NORDIC MEDIA NEWS
This week’s MediaScan radio program is all about new ways to listen to Radio Sweden, ranging from good old shortwave, to the latest in satellite and Internet technology.
Along with our partners at the World Radio Network, we’re moving from an analog to a digital transponder on the Eutelsat Hot Bird satellites at 13 degrees East. We’ll be pulling the plug on the analog transponder (on 10.853 GHz) on July 4, 2001. So if you listen to us on satellite in Europe, you have until then to make the transition.
So what do you need to know? We plugged our studio into the studio at WRN in London, where technical guru Tim Ashburner was on the other end of the line, and we went through what Radio Sweden listeners will need to hear us on digital satellite. For Tim’s comments, you’ll have to listen to the program. But in a nutshell:
1. You will definately will need a new digital receiver, any basic DVB receiver.
2. Since we’re staying at the same orbital position, your current dish is fine.
3. If you don’t have a universal LNB you will need to get one to reach the higher frequency.
Here are the details of the new digital channel:
Satellite: Hot Bird 5 (13 degrees East)
Frequency: 12.597 GHz, vertical polarization
FEC: 3 / 4
Audio channel: 2122
Besides WRN’s own networks, other channels in the package include NPR Worldwide (coming soon), MBC FM, CNN Radio, Radio Canada International, and Ireland’s RTE, with more on the way.
Another advantage to checking out our website is that you can listen to our
programs, including archived editions of MediaScan, anytime you like in
RealAudio. And we’re happy to report that Swedish Radio has just upgraded
our RealAudio servers, so hopefully, after some initial hiccups, it will be
a lot easier to access the files now.
There’s also good news for those of you listening to us on shortwave in North America. Radio Sweden reception on the West Coast has often been poor, but that should be much better now, thanks to our new relay from the transmitters of Radio Canada International in Sackville. In today’s program I called up Magnus Nilsson at Teracom, the public company that runs our transmitters, and asked about the new relay.
Our new relay from Canada is at 02:30 hrs UTC, which is 6:30 PM Pacific Standard Time. The frequency is 9560 kHz, and once again this is primarily intended for listeners on the West Coast. Those of you on the East Coast should get better reception on the direct frequency from Sweden, on 9495 KHz.
Bloomberg, the History Channel, and TV8 have closed down their joint D2-MAC channel on 11.824 GHz on Sirius 2 (5 degrees East). (Richard Karlsson in “Aftonbladet”)
Moscow’s TV6 has left 12.689 GHz, while Ukraine’s ICTV has started on 12.634 GHz. (“LyngSat Weekly Updates”)
Denmark’s Minister of Culture Elsebeth Gerner Nielsen wants to replace the traditional viewer licence fee as a funding source for public broadcasting. Instead, she want to finance Danmarks Radio and TV2 with a licence fee levied on commercial broadacasters. (“Jyllands-Posten” via “Public Access Newsletter”)
The Adult Channel has closed down analog transmissions on Astra 1B on 11568 GHz. The German Viva Zwei has replaced Fox Kids on Astra 1A on 11.303 GHz. Viva Zwei has also begun broadcasts in MPEG-2 on Astra 1G on 12.552 GHz. Sky Radio has closed down its analog service on the Sky One transponder, and can now be heard in MPEG-2 on 12.574 on Astra 1G. (Richard Karlsson in “Aftonbladet”)
As Sky continues to phase out its analog service, more and more English
language analog channels are disappearing from Astra 1. Granada Plus has
closed its analog transponder, and many more channels are due to follow suit
on March 31, including UK Gold, Animal Planet, Discovery, Discovery Home And
Leisure, Challenge TV, Living, Trouble, Sci-Fi, The History Channel, Bravo
and UK Horizons. Since news of the closures has come just a month after Sky
hiked up the subscription rates of its basic analog package from GBP 13 to
GBP 16, many viewers are furious. Sky says it is compensating those who
transfer to Sky Digital with a free 30 day subscription to its Family
Package. (“What Satellite TV”)
Einstein.tv has started on Astra 2A (28 degrees East) on 12.129 GHz. E4 has started on 12.168 GHz. (“LyngSat Weekly Updates”)
The Money Channel has moved from 12.070 to 12.324 GHz. (Richard Karlsson in “Aftonbladet”)
According to Satellitfax, Richard Branson is taking on TV Travel Shop and Travel Deals Direct TV, starting Virgin Travelstore TV on Sky Digital in March. (Richard Karlsson in “Aftonbladet”)
Britain’s Channel 4 has confirmed it will start three new film channels on Sky Digital this April and offer them free to subscribers of its existing pay channel, Film Four. The new stations are Film Four +1, showing Film Four’s lineup on a one hour delayed basis, Film Four Extreme, showing ‘extreme’ movies, and Film Four World, showing foreign language films. (“What Satellite TV”)
A new soft porn channel has launched on channel 985 in the Sky Digital lineup. Called Red Hot Amateur, it joins a package of two other ‘Red Hot’ channels – Red Hot Films and Red Hot Euro. The new station is on air from 23:00 – 05:00 hrs UTC every night. (“What Satellite TV”)
The new Astra 2D satellite, which was launched last December and has been testing at 24.2 degrees East, is now fully operational and has taken over from Astra 1D. (“What Satellite TV”)
TiVo, the hi-tech video recorder that lets viewers pause live TV,
seems to have failed to capture the attention of TV viewers in the UK despite a huge marketing push from Sky. Only “a couple of hundred” boxes a week are being sold across Britain, according to press reports. One problem could be the price of the systems. At GBP 400 each with an extra GBP 10/month subscription fee (or a GBP 600 all-in price), they are not cheap. They also reportedly capture information about users’ viewing habits and feed back data to TiVo’s makers. (“What Satellite TV”)
Duna TV has replaced the Hungarian channel Satelit on Hot Bird 3 (13 degrees East) on 12.149 GHz. (Richard Karlsson in “Aftonbladet” and “LyngSat Weekly Updates”)
123 Sat and 69 X TV have started on Hot Bird 3 on 11.623 GHz. (“LyngSat Weekly Updates”)
TV Montenegro (and Radio Montenegro) has closed down its service on Eutelsat W1 (10 degrees East) on 11.080 GHz. Serbia’s RTS Sat and Radio Beograd have joined the Greek digital package OTE on Hot Bird 3, 12.188 GHz. (Richard Karlsson in “Aftonbladet”)
Kopernikus 2 has moved from 28.5 degrees East to 25.5 degrees East. (“LyngSat Weekly Updates”)
BBC World has left 11.556 GHz on Telecom 2D (8 degrees West). (“LyngSat Weekly Updates”)
National Iranian TV has started on Telstar 12 (15 degrees West) on 12.619 GHz, European beam. (“LyngSat Weekly Updates”)
Turkey’s Star 1-3 and Star Spor have left 11.131 GHz on Eutelsat W1 (10 degrees East) and have moved to Turksat 1C. (“LyngSat Weekly Updates”)
Morocco’s 2M has started test broadcasts on Hot Bird 3 on 12.476 GHz. (Richard Karlsson in “Aftonbladet”)
Turkey’s NTV has left 12.111 GHz on Hot Bird 3 (13 degrees East) as well as Telecom 2D (8 degrees West) 11.556 GHz. (“LyngSat Weekly Updates”)
Eurasiansat 1 is now geostationary at 42 degrees East. (“LyngSat Weekly Updates”)
Zen TV and RTD have started on Arabsat 3A (26 degrees East) on 12.015 GHz. (“LyngSat Weekly Updates”)
Kanal 6 has started on Turksat 1C (42 degrees East) on 10.980 GHz. Popcorn TV has started on Turksat 1B (31 degrees East) on 10.976 GHz. (“LyngSat Weekly Updates”)
IBA Channel 1 has left 11.014 GHz (PAL) on Amos 1 (4 degrees West), and has moved to LMI 1. Middle East TV has moved from 11.181 Ghz (PAL) to 11.190 GHz. (“LyngSat Weekly Updates”)
Zen has started on Nilesat 101 (7 degrees West) on 11.862 GHz. (“LyngSat Weekly Updates”)
Cameroon’s CRTV has started on NSS 803 (21.5 degrees West) on 4055 GHz. (“LyngSat Weekly Updates”) Al-Manar TV has replaced NITV on NSS 806 (40.5 degrees West) on 3803 GHz. (“LyngSat Weekly Updates”)
ABC TV Northern has moved from 12.258 to 12.331 GHz on Optus B1 (160 degrees East). (“LyngSat Weekly Updates”)
Metro Business has started on Palapa C2 (113 degrees East) on 4089 GHz. (“LyngSat Weekly Updates”)
CNBC Asia has started on Telkom 1 (108 degrees East) on 3580 GHz. (“LyngSat Weekly Updates”)
Swara and Quick Channel have started on Cakrawarta 1 (108 degrees East) on 2535 GHz. (“LyngSat Weekly Updates”)
Voice of America Director Sandy Ungar held a town meeting for VOA employees
January 26, telling them that, as a result of the most recent language service review of the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors, VOA’s Uzbek, Portuguese-to-Brazil, and Thai services will be closed. VOA Bulgarian, Romanian, Slovak, and Turkish will be reduced. The VOA Armenian, Azerbaijani, and Georgian services will be folded into a joint Caucasus unit, with reductions to Armenian. Altogether, 36 jobs will be lost at VOA.
The savings from these reductions will be redeployed to allow enhancements
to VOA Arabic, Indonesian, Macedonian, Russian, including new
Russian-language programs targeted to Central Asia, and Spanish for the
Andean region. VOA Hindi will also receive USD 350,000 to put its broadcasts
on MW. Mr. Ungar did not say where the MW transmitter would be located, or
what frequency it would use. (but have been testing a leased transmitter in
Abu Dhabi on 1314). (VOA Communications World via Richard Buckby)
DIRECTV VS PIRATES
In the week before the biggest TV-viewing day of the year, the Super Bowl, DirecTV launched an unprecedented electronic attack on an estimated 100,000 consumers who had been bootlegging its satellite TV service. The company killed–via satellite–pirated pieces of hardware that had enabled viewers in the U.S. and abroad to see a broad range of programming, including premium channels and pay-per-view events that they had not paid for.
Adding a flippant tone to the strike last Sunday, hackers said, DirecTV delivered a sneering message to the pirates, buried in the programming code, that read: “GAME OVER.” The company’s aggressive maneuver–coming days before Super Bowl XXXV–was the latest and most dramatic salvo in a long-running battle between DirecTV and these foes, some of whom have been siphoning free service for years. It also opens a new front in Corporate America’s war to preserve intellectual property and digital entertainment, taking the fight out of the courtroom and into cyberspace.
Traditionally, companies have taken a defensive attitude, adding more layers to their digital safeguards and letting their legal teams deal with pirates and hackers. But some companies, knowing that the fight can drag out in the courts for years, are going on the offensive. Company officials declined to say how many pirates were getting free service, but analysts say the company’s attack saved DirecTV at least $100 million a year in lost revenue.
The electronic counterstrike followed more than four years of battling between DirecTV and the pirates. The main battleground has been the satellite receiver, a set-top box with a credit-card sized “smart card” that determines which channels can be displayed. In particular, the pirates concentrated on one type of card, called the H card, which DirecTV rolled out in 1997 but yanked off the market in late 1999 because of the hacking problem. Pirates started with legitimate H cards, which they might have purchased new or bought used on the Internet. They used special equipment to install new software, which tricked the set-top receivers into displaying all DirecTV channels, and sometimes its pay-per-view events, for free.
DirecTV regularly broadcast new programming code to the receivers from its satellites to befuddle the altered cards, but the pirates quickly found responses every time. Rather than continue the cat-and-mouse game with the pirates, DirecTV decided on a more aggressive tack. Taking a page from the military’s “information warfare” handbooks, it launched its electronic attack, not just to befuddle the pirated hardware, but to ruin it.
Several weeks ago, DirecTV began transmitting to its receivers, via satellite, small pieces of the programming code that ultimately killed the altered cards, according to company sources and accounts published on HackHU.com, a Web site devoted to the satellite TV hacking community. The bits of digital information ultimately formed a complete program that–when triggered Sunday–permanently maimed any H card that had been altered. The result shocked bootleggers, who long had dismissed the steady trickle of software updates as more annoying than serious. When the pirates turned on their television sets the following day, they saw nothing. Within hours, people flocked to Internet chat rooms to figure out a fix. But it soon became clear that the free ride had come to an end.
The virtual raid could boost the value of the DirecTV franchise at a key
time, industry watchers say. The company, which is part of Hughes
Electronics Corp., has been holding talks with News Corp., the media company
controlled by Rupert Murdoch, about a possible merger of their satellite
assets. (“Los Angeles Times”)
ARIZONA VS PIRATES
A former law officer and six other people have been arrested and at least four others await charges for allegedly operating a satellite television hacking business, Arizona authorities said January 24. The defendants stand to be the first people prosecuted under the state’s new computer crime law. The defendants allegedly used descrambler cards from legitimate satellite equipment boxes and then reprogrammed the computer chips using a special software program to allow unlimited TV service without a subscription. The doctored cards, similar in size to a credit card, are being sold for up to $400 each on the black market with some even advertised in local newspapers as “Awesome Magic DSS Cards,” according to authorities. (AP)
PAS 1R is now geostationary at 62 degrees West. (“LyngSat Weekly Updates”)
Anik F1 is now geostationary at 118.7 degrees West. (“LyngSat Weekly Updates”)
In a move that affects an estimated one million Canadian TV viewers, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has stopped making its television signals available to C-Band, or large-dish satellite systems. Authorities have seldom acted against the owners, focusing instead on the newer, illegal small-dish services. C-Band dishes are often seen atop sports bars or in rural areas where cable is not available. Over the years, more and more of the channels available on C-Band have been encrypted or eliminated altogether.
“The CBC is effectively telling one million people in this country that they are second-class citizens,” says Doug Skinner, director of the lobby group C-Band Alliance of Canada. “That they do not deserve the same news, sports and entertainment available to everyone else.”
The alliance says its phones are ringing off the hooks as consumers express their anger. The organization is calling on the federal government to order CBC to immediately restore programming to the older satellite band. A CBC spokesperson says the broadcaster has moved to a digital compression technology that makes the signals more efficient but incompatible with C-Band.
Michael Harris, executive director of regulatory policy for CBC-TV, says the corporation cannot re-format the signals for C-Band. He says the three feeds were internal only, designed to send the signals to CBC transmitters, and that C-Band viewers were picking them up for free. Harris says satellite viewers can get CBC from DTH services Star Choice or Bell ExpressVu. (Via Curt Swinehart)
TV Latina has started on Telstar 4 (89 degrees West) on 3.745 GHz. (“LyngSat Weekly Updates”)
International Launch Services (ILS) and Société Européenne des Satellites (SES) of Luxembourg have contracted for the launch this year of two satellites on ILS’ Proton rocket. The satellites, Astra 2C and Astra 1K, are scheduled for launch in June and December, respectively, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. These will be the fifth and sixth SES satellites to be launched by ILS.
Astra 2C will be the 12th satellite in SES’ fleet. It will provide digital
services across Europe in Ku-band. It will carry a payload of 32
transponders that will operate in the frequency ranges 10.700-11.200GHz and
Astra 1K, built by Alcatel Space, will provide Ka- and Ku-band services. It is the heaviest satellite built in Europe to date, at more than 5,200 kilograms. (“satelitv”)