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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Astra 1N. New satellite for UK satellite TV reception. Sky tv in Spain. UK TV in Spain

On the 24th October 2011, Astra 1N finally made it to it first location.

Luxembourg, 24 October 2011 - SES S.A. (Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG) today announced that its new ASTRA 1N satellite has entered commercial service at the orbital position of 28.2 degrees East.

ASTRA 1N was built by Astrium on the Eurostar E3000 platform and is equipped with 52 transponders in the Ku frequency band. The satellite was successfully launched on board an Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou, French Guiana, on 6 August 2011. It had a launch mass of 5,325 kg and is the fourth Eurostar satellite in the 49 satellite-strong SES fleet.

ASTRA 1N greatly enhances the flexibility of the SES satellite fleet at the orbital slot 28.2 degrees East over Europe. ASTRA 1N is notably being used by Channel 4 and ITV. The new satellite will also allow SES to offer its satellite-based broadband service ASTRA2Connect via 28.2 degrees East and thus complement its service offer from the 23.5 degrees East position. ASTRA2Connect is Europe's largest satellite broadband network with more than 80,000 end users

Today, some frequencies on Astra 1N are powered, but there are no channels available from Astra 1N as yet.

However SES Astra have confirmed that

C4 and ITV will start on 1N in the coming days. This will be completely transparent to consumers as there will be no change in frequencies.

What can be said is that C4HD will be defintely moving from Eurobird1 to 1N.

And there are rumours about Film4hd, E4hd and M4hd becoming free to air and, in the case of Film4HD, finally on satellite, on the same C4HD frequency - however nothing has been confirmed by Channel 4.

As for ITV, you can probably safely say that the "free to view" versions of ITV1 on freq 11973 and 12402 that currently require a sky card to view will also move FTA and move from their Astra 2 south beams to Astra 1N.

And, although nothing has been said, there are strong rumours about the "five channels", apart from FiveHD, moving from their current ASra 2 frequencies to Astra 1N and also becoming FTA and no longer sky card required.

Astra 1N Reception

Earlier this week C4HD appeared on Astra 1N. I assume this was a test of the satellite and frequency. The channels appered for a few hours in the clear and free to air. However, after a few hours the channel became encrypted and unavailable.

C4HD frequency on Astra 1N is:
11127.00 V DVB-S2 8PSK 22000 2/3
channel named 21200
The signal is currently encrypted.
This cannot be tuned manually on a Sky receiver or a standard definition FTA box.

The reception for this frequency is not as bad as first thought. If this is indeed on Astra 1N's UK spot beam, then it is not very restrictive, and looks to be avaialble on smaller 80cm to 1m satellite dishes on the Valencia area and Costa Blanca areas of Spain. That is assuming that the satellite power is not reduced, meaning the reception is also reduced.

But from recent reception reqpoers it looks like those in Eastern Europe will be the ones that may well struggle more than before with channels that
migrate onto Astra 1N.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sky TV & Freesat rival Real Digital offer premium HD TV by Christmas launches soon

Real Digital to offer premium HD TV and ITV Player by Christmas

Sky and Freesat rival Real Digital is to launch next week with plans to introduce a 15 channel premium channel package and ITV Player before Christmas.

The Real Digital EPG will include more than 190 free to air TV channels and 70 radio channels.

Pay TV packages are expected to be added in the next three months. A sports package will include Sky Sports 1 and 2 for £25 a month and a 15 channel premium package will include HD versions of US channel Blackbelt TV and an as-yet-unamed music channel for £10 a month.

Viewers will need to activate the viewing card which is included with their receiver either over the phone or online. No contract is required and there is no minimum subscription period.

BBC iPlayer will be available via the red button at launch for those who connect their receiver to the internet via Ethernet. ITV Player is expected to be added before Christmas followed by YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

The first Real Digital receivers go on sale next week.

Personally, I cannot see this system taking off at all.

If people wanted free to air channels, then they will go for Sky TV.
If people want SKy Sports then they will go for Sky, and get Sky Sports 3 and Sky Sports 4 as well, which are not offered on Real Digital. And with a few more pounds speny on a subscription cyou can get another 40plus Sky subscrition channels like GOLD, Dave, Sky One, SyFy...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

BBC Two HD to replace BBC HD

The BBC has announced plans to replace the four-year-old BBC HD channel with a high definition simulcast of BBC Two.

Today, the corporation confirmed a number of proposals in its Delivering Quality First initiative, aimed at saving £670m a year by 2016/7 as it faces major budget cuts under its new licence fee settlement.

The proposals include the axe of BBC Two's daytime budget, the scaling back of BBC Three and BBC Four, as well as a small reduction in BBC One's budget.

Also, the corporation has put forward the proposal of scrapping the BBC HD channel in favour of BBC Two HD, which will "broadcast alongside the existing BBC One HD channel".

Launched in 2007, BBC HD initially provided a home for all of the BBC's high definition programming, including shows from BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Three and BBC Four. The channel also hosted the BBC's first live 3D broadcast this July for the Wimbledon Finals.

However, BBC HD has been dogged by a picture quality controversy on satellite over the past two years, and its remit has been questioned ever since BBC One HD launched in autumn 2010.

The corporation has now proposed dropping the standalone BBC HD channel, but it is unclear what will be done with HD content from BBC Three and BBC Four under the new arrangement.

Elsewhere in the cuts proposals, the BBC said that it would reduce the BBC Red Button interactive service to make it "consistent across all digital TV platforms". Plans were also announced earlier in the year to reduce the budget of BBC Online by 25%.

In a statement, BBC director general Mark Thompson added: "This is a plan which puts quality and creativity first. It's a plan for a smaller BBC, but a BBC which uses its resources more effectively and collaboratively to deliver a full range of services to the public.

"The plan meets the savings target we agreed in last year's licence fee settlement, but also identifies nearly £150m per year to invest in new high-quality output and in the platforms and services of the future."

The BBC Trust is now running a public consultation on all the cost-saving proposals put forward by the BBC, which will close in December.