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Thread: News 02.10.2007

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    Default News 02.10.2007

    ISRO & Kazakhstan — Buddy Builders

    Five members of the National Cosmic Agency of the Republic of Kazakhstan (NCARK), led by their Chairman of the space agency Talghat Mussabayev, traveled to India to chat with the folk at the Indian Space Research Organization and their chairman, G. Madhavan Nair and other execs. Kazakhstan is the home of the Baikonur satellite launch facility. The conversations are to determine what may be forged as a partnership between these two agencies in regards to the training of engineers and specialists as well as satellite construction.
    This week long tour to Bangalore, India, will find visits to ISRO HQ, their Satellite Center, the Telemetry, Tracking and Commanding Networks HQ and the Regional Remote Sensing service Center. Long term cooperation is the goal, and the NCARK already has two additional satellites in their pipeline and have plans for a nextgen launch vehicle named Baiterek. Preliminary trials for this vehicle are scheduled for 2010, with more than a dozen comsats planned plus a navigation system on the drawing board.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    ISRO To Grab GPS Goodies

    The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is reported to be developing an India-specific navigation system along the lines of the Global Positioning System (GPS) at an investment of about Rs 1,600 crore, according to The Economic Times (Indiatimes) online news site. The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), comprising seven satellites, should be ready in 2011-12 according to a statement made by the ISRO Chairman, G Madhavan Nair, on September 27th. The system should provide infrastructure for generating data on position, navigation and timing. The data can also be used for various other applications such as agriculture, civil aviation and fisheries.
    At present, the US defense department controls the Global Positioning System (GPS). Whether out of ego, pride, or a sense of self-determination and security, other nations wish independence with their own system. Russia is in the process of restoring its own navigation system of 24 satellites, Glonass, by 2009. In addition, Europe is building a satellite navigation system, albeit not without funding difficulties, Galileo, which consists of 30 satellites, with a timetable of 2012-13 for implementation.
    For next year’s Chandrayaan 1 mission, the ISRO may co-operate with Japanese Aerospace Exploratory Agency (JAXA). Chandrayaan 1, according to an agency report, will be launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota on April 9, 2008. The ISRO is also planning to launch a radar imaging satellite (Risat) in the second half of 2008. ISRO collaborates with 26 countries for various missions and space applications. This includes a $60 million project for African countries. These countries will make use of space technology for various applications. China is also looking at collaborating with ISRO for building applications for agriculture and land management and is in talks with the Indian agency for using our training facility in Dehradun for space technology—Bangalore, India
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Awarding Situations For SES ASTRA

    SES ASTRA, an SES company [Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG] announced the company has selected Global Communications, Invacom, and ERA Technology as the winners of the ASTRA INNOVATION CONTEST. Launched at IBC in 2006, this contest is aimed at stimulating research organizations and the satellite industry to develop innovative concepts to further increase the consumer attractiveness and features of direct-to-home (DTH) satellite reception.
    The satellite and TV equipment manufacturers Global Communications and Invacom were awarded a prize for their concept of using optical fiber infrastructure inside buildings to distribute DTH signals from the antenna to the set-top box. Distribution of satellite signals over fiber has several significant advantages over classical cable distribution, in particular for medium- and large size installations. First of all, it improves the quality of the transmission through increased reliability; second, it reduces the power consumption, and finally it facilitates the install by making it plug-and-play.
    ERA Technology, part of Cobham plc, was awarded a prize in the category Research Laboratory for its proposal of a transparent satellite TV antenna. The technology was originally developed for mobile satellite communication applications. This innovative concept will add new technical features to satellite antennas that will help to considerably improve the design of DTH- and SMATV (Satellite Master Antenna Television) antenna installations.
    Each of the winners will be awarded 150.000 Euros, of which at least 75 percent is to be invested in the further development and market introduction of the proposed innovation.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    ONO leads the pay-TV audience ratings


    Spain's largest cable company ONO is the market leader in terms of audience ratings in the Spanish pay-TV market. The company pulled in an average share of 7.4 per cent in September, well ahead of Digital Plus, with 4.06 per cent, or Imagenio and other pay-TV operators, with 5.17 per cent, according to TNS Sofres.
    ONO’s Its cinema channel CineStar teuve was the most widely watched pay-TV channel in the cable platform drawing almost 2.6 million viewers.
    By distribution systems, cable TV in Spain captured an average share of 12.6 per cent in comparison with 5.7 per cent made by satellite and 8.1 per cent by DTT, according to consultancy firm Barlovento. Analogue terrestrial TV made 73.6 per cent with Tele 5 leading the ratings with a share of 21.1 per cent, followed by TVE and Antena 3 TV, with 16.2 per cent each, Forta, 14.6 per cent, Cuatro, 7.2 per cent, La Sexta, with 5.5 per cent and La 2, with 4.6 per cent.
    The most widely watched thematic channels in Spain are AXN, Fox, Canal Plus, Paramount Comedy and Teledeporte.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Olympics will set TV advertising records


    The 2008 Beijing Olympic Games will lift television’s share of the global advertising market to record levels next year, despite the medium losing market share in North America and parts of Europe, reports the global media buying and planning group ZenithOptimedia.
    According to Zenith’s World Advertising Expenditure Forecast, worldwide television advertising spending in 2008 will be $182.4 billion (E128.1bn), up from $169.9 billion this year, thanks mainly to the increasing popularity of television advertising in Asia. Television is expected to have a 38.2 per cent slice of the global advertising market in 2008. "We expect coverage of the Olympics in Beijing to give an extra boost to television in 2008, particularly in China and its neighbours," said a Zenith spokesman.
    Zenith said that Internet advertising expenditure will increase by 85 per cent between 2006 and 2009. Global Internet advertising spend is forecast to be $33.7 billion in 2007 and $41.6 billion in 2008.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Sky Picnic for Freeview

    Sky has announced details of its plans to offer broadband, telephone and digital terrestrial television services under a new brand to customers across the UK. It says the new business will operate under the Picnic brand and will offer customers a variety of flexible options to combine the services that they want.
    Sky claims key features of Picnic will include: TV, broadband and telephony, with customers able to choose 1, 2 or 3 services in any combination. There will be instant access to some Sky channels through an aerial including Sky Sports 1, Sky Movies, Sky One, a children's channel and a factual channel.
    The decision to proceed with the launch of Picnic is subject to the outcome of Ofcom's review of the proposed increased choice of TV programming. Ofcom has said that it plans to launch a consultation on the initial licence changes later this autumn.
    Sky wants the Picnic TV service to be in MPEG4. It says: "The new (STBs required) will help to lead future innovations on the digital terrestrial television (DTT) platform such as the adoption of MPEG-4 compression standards, which allow viewers to benefit from an increased choice of channels. The Picnic TV service will initially consist of 3 MPEG-2 video streams but, subject to approval by Ofcom, Picnic aims to move to MPEG-4 and add a fourth channel dedicated to Sky News."
    Continuing with the existing "horizontal market" model for DTT equipment, the Picnic compatible boxes will be produced by multiple manufacturers and sold by a variety of retailers. Manufacturers will be responsible for the specification of their boxes and will decide which additional features to include, such as PVR functionality or the ability to receive pay-TV services from other providers. The initial manufacturer will be Sagem, but Sky is not subsidising manufacture and says it is expected that others will follow shortly after launch. In addition, Picnic aims to make its TV service available on future generations of PCs.
    James Murdoch, Sky's Chief Executive, said: "The launch of Picnic will be a big step forward for customers who are hungry for value and simplicity. We are looking forward to the conclusion of the regulatory approval process so we can get going delivering a great service and real savings to customers."
    Salut Prieteni!


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    DTV 'to pass 50% penetration in W Europe'

    More than half of homes in Western Europe will be watching digital television by the end of 2007, according to new research by Informa Telecoms & Media. The 11th edition of the market researcher's Western European TV report forecasts that digital homes in the region will total 135m by 2012, equivalent to an 86% penetration rate.
    Ted Hall, co-author of the report, said: "Convergence through triple and quadruple-play is gaining traction. The public are increasingly demanding full-service products that can offer traditional broadcast TV plus a range of other services, such as pay-TV, HDTV, VOD, broadband and telephony services. TV companies and telcos are jostling for position to fulfil this growing demand."
    The UK is currently the region's most prominent digital market, accounting for 26% of digital TV homes, followed by France with 22% and Germany with 14%. The UK's dominance will begin to slip as other markets show improved digital growth rates. Of the 15 countries studied in the report, six are expected to have completely switched to digital by 2012. All countries will exceed 50% digital penetration and only four will fall short of 70%. Cable will account for the majority of the 22m households still receiving analogue signals, with analogue terrestrial and analogue satellite representing a combined total of just 4.5m.
    Adam Thomas, Informa's media research manager, said: "The signs of progress towards converged services are there for all to see. During 2006, 16.7m TV households upgraded to digital in Western Europe. By the end of 2012 a further 72.9m will make the same transition."
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Premiere unlocks channels for Cryptoworks

    On November 2, 2007, a number of Premiere channels will become available to viewers in Austria using the Cryptoworks encryption system by joining the ORF DTH platform. The German pay-TV operator has reached an agreement with the Austrian public broadcaster ORF and its subsidiary ORS, which operates the national DTH platform.
    This translates in an additional 1.1 million potential households in the country. Although Premiere has been available in the Austrian market, take up has remained limited because Cryptoworks is the de facto encryption standard as it is being used by the free-to-view ORF platform.
    Although only Premiere Austria and Premiere Thema will initially be available, most Premiere channels will eventually join. Most likely, the channels on the Premiere Star platform, which uses Entavio, will also become part of the offer to Austrian viewers. New subscribers can use their current ORF smart card, which will be upgraded when people subscribe. The client relationship will remain with Premiere, which will also handle all sales and marketing activities for the pay channels. Current Premiere customers owning a Premiere Nagra receiver in Austria will not be affected.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    France rapidly going digital

    Data from sales research company GfK says almost 30% of French homes can now view digital TV.
    Almost 8.3m digital receivers and 2.5m digitally-equipped TV sets have been sold (or rented) since France launched its digital terrestrial multichannel system in March 2005. GfK says that in barely two-and-a-half years, penetration levels for “Television Numerique Terrestre” may also have matched sales of DVD and MP3 players.
    Technical build-out is still taking place and the French audiovisual authority says 85% of France will get signals by the end of this year, and 95% coverage by early 2011.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    NZ brings forward high-def DTT


    TVNZ, New Zealand’s public broadcaster, will launch two high-definition channels on the Freeview digital-terrestrial platform, scheduled to start during the first half of 2008 – bringing its HD plans forward months.
    The company said it would “invest in the technology infrastructure to introduce both TV One and TV2 in high-definition on the Freeview DTT platform by July 2008, in time for the Olympics in August.” Freeview’s DTT platform will launch a few months before, in March or April 2008.
    The New Zealand government has given TVNZ – whose main channels are ad-supported – NZ$79 million (US$60 million) to help fund its digital TV activities. The broadcaster launched TV6, its new digital-only channel, at the weekend, on the Freeview digital-satellite platform.
    HD services were brought forward by TVNZ because, said the broadcaster “with TVNZ6 now about to launch, there was an opportunity to review our proposed timeline for HD. Technology is moving rapidly and costs have dropped dramatically, and our review showed we could advance our plans and accommodate the cost within our existing business plans.”
    TVNZ’s high-def services won’t entirely replicate their standard-definition counterparts. The broadcaster is expecting around 50% of peak time TV One content in HD and 80% of TV2’s initially, although those proportions would grow as local producers gear up HD production, the company added. Material not produced in HD will be upconverted to minimise the difference in quality.
    Freeview’s satellite platform was launched using MPEG2 technology “because when planning began, MPEG 4 compression technology was not mature”, said TVNZ, so the HD channels will not broadcast on the satellite version. The broadcaster will be statistical multiplexing the video of 2HD channels with 3 SD channels, in 23 megabits per second, using the latest MPEG4 compression technology – H.246 ABC. The channels will broadcast in 720p.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    BSkyB faces ITV hurdles


    BSkyB expects to face a full investigation over its 17.9% purchase of ITV.
    The (UK) Competition Commission is expected to issue its preliminary results tomorrow (October 2) into Sky's purchase of 17.9% of ITV last year. Insiders expect the report to lead to a full investigation.
    Some are even suggesting that Sky will have to - at least - sell a portion of its acquistion, probably to below 15%. Sky made its purchase in November last year in a move widely seen as thwarting Virgin Media's intention to do much the same.
    It seems the regulator is concerned at whether Sky has - or might have - a dominant position in the supply of news in Britain. ITV owns a 40% stake in ITN, the UK's commercial TV news provider. Rupert Murdoch's News Corp owns or controls The Times, The Sun, The Sunday Times, News of the World newspapers as well as Sky News.
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    Chellomedia snaps up thematic channels


    Liberty Global’s chellomedia has acquired the thematic channels TV Paprika, TV Deko and Filmmúzeum in separate transactions for undisclosed fees. TV Paprika and TV Deko are cookery and lifestyle channels respectively, while Filmmúzeuem offers Hungarian movies and drama. As previously reported in Broadband TV News, the Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH) gave its approval to the deals in September. TV Paprika and TV Deko are distributed in several countries, while Filmmúzeum is only available in Hungary. They will join a portfolio that already includes Minimax, Sport 1 and 2 and a joint venture with MGM.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    UPC Netherlands has launched a number of games

    UPC Netherlands has launched a number of games from the French maker of interactive TV games Visiware. A series of eight games that can be played on-screen using the remote control will be offered to all UPC subscribers for €0.50 per game. This feature comes as a part of UPC’s interactive portal that is managed by Chellomedia Interactive Services.
    Four of these Visiware games (Texas Hold’Em Poker, Roulette, Bingo and Black Jack) are already available in the Vegas Games portal and can be accessed via the Interactive button on UPC remote. More Visiware games will be launched on the network in coming months. UPC already offers games from other producers, including the Dutch interactive TV games maker Stoneroos.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Setanta leans on Virgin package

    Subscriber numbers to the Setanta Sports package have risen to two million following the sweetheart carriage deal with cablenet Virgin Media. Around 1.2 million of Setanta’s subscribers receive the premium channel as part of Virgin’s XL big basic package, according to research from media advisors Oliver & Ohlbaum. This leaves 800,000 that are paying for the channel directly, either from Sky Digital or from DTT, where Setanta is available through both Top Up TV and BT Vision. Oliver & Ohlbaum estimates the overlap between Setanta Sports and Sky Sports to be just 90,000 homes.
    Oliver & Ohlbaum estimates there to be a market of 1.6 million subscribers that could be tapped by Setanta, the majority of which are DTT households. Research from O&O said that more than 80% of people polled in a survey of 2,500 respondents were aware of Setanta.
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    Digital boost for Czech Republic

    The Czech parliament is reported to have endorsed an amendment to the country’s media legislation that should provide impetus for the transition to digital broadcasting. It will see digital licences awarded to all cable and satellite-delivered services in the country, while the national commercial stations TV Nova and Prima TV will be granted digital licences in compensation from their long-term analogue ones. Temporary licences will also be granted to Febio TV, TV Barrandov, TV Pohoda, Ocko, Z1 and RTA. All six were awarded digital licences in 2006 but subsequently had them withdrawn following protests led by TV Nova.
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