Satellite news 11.04.05


MTV launches new broadband music Web site

MTV has announced it is launching a free Internet-based service that will show some of the TV station's programmes. The MTV Overdrive Web site will give users with broadband connections the ability to watch music videos and extended programmes on demand. The site is in testing and is scheduled to officially launch on 25 April. MTV president Van Toffler rejected suggestions that the new site would attract viewers away from MTV's existing TV channels. He said: "The TV experience is still great. Our ratings are moving higher and we don't fear that."

Fox launches new reality TV channel in US

US network Fox is to launch a TV channel devoted entirely to reality entertainment programmes. Called 'Fox Reality', it will air a continuous stream of popular shows such as Joe Millionaire and Temptation Island. Much of the schedule will initially be re-runs and one-off original shows with behind-the-scenes footage, updates on reality personalities and commentary. The channel is tipped to launch in May and, if successful, could cross the Atlantic to launch in the UK next year.

ZEE announces plans for global TV news channel

Zee Networks, India's leading broadcaster, said it plans to launch a global news channel along the lines of CNN International and BBC World. Zee Networks chairman, Subhash Chandra, said that Zee would "soon launch" an English-language global news station offering an Indian perspective on the world. He added that the channel's aim would be to balance CNN's American viewpoint and the BBC's British viewpoint on world events.

Humax unveils new LCD with built-in PVR

Set top box maker Humax has launched a digital LCD TV (iDTV) with built-in personal video recorder (PVR). The 32in LGB32-TPVR combines twin Freeview receivers with a PVR, which can record up to 30 hours of TV programmes to a 40Gb internal hard disk drive.

Napster to launch its own digital TV channel

Online music service Napster is considering the launch of its own UK digital TV channel, it has emerged. Leanne Sharman, Napster's Vice President, told a gathering of TV bosses: "To extend the Napster experience to TV is the logical next step in the UK roll-out of the brand." The company's move follows a prediction earlier in the year by Chris Gorog, chairman and chief executive, that Napster would move into video and even movie subscription services.

Plans for new Astra 1M satellite brought forward

SES Astra has announced plans to launch its latest satellite, Astra 1M. The craft will replace Astra 1H and provide in-orbit backup capacity for the Astra fleet at 19.2° East. It will have 32 active Ku-band transponders, thereby providing more security to support Astra’s growth at 28.2° East, from where Sky Digital broadcasts. It comes as Astra 2C, currently at 19.2° East, is expected to be relocated to 28.2° East after the successful launches of Astra 1KR and Astra 1L, to provide additional capacity for the UK. A statement from SES Astra explained that it had brought forward the purchase of the replacement spacecraft, Astra 1M, "in order to protect the timing of the relocation of Astra 2C, in the unlikely event of an unsuccessful launch of Astra 1KR or Astra 1L."

Sky issues over-the-air Digibox upgrade

Sky has begun sending out automatic over-the-air software updates to all Sky digiboxes in order to launch several new features. They include the ability to block specific channels at certain times, and an option to set the interactive red dot icon to automatically disappear after 30 seconds. Viewers can tell whether their box has been upgraded by checking the colour of the audio icon on any one of the radio stations - the icon in the 'Now and Next' banner will be white instead of blue if the update has taken place.

More4 unveils launch date and schedule

Channel 4 has confirmed the launch date of More4, its upcoming free-to-air digital TV channel. Starting in October, the channel will be available on Freeview, Sky Digital and cable and will premiere new episodes of popular US drama The West Wing and will have a strong emphasis on factual programmes plus original and acquired dramas and films. More4 will also have a daily news programme to extend the Channel 4 News brand, and there is likely to be a nightly talkshow covering topical issues. The new channel is part of C4's long-term plan to launch various digital channels and keep its voice in the multi-channel world.

UKTV Drama to extend its hours from May

Factual entertainment channel UKTV Drama is to extend its transmission hours next month, it has been confirmed. The channel is currently on air from 9pm until 5am each day but will start showing a non-stop, 24-hour schedule from May 30.

Large TV audience watched Pope's funeral

BBC News 24's live coverage of the funeral of Pope John Paul II proved to be the most popular of the satellite news channels, with an audience of 168,000 tuning in between 10-11am, and 190,000 watching between 11am and noon. Sky News came a close second with an average of 154,000 viewers between 10am and 1pm.

Survey: 2012 digital switch-over is 'unreleastic'

A survey of UK advertising executives has found that they believe plans to complete analogue to digital switchover by 2012 are "unrealistic". The survey from MediaTel Insight also found they are concerned that householders wouldn’t upgrade their second and third TV sets and the ensuing consumer backlash will be too bitter a political pill to swallow. The intended date of 2012 for the switch-off may be pushed back to as late as 2016, believe the executives.

New religious channel starts on Sky Digital

A new 24-hour Christian channel called INI has made its debut on Sky Digital channel 678. Inspiration Network International is based in North Carolina and provides a mixture of ministry programming from America and Europe.

More digital TV:

JML Direct on Sky channel 659 is now called eeZee TV... The Game-In TV channel is to be renamed Pokerzone TV shortly... Faze TV, the soon-to-launch gay TV channel, will be a subscription service, it has been confirmed. Faze will offer lifestyle content, dramas and movies... ITV and Sky looked set to retain their shared UK rights of the UEFA Champions League as bids for the 2006-2009 coverage closed last week... ITV has signed up Star Trek: The Next Generation star Patrick Stewart for a new science thriller to start filming next month called Eleventh Hour.

Regards Satdude.