CANAL DIGITAL–Canal Digital has yet to start marketing its digital service to Scandinavia, but the September issue of the “Canal Plus” magazine gives details of the packages: The “mini-paket” for SEK 29 a month consists of Sky Entertainment, Sky News and National Geographic, and Animal Planet. The “Kombi-paket” for SEK 109 a month adds: Discovery, Eurosport, CNN, TCC, TNT, Cartoon Network, and BBC Prime. The “Premium-paket” offers Canal Plus and Canal Plus Gul for SEK 198 a month.
On the other hand, the Canal Digital website (at www.canaldigital.com) lists the following packages instead: “Canal Local” with local Nordic favorites (DR1 and 2, Kanal 5, Nelonen, NRK 1 and 2, TV 2 Norway, TV Denmark, TV Norge) for free, “Canal Entertain” (Adult Channel, Animal Planet, BBC Prime, Cartoon Network, CNBC, CNN, Discovery, Eurosport, Fox Kids, M2, MTV, Music Choice, NBC Europe, Nickelodeon, Sci-Fi, TNT, Travel, and VH-1) for NOK 129, “Canal Select” a la carte channels at individual prices, and the two “Canal Plus” film channels for NOK 189 a month. (There is a note that “the packages and prices may vary slightly in the four Nordic countries” but the differences here seem more substantial than slight.)
A new rental program from Canal Digital will make it cheaper and more simple for Nordic TV viewers to get access to digital satellite-TV. Philips will produce the new digital decoders for Canal Digital’s rental program. The receivers will be available from this Autumn, both from radio and TV dealers and from Canal Digital in the four (sic– there are five, including Iceland) Nordic countries. Terje Storhaug, Chief Technical Officer at Canal Digital AS says in addition to the agreement with Philips, Canal Digital has also entered into agreements with Nokia and Grundig “to ensure a wider selection of open digital satellite-TV decoders for sale in the market.” (Canal Digital)
The rentals will cost SEK 69 a month. But they will be unable to receive anything other than Canal Digital’s own channels, with the possible exception of free-to-air channels, at least with the Philips receiver. (Frank Oestergren in “Aftonbladet”)
SIRIUS–Travel has moved from 11.862 to 12.015 GHz on Sirius 1, in D2- MAC/Eurocrypt M, 13:00-16:00 hrs CET. MTG/Viasat has decided to let Nickelodeon remain on 11.862 GHz. (Richard Karlsson in “Aftonbladet” and “SATCO DX”)
THOR–Fox Kids has started on Thor 1 on 11.797 GHz, in D2-MAC/Eurocrypt S2, 07:00-17:00 hrs CET. Animal Planet continues from 17:00 hrs. Nickelodeon Scandinavia and the Sci-Fi Channel Scandinavia have started on Thor 1, on 12.456 GHz in clear MPEG-2 (SR 28000, FEC 3/4). (“SATCO DX” and Richard Karlsson in “Aftonbladet”)
ASTRA–Discovery is bringing its Animal Planet to Astra. Already on Eutelsat at 13 degrees East, Animal Planet will broadcast for 12 hours a day in PAL on 10.744 GHz (transponer 51), replacing Sky Box Office’s promotions. There is already an 18 hour a day digital version of Animal Planet on Astra 1D. (“What Satellite TV”)
UK Horizons is moving from 10.818 (transponder 56) to 10.832 GHz (transponder 57). (Richard Karlsson in “Aftonbladet”) This station, which has operated in “soft Eurocrypt”, which means anyone with a docoder can watch, without a subscription card, is to scramble later this month, when it joins the Sky Multichannels package. (“What Satellite TV”)
There go two major English language uncoded digital broadcasters: the 24 hour digital versions of TNT and Cartoon Network on Astra 1G are to be coded, although the date is still undetermined. The uncoded analog versions will not be affected. (Stefan Hagedorn’s “Transponder News”)
Eutelsat has ordered a new satellite called RESSAT, to guarantee service in the event of a launch failure of one of the satellites in the W series, the first of which is to go into orbit in October. Equipped with 28 transponders and based on the Hot Bird platform, the satellite could be slotted in at 7, 10, 16, or 36 degrees East. (Eutelsat)
EUTELSAT VS ASTRA–The International Telecommunications Union has ruled that Eutelsat’s planned Europesat 1 satellite network was not brought into use at 29 degrees East within the required time period. This means that the ITU’s Radio Regulations Board can no longer take Europesat 1 into account when deciding frequency allocations at 28.2 degrees East, where Astra is already broadcasting. In a press release, Eutelsat says it contests the decision, and says Astra is broadcasting in violation of ITU regulations. (“What Satellite TV” and Eutelsat) As we’ve reported before, 28.2 degrees East is Astra’s second position, while Eutelsat has at least 5, with more planned. Eutelsat tested its last 2 Hot Birds at 29 degrees briefly, in order to establish a presence there. Astra part-owner DT has operated a Kopernikus satellite at the disputed position for several years.
DISCOVERY–Today Discovery Networks Europe is starting three channels which will join Sky Digital: Discovery Sci-Trek, Discovery Travel and Adventure, and Discovery Civilizations. (There are no plans to send these channels to Scandinavia.) (Richard Karlsson in “Aftonbladet” and Mark Mahabir)
BBC–BBC Choice is to launch on September 23. Transmission of the service, which will complement BBC1 and BBC2, will begin on Astra 2A on that day. The channel will be offered as a free-to-air channel within Sky’s digital package, although viewers will require a viewing card to watch it. (“What Satellite TV”)
SKY DIGITAL–Sky has revealed that subscriptions to its 200 channel digital package will cost GBP 10 a month. Sky has also confirmed that analog suvscribers will be able to buy digital receivers for the system for GBP 160, a subsidy of GBP 40 on the normal price, or pay a monthly charge of around GBP 6. Installation will be free. Sky claims it will have 200,000 receivers, mainly from Pace, in shops in time for Christmas. (“What Satellite TV”)
Carlton Select and the Carlton Food Network are to join Sky Digital during the next 12 months. Carlton will also offer the channels as part of ONdigital’s terrestrial TV package, which is due to start this Winter. (“What Satellite TV”)
BRITAIN–Britain’s largest cable group, Cable and Wireless Communications, is planning to launch a digital system with 200 channels and interactive services to take on Sky Digital and the BBC’s coming digital terrestrial television. Like its rivals, CWC’s “TV Mall” will offer banking, home shopping, and interactive news and information. (Reuters)
FASHION TV–Fashion TV has split. “Fashion TV L’Original” can be found in MPEG-2 on Astra 1F on 12.402 GHz, on Hot Bird 3 on 12.322 GHz, and on Intelsat 806 on 3.803 GHz. The channel for men, “Fashion TV Hommes”, can be found in PAL on Hot Bird 2 on 11.766 GHz, and in MPEG-2 on Hot Bird 3 on both 12.245 and 12.322 GHz.
BLOOMBERG–The German version of Bloomberg TV has been broadcasting in MPEG-2 on Hot Bird 1, 11.422 GHz. In September the German channel will share the English Bloomberg transponder on Astra. (Richard Karlsson in “Aftonbladet”)
ITALY–Italian public broadcaster RAI has decided that two of its four thematic digital satellite channels will become pay services. The arts and culture channel RaiSat 1 and the children’s RaiSat 2 will form the basis of the new digital pay package. RaiSat 3 Educational will remain free for the time being. It is thought that the future pay TV package that will launch this month will include 10 or more channels. One of the new channels will be a sports service, covering minor sports not included on the RAI 1-3 terrestrial channels. (Curt Swinehart)
RADIO–The end seems to have come for the pioneering DSR digital radio system. The majority of the German radio stations using DSR on Kopernikus 3 (23.5 degrees East) have decided to switch to MPEG-2 via ARD’s transponders. Those ready for the new system are Bayern 4 Klassik, S2 Kultur, Bremen 2, HR 2, NDR 3, WDR 3, SR 1, and MDR Sputnik. (Richard Karlsson in “Aftonbladet”)
Correcting the report last time, the Radio Voyager Network will not be part of the Voice of America. It is a new contemporay music service for radio stations in Europe and North America. Programming will be similar to the old VOA Europe, but this is commercial venture not associated with VOA. (Kim Andrew Elliott, VOA)
Beginning September 5 Radio Voyager will be transmitting in MPEG-2 on Hot Bird 1, on 11.422 GHz.
(Richard Karlsson in “Aftonbladet”)
Ireland’s RTE is join the broadcasters testing in Digital Audio Broadcasting, starting later this year. (Edward Dunne)
C-SPAN told me that local cable systems have to acquire the necessary equipment to carry the C-SPAN audio channels via SAP. Each cable system that chooses to do so must, per the agreement with WRN, carry both audio channels, i.e. one on each C-SPAN channel. (Kim Andrew Elliott, VOA)