows have to be replaced after each shuttle mission because of debris damage. The International Space Station also has had to maneuver several times to avoid damage.
In 2005, a 31-year-old rocket engine collided 550 miles over Africa with a fragment of a Chinese rocket that had blown up five years before. Five years ago, the European Space Agency found thousands of impact marks on solar panels that were in space for eight years providing power to the Hubble Space Telescope.
In recent years, NASA and the European Space Agency have taken steps to cut back on space debris, minimizing the amount of disposable supplies used by astronauts and equipping rockets with sufficient fuel to re-enter Earth's atmosphere where they can quickly burn up, experts say.
U.S. Officials Try to Interpret China’s Silence Over Satellite
WASHINGTON, Jan. 21 — Bush administration officials said that they had been unable to get even the most basic diplomatic response from China after their detection of a successful test to destroy a satellite 10 days ago, and that they were uncertain whether China’s top leaders, including President Hu Jintao, were fully aware of the test or the reaction it would engender.
In interviews over the past two days, American officials with access to the intelligence on the test said the United States kept mum about it in hopes that China would come forth with an explanation.
It was more than a week before the intelligence leaked out: a Chinese missile had been launched and an aging weather satellite in its path, more than 500 miles above the earth, had been reduced to rubble. But protests filed by the United States, Japan, Canada and Australia, among others, were met with silence — and quizzical looks from officials in The Chinese Foreign Ministry, who seemed to be caught unaware.
The mysteries surrounding China’s silence are reminiscent of the cold war, when every case of muscle-flexing by competing powers was examined for evidence of a deeper agenda.
The American officials presume that Mr. Hu was generally aware of the missile testing program, but speculate that he may not have known the timing of the test. China’s continuing silence would appear to suggest, at a minimum, that Mr. Hu did not anticipate a strong international reaction, either because he had not fully prepared for the possibility that the test would succeed, or because he did not foresee that American intelligence on it would be shared with allies, or leaked.
In an interview late Friday, Stephen J. Hadley, President Bush’s national security adviser, raised the possibility that China’s leaders might not have fully known what their military was doing.
“The question on something like this is, at what level in the Chinese government are people witting, and have they approved?” Mr. Hadley asked. He suggested that the diplomatic protests were intended, in part, to force Mr. Hu to give some clue about China’s intentions.
“It will ensure that the issue will now get ventilated at the highest levels in China,” he said, “and it will be interesting to see how it comes out.”
The threat to United States interests is clear: the test demonstrated that China could destroy American spy satellites in low-earth orbit (the very satellites that picked up the destruction of the Chinese weather satellite).
Chinese military officials have extensively studied how the United States has used satellite imagery in the Persian Gulf war, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in tracking North Korea’s nuclear weapons program — an area in which there has been some limited intelligence-sharing between Chinese and American officials. Several senior administration officials said such studies had included extensive analysis of how satellite surveillance could be used by the United States in case of a crisis over Taiwan.
“This is a wake-up call,” said Robert Joseph, the under secretary of state for arms control and international security. “A small number of states are pursuing capabilities to exploit our vulnerabilities.”
As a result, officials said, the Chinese test is likely to prompt an urgent new effort inside the Bush administration to find ways to counter China’s antisatellite technology. Among the options are efforts to “harden” vulnerable satellites, improve their maneuverability so that they can evade crude kinetic weapons like the one that destroyed the Chinese satellite and develop a backup system of replacement satellites that could be launched immediately if one in orbit is destroyed.
American officials noted that the United States and Russia had not conducted such tests for two decades, and that the international norm had changed, in part because so many private satellites had been launched by many nations. “The Chinese seem out of step on this one, and we don’t know why,” one official said.
But the more immediate mystery about the destruction of the satellite revolves around China’s prolonged silence — and what it says about the commitments President Hu and President Bush have made concerning increasing their communication, and diminishing the secrecy around China’s military buildup.
Chinese leaders often hesitate to engage with foreign officials on matters of military secrecy. It took days to get the Chinese to respond in the first foreign policy crisis to confront the Bush administration — the forcing down, on Chinese territory, of an American spy plane in 2001. Eventually the plane’s crew was returned, unharmed, but the prolonged silence unnerved American officials.
In this case, the communication blackout raised the possibility that top Chinese officials were either trying to anger the United States or that the test was conducted without the full involvement of the one official who has authority to coordinate the military and civilian bureaucracies: President Hu. American officials said they believed that the Foreign Ministry — the one department that deals daily with the rest of the world — was left in the dark.
“What we heard, in essence, was, ‘We’ll get back to you,’ ” said a senior American diplomat. “It was unclear they even knew what was going on.”
Chinese political and military analysts, who would not speak on the record about an issue the Chinese government still regards as secret, said they considered it unlikely that the army’s Second Artillery forces, in charge of its ballistic missiles, would conduct a test of a sophisticated new weapon without approval from the highest levels.
But they suggested that the test might have been approved in principle, with little advance preparation for the diplomatic fallout in the event it was successful. That entails not just new military worries; the destruction of the weather satellite left debris in space that could damage satellites from other nations.
“It’s the kind of silence that makes you wonder what’s happening inside the country,” said another senior American official who has been monitoring the case. “I’m sure the Chinese leadership knew there were tests under way, in a general sort of way. But they don’t seem to have been prepared for a success, and they clearly had not thought about what they would say to the world.”
The timing is significant. Chinese officials have hinted in recent months that they are prepared to grant an American request to establish a military-to-military hot line that may be used to enhance communication. But China has moved slowly to establish the link, which is based on the cold war hot line to Moscow, and there is little evidence that Chinese military officers would have offered an explanation for the antisatellite test if it had been set up.
President Bush and Mr. Hu hold regular phone conversations about continuing issues, including how to manage North Korea’s nuclear program. But Mr. Hu and Mr. Bush never developed the kind of close ties that Mr. Bush’s aides forecast once the pragmatic-sounding Mr. Hu, who is close to Mr. Bush’s age, took office.
Their relationship suffered during an awkward trip by Mr. Hu to Washington last spring, when Mr. Bush declined to hold a state dinner for him — there was a working lunch instead — and the arrival ceremony was marred by a mistaken announcement that the anthem that would be played would be for the Republic of China, the formal name for Taiwan.
S. Korea concerned over China's anti-satellite weapons test
SEOUL, Jan. 21 (Yonhap) -- South Korea has expressed concern over China's alleged first test of its anti-satellite weapons system and demanded an explanation about it, the Foreign Ministry said Sunday.
"On Friday, we demanded an explanation from China and expressed our rational concern over the test through diplomatic channels," a ministry official said.
The official, requesting anonymity, said South Korea's reaction to the Chinese test is justified, because South Korea, as a neighboring country of China, has artificial satellites in orbit and is pushing programs to explore space.
The U.S. government said last week China had succeeded in shooting down an aging Chinese weather satellite circling the earth at an altitude of about 859 kilometers, suggesting that China, in theory, can hit U.S. spy satellites.
The Chinese test drew official concerns from the United States, Japan and other countries.
India to assess Chinese anti-satellite test: Official
Bangalore, Jan 20: China's reported anti-satellite ballistic missile test is a matter of concern and India will take necessary steps after making an assessment, a top defence official said today.
M Natarajan, the Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister and Chief of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), said it was a matter of concern if such missiles could "disable" satellites, particularly those with GPS, navigation and military applications.
Reports from New York yesterday had said US spy agencies had claimed that China had successfully "killed" an aging satellite by using a ground-based ballistic missile. Beijing has declined to confirm the test.
Natarajan told reporters in response to questions that details of the reported test were not available. "We are looking into it. We will make our own assessment (to see) what steps we need to initiate in this direction."
He said India recently conducted a successful test in which a missile intercepted a simulated "enemy" missile at an altitude of close to 50 km.
This exercise of "entire networking -- the continuous monitoring of the missile from the start of launch, handing over from mission control to launch control and several redundancies involved in networking...The whole thing taking off....Was done in-house at DRDO", he said.
Natarajan termed this a "real breakthrough" and said this technology has been "put in place".
While missiles can be intercepted ballistically, satellites are in "different orbit", Natarajan noted. India has "real competency" in interception of missiles, and New Delhi can develop an anti-satellite missile capability over a period of time, he said.
Natarajan refused to comment on the extent of India's capability in the anti-satellite missile field, but said: "Maybe we need to talk to ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation)."
China's Manned Spacecraft To Carry Small Satellite
When Chinese astronauts eventually walk in space, a small satellite will be used to monitor their movements, said a satellite expert on Thursday. The satellite will be launched from the manned spacecraft and orbit around it. It will keep a close watch on spacecraft conditions and help monitor the astronauts' spacewalks, China News Service reported.
The next step in China's manned spaceflight program -- which could happen as early as 2008 -- involves allowing the astronauts to walk out of the spacecraft and dock the spacecraft with another target object, according to Sun Laiyan, head of China's National Space Administration.
Yang Genqing, a researcher with the Shanghai-based Small and Micro Satellite Research Institute, said small satellites weigh between 100 and 1,000 kilograms.
Compared with traditional satellites, small satellites are cheaper and quicker to manufacture, consume less energy consumption and are more reliable, Yang said.
Small satellites can link to form a "constellation" and outperform traditional satellites, according to Yang.
ICT Minister: Govt has no power to confiscate Thaicom satellite owned by Shin Corp
Information and Communication Minister (ICT) Sitthichai Phokai_udom has affirmed that the government has no power to confiscate Thaicom satellite concession owned by Shin Corp.
In response to concerns over Temasek's possible occupation of Thailand’s communication business, ICT Minister Sitthichai said that the operation of Thaicom now has no negative effects to the country. He, however, said that consideration will be taken on whether Temasek’s management can rock the national security. If necessary, a team of committee will be set to specially look after the subject.
Mr. Sittichai informed that Shin Corp executives always report to the ministry and promise that they will not allow foreigners to occupy communication business in the country.
In addition, ICT Minister has proposed that the government develop its own satellite, to help solve the national security problems. Studies show the project is highly feasible as it costs only 5-6 billion baht. Nevertheless, it is possible to develop the idea in the current government which has only one year to steer the country.
Thai coup generals worry Singapore's listening in
Worried about possible Singapore eavesdropping, Thailand's army-installed government has told telephone companies their licenses will be revoked if they are found bugging calls.
After suggestions by army chief Sonthi Boonyaratglin that the military's phones were being bugged, the government summoned fixed-line and mobile operators, as well as the country's sole satellite company.
"We told all telecoms operators that eavesdropping is illegal and their licenses will be revoked if they are caught doing it," Telecommunications Minister Sitthichai Pookaiyaudom told reporters on Friday.
"They all insisted that they don't have tapping devices and they never bug their customers' phones," he said.
The phone companies were not available for immediate comment.
Sonthi told high school students this week the military was at risk because of last year's takeover by Singapore state investment arm Temasek of telecoms firm Shin Corp, founded by ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
"Our army has a problem now. When we make a call, the line goes to Singapore. When we talk secrets, they go straight to Singapore," Sonthi said.
Temasek's takeover of Shin Corp gave it control of Advanced Info Service, Thailand's biggest mobile phone firm with a 45 percent share of a market in which more than half of the 64 million population has a mobile phone.
It also got control of Shin Satellite, Thailand's only satellite firm and the takeover prompted immediate charges that Thaksin's family -- which received a tax-free $1.9 billion for its controlling stake -- had sold out national security.
Amid an escalating dispute with Singapore over the Temasek deal and a visit to the island state this week by the exiled Thaksin, Sonthi said the army and government would be working out how to make networks less susceptible to foreign snooping.
"As long as our telecoms industry is in foreigners' hand, our national security is at risk," Sonthi told ASTV, a satellite television station owned by one of Thaksin's leading foes.
"This is an urgent matter on which we would like the government to take action."
Temasek's acquisition of Shin Corp, which cost it $3.8 billion, added fuel to anti-Thaksin street protests that led ultimately to political deadlock and the Sept. 19 coup.
Singaporean companies are among the biggest foreign investors in Thailand, with stakes in banks, property firms, hospitals and hotels.
But relations between the two Southeast Asian allies have grown ever more sour since the Shin deal in January last year.
A spat erupted this week when Thailand called in Singapore's ambassador to protest over a meeting between Thaksin and one of the city-state's cabinet ministers.
Thailand tore up its invitation to Foreign Minister George Yeo to attend a meeting of civil servants this month and suspended a nine-year-old exchange program with Singapore, which said there was no reason to refuse Thaksin entry.
StarHub launches HDTV in Singapore
MUMBAI: Singapore, through pay TV platform StarHub, is the first country in Southeast Asia to launch High Definition Television (HDTV).
This launch follows StarHub’s successful HDTV trial that kicked off with the 2006 Fifa World Cup on 10 June 2006 and ended at the close of the year. During this trial, 1000 StarHub Digital Cable customers enjoyed all 64 World Cup matches as well as quality programmes from Discovery and National Geographic Channel in full high-definition (HD) splendour.
With HDTV, StarHub says that viewers can expect up to four times greater picture clarity. The 16:9 screen ratio will also provide a panoramic view that can be up to 33 per cent more than what they can enjoy on the standard 4:3 TV screen. As many HD programmes contain Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound, viewers with a Dolby Digital Home Theatre system can also be treated to superior audio quality, not unlike the quality available at the cinemas.
In addition to an enhanced audio and visual experience, customers using the HD set-top box will also enjoy all innovative features that users of StarHub’s digital set-top box currently have access to. These include the Onscreen TV Guide, Programme Alert, Auto-Tune, Video Mosaic, Info Bar, Quick Surf, Chat, access to Demand TV and complimentary FunZone games.
StarHub president and CEO Terry Clontz says, “We are very excited about our HDTV launch, and are proud that we are the first operator in Southeast Asia to introduce the service.
“StarHub is constantly enhancing its customers’ TV viewing experience. Our introductions of Digital Cable in 2004, Demand TV in 2005 and Smart TV in 2006 are examples of how we give customers more control over what they watch, and when they watch their favourite programmes. And who knows, maybe someday we can even give customers choice on where they can view their favourite programmes too. ”
With StarHub’s launch of its HDTV service, a new content group named “HD Plus” will be introduced. HD Plus, with a subscription fee of $15 comprises two new HD channels – Discovery HD and National Geographic Channel (NGC) HD.
Clontz adds, “Discovery and National Geographic Channel are longtime content partners of StarHub, and both are very well-known for their production of high-quality programmes. We know that our customers will be delighted with the quality of the content, and with the superior viewing experience that HDTV brings.”
Discovery HD Channel showcases on the channel include science, world culture, natural history, wildlife, engineering, travel and lifestyle.
Discovery Asia MD, executive VP Tom Keaveny says, “Discovery is once again happy to be pioneering HD. We were the first international HD channel to launch in Japan in 2005, and with this launch in Singapore, Discovery HD is now available in 15 international markets and over nine million households. Discovery is committed to providing our viewers with the highest quality content available and Discovery HD will deliver an audio and visual experience that is richer, deeper and more expansive than ever before”.
NGC HD takes viewers into the heart of the action from science, the modern world and investigations to lost cultures and natural history, National Geographic Channel in high definition will bring viewers unique insights, groundbreaking new findings and unforgettable television experience.
NGC International executive VP, group MD– Asia PacificWard Platt said, “Today is a heartwarming moment as we witness the launch of the brand new National Geographic Channel HD in Singapore. We congratulate Singapore and StarHub for being the most innovative country and the first operator in Southeast Asia to launch a commercial high-definition television service. Singapore viewers can now truly enjoy National Geographic Channel’s unsurpassed quality programming and compelling stories in stunning visuals and cinematic surround sound.”
Consumers must subscribe to a minimum of three Basic Groups and HD Plus, and own StarHub’s HD set-top box and a HD-ready TV set in order to enjoy StarHub’s new HDTV service.
ISRO satelllite re-enters Earth
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: The capsule is ISRO\'s first experiment with re-entry, recoverable and re-usable technology.
New Delhi: After 11 days in space, Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) recoverable satellite re-entered the Earth and splashed down into the Bay of Bengal on Monday morning as planned.
The 555 kg space capsule is in the process of being recovered by the coastguard off the Ennore Coast near Chennai, so that it can be sent back to ISRO. The coastguard is hoping that the capsule can be recovered by Monday evening.
The capsule is ISRO's first experiment with re-entry, recoverable and re-usable technology and has two payloads to conduct experiments in micro-gravity.
As part of the mission, ISRO's workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C7) had put Space Capsule Recovery Experiment (SRE) satellite into space alongwith three others on January 10.
The 550-kg Space-Capsule Recovery Experiment was intended for demonstrating the capability to recover an orbiting space capsule, as also the associated technologies.
"SRE is intended to test reusable thermal protection system, navigation, guidance and control, hypersonic aero-dynamics, management of communication blackout, deceleration and flotation system and recovery experiments", an ISRO official was quoted by PTI as saying.
Nimbus agrees to give live feed; Says DD encrypt signals
New Delhi, Jan. 21 (PTI): BCCI rights holder Nimbus today said it was ready to provide live feed of the India-West Indies cricket series to Doordarshan if Prasar Bharati agrees to encrypt its signals in the next 2-3 weeks.
"Till such time as DD puts encryption into place, about 2-3 weeks, Nimbus has offered to provide the live coverage TV signal to DD," Nimbus chief Harish Thawani told PTI from Mumbai.
Thawani, who said the "ball is now in DD's court", said while all other material terms have been agreed to between the parties, DD has yet to agree to the request for encryption.
"We are highly committed and want to provide the cricket telecasts on DD also. The ball is in DD's court," he said.
When contacted, DD officials refused any immediate comment on the offer.
Thawani said Nimbus was insisting on encryption as the satellites used by DD have significant signal dispersion into many neighbouring countries, often as far as the Middle East and Singapore.
"Unfortunately, DD has not upgraded its own technological practices and continues to transmit its satellite signal sent to the terrestrial transmitters without encrypting the same.
"Consequently during a cricket telecast, the unencrypted signal violates the rights of television rights owners in many Asian countries, encourages piracy and destroys the business of the Indian private sector sports channels," he said. Thawani said no major country "with a developed broadcasting industry" transmits terrestrial network sports events signal via unencrypted satellite.
"The growth of sports in any country is substantially dependent on the revenues it gets from sports channels and those revenues would be substantially destroyed if the rights of sports channels are not protected, having a terrible impact on sport itself," he said.
Failure on the part of the two broadcasters to strike a deal saw millions of cricket lovers across the country deprived of cricket action as around 5 million non-cable homes and even more number of radio listeners did not have access to the match.
Thawani said Nimbus has had several meetings "at its own initiative" over the past few days with officials of Prasar Bharati to discuss "fair and equitable terms" for providing TV feed to DD and radio commentary to AIR AM stations.
He said the private broadcaster was not violating any law as it was ready to provide the signals though Prasar Bharati was yet to accept them.
"We have not refused. In fact, we have offered to provide the feed in writing. It is up to DD to accept," he said, expressing hope that DD would "take a practical view" and sign up with Nimbus.
Thawani claimed that BCCI had assured Nimbus at the time of awarding it rights that DD will encrypt their signal.
"That assurance is enough for us. We remain in constant touch with them and they are very supportive of showing it on DD once the encryption issue is agreed by DD," he said.
(Craig's comment, another prediction for 2007 coming true "A dispute over cricket broadcast rights in India")
First day, flop show: Cricket goes on the blink
MUMBAI: Nimbus’ big day, the first one day international telecast by its newly-launched sports channel Neo Sports, proved to be a disaster for millions of cricket fans across the country. The stand-off over sharing the feed with state-run broadcaster Doordarshan meant that more than 50 million homes did not get to see the match. And the dispute with cable operators over pricing meant that even cable TV households did not get to enjoy Ganguly and Chanderpaul’s heroics.
This was supposed to be Nimbus’ moment. Its bid for $613 million for the India telecast rights raised eyebrows and drew criticism of over-the-top bidding. A smooth kick-off to the India-West Indies series was essential to show that the channel has got its act together.
But Sunday’s fracas shows that Nimbus is yet to learn to negotiate the minefield that sports broadcasting has become these days. There are a number of powerful stakeholders to be placated, the viewer, the government, Doordarshan, cable operators and the fickle advertising community.
Older channels and experienced networks some times find it difficult, almost impossible. For a fledgling broadcaster like Nimbus, it was baptism by fire. By Sunday evening it was clear that things had gone wrong and could perhaps worsen. Union broadcasting minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi openly said on television that Nimbus’ terms to Doordarshan were ‘humiliating’.
Over 70% of cable households couldn’t get to watch the channel as cable operators refused to agree to the rates demanded by Nimbus. The non-cable households, who rely on Doordarshan, were left high and dry.
Advertisers scenting blood are already moving in for the kill. Big media buyers are trying to negotiate discounts for spot rates with Nimbus. CEO Harish Thawani says no discounts will be given and rates will be maintained.
“We had offered DD to share the feed two weeks in advance, however we insisted on the feed being encrypted by the channel, and refused to share the feed on DD’s DTH service DD Direct Plus. Since DD is not accepting our encryption demand, we have not yet come to a resolution with DD,” Mr Thawani added.
He pointed out that encryption of the feed was essential, as it would then disallow other territories and broadcasters to take on the feed, hence protecting their content.
Meanwhile, late night agency reports said Nimbus was ready to provide live feed of the series to DD if Prasar Bharati agrees to encrypt its signals in the next two-three weeks. “Till such time as DD puts encryption into place, about two-three weeks, Nimbus has offered to provide the live coverage TV signal to DD,” Mr Thawani told PTI.
“Last time, when the feed was shared with DD, without the feed being encrypted, a lot of channels used our feed illegally in different areas as well as in neighbouring territories to broadcast the series, hence we have been very firm on our stand this time, ” a company spokesperson said.
Prasar Bharti officials maintained that Nimbus’ demands were outside the jurisdiction of the downlinking and uplinking guidelines put in place by I&B ministry, but, however, they pointed out that the matter would be resolved in a couple of days.
Neo Sports was not available on both the DTH platforms as well, and Tata-Sky has refused to renew Neo’s contract, due to the feed on DD. According to Nimbus, the satellites used by Doordarshan have significant signal dispersion into many neighbouring countries often as far as Middle East and Singapore.
And that Doordarshan has not upgraded its own technological practices and continues to transmit its satellite signal sent to the terrestrial transmitters without encrypting the same. Consequently during a cricket telecast the unencrypted signal violates the rights of television rights owners in many Asian countries, encourages piracy and destroys the business of the Indian private sector sports channels.
“No major country with a developed broadcasting industry transmits terrestrial networks sports events signal via unencrypted satellite. The growth of sports in any country is substantially dependent on the revenues it gets from sports channels and those revenues would be substantially destroyed if the rights of sports channels are not protected having a terrible impact on sport itself,” said a Nimbus spokesperson.
The other alternative Nimbus offered was in the form of a 15 minute time delay transmission on DD, which will partially protect the rights of others. While all other material terms have been agreed between the parties, Doordarshan has yet to agree to the request for encryption or time delay. This has held up the finalisation of arrangements between Nimbus and Doordarshan.
Zee TV to soon have entertainment channel sibling; Zee Next working title
MUMBAI: Star Plus has it, so too does Sony’s SET channel; and now Subhash Chandra’s Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd will soon have it as well – a flanking channel that is.
If all goes according to schedule, Zeel will be launching a sibling to its flagship channel Zee TV within the next three to five months. While the name of the channel is yet to be finalized as yet, reliable sources at Zeel say that it has been given a working title Zee Next.
Zee Next is envisioned as a metro-centric entertainment channel that will have content that in scope and feel will be quite similar to what was envisaged for Star Plus’ sibling Star One, when it first launched in late 2004, the sources say.
This news comes alongside the further closing of the channel share gap between Zee TV and Star Plus in the latest ratings issued by Tam Media. Tam is now beginning to deliver better numbers as function of new markets being added to the panel as well as expansion in peoplemeter numbers.
Overall, Star Plus’s gross rating points (GRPs) are down from 518 in December to 403 this week. Zee’s GRPs have also dropped from 240 in December to 217 in the current week.
There are those in the industry who question Zee’s move to launch another entertainment flanking channel, saying that it would only distract Zee TV from a focused assault on Star Plus. The logic of the new channel is reportedly that it will essentially be targeted as a channel that is focused more at marking its presence on addressable systems. That Zee owns both cable (WWIL) and DTH (Dish) platforms also means that packages can be created that will push the new channel to the maximum possible.
No update Sunday
No update Saturday
A quiet end to the week.
The Russian Channels have encrypted on Asiasat 4 Ku
From my Email & ICQ
TVNZ FREEVIEW update
Further Reminder from TVNZ’s Digital TV Group
This message is being sent to stakeholders and members of the industry as a reminder about unavoidable changes being made when TVNZ transfers its test channels from Optus Satellite B1 to D1 in the early hours of February 1st. This message is also timed to catch those who have recently returned from holiday and may not have seen the earlier email.
We also want to advise that there will be a planned outage of the present B1
TVNZ test platform next Thursday 25th January, from 0001hrs to 0200hrs to enable preparations for the transfer on the 1st February.
Further, we want to draw your attention that there is further advice on the web -
- which is designed for members of the industry and stakeholders. It comprises a warning, a guide to re-scanning Set Top Boxes (as requested by some members of the industry) and our FAQ fact-sheet.
Our central message to the average viewer remains - “After the transfer is effected in the early hours of February 1st all Set Top Boxes will have to be re-scanned and if you have any trouble, get in touch with your installer/supplier”.
<<<<<< TVNZ will be transferring its free-to-air digital test services from Optus B1 satellite to the new D1 satellite at the end of this month.
The change is essential because the B1 satellite has reached the end of its useful life and is unreliable.
TVNZ will be making the transfer in the middle of the night to minimise disruption because there will be an unavoidable interruption to test channels.
Work will begin at midnight on the 31st January when signals will cease from B1, resuming a few hours later on the new D1 on the same frequency, 12.483GHz, but with the new polarity, “horizontal”. TVOne, TV2, Deutsche Welle, CCTV9, Bloomberg, TVNZ Wide Screen and Maori channels will all move with the transfer.
A second signal on frequency 12.456 GHz, also “horizontal” will also be present for one week after which it will disappear.
The interruption will mean that all Set Top Boxes receiving free-to-air test transmissions will need to be retuned manually when they are switched on for the first time after engineers have made the transfer in the early hours of February the first. Viewers will have to use their remote to find the on-screen menu, select the tuner and “H” or “Horizontal” polarity, choose the desired channels and re-scan.
Viewers who have difficulty retuning should contact the company that supplied or installed the equipment.
TVNZ analogue signals are NOT affected. The work involves only the free-to-air test transmissions TVNZ established some time ago, preparatory to the introduction of FreeView services later this year. >>>>>> RCC 19/01/07
From the Dish
Foxtel back in the picture
THE prospect of eight free-to-air AFL games on television each week could be over as speculation mounted last night that Foxtel had been included in a coverage deal.
Channels Seven and Ten, who from this season will jointly televise football for the next five years, have been in on-off negotiation with Foxtel. The Age reported in December that Foxtel was prepared to up its bid to $50 million a year for the right to broadcast four AFL home-and-away games a week. Channels Seven and Ten, in turn, were believed to be prepared to drop their asking price from $60 million to $55 million. Foxtel has previously insisted on a price of $45 million. The two free-to-air stations paid the AFL $780 million for the broadcast rights.
Several Melbourne radio broadcasters yesterday suggested a deal had been done, but TV networks were tightlipped.
Foxtel spokeswoman Rebecca Melkman would not comment on whether the channel had secured football coverage rights, nor whether it would make an announcement today.
The resolution of next season's coverage has been a hot topic for months as Ten and Seven have negotiated with other networks, including SBS, to finalise the programming. Channel 31 was also briefly on the radar.
For some time, the prospect of eight free-to-air games televised by Seven and Ten has tantalised football fans.
In December, talks between the two networks and Foxtel broke down, raising the likelihood of such a prospect. Foxtel's $50 million cash bid to buy and televise four home-and-away games was rejected at the time.
Foxtel's relationship with the AFL has been in trouble since the pay-TV provider announced last August that it would close its 24-hour, seven-day footy channel.
TV ... AFL could yet be seen on Foxtel.
Foxtel increases AFL bid
FOXTEL has re-entered AFL broadcasting talks with Channels 7 and 10, and is close to securing rights to telecast four weekly matches.
The pay-TV network this week increased an offer that was rejected by the free to air stations in late December.
With the NAB Cup starting on February 23, all three networks are working towards finalising pre-season and premiership season TV schedules in the next two weeks.
Foxtel's previous offer to Seven and Ten was $50 million cash, $7 million contra and a commitment to production costs (about $12 million) for each year of the 2007 to 2011 deal.
Seven and Ten paid $780 million for the rights.
If accepted, Foxtel would broadcast four of the eight weekly matches, including the twilight fixture on Sunday nights.
Foxtel's bid has been assisted by input from country region pay-TV provider Austar.
AFL chief broadcasting and commercial officer Gillon McLachlan said the 2007-2011 TV contract would guarantee quality coverage, regardless of the breakdown of broadcasters.
"What Seven and Ten have been going through is a negotiation around sub-licensing and that is their responsibility and I understand why those discussions have taken a long time," McLachlan said.
"We are talking about big numbers and a big deal, and it is not embarrassing for anyone that it has taken this long."
Ovation signs onto ACO
Australia's only television channel dedicated to the arts, Ovation, has signed on to the Australian Chamber Orchestra as an official partner.
Ovation Channel and ACO today announced their sponsorship agreement which firms the duo as partners moving into the New Year.
“Ovation is proud to partner with the ACO. It’s a natural fit as both Ovation and the ACO attract a similar arts-loving audience” said Ovation Marketing Manager Doug Garske.
“Australia’s only national orchestra and Australia’s only arts channel will find this relationship mutually beneficial, as will their audiences.”
Run by former festival director and arts maven Leo Schofield, Ovation features a range of fine arts programming, and has said it will be especially focusing on Australian content as it grows.
ACO chief Richard Tognetti will be a special guest on Schofield's Ovation chat show on Sunday 18 February.
The network is currently carried on all the major Australian pay TV operators - FOXTEL, AUSTAR, Optus TV and SelecTV.
China hails satellite killer - and stuns its rivals in space
· International outcry over first such test since 1985
· Scientists have warned of dangers of debris in orbit
China has given notice of its increasing power in space - and provoked widespread international concern - with a successful test of an anti-satellite weapon that could be used to knock out enemy surveillance and communications craft.
In the first such test since the cold war era, the White House confirmed that China had used a medium-range ballistic missile, launched from the ground, to destroy an ageing weather satellite more than 500 miles into space. "We are aware of it and we are concerned, and we made it known," the White House spokesman, Tony Snow, told reporters.
The test, on January 11, was the first of its kind since 1985 when Washington halted such exercises because of fears of damaging military and civilian satellites with large clouds of debris.
The test was especially troubling because it exposed the vulnerability of America's dependence on low-orbiting satellites, which are used for military communications, smart bombs and surveillance. In theory, last week's exercise could give Beijing the capability to knock out such satellites - a realisation that underlay the protests from Washington.
Australia and Canada also voiced concerns; Britain, South Korea and Japan were expected to follow. "The US believes China's development and testing of such weapons is inconsistent with the spirit of cooperation that both countries aspire to in the civil space area," Gordon Johndroe, a White House spokesman, said. "We and other countries have expressed our concern regarding this action to the Chinese."
Scientists have long warned of the dangers of space debris - which can remain in orbit for many hundreds of years - on existing space programmes. Among the items lost in space are lens caps, tools and nuts and bolts. Some former Soviet satellites leak fuel which solidifies into balls up to 3cm in diameter. Tiny pieces, including flecks of paint from eroding satellites, can travel at 17,000mph, and gain enough momentum to damage a medium-sized spacecraft.
Despite yesterday's protests, the Bush administration has opposed a global ban on such tests, arguing that America needs to reserve its freedom of action in space. Arms control experts said it was not immediately clear whether the Chinese test was a ploy to try to press the Bush administration into a global weapons treaty, or whether China was asserting its own interests in space.
News of the test, first reported by the magazine Aviation Week and Space Technology, comes months after the Bush administration unveiled a doctrine asserting America's right to take action against any perceived threat in space. The missile relied on the force of impact rather than an exploding warhead to shatter the satellite.
Estimates said the destroyed Chinese satellite could have shattered into tens of thousands of fragments that would remain in orbit for more than a decade.
The magazine said on its website: "Details emerging from space sources indicate that the Chinese Feng Yun 1C (FY-1C) polar orbit weather satellite launched in 1999 was attacked by an asat (anti-satellite) system launched from or near the Xichang space centre."
Last August, Mr Bush laid out an even more robust vision of America's role in space, asserting Washington's right to deny access to any adversary hostile to US interests, and some arms control experts have accused the administration of conducting secret research on laser weapons to disable and destroy enemy satellites.
In public, Mr Bush has sought to revive the national interest in space by calling for Americans to return to the moon in 15 years, and even use bases there as a launchpad for Mars. However, almost all of those costly military space programmes are over budget and behind schedule.
Chinese asked to explain satellite killer
CHINA'S ambassador to Australia, Madame Fu Ying, has been called to explain a Chinese missile test which knocked out a weather satellite.
On the instruction of Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, who is in New York, Madame Fu was called into the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for a meeting with deputy secretary Peter Grey.
"On Mr Downer's instruction, a senior official called in the ambassador of the People's Republic of China on the 16th of January to seek an explanation for the Chinese Government's decision to launch a missile to destroy a Chinese weather satellite," a DFAT spokeswoman said.
"Australia sought an explanation from the Chinese Government about the nature of the incident and China's assessment of the danger posed by the debris created by that incident.
"The Government also sought an explanation about the Chinese Government's future plans for developing and deploying weapons systems with the capability of destroying space assets."
Madame Fu undertook to get further information from Beijing, the DFAT spokeswoman said.
"We are waiting on the outcome of her inquiries."
The US and Canada have also voiced concerns to China over the space test last week.
Using a ground-based medium-range ballistic missile, the test knocked out an aging Chinese weather satellite about 865km above Earth on January 11 through "kinetic impact" - slamming into it.
US National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said today: "The US believes China's development and testing of such weapons is inconsistent with the spirit of co operation that both countries aspire to in the civil space area."
"We and other countries have expressed our concern regarding this action to the Chinese."
Britain, South Korea and Japan were expected to follow suit, an administration official said.
US Condemns China Satellite-Killer Test
The United States, Australia and Canada have expressed concern to China over Beijing's successful test in space last week of a satellite-killing weapon, the White House said Thursday. "The United States believes China's development and testing of such weapons is inconsistent with the spirit of cooperation that both countries aspire to in the civil space area," said national security spokesman Gordon Johndroe.
"We and other countries have expressed our concern to the Chinese," Johndroe said.
A senior White House official, requesting anonymity, said that Britain, Japan and South Korea were expected to express their concerns to China soon.
The official confirmed a report in Aviation Week magazine that US spy agencies have concluded that China conducted a successful test of a satellite-killing weapon on January 11, knocking out an aging Chinese weather satellite with a "kinetic kill vehicle" launched on board a ballistic missile.
The impact occurred at more than 500 miles (800 kilometers) above Earth.
China limits foreign satellite channels in hotels
Guests of China’s three-star hotels or above can watch no more than 31 foreign TV channels in hotel rooms as of this year, said the State Administration of Radio Film and Television.
The channels are CNN, HBO, Cinemax, CNBC Asia Pacific, MTV Mandari, National Geographic Channel Asia, STAR Movie International, Channel V, AXN, Discovery, Hallmark, BBC World, NHK World Premium, Phoenix Movies, Phoenix Chinese, TVB8, TVB Galaxy, NOW, MASTV Chinese, Phoenix Infonews Channel, Bloomberg, Xing Kong Wei Shi, Euro Sports News, CETV, Horizon Channel, SUNTV, Celestial Movies, Channel NewsAsia, TV5, East TV and Cuba Vision International.
In China, private users are banned from using satellite receivers, while foreigners and residents from Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan areas may apply for installation, Shanghai Daily reports.
SARFT said hotel owners have to apply for a permit to receive all or some of the above foreign channels from the administration.
The new permits are only valid for one year.
China International Television Corporation will work as a sole agent for transmitting the satellite signals for the above-mentioned channels and will dispatch decoders to qualified hotels, SARFT added.
Encrypted channel signals will be transmitted via SinoSat-2, a Chinese home-made communication and broadcast satellite.
A new continent and a new language for LUXE.TV on Eutelsat W5
LUXE.TV, the free-to-air channel focused on luxury lifestyle that broadcasts in Standard Digital and High Definition, has chosen Eutelsat's W5 satellite to extend its reach to South East Asia. Starting broadcasting mid-January, the channel's High Definition version will be available throughout the region, in both English and French. LUXE.TV began its English-language soundtrack in December 2006, complementing existing French and German language options.
Launched in June 2006, LUXE.TV specialises in programmes on luxury lifestyle including Real Estate & Interior Design, Sport & Leisure, Hotels & Gastronomy, Fashion & Beauty, Cars & Yachting, and Jewelry & Watches. Programmes are produced in High Definition by teams based in 20 capitals around the world, including Paris, New York, Tokyo and Dubai, in order to build diverse, multi-cultural content.
Broadcasting 24 hours a day, the English-language soundtrack joins the French and German versions available in Standard Digital and High Definition.
Malaysia's Astro eyes DTH market in India
From http://www.chennaionline.com/colnews/newsitem.asp?NEWSID=%7B717A184C-EFA9-440A-9298 E5141D890280%7D&CATEGORYNAME=Entertainment
Kuala Lumpur, Jan 18: Malaysian pay TV operator Astro All Asia Networks plc, owned by the country's richest man Ananda Krishnan, is eyeing entry into the Indian Direct to Home (DTH) satellite television market through an alliance with the Sun TV group promoted by Kalanidhi Maran.
Astro said in a regulatory filing with Malaysian stock exchange, Bursa Malaysia, that Sun Direct TV Pvt Ltd has applied to the relevant Indian authorities which would allow it to invest in the company.
However, the company said that no agreement has been reached so far with any party in this regard.
There have been reports in the Malaysian and foreign media about Malaysia-based South Asia Entertainment Holding Ltd (SAEHL) picking up a 20 per cent stake in Sun Direct TV, which holds a DTH TV licence in India.
SAEHL is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Astro Overseas Ltd, which in turn is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Astro.
Astro is owned by billionaire tycoon Tatparanandam Ananda Krishnan, who has been named Malaysia's richest and South East Asia's second richest man by the Forbes magazine.
Krishnan's business empire also includes telecom major Maxis, besides the country's only DTH satellite service provider Astro. (Agencies)
US Unable To Contact Military Reconnaissance Satellite
U.S. officials are unable to communicate with a costly U.S. reconnaissance satellite for the military and intelligence communities launched last year, a defense official said on Thursday. "Efforts are continuing to reestablish communication with the classified satellite, which cost hundreds of millions of dollars," the defence official told the media. "They have not yet declared it a total loss."
"There are still some additional steps that can be taken to restore communication," the official claimed, noting some satellites had been recovered in similar situations in the past.
The National Reconnaissance Office(NRO), which designs, builds and operates the satellites, had no comment.
Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center For Astrophysics, said the satellite in question could be a classified NRO satellite launched into space on Dec. 14, 2006 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
"This is definitely a setback for the NRO, which has had an aggressive technology development program over the past few years," McDowell said. "It adds to the problems that the NRO is having transitioning to its next generation of satellites."
(Craig's comment, maybe they should ask the Chinese!...)
Illegal TV channels to face action
A number of private television channels, operating illegally without any broadcast license from Bangladesh might come under action following the proclamation of the Presidential Ordinance 2007 after declaration of State of Emergency (SOE) in Bangladesh.
According to sources, several private television channels such as Falgun Music (owned by BNP led government’s minister Nazmul Huda), S-TV USA, Channel S, TV-5, Bijoy TV, Ekushey TV etc are continuing their broadcast defying the rules of obtaining required license from the Ministry of Information. These TV channels secretly signed agreement with various satellite operators abroad and are sending program software via internet or are sending tapes and CDs containing program contents by international courier services.
An expert said, such sending of programs without permission falls under the Special Power’s Act Clause 25-A as an offence. Moreover, the owners of these illegal channels are paying significant amount of foreign exchange to the owners of satellite through unlawful means, which is again an offense under the existing Money Laundering Act.
Another source said, some more illegal television channels are going to begin broadcast in next two weeks, seeing the fact that no action had been so far taken against those existing channels.
Talking to Blitz, one of the promoters of a private TV channel planning to commence broadcast said, when people like Barrister Nazmul Huda could start a channel without license and continue without any legal hassle, why not other section of the people in the society should worry about having or not having any license for starting a TV channel. It may be mentioned here that, Bangladesh is possibly the only country in the world, where anyone can start a television channel without any legal obligation. Taking the advantage of this unique situation, many of the opportunists are thinking of commencing new channels with the ultimate goal of alluring potential domestic investors and cashing significant amount of money and finally quitting silently. According to information, at least one such TV channel operating in private sector names Channel-S is presently suffering from severe financial crisis. Owner of the channel even borrowed money from their staffs and recently one of the deceived staffs had to lodge formal complaint of being cheated by the owners of the channel.
It may be recalled here that, the recent past BNP led coalition government accorded license to its party activists in launching several television channels. These are, NTV, RTV, Channel One, Boishakhi and Bangla Vission. A number of licenses were also issued in favor of Sayeed Iskander (brother of the former Prime Minister), Nasiruddin Ahmed Pintu (questioned lawmaker of BNP), Salauddin Quader Chowdhury (former Prime Minister’s advisor) etc. BNP led coalition government made a specific plan of having a strong grip on country’s media by establishing dozens of television channels by their leaders and activists while establishing several newspapers.
According to latest information, LDP leader Mahi B. Chowdhury is also planning to launch an illegal TV channel named MyTV.
AXN ban sparks debate over 'laws of obscenity'
Following I&B ministry's decision to ban Sony's satellite channel AXN for the next two months for airing "indecent content", the company is yet to make a decision on whether to move court.
Sony officials refused to comment on the matter, saying they are still reading the fineprint and a decision will be taken in a day or two. The ministry has banned the AXN channel till 15 March, 2007.
Meanwhile, the media industry is not happy with the I&B ministry's decision to yank a channel off the air, on grounds of obscenity. According to Aryama Sundaram, senior council, Supreme Court, "The Constitution, under Section 19 (a) gives you the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression. However, section 19 (2) states that Parliament can enact a legislation to curb a fundamental right. So, unless Parliament has enacted a legislation, the I&B ministry does not have the right to bar a channel completely on ground of obscenity."
However, under the obscenity law of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the ministry is allowed to punish and ban obscene content and impound the material. The ban also brings up another question: are we heading towards a pre-censorship era of television, as in the case of films and music videos.
Further, AXN's show, named 'World's Sexiest Advertisements, is not the only show which, if defined as obscene, violates the law. The I&B ministry has not yet defined what obscene content is, and going by Wednesday's ban, shows such as Baywatch, prime-time ramp modelling and channels such as Trendz and Fashion Television should not be on air in the first place.
Ravi Kiran, chief executive officer, South Asia, Starcom Media Vest Group said, "Unless it's graphic, the government should stick to governing. But, every once in a while the government makes some silly decisions. It would be a good idea if there is an industry body in place to certify content."
Advertising and media professionals, while agreeing on the need for self-regulation in principle, condemned the move of the I&B ministry to take a very micro and narrow view of content. However, an I&B ministry executive justified the move saying, "There has to be a start somewhere, and although one might argue there are several such programmes, all wrongs don't make it right."
It was also pointed out that the I&B ministry would be getting a lot more vigilant with content in the near future. A top executive of an ad agency said, "The brunt is being borne by AXN, as it has emerged as the scapegoat. However, the issue that needs to be addressed is the uniformity of rules on television content and what is defined as obscene content."
Senior lawyers, meanwhile, stated that while the ministry has the right to pull-off any content, which they deem as unsuitable viewing, blanketing an entire channel, is violation of the law.
Joost online (Skype TV) reviewed
(Craig's comment, anyone have a copy of the beta software for this?)
From my Email & ICQ
Nothing to report
From the Dish
Launch window for NSS 8 with Zenit/Sea Launch on 25 January: 23:22-23:59 UTC.
Intelsat 701 Tahiti Nui TV has left 11060 V.
Agila 2 146E 12541 H "NOW has replaced FTV Entertainment", Nagravision.(A few days ago)
Telstar 18 138E 12446 H "Correct frequency for the ViewAsia Network" mux: .
AsiaSat 4 122.2E 4120 H "MUTV" has left .
AsiaSat 3S 105.5E The IRIB mux has moved from 12653 V to 12353 V, Fta, SR 30000, FEC 3/4. Hamoon TV has moved from 12676 V to 12376 V, Fta, SR 4000, FEC 2/3.
Measat 1 91.5E 4169 H "HTV 7" is Fta (Anyone looking for Measat3??????).
ST 1 88E 3523 H "TTV, PTS and Hakka TV" (Fta) are back on , Conax, SR 10000, FEC 3/4.
ST 1 88E 3632 V "BBC World" is Fta.
Express AM2 80E Updates in StarGate TV, Irdeto: Telekanal Zvezda has started on 11043 H. Telekanal La Minor, Telekanal India and Komedia TV have started on 11606 V.
Insat 3C 74E 4130 V "DD Dehradoon" has started on , Fta, SR 4250, FEC 3/4.
PAS 10 68.5E 12722 H "Fashion TV" has started on , Fta.
Fairfax, Sky launch new sport magazine
Pay-TV group Sky Network Television and Stuff.co.nz owner Fairfax Media have teamed up to produce a monthly sports magazine called Sky Sport.
The first 66-page issue, available next Monday, targets a perceived gap in the market for an intelligent sports read.
Prime News presenter and former Auckland Star sports journalist Eric Young is the editor.
Mr Young, who previously edited Player magazine, said Sky Sport would not target 20-year-old men.
"It's mostly pitched at people who like reading," he said.
Fairfax head of sport Trevor McKewen said Sky Sport had received strong support from advertisers.
There was an "erudite and intelligent" audience for the magazine to target, he said.
The first issue has an article on All Blacks captain Richie McCaw by playwright and former All Black trialist Greg McGee.
The second will have comedian and former Auckland Star journalist Oscar Kightley sailing with Team New Zealand.
Although it will have a strong Kiwi focus, Sky Sport will use content from Observer Sport Monthly in Britain and ESPN's The Magazine, from the United States.
Columnists will include Sky TV's Mark Richardson and Tony Johnson, plus former New Zealand cricket captain Jeremy Coney.
The magazine will sell for $6 but will be offered to Sky subscribers for $5.
Sky TV's marketing director, Michael Watson, said there was a good opportunity to promote the magazine through Sky's 667,270 subscribers.
Fairfax's editorial contribution added strength.
"We've got high hopes for the title," he said.
Mr Young said the magazine's business case targets would take some reaching but he was comfortable with them.
Taking an ad break
Katie Cincotta looks at why video recorders that let viewers skip the ads are angering network bosses.
IF YOU regard commercials as a blot on your time, TV now has its own version of correction fluid. Couch potatoes now have the ultimate editing tool - one that gives them the power to time-shift programs and skip all the ads.
Digital video recorders, also known as personal video recorders, are revolutionising viewing habits with technology that lets you record TV shows to a hard drive and control the playback from a single remote.
Research analysts GFK say sales of DVRs have grown by almost 200 per cent in the past two years, accounting for 8 per cent of all set-top box sales in Australia. Last year 55,800 units were sold at an average price of $753, amounting to a $42 million market.
Free-to-air networks and pay TV are already on the defensive, banning a recent ad for the new LG hard-drive HDTV after it prompted consumers to "snip" out the ad breaks. LG audio visual marketing manager Darren Goble was surprised and frustrated by the censorship. "The ability to skip the commercials was a consumer benefit we were keen to highlight," he says. "We were disappointed we didn't get to run with that."
To get the ad to air, LG had to remove the reference to skipping ads, replacing it with mention of the live TV control. "You can pause live TV for a bathroom break and one button lets you skip back to the live action or fast forward through at 300 times, which blows VHS out of the water," Mr Goble says.
Networks and advertisers aren't quite so enthusiastic about the personal TV programmer, since a 2005 study by Accenture estimated that ad skipping would strip TV networks in the US of $US27 billion ($A34.6 billion) in revenue between 2005-2010.
As yet there are no local studies on the effect of DVRs on the ad revenue of TV stations.
Media planner Steve Allen says DVR sales are gaining momentum but doesn't expect the end of TV advertising any time soon. "We don't think the technology will change the landscape," he says. "Yes, it will influence it, but we think it will be minor. After all, all of this was written about the VCR and the VCR was not the death knell of advertising or viewers."
Free TV marketing director Rhonda Brown agrees that the 30-second ad spot will survive the new recording technology, with most prime-time viewing still live. "People talk about ad skipping as if the fast-forward button or mute button has never existed before now," she says.
Mr Allen predicts many consumers won't be bothered with time-shifting and ad skipping, despite British figures that show almost half of DVR owners time-shift programs to watch later.
Anthony Fitzgerald, CEO of pay TV sales house the Multi Channel Network, says advertisers are responding with more integrated advertising such as interactive competitions, games and sponsored TV programs.
"We know from the results of even our early (Foxtel Digital) campaigns, which have an outstanding response rate, that our viewers are certainly not avoiding this advertising; they are engaging with it," he says.
But Mr Allen warns that viewers may rebel against emerging branded content such as Ten's Celebrity Joker Poker (sponsored by Jack Daniel's and Star City Casino).
"None of them rate extraordinarily well because they're contrived," he says. "If consumers think they're being manipulated they react badly."
Mr Fitzgerald says the steady growth in DVRs and time-shifting viewing isn't all bad news for television. He estimates that with 10 per cent of Foxtel's 1.13 million subscribers on iQ, and DVR penetration somewhere between 5 to 10 per cent in Australia, viewers could follow the British patterns of more "engaged" TV viewing. British research shows PVR users watch an average of five more hours of TV a week, at a higher engagement level, and are more likely to watch to the end of a program.
MCn's chief argues good ads still get watched.
But it seems the DVR hype sits squarely with deleting commercials. Hi-fi sales manager Dejan Pitra, from JB Hi-Fi's Lonsdale Street city store, says that function excites customers: "People definitely like the idea of cutting out all the ads."
JB Hi-Fi sells six brands of DVRs ranging from $299 to $1196, with units at the top of the range able to record 1000 hours. Homer Simpson might need to stock up on Duff for that marathon viewing session.
DVR take-up rates
US penetration less than 10 per cent (Millward Brown March 2006)
UK penetration 8 per cent (OfCom Communications Market Report 2006)
Australian penetration less than 3 per cent (sourced Paul Budde - 2006 DVR Report and Free TV estimates)
Defence air support does voice over satellite
Organizations support the Department of Defence's operations in Dili, East Timor, can now access voice services to Australia over satellite data links with an agreement between MyNetFone and Ursys.
The logistics command centre located inside the Australian Defence Force compound at Dili airport can now make MyNetFone VoIP calls via satellite connection provided by Ursys' Linux-based routers. MyNetFone Managing Director Andy Fung said Ursys has now connected all major teleports operating in Australia into the MyNetFone service delivering business quality voice calls from any location within the satellite footprints covering Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia.
URSYS chose NEWSAT to provide satellite space for this initiative.
Ursys business development manager Garry Millar said one customer is an air services logistics company which provides "essential support" to the Australian presence in Timor. Ursys CEO Grahame Cover said to run business quality voice services over satellite, the voice packets need to be compressed and prioritized via a secure tunnel back to MyNetFone's platform.
"This has the added bonus of zero packet loss and low traffic congestion resulting in business grade call quality," he said.
China Tests anti-satellite weapon - US agencies
US intelligence agencies believe China performed a successful anti-satellite (asat) weapons test at more than 500 mi. altitude January 11 destroying an aging Chinese weather satellite target with a kinetic kill vehicle launched on board a ballistic missile.
The Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, NASA and other government organizations have a full court press underway to obtain data on the alleged test, Aviation Week & Space Technology will report in its January 22 issue.
If the test is verified it will signify a major new Chinese military capability.
Neither the Office of the US Secretary of Defense nor Air Force Space Command would comment on the attack, which followed by several months the alleged illumination of a US military spacecraft by a Chinese ground based laser.
China's growing military space capability is one major reason the Bush Administration last year formed the nation's first new National Space Policy in ten years, Aviation Week will report.
"The policy is designed to ensure that our space capabilities are protected in a time of increasing challenges and threats," says Robert G. Joseph, Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security at the US State Department. " This is imperative because space capabilities are vital to our national security and to our economic well being," Joseph said in an address on the new space policy at the National Press Club in Washington DC.
Details emerging from space sources indicate that the Chinese Feng Yun 1C (FY-1C) polar orbit weather satellite launched in 1999 was attacked by an asat system launched from or near the Xichang Space Center.
The attack is believe to have occurred as the weather satellite flew at 530 mi. altitude 4 deg. west of Xichang located in Sichuan province. Xichang is a major Chinese space launch center.
Although intelligence agencies must complete confirmation of the test, the attack is believed to have occurred at about 5:28 pm EST January 11. US intelligence agencies had been expecting some sort of test that day, sources said.
US Air Force Defense Support Program missile warning satellites in geosynchronous orbit would have detected the Xichang launch of the asat kill vehicle and US Air Force Space Command monitored the FY-1C orbit both before and after the exercise.
The test, if it occurred as envisioned by intelligence source, could also have left considerable space debris in an orbit used by many different satellites.
USAF radar reports on the Chinese FY-1C spacecraft have been posted once or twice daily for years, but those reports jumped to about 4 times per day just before the alleged test.
The USAF radar reports then ceased Jan. 11, but then appeared for a day showing "signs of orbital distress". The reports were then halted again. The Air Force radars may well be busy cataloging many pieces of debris, sources said.
Although more of a "policy weapon" at this time, the test shows that the Chinese military can threaten the imaging reconnaissance satellites operated by the US, Japan, Russia, Israel and Europe.
The Republic of China also operates a small imaging spacecraft that can photograph objects as small as about 10 ft. in size, a capability good enough to count cruise missiles pointed at Taiwan from the Chinese mainland. The Taiwanese in the past have also leased capability on an Israeli reconnaissance satellite.
More than 10 million Chinese subscribe to digital TV
The number of digital TV users in China exceeded 10 million at the end of 2006, double the number in 2005, an industry insider has said.
"There were only 1.2 million digital TV subscribers in China in 2004 and four million in 2005. The number is expected to reach 20 million by the end of 2007," said Wang Yan, general manager of China DTV Media (CDM) whose 49 digital pay channels reach 4.05 million subscribers in China.
China launched its digital TV industry in May 2006 and now has 92 digital pay channels, said Wang, adding that CDM collected more than 90 percent of all digital pay-TV service subscription fees in China.
Specialist programs on sport, fashion, music and cuisine as well as documentaries, high-definition movies and TV series are available on digital TV.
But cable TV is still a very popular and economical alternative in China. Whereas CDM charges five to 180 yuan (22.5 dollars) per month for each of its digital pay channels, viewers can get more than 30 cable TV channels for only two U.S. dollars per month.
Wang said the quality of digital pay-TV programs needs to be improved in order to compete with free channels.
Sea Launch Prepares For NSS-8 Mission
The Sea Launch team is preparing for its first mission of the year on January 25, with the launch of the NSS-8 communications satellite for SES NEW SKIES. Liftoff is planned at the opening of a 37-minute launch window beginning at 3:22 pm Pacific Standard Time (23:22 GMT). The Odyssey Launch Platform and the Sea Launch Commander are currently sailing to the launch site, at 154 degrees West Longitude on the Equator, to begin launch operations.
Upon arrival, the launch team will initiate a 72-hour countdown and ballast the Launch Platform 65 feet, to launch depth, performing final tests on the launch system and the satellite.
On launch day, a Zenit-3SL rocket will lift the 5,920 kg (13,051 lb) spacecraft to geosynchronous transfer orbit, on its way to a final orbital location of 57 degrees East Longitude.
The high-power, state-of-the-art NSS-8 satellite is a Boeing 702 spacecraft that carries 56 C-band and 36 Ku-band transponders, designed to replace the existing NSS-703 satellite as the centerpiece of the NEW SKIES' strategic Indian Ocean contribution to SES' global communications network.
The successful launch of NSS-8 will subsequently also allow for NSS-703 to be re-deployed to the Atlantic Ocean region at 340 degrees East, further boosting the global coverage and connectivity provided by the 40-plus strong fleet of satellites in the SES Group. NSS-8 will support a wide range of functions, including corporate communications, government and military operations, Broadband Internet services and broadcast applications.
NSS-8 will provide coverage to two-thirds of the world's population, serving countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent and Asia. Designed for a 15-year lifespan, the satellite will have 18 kilowatts of total power at the beginning of life on orbit. Sea Launch will carry live coverage of this first mission for SES New Skies via satellite and also streaming video on the Sea Launch website.
ESA Chief Says Galileo Test Problems Are Being Fixed
European space chief Jean-Jacques Dordain said on Wednesday that problems encountered by a test satellite for the Galileo sat-nav system were being addressed, although he gave no date for its launch. Galileo, touted as a rival to the US Global Positioning system (GPS), plans to have around 30 satellites and be running commercially from 2010.
The European Space Agency (ESA) has contracts to launch and test two experimental satellites to confirm Galileo's technology, and also to provide the first four of the 30 satellites.
The first satellite, GIOVE-A, successfully launched in December 2005, but its companion, GIOVE-B -- initially scheduled to be hoisted aloft in early 2006 -- has twice been postponed.
Dordain, who is ESA's director general, said the delay was "due to a technical problem with a component which failed during tests, but we also encountered organisational problems."
"As soon as the problems emerged, we set up three investigative groups, working in parallel. When they reported back, we took technical and organisational action that should enable us to launch GIOVE-B this year."
Dordain indicated concern that the flaws with GIOVE B could also be reproduced in the first four Galileo satellites.
"We don't want to wait for technical problems to surface in order to take decisions," Dordain, who was speaking to journalists at a New Year's get-together, said.
"We want action to be set in place by March enabling IOVE [the four-satellite contract] to move forward properly."
Galileo is being promoted as being more accurate than GPS, giving mariners, pilots, drivers and others an almost pinpoint-accurate navigational tool.
Unlike GPS, Galileo will stay under civilian control, increasing the European Union's strategic independence.
The project has hit other hitches. A contract for ceding operation of Galileo to an eight-member private consortium has still to be signed, and the EU has yet to decide where its overseer, a public body called the Galileo Supervisory Authority, will be sited.
Lebanon's Future TV to launch new 24-hour news channel
BEIRUT: Lebanon's crowded television market and unstable political arena will have to make room for a new actor - Future TV's new 24-hour news channel. The station's management says business considerations sparked the new venture, but industry analysts argue that the news channel has almost no chance at profitability.
Future TV's leaders make no pretense that the station will be politically neutral, but they say they had planned the news channel since the summer 2006 war with Israel wrecked their advertising revenue and before the country's political groups polarized into two feuding camps.
The news channel should go on the air in April, maybe by the end of March, Future TV chairman Nadim Munla told The Daily Star on Wednesday.
Future TV will invest slightly more than $10 million to start the channel, which will broadcast from 1,700-square-meter studios near Future TV's headquarters on Spears Street, said CFO Fayez Bizri.
Programming will have two distinct features: news from Lebanon and segments to promote "better European-Arab understanding," Munla said. The station will cover regional and international news, but it will depend on agencies for content rather than gather its own material. The prime-time line-up will offer shows on youth, women, economic issues and documentaries, as well as investigative journalism.
"We are not competing with Al-Arabiyya and Al-Jazeera," Munla said. "This is mostly Lebanese news, rather than pan-Arab. That's our niche. We're not pushing to have our own offices and correspondents all over the world. That's why our marginal costs and our total costs are very minimal."
Future TV belongs to the Hariri Group, the multi-billion-dollar business empire founded by assassinated former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, and as such the station's news programming has not hidden its support for the government, which includes the Hariri-founded Future Movement. Munla admits Future's news comes with a bias, but he said the station will continue to offer ample airtime to Hizbullah and other opposition groups.
"A good amount of time is given to the opposition - compare that to [Hizbullah-backed broadcaster] Al-Manar," Munla said. "We are not neutral. Our view is out there. We have been very loud - I don't need a 24-hour channel to do that.
"I cannot be not sensitive to what's going on in my country. You cannot claim utter neutrality in a period where your country is going through major changes. It's naive. It doesn't happen anywhere in the world."
However, clinging to one side of Lebanon's political divide will rob Future of potential viewers and undercut the stated economic rationale for the station, said Lawrence Pintak, director of the Adham Center for Electronic Journalism at the American University of Cairo.
"If Future is nothing but a mouthpiece for the Hariri movement, then it's going to have a rather narrow [market]," he said.
Future's management said purely economic concerns drove the founding of the news channel - the 2006 war and its aftermath cost Future about 25 percent of its projected ad revenue for the year - and a new station offers an economical way to recoup lost income, because more than 80 percent of the news channel's costs are already accounted for by the original station's budget.
Munla bristled at the notion that the channel would be merely a propaganda tool and not a sound business venture.
"That's utter garbage," he said. "Future TV has been one of the most successful televisions in the Arab world. In two years, we should be able to cover our marginal costs."
Arab news channels such as Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiyya, however, are notorious money-losers. The hundreds of satellite channels in Arabic that have cropped up in recent years often lack economic logic - the region's per-capita ad spending lags dramatically behind the West and the Far East.
"The odds on it making money are pretty slim to none. Everyone agrees news channels are not making money," said Pintak.
TV channel banned
NEW DELHI: India has banned satellite television channel AXN, owned by a unit of Sony, for two months for showing programmes such as the "World’s Sexiest Advertisements", the government said yesterday.
In the past decade, there has been a sharp rise in the number of satellite channels airing in India and viewers and politicians have complained that some of the content is too risqué for Indian sensibilities and culture.
"The government has prohibited the transmission and retransmission of the satellite channel AXN with immediate effect and up to March 15, 2007, throughout the country," Information and Broadcasting Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi told reporters.
Officials at Sony’s offices in India were not immediately available for comment.
The channel was banned for showing programmes which Dasmunsi said were against good taste or decency and "likely to adversely affect public morality".
The channel, which broadcasts across Asia, is owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment, a unit of Sony Corp. It mostly broadcasts imported US dramas such as Alias, Las Vegas and Nip/Tuck, a soap opera about plastic surgeons.
India banned Fashion TV, a cable channel that often shows models wearing skimpy clothes, in February 2002 for vulgarity but the decision was reversed a week later when the channel promised to adhere more closely to Indian sensibilities.- Reuters
NewsCorp top brass arrives
A bunch of top News Corporation executives arrived in India today to meet the Star India management. Other than Paul Aiello, the newly anointed chief executive officer of STAR’s Hong Kong’s operations and Michelle Guthrie, the outgoing CEO, News Corp Executive Vice-President (human resources) Ian Moore is also in Mumbai.
The executives, it is learnt, did not go to Star’s Mumbai office though the team met some of its other business partners. The News Corp team visited the Tata Sky’s office in the city and met the company’s top brass. Tata Sky is a 80:20 joint venture between the Tatas and Star for the direct-to-home satellite business.
Star executives were not willing to divulge the schedule of the visitors from Hong Kong and New York, though sources said that Aiello and company are likely to visit Balaji Telefilms tomorrow and attend the Tata Sky board meeting on Friday. It is not clear whether restructuring of Star’s Indian operations was discussed today.
The News Corp team’s visit is a result of the churn at Star’s Hong Kong and India offices. While Michelle Guthrie resigned as STAR Hong Kong’s CEO, the company’s India CEO Samir Nair is also reported to have put in his papers.
Paul Aiello, president of STAR who succeeded Guthrie joined STAR in April 2006 from Morgan Stanley where he was looking after Telecom, Media and Technology Group in the Asia Pacific region.
Media industry experts say that the changes in Hong Kong will affect Star’s India operations as well and more departures are expected.
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp is a diversified entertainment company with interests in filmed entertainment, television, magazines and newspapers and direct to home satellite business.
World over, it employs nearly 30,000 people.
India: DTH makes merry
... by wooing customers with fancy offers.
DTH players have been taking advantage of the demand-supply mismatch of set top boxes.
WHILE DISH TV announced a special pricing for CAS cities, Tata Sky offered six months' free subscription.
Taking advantage of the shortage of set top boxes faced by cable users, DTH players are luring potential CAS (conditional access system) customers with fancy offers to go for their satellite brands. The CAS markets of Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai are specifically being targeted with special schemes and offers.
While Essel Group's Dish TV has announced a special pricing for the CAS cities, Tata Sky offered six months' free subscription between December 28 and January 10, timing its offering with the introduction of CAS.
Vikram Mehra, Head - Consumer Marketing Tata Sky, says, "We have timed our offer with the CAS roll-out realising that it will be impossible to meet the demand for the set top boxes."
In the past few days since CAS came into being, Tata Sky claims it has been getting 25,000 customer calls at its call centres every day.
"We believe we have garnered 30 to 50 per cent of the CAS market so far," says Mehra.
Outlining the advantages of DTH over CAS, Tata Sky contends one does not have to import its boxes unlike the CAS Set Top boxes, which are being imported by the MSO (multi service operators). "We realised there would be a sudden demand for the boxes and in our case we have the advantage of manufacturing the boxes at our own facilities in the country," says Mehra.
Essel Group's Dish TV has also been taking advantage of the demand-supply mismatch of set top boxes by announcing a special pricing for the CAS markets.
With `flexible' pricing, DTH players are expecting its subscriber base to jump five to 10 times over the current base of 1.7 million subscribers.
Says Anjali M. Nanda, Vice-President (Marketing), Dish TV,"We have eased the entry cost for our services. We are targeting those consumers who have yet to covert to CAS."
Dish TV claims to have added 1-1.5 lakh subscribers. With a one-time pay out offer of Rs 1,300, Dish TV offered its scheme during the last two days of 2006, when the transition to CAS was expected. "Since the government has made it mandatory for consumers to go digital, we see this as an opportunity for DTH players who can add a new experience to television viewing," says Nanda.
As DTH encroaches on the CAS markets, media planners and audience measurement bodies have to take into account new audiences, which will again affect the rates of the broadcasters. There will be a spill-over of the CAS effect, forcing channel owners, advertisers and media planners to re-think their strategies in a dynamic market place.