NHK HDTV from Atlantic Bird 3


Eutelsat and NHK, Japan's national public broadcaster today announced the signature of a contract for a full transponder on the ATLANTIC BIRD™ 3 satellite for the duration of February 2006. The capacity will be used by NHK to carry HDTV coverage of the Winter Olympic Games, which will take place in Turin, Italy from 10 to 26 February.
The satellite link will provide a permanent, fully secure means of communication between NHK production units filming in HDTV at Olympic venues and the broadcaster's programme units located in Paris and at the International Broadcasting Centre (IBC) in Turin's Olympic Village.

As Japan's leading broadcaster and the first in the world to demonstrate HDTV, in 1964, NHK serves a total audience of 40 million TV households, of which more than eight million are already equipped to receive HDTV by satellite. Since December 2003, NHK has also been distributing HDTV programming to its terrestrial channels, including general and educational channels.

Eutelsat has allotted a full 36 MHz Ku-band transponder to NHK to ensure optimum response to the specific requirements of HDTV coverage of the Games. This includes power and frequencies best suited for newsgathering (14.00-14.50 GHz) as they enable production vehicles to use equipment that can be quickly and easily deployed, with automatic pointing of 1.20 metre antennas.

Commenting on the contract, Eiichi Kashino, Senior Producer of NHK News said: "High-definition has been one of the main vectors for the development and identity of our group for more than 40 years, and the Olympic Games are a very special opportunity for us to show our viewers what this developing technology can offer. Covering a sports event of this scale implies a need to be in the right place at the right time in order to share real-time the emotion of the moment with our community of viewers. To meet this challenge, Eutelsat will work with us on a daily basis to secure the best conditions at Turin 2006 in terms of quality, security and speed of reaction so that HDTV images can be delivered to our studios the moment they are filmed."

Olivier Milličs-Lacroix, Eutelsat's Commercial Director said: "Within the overall activity of video applications, which account for 70 per cent of our revenues, coverage of Olympic events by our broadcasting clients is an activity which calls for the best technology and expertise. Eutelsat is particularly proud to have been chosen to carry HDTV images produced by NHK to its production centres - all the more so because we are fully committed to supporting the development of HDTV in Europe and across the world."