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Widoff New Director at SBCA
The Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association said 30-year broadcasting and technology veteran Joseph Widoff has joined the group as executive director.
Widoff has served in senior leadership positions at two public broadcasting stations, and he worked at the Advanced Television Test Center, the facility that tested digital transmission systems for the FCC that ultimately resulted in the approved standard for the nation's Feb. 17, 2009, digital TV switch. He also was elected as a "DTV Pioneer" by the Consumer Electronics Association and has been recognized by both NTIA and PBS for his leadership in the digital television conversion.
"With a strong staff and supportive board, I have no doubt that the SBCA can become an even more valuable and effective representative of the satellite industry in its many facets of advocacy, representation and training," Widoff said in a statement.
DISH Helps MTV Ad Push, Success for ProtoStar
MTV Networks has partnered with Cadbury, the makers of Sour Patch Kids candy, and DISH Network for the launch of an advertiser-supported interactive TV campaign. The effort will appear during The N's all-new reality series, "Queen Bees," which premieres Friday at 9 p.m. Eastern. The campaign will be available exclusively in DISH Network homes nationwide.
ProtoStar said its satellite was lofted into space during a successful mission aboard an Ariane 5 rocket that flew into space from the European Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, Monday. ProtoStar I, the company's first satellite, will eventually be positioned at 98.5 degrees East longitude and provide direct-to-home (DTH) television and broadband internet service to South and Southeast Asia.
On July 15, XM will air the All-Star Game live from Yankee Stadium in New York City. Coverage of related events begin Saturday, July 12, on XM's baseball talk radio channel MLB Home Plate
HD debuts on Hungarian Antenna Digital
The Hungarian national transmission company Antenna Hungária has introduced HDTV channels on its MMDS service Antenna Digital.
According to Antenna Hungária, the channels, which have been available from the end of June, are being offered in two packages.
While the first contains National Geographic HD, Eurosport HD and the soon-to-be-launched m2 HD and costs HUF900 (€3.89) a month to receive, the second has HBO HD and costs HUF799, but can only be accessed in addition to HBO Pak or HBO MaxPak.
Antenna Digital, which has around 40,000 subscribers in Budapest and environs, is one of the first companies in Hungary to offer its subscribers HD channels.
BTC heads Bulgarian broadband race
A consistent picture of broadband internet take-up in Bulgaria has begun to emerge
According to a local report, a study commissioned by the incumbent telco BTC shows that it is the leading provider in the domestic sector, with a market share 18%. Cable operators meanwhile account for 20%, and LAN operators 56%.
Similar figures have recently been published by both ICT Cluster and the Communications Regulation Commission (CRC).
BTC, which has yet to launch an IPTV service, currently has around 162,000 broadband internet subscribers and expects to gain a further 50,000 by the end of this year.
NBC set for record Olympic coverage
NBC Universal is set for a record number of hours and coverage during this year’s Olympic games in Beijing. The broadcaster will air some 3,800 hours across seven networks including one HD channel.
Starting on August 8, NBC, USA, MSNBC, CNBC, Oxygen, Telemundo and Universal HD, as well as NBCOlympics.com, will air some 3,600 hours of coverage, 1,000 more than all other televised Summer Olympics combined since Rome in 1960 through Athens in 2004.
Moreover, the 2,900 hours of live coverage, featuring all 34 Olympics sports, will surpass the total of 2,562 hours for the 12 preceding Summer Games.
It will also be the first time that NBC will broadcast the Olympic Games on an HD channel.
TV5 Monde extends DISH distribution contract
The international French language broadcaster TV5 Monde says it has renewed its distribution contract with Echostar’s DISH Network for a period of five years. The channel is part of a French language bouquet that also includes Euronews, 3A Télésud, Trace TV and Eurochannel.
The channel claims to be the most watched of all foreign language broadcasters in the US except for Spanish language broadcasts, beating all other European and Asian language services
Eurosport stays top in MediaCabSat study
With an audience share of 1.6%, Eurosport remains the most watched channel in cable and satellite homes in France, according to the latest MediaCabSat study from Mediametrie. The runner up is the kids channel Canal J from Lagardere, with a share of 1%.
Teva, the women’s channel from M6, the pre-school channel TiJi and 13čme Rue (13th Street) from NBC Universal all share third place with 0.8%.
According to the study, the total number of subscribers to cable and satellite services has grown to 17.2 million, and the share of cable and satellite channels has risen to 29.6% of total viewing.
The study was undertaken between December 31, 2007 and June 15, 2008.
Mobile boost for Extra TV subs
Mobile users in Montenegro can now schedule the recording of TV programmes on the IPTV service Extra TV through their phones.
They can do so by sending an SMS, charged at standard rates, or by going to the website www.edgetratv-cg.com/mobile, which is accessable from their phones.
Extra TV, which is operated by the Magyar Telekom-backed incumbent telco Montenegro Telekom, made its debut in late November last year.
As of the end of Q1 this year, it already had over 9,000 subscribers, equivalent to just over 50% of the company’s total ADSL customer base.
Dutch pubcaster to reduce thematic channels
NPO, the umbrella organisation of Dutch public broadcasters, is to cut down the number of digital thematic channels from 17 to 12. The reason given is to reduce costs and improve the quality of the remaining channels.
The channels Dier en Natuur (nature documentaries), Omega TV (evangelical), 3voor12 (alternative music), Nederland E (educational) and Opvoeden Doe Je Zo (self help with bringing up kids) will face the axe.
There has been widespread criticism, especially from commercial broadcasters and cable companies, about the large number of channels. Commercial broadcasters claimed the public channels spoilt the market by launching channels for every niche market; the cable companies did not like the fact that they had to take all the channels or none.
12th July 2008, 08:50
TVN owner maps out strategy
The Polish new generation DTH platform n has the potential to increase its subscriber total from the current 350,000 to between 1-1.5 million, according to Jan Wejchert, the president of ITI Group.
Quoted in a wide -ranging interview with the local press, he added that there had been outside offers for n before TVN stepped in to buy a 25% plus one share stake in the platform from ITI Group last month.
Although the deal was dismissed as meaningless in some quarters – ITI Group ultimately owns both TVN and n – Wejchert said it was done on strategic grounds and should help both companies grow.
He also said that ITI Group is currently preparing several projects include a TVN-branded channel serving the capital, Warsaw. It is also looking intensely for opportunities in Ukraine.
12th July 2008, 08:50
MSV Defers Payment on Satellite
Mobile Satellite Ventures said it reached an agreement with Boeing Satellite Systems to defer an additional $40 million in payments on the construction of the MSV-2 satellite.
The $40 million deferral is in addition to an original construction payment deferral of $76 million. Deferred payments are now due in December 2010, or 10 days before shipment of the second MSV satellite, whichever is earlier, the company said.
Even with the deferrals, the satellite construction program is proceeding as planned and is consistent with previously announced launch windows, which are the fourth quarter 2009 for MSV-1 and third quarter 2010 for MSV-2, the company said.
Alexander Good, MSV's CEO, president and vice chairman, said the Boeing agreement "comes at an important stage in the development of MSV's hybrid satellite-terrestrial network, providing us increased flexibility in our long-term financing plans."
MSV is building a hybrid satellite-terrestrial communications network that will provide wireless coverage in the United States and Canada to conventional handsets.
12th July 2008, 08:53
Arqiva supports launch of Military History Channel
Arqiva has announced it is supporting the launch of The History Channel's latest channel offering -'Military History', on the UK Sky platform from 28 July 2008.
Arqiva will manage the channels playout services and uplink the channel on to the company's Eurobird satellite capacity.
Arqiva will also provide the channel with an advanced graphical overlay package, voiceover facilities and full digital archiving of the channel's content.
Richard Melman, acting Managing Director of The History Channel UK, said: "We are delighted that Arqiva has been able to provide Military History with all the facilities we need on a single site. Arqiva's efficient, pro-active and flexible approach to meeting our requirements has greatly simplified our launch process and we are confident that their extensive experience of playout on the Sky platform will deliver the high levels of reliability we demand."
John Bozza, director of sales at Arqiva's Satellite Media Solutions division, said: "Military History will certainly be a popular new offering from one of the world's most recognisable and respected broadcasters. We are delighted that The History Channel has chosen Arqiva for such a central role in the channel's launch. Our ability to provide a comprehensive, co-located and cost-effective broadcast solution brings significant advantages to new and established broadcasters wishing to launch single or multiple channels onto the Sky platform. We wish Military History every success and look forward to building our relationship with The History Channel in the future."
12th July 2008, 08:55
West region switchover dates announced
Digital UK has unveiled the timings for the digital switchover in the West TV region.
The West TV region includes Bristol and parts of Somerset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire.
Switchover will begin in the region in 2010, with Bristol being the first area to go digital between January and March.
The Mendip transmitter group will cease analogue broadcasts to parts of Somerset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and Bristol between April and June 2010.
Cheltenham and Gloucester will be the last areas to go digital in early 2011.
Bill Taylor, Regional Manager for Digital UK in the South West, said: "Today is a key milestone in
the switchover timetable for the West TV region. We now have a clear timeframe for people to
prepare for—there are steps you can take now and some households may already be able to
receive a digital signal through their aerial."
"As we get closer to switchover, Digital UK will announce the actual date each of these transmitters starts the switch. We will keep people informed throughout the process and give help and advice wherever possible."
12th July 2008, 08:56
Nederland 1 HD to broadcast in 1080i
The Dutch public broadcasting umbrella organisation NPO and their technical partner Technicolor have decided to offer an HD version of Nederland 1 HD in 1080i rather than 720p following complaints bout the quality of the signal. Cable operators Ziggo and UPC have decided to offer this better quality version to their subscribers. DTH provide Canal Digitaal is believed to follow suit.
Many viewers of the temporary Nederland 1 HD channel complained about the technical quality of the Euro 2008 football coverage. The original source material was supplied in 1080i, but down converted to 720p by Technicolor, resulting in loss of picture quality. Technicolor and NPO have now decided to offeran 1080i test streams to gauge consumer reactions
12th July 2008, 08:56
Hungarian pubcaster prepares for HD
The Hungarian public broadcaster Magyar Televizió (MTV) will introduce HD programming on both its channels during the forthcoming Beijing Olympic Games.
Coverage of the Olympics, most of which will in HD and shown live or delayed on both channels, will start at 02.45 and finish at 17.00 daily. Moreover, that on the second channel (m2) will be distributed FTA in MPEG-4 by Hotbird 8 at 13 degrees East.
Following the Olympic Games, MTV will show a small though growing number of programmes in HD.
It will have a total of five HD studios and be producing all its programming in the format by the middle of next year.
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