NORDIC MEDIA NEWS
The Swedish media world welcomed the new millennium with a last gasp of some old technology. While satellite images from New Year’s celebrations around the world were being beamed to us by CNN and other networks and local stations, as well as over the Internet, engineers here fired up the old long wave telegraphy transmitter at Grimeton on the Swedish West Coast.
To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the first Morse Code message sent over the Atlantic from Grimeton, the 1925 New Year’s speech by King Gustaf V, Grimeton returned to the air on longwave 17 kHz to carry the first New Year’s speech of the new millennium, by his great grandson, the present King of Sweden, Carl XVI Gustaf.
For those who could still copy Morse Code, the transmission went out twice, once on January 1st, and again the following day, using Grimeton’s call letters SAQ.
The King’s English language Christmas greeting is at the royal website.
At the other end of radio technology history from Grimeton’s Morse Code is DAB, Digital Audio Broadcasting. Also called Digital Radio, this is supposed to be succeeding FM the way FM has largely replaced AM, at least here in Europe. Besides CD quality reception, DAB includes digital images and data displayed on a small screen built into the receivers.
Both the BBC and the Swedish Broadcasting Corporation have been using Digital Radio for regular transmissions since 1995, and many other countries, including much of Western Europe and Canada, have followed suit. But the problem has been the lack of affordable receivers. There are less than 1000 in use here in Sweden, and the major consumer electronics chains have yet to even advertise their availability, probably because they cost so much.
But now in Gothenburg, the Swedish Institute of Production Engineering Research has teamed up with two graduate students at the Chalmers Institute of Techonology to produce a cut-down DAB receiver, without all the bells and whistles, which they say will cost half as much as the current models.
In today’s program we talk to Per Johander, Associate Professor at the Institute, who tells us about the project.
Ever since Sweden joined the European Union on January 1, 1995, the Swedish Union of Journalists has been fighting to extend to Brussels the access to Open Government practised here. It’s been a hard struggle, as transparency traditions in northern and southern Europe vary widely. Recently an EU civil servant was fired for leaking details of a report to the press. In today’s edition of MediaScan, Radio Sweden’s Azariah Kiros talks to Swedish Radio’s correspondent in Brussels, Willy Silberstein, about the EU and transparency.
A summary of the Swedish law on Public Access is on the Swedish Union of Journalists website.
Sirius 3 has reached 5 degrees East. (“LyngSat Updates”) It’s schedule to take over from Sirius 1 on January 10. (“Transponder News”)
On Sirius 2 (also 5 degrees East) Bloomberg TV UK has started on 12.245 GHz in Eurocrypt/D2-MAC, sharing the channel with TV8. (“Transponder News”)
The Dream Family Network, from the Christian Channel Europe (which operates the The Christian Channel on Astra 1 and the GOD Network on Sky Digital), seems set to launch on 12.349 GHz in clear MPEG-2. The line-up includes the God Channel, Revival Channel/Worship Channel, Travel Channel, EuroNews and the radio stations UCB Europe, Cross Rhythms, Dream, and Talking Bible. The Money Channel will join in the Spring. (“Transponder News”) Another way of describing the offerings: Dream One will carry Christian home shopping, Christian Music Television, Dream Kids, and Dream Network News. Dream Two will be made up of the Revival Channel and the Worship Channel. The service will be available by subscription and will be encoded in Cyrptoworks. (“What Satellite TV”)
TV Danmark has split. TV Danmark 2 has replaced TV Danmark on 11.216 GHz on Thor in Eurocrypt/D2-MAC, and on 11.014 GHz on Intelsat 707 in Conax-encoded MPEG-2, with a clear MPEG-2 transmission on 11.619 GHz. TV Danmark 1 has started on 11.309 GHz in MPEG-2. (“Transponder News” and Richard Karlsson in “Aftonbladet”)
Following the collapse of the Telia-Telenor merger, Telia continues with plans to sell off its cable network, although since it’s not in such a hurry, it may command a higher price. (“Dagens Nyheter”)
The Dutch-based cable giant UPC (with American ownership, as we reported last time), with a strong presence in Norway and an ambitious effort in Sweden (Stockholm’s largest cable network Stjärn-TV), thinks Telenor should still sell its Avidi cable unit. “Having one player in control of several networks is a significant hindrance to free competition” says UPC Norway’s CEO, Lars Helgerud Andersen. UPC signaled its interest in both Telenor and Telia’s cable networks when the merger looked likely to go through. (“Digital TV News”)
The Swedish Broadcasting Authority has made its recommendations to the government on the allocation of coveted digital TV licences. National licenses are recommended for Canal Plus TV, and Kinnevik/Viasat’s ZTV, Viasat Sverige, and TV1000. Local licenses are recommended for TV4, Stockholm 1 Lokaltelevision, and DTU Television. (TT via “Digital TV News”)
Discovery has confirmed it will launch two new TV channels, Discovery Kids and Discovery Wings, in ONdigital’s terrestrial package on February 1. Both the stations will initially be exclusive to ONdigital, although they may join Sky Digital’s lineup later in 2000. The children’s channel will broadcast seven days a week for twelve hours per day, and sharing the channel with Wings. The channels will replace the little-watched Carlton World and Carlton Kids channels, which will close on February 1. The one success story for Carlton is Food Network which is to double its daily output to 10 hours from February. (“What Satellite TV”)
British Sky Broadcasting has welcomed the British government’s outright rejection of plans to introduce a GBP 24 digital TV license fee. Sky’s Chief Executive, Tony Ball , said: “This report is a devastating indictment of the proposal for a digital poll tax, and it clearly rejects the BBC’s demands for massive extra funding.” (“What Satellite TV”)
The relaunch of Radio Luxembourg on medium wave and satellite, planned for November, has been delayed until the end of January. (Richard Karlsson in “Aftonbladet”)
The Viacom package we reported on last time is testing on Astra 1G on 12.699 GHz. The package is to include several versions of MTV and VH-1. (Richard Karlsson in “Aftonbladet”)
QVC Germany has started on Astra 1G (19 degrees East) on 12.552 GHz, in clear MPEG-2. (“LyngSat Updates”)
ZDF Theaterkanal has started on 11.954 GHz. (Richard Karlsson in “Aftonbladet”)
ASDA FM has closed down its analog audio transmissions on 11.171 Ghz on Astra 1C. A digital service continues. (Richard Karlsson in “Aftonbladet”)
The Money Channel has confirmed it will launch on February 7, via Sky Digital on Astra 2A (28 degrees East) as well as as part of The Dream Family Network on Sirius 3 (see above). (“Transponder News”) We note from its schedule that the Money Channel has stolen a program name from Radio Sweden: “Money Matters”, our business and labor magazine broadcast every Wednesday.
What may be the Money Channel under a new name, or (according to “What Satellite TV”) a rival channel, called “Simply Money”, is testing on Astra 2A on 12.129 GHz. (Richard Karlsson in “Aftonbladet”)
The radio stations Heart FM, Youth FM, and Galaxy were due to start by the
beginning of the year uncoded on Astra 2A on 12.324 GHz. (Richard Karlsson
Music fans were disappointed to find mono signals when several new radio stations launched on Astra 2A in November. Classic FM, Classic Gold, Core, Planet Rock, and The Mix had to go on the air in mono because British Telecom had installed the wrong lines to the Astra 2A uplink station. Engineers overcame the problem by picking up the stations’ DAB signal, launched the same time as the Astra 2A feed. BT installed lines with the proper bandwidth at the beginning of December. (“What Satellite TV”)
TV Montenegro has started on Hot Bird 2 (13 degrees East) on 12.092 GHz (MPEG-2). Napoli International and Magic TV have closed on Hot Bird 4, but continue on Hot Bird 3 on 12.303 GHz (MPEG-2). (“Transponder News”)
The Greek OTE has started a digital package on Hot Bird 3 on 12.187 GHz, which is to include: ET3, ET1, NET, Alpha Severn, ESPN, MCM, OTE Plus, Eurosport, Star, Muzzik, and Fashion TV. (Richard Karlsson in “Aftonbladet”)
ERT Sat has moved from 12.169 to 11.823 GHz on Hot Bird 3. (Richard Karlsson in “Aftonbladet”)
The Turkish TGRT and www.travel are testing on Hot Bird 5 on 12.539 GHz, in MPEG-2. (Richard Karlsson in “Aftonbladet”)
La Chaine Africaine has been testing on Hot Bird 3 on 12.380 GHz. (Richard Karlsson in “Aftonbladet”)
Albania’s TVSH is back on Eutelsat W2 (16 degrees East) on 11.178 GHz, in clear PAL. (“LyngSat Updates”)
On Eutelsat II-4 (10 degrees East) Samanyolu TV has started on 11.603 GHz in clear PAL. Gold Channel has started on 12.620 GHz, in clear MPEG-2. (“LyngSat Updates”)
On Eutelsat W3 (7 degrees East) Samanyolu TV has left 11.685 GHz (PAL), Kanal 7 Euro, ATV and D Fun have left 11.596 (MPEG-2) and TV5 Europe has left 11.387 (MPEG-2), while Ege TV has started on 11.692 GHz in clear MPEG-2. (“LyngSat Updates”)
The UPC TV package has left Telstar 11 (37.5 degrees West) 12.652 GHz, and has moved to Telstar 12 (15 degrees West). On 11.120 GHz (clear MPEG-2) this includes UPC Film 1, UPC Extreme Sports, UPC Club, and UPC Sport 1. On 11.141 GHz (clear MPEG-2) UPC is relaying Reality TV and UPC Avante. Reality TV has also left Telstar 11 (11.553 GHz) and moved to Telstar 12, and has also started on Astra on 12.383 GHz. (“LyngSat Updates” and Richard Karlsson in “Aftonbladet”)
Extreme Sports and Avante have joined the Telia digital cable offerings in Sweden.
C-Span has closed its analog transmissions Sundays on on NSS K (21.5 degrees West) on 11.590 GHz. (“Transponder News”)
Serbia’s RTS Sat has left Gorizont 31 (40 degrees East) 11.530 GHz, MPEG-2. (“LyngSat Updates”)
Starting this month, the French-language TV5 plans to progressively launch subtitles in various languages for part of it’s programming. The first wave will include German, Spanish, Swedish, Dutch and Russian. (“satelitv”)
Channel France is to start early this year. Apparently similar in format to Deutsche Welle, it will send news, documentary, and magazine programs in several languages. (“Satellifax” via Richard Karlsson in “Aftonbladet”)
Bollywood 4U has started on Nilesat 101 (7 degrees West) on 11.881 GHz in clear MPEG-2. Al-Andalus TV has left 11.823 GHz (MPEG-2). (“LyngSat Updates”)
An Iraqi Kurdish party which runs part of the breakaway enclave of northern Iraq has set up a new satellite television station, matching Iraqi Kurd rivals who started their own channel in 1998. A spokesman for Jalal Talabani’s Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) said KurdSat TV started its daily three-hour broadcasts of news and entertainment on January 1. Prominent among the aims of the channel would be “the promotion of language skills among Kurdish children both inside and outside Kurdistan,” a PUK statement said.
Talabani’s rivals, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) of Massoud Barzani set up their Kurdistan TV in 1998. A European-based Turkish Kurd satellite television station, Medya TV, also broadcasts to the region. Its predecessor was closed by British authorities after complaints from Turkey that it incited violence in support of Turkish Kurd rebels.
Turkey bans broadcasting in Kurdish on its own territory and has said such
television channels encourage separatism and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers
Party (PKK) of Abdullah Ocalan. (Reuters)
KurdSat is testing on Eutelsat W2 (16 degrees East ) on 11.489 GHz. (Thierry Vignaud in “Transponder News”)
On December 28 Israeli police raided the Jewish settlement of Beit El near Ramallah in the West Bank, confiscating documents and equipment belonging to pirate radio station Channel 7, a police source said. The operation was launched after a court decision and was approved by the government’s legal advisor Eliakim Rubinstein, the source said. Some 200 police were involved in the raid and some hundreds of settlers tried to obstruct the police operation, witnesses said.
Transmissions by Channel 7, which broadcasts from a ship anchored off Israel’s Mediterranean coast, were not interrupted by the raid. The National Religious Party, the political party of some 170,000 settlers, said in a statement that the police raid resulted from “a determination to gag those opposing a withdrawal from the Golan” by Israel. (AFP)
The Thai TV Global Network has started on TDRS 5 (174.3 degrees West) on 3.826 GHz, in clear MPEG-2. (“LyngSat Updates”)
Zee Network of India was to launch a brand new package of analog and digital services from January 1 using the three C-band transponders it recently leased on AsiaSat 3S. Since this August, Zee has already launched three new regional language channels, Alpha TV Marathi, Alpha TV Bangla and Alpha TV Punjabi, in an analogue free to air format on AsiaSat 3S.
For the new millennium, these channels will be packaged along with four other Hindi language channels, Zee TV, Zee News, Zee Cinema and Music Asia, and aired digitally using one of the three transponders under the new lease. The other two transponders will be used for launching new analog services. These programs comprise a mix of content in several languages and include entertainment, news, movies, music, sports and public affairs programming. (“satelitv”)
GE-4 has reached 101 degrees West. (“LyngSat Updates”)
The Raleigh/Durham (North Carolina) locals have started on DirecTV’s DBS 1 at 110 degrees West. The local stations in Dallas, Cleveland, Houston, and Chicago have started on DirecTV. (“LyngSat Updates”)
On December 15 DirecTV added six new public interest channels to its
WorldLink TV (channel 375)
NASA TV (channel 376)
PBS YOU (channel 377)
StarNet (channel 378)
Clara+Vision (channel 480)
Inspirational Life (channel 481).
(DirecTV via “satelitv”)
The local stations in Detroit, Minneapolis, Seattle, and Nashville have started on EchoStar 4/5 (110 degrees West) on 12.341, 12.355, 12.457, and 12.516 GHz. (“LyngSat Updates”)
Cuba, the target of U.S.-funded radio and TV programmes hostile to its one-party political system, is retransmitting Chinese radio programs to the American continent, Communications Minister Silvano Colas said on December 38. Colas told Cuban journalists that two transmitters on the island nation were broadcasting eight hours of Radio China International programming each day. The programs — in Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese and English — are captured by satellite and rebroadcast via short wave, the Cuban news agency Prensa Latina quoted Colas as saying. Colas said no other communication facility on the island was linked to Chinese government interests.
Colas said Cuba continues to jam broadcasts by TV Marti, a U.S. government-funded station created in 1990 to criticise Cuba’s President Fidel Castro and his one-party socialist rule. The minister condemned TV Marti as an “act of aggression” by Washington against Havana. Colas added that Radio Marti, an older U.S. government-financed radio station that also transmits anti-Communist programming to the island, was more difficult to jam. But the minister said that because of Cuba’s electronic defences, Radio Marti was blocked across most of the island. Many ordinary Cubans say they regularly listen to Radio Marti, which suggests the station is still quite widely received. (Reuters)
On NSS 806 (40.5 degrees West) TelePacifico has started on 4.012 GHz in clear Digicipher 1, while Bolivia’s TVB Internacional and Canal 18 TV Catolica have started on 3.920 GHz in clear MPEG-2. (“LyngSat Updates”)
Galaxy 11 was successfully launched with Ariane on December 22. The satellite, at 4.5 tons the biggest commercial telecommunications satellite ever launched, will be placed initially at 99 degrees West, but will later migrate to 91 degrees West as part of PanAmSat’s expansion program. It was Ariane’s third launch in 20 days. Galaxy 10R is scheduled to launch with Ariane on January 24. (“LyngSat Updates”, “Transponder News”, and Reuters)
The Russian Aerospace Agency says the next Proton launch will be at the beginning of March, rather than mid-February as previously reported by International Launch Services. (“SatcoDX Weekly”)
ICraveTV, a Canadian start-up, has ticked off several broadcasters on both sides of the border with the US by retransmitting their signals online without their permission. Canadian broadcast law lets third parties retransmit TV stations’ signals without first obtaining a license, if the signal is unaltered and broadcast at the same time as the original. The site tries to keep out U.S. viewers by requiring users to enter a Canadian area code, but that’s hardly tight security. ICraveTV hopes to resolve the matter by paying retransmission fees. (“Newsweek”)
Isn’t this what the Internet’s future is all about? Once we all get broadband, we should be able to watch video from anywhere in the world as an alternative to cable.