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Thread: News 19.11.2007

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    Default News 19.11.2007

    Pakistan bans Geo TV

    Pakistan’s state of emergency has seen another popular local channel taken off air.
    One of Pakistan’s top Urdu-language channels, Geo TV which transmits from Dubai, was taken off air late on Friday. BBC Monitoring quoted “informed sources” saying Nov 17 that “President Pervez Musharraf himself intervened to stop all GEO news transmissions from Dubai, after a two-week standoff in Pakistan during which all major news channels were shut down by cable operators, who are directly controlled by the Pakistani authorities.”
    The BBC report continued, saying: “PML-N [Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz faction] leader Mian Nawaz Sharif told Dr Shahid Masood on telephone from London it was a tragic moment in Pakistan's history as the Musharraf regime was bent upon destroying every symbol of free speech and democracy in the country.”
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    13th Street goes HD for France

    13čme Rue, NBC Universal’s first thematic channel in France, has just started transmissions in HD.
    13čme Rue started broadcasting ten years ago and is now available to Canal Plus/TPS viewers. It was the first Universal Studio channel in Europe. To “celebrate” this anniversary, 13čme Rue has launched its new HD channel through Thomson’s Technicolor Network Services business in France, which provides technical content preparation, management and distribution services to the channel. 13čme Rue, says Thomson, thus becomes the first TV channel to broadcast in native HD, i.e. content directly filmed in HD.
    13čme Rue is now broadcast in European countries such as Spain, Germany and the Benelux nations.
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    Sci-Fi, another TV channel belonging to NBC Universal and for which Thomson also provides technical and broadcast support services, will be broadcast in HD in 2008.
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    French threat to Digital Switch timetable

    The Digital Switch timetable for south east England could be brought forward to stop French TV overwhelming lower-power British signals.
    Digital switch in France is due to be complete by November 2011, but the ITV Meridian region won't go fully digital until 2012 on the current timetable.
    Many residents in the south east already have trouble receiving Freeview, because signals are turned down to avoid interference with French TV. A similar arrangement operates in northern France.
    But Ofcom, which represents Britain in international frequency coordination, is still waiting to see a detailed plan of the French digital switch timetable.
    The National Audit Office has warned that Ofcom's timetable for Meridian may have to be brought forward.
    It said: "Digital switchover in France, which is due to be completed in November 2011, could create interference in the UK to analogue and low-power digital television in Southern England. This could be avoided if switchover in the affected areas was brought forward to 2011.
    "Ofcom will be able to make a full assessment of the implications for the UK timetable when a more detailed French switchover plan is available in late 2007 or early 2008, at which point any likely additional costs would be clearer. The BBC considers that changes to the timetable are unlikely but, if they occurred, would seek funding for its additional costs from the Government."
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    Tiscali TV losing customers

    Tiscali has announced a drop in subscriber numbers for its Tiscal TV service.
    Tiscali's quarterly results show that numbers have fallen from 45,000 to 36,000 since Tiscali took over the Homechoice broadband TV service in August 2006.
    Tiscali is currently migrating the service to its cheaper unbundled network but this is not expected to be completed until early next year.
    It's been a bad month for broadband TV with BT also reporting less numbers than expected numbers for its BT Vision service.

    Review of Tiscali: It's not fantastic picture wise, it's poorer quality than freeview, but not by much, so it's watchable. Has some good features like the catch up service on BBC and channel 4, which allows you to watch a selection of programmes up to seven days after they've been broadcast. And if you subscribe to some of it's other packages,( these cost an extra Ł6 a month), you can watch whole series of programmes like the sopranos, like a dvd, with pause and rewind facilities etc.
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    Freeview launches first TV ad campaign

    Freeview has kicked off its first ever television advertising campaign, forming part of a wider Christmas marketing initiative in the Border, Central and Granada TV regions. Running alongside outdoor, online and retail activity, the ads invite viewers to join the 14 million homes in the UK that already receive Freeview.
    The integrated campaign will encourage consumers to visit the Freeview website or visit their local electrical retailer to buy a Freeview digital box, Freeview Playback digital TV recorder or digital TV with Freeview built-in. Freeview's call centre telephone number is also featured on TV ads broadcast at key times to target older non-digital viewers, who may require additional help and advice.
    Sophie Alexander, Head of Consumer Marketing at Freeview said: "Our Christmas advertising campaign was designed to serve two purposes. Firstly, to reach homes that don't have digital TV and secondly to reach out to our existing customers who are looking for a second set solution.
    "By focusing on the simplicity of Freeview, its great channel line-up and demonstrating Freeview's wide appeal, we can instil pride amongst our Freeview consumers, whilst appealing to those who've not yet made their digital choice. With digital switchover in progress we hope that by getting our message out there we can maximise the huge opportunity available and ensure Freeview remains the UK's most popular digital TV service."
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    Virgin expands on demand content

    Virgin Media has added content from National Geographic and Discovery to its digital cable video on demand service.
    Video on demand has been a focal point of Virgin's television development efforts in recent months and the new content amounts to over 80 hours of science, nature and lifestyle programming.
    "We're thrilled to be expanding our on demand service with this exciting new content from Discovery and National Geographic Channels," said Virgin Media's chief executive officer of content Malcolm Wall. "We take pride in catering for an incredibly diverse audience, and along with our movies, kids entertainment and drama, we're delighted to be widening the appeal of our on-demand offering with these great new shows."
    Programming from National Geographic was added last week. Stephanie Holm, head of operations at National Geographic Channels, said: "We are looking forward to Virgin's success in this inspiring endeavour. The way people are consuming content is rapidly changing, and we are delighted to be part of the continued evolution of distributing fantastic content on great platforms."
    Programming from Discovery is in the process of being added to Virgin's on demand system.
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    UPC Czech tops a million

    UPC Czech has announced that it now has one million subscribers to its television, Internet and telephony services. UPC inherited a digital cable TV service when it acquire Karneval and subsequently launched its own. Having combined the two, take-up of the resulting operation, which offers 68 channels, is growing rapidly and should reach 100,000 by the end of the year. UPC’s analogue service offers 45 channels, and its DTH platform UPC Direct up to 150. Its broadband offer meanwhile consists of seven options dependent on price and speed, while the telephony service includes such features as unlimited off-peak calls and unlimited calls within the UPC network free of charge.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    DirecTV: 100 HDTV channels, and growing

    DirecTV has added 23 new HD channels to its DBS line up, which means the platform is now carrying 100 high-def channels.
    The channels include new HD-dedicated versions of Country Music TV, MTV, Nickelodeon HD, VH-1 HD and Nickelodeon HD. Additionally 13 regional sports networks are on offer in HD, and 5 PPV services in HD. Biography HD is promised to come in December, with the likelihood of more to follow. DirecTV was already showing 85 high-def channels, a mix of conventional linear channels as well as PPV transmissions.
    However, not all is is harmony. HD broadcast pioneer HDNet earlier this week won a temporary court order that will prevent DirecTV from forcing its HDNet and HDNet Movies channels to a new programming tier. Millionaire Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, who owns the HD-Net cluster of channels won a Restraining Order on DirecTV on the basis that it would suffer “imminent and irreparable harm because of a loss of customers, irreparable damage to its goodwill, programming and business unless this temporary restraining order is entered”, said the Court. There’s a hearing scheduled for Dec 7 to determine whether the temporary order can become a firm injunction.
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    Nigerians get their DTH


    Eutelsat Communications has signed a five-year contract on its W4 satellite with Entertainment Highway Ltd (EHL) for a new pay-TV platform serving Nigeria. The contract covers one high-power Ku-band transponder with a high-power spotbeam that Eutelsat has focused over Nigeria.
    Called HiTV, the new platform comprises 15 digital channels, including three sports channels showing Barclay’s Premier League football from the UK, as well as matches from Spain’s La Liga and Italy’s Serie A. Other international channels broadcast in the platform include BBC World, E! Entertainment, God TV, MTV Base, Sky News, Eurosport News, Nickelodeon, along with new channels produced in Nigeria dedicated to local and foreign movies, music, children and general entertainment.
    Having broken into a highly underserved but hugely potent Nigerian pay-TV market, HiTv is adopting a mass market affordable pricing approach and targeting 100,000 homes in its first year of operation.
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    SBS Netherlands pulls call TV shows

    SBS Netherlands has decided to pull all its call TV type programming from its three Dutch stations, SBS6, Net 5 and Veronica. The move follows a request from the Dutch justice department, who is currently investigating call TV programming on all channels. Earlier RTL Nederland also complied with a similar request. SBS will replace the call in TV shows with a combination of Dutch and acquired productions.
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    Thomson delivers Saarland DTT

    German public broadcaster Saarländischer Rundfunk (SR), part of the federal broadcaster ARD, has ordered a DVB-T multiplex center from Thomson. The installation will allow SR’s digital services to officially go on air by the end of 2007.
    SR invited Thomson to build a digital playout center on the Göttelborn site to be monitored from its headquarters in Saarbrücken. The solution is based on the new Thomson NetProcessor 9040, providing statistical multiplexing, transrating and PSI/SI management in a single unit. A redundant pair of NetProcessor 9040 devices is provided linked by an automated changeover switch to guarantee very high availability of the MPTS stream to the single frequency transmitter network.
    As well as the redundant NetProcessor 9040 the project also includes an XMS control system which allows the whole solution to be monitored and maintained from a standard web browser, either in the control room or from remote locations. A Thomson Granite Sentinel MPEG quality of service monitoring system is also included, also under XMS control, to ensure a consistently high quality signal is delivered to the viewer at home.
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    Fox Life cannot survive after CanalSat removal The French version of Fox LIfe will not survive if CanalSat sticks to its intention to remove the channel from its bouqet of channels. Thierry Schluck, president of Fox International channels (FIC) in Paris, told Le Monde the distribution contract with the DTH operator represents 85% of the €12 million annual budget. CanalSat will remove Fox Life at the end of this year. The contract with the channel already expired at the end of April 2007 and CanalSat said it will go ahead and stop distribution. The channel appealed to a Paris court, but it ruled that ruled CanalSat is allowed to remove the channel. Earlier this week children’s channel Jetix announced an extension to its CanalSat contract following the resumption of carriage talks between the two. The thematic Fox Life was launched in October 2005 in France with a mix of movies, series and docu-dramas is aimed at viewers aged between 30 and 40.
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    New French channel to counterweigh youth bias

    Due for a December 10 launch, the new French thematic channel Vivoita is aimed at 45 to 65 year olds and intends to counterbalance the youth bias in current TV programming. It will focus on leisure and ‘the art of living’, according to MD Gaspard de Chavagnac. Vivolta will be available on cable, satellite and IPTV.
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    Satellite keeps C-band at WRC-07

    The global satellite industry emerged today from four weeks of successful negotiations to protect the users of its C-band spectrum from terrestrial interference. With its unequivocal “no change” campaign, the satellite industry at WRC-07 has ensured its uninterrupted, interference-free use of C-band for the future. The 2007 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-07) of the UN’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU), is the place where 191 Member States assemble every four years to work out the rules by which countries get to use the precious radio frequency spectrum.
    The WRC has decided against the global identification for IMT, including Wimax, in any part of the satellite C band (3.4-4.2 GHz). In effect, the ITU table of allocations remains unchanged and the limited number of countries in favour of change are identified in an opt-in footnote. With this approach, the world’s regulators participating in the WRC have clearly signaled that these bands are not globally harmonised for IMT. The WRC further restricted IMT, including Wimax, by imposing stringent requirements for the protection of existing and future satellite services in the band, including transborder protection.
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