Posts Tagged ‘satellite tv’

You Can’t Stop The Dish

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

When I visited Ukraine a few years ago, I was amazed at how the satellite reception infrastructure operated.

I knew it was different in Europe than in the U.S., where you could walk in to an electronics shop, buy a box and antenna, then install it yourself. You’d have 70+ advertising-supported channels to choose from with no monthly fee. In the U.S., the satellite TV market is based on the cable TV model: you pay a monthly fee regardless. If you try unscrambling the signal, your cable box may get a “silver bullet” sent to it and fry it. Better encryption technology (e.g. NDS) helps keep content secure.

So how is that people in Eastern Europe can buy a “special box” for $200-$300 and be able to receive everything — standard, pay-tv, premium, porn, sports, etc. — without paying a montly fee? It’s not system-specific, so with a motorized antenna mount you can go from Eutelsat to Astra birds and watch whatever you want. And the “special box” could also record movies, sportsinmodica. That’s a pretty good deal.

One of the world’s most beneficial technological marvels, satellite TV signals get upload only once — using a specific amount of RF bandwidth — and downloaded an infinite number of times within the satellite’s coverage footprint. Infinite.

With this technology, how can oppressive governments pretend to ban or limit satellite TV reception? Iran’s learning this now, as reported by the National Council of Resistance of Iran:

The Iranian regime has failed in its bid to ban people from watching satellite TV channels, a regime official has admitted.

Despite a 1994 law making satellite dishes illegal, up to 70 per cent of families have them and their use is increasing, state-run TV network official Fardin Ali-Khah said.

He told the state-run Rasanews on July 4: “At first only upper-class people used satellite dishes. However this has now become common across all sectors of society.

With 120 or so channels of Persian/Farsi TV coming in from the diaspora, they don’t stand a chance.

WBMSAT Satellite Industry News Bits 03/22/2013

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

Financing no longer expected to be an issue for U.S. satellite exporters as Export-Import Bank plans to maintain aggressive satellite financing position. [Space News – 03/22/2013]

Arianespace announces contract to launch three satellites for Intelsat S.A. [Space Daily – 03/22/2013]

Orbit Communications systems launches new VSAT product line for the maritime market called OceanTRx. [Satellite Spotlight – 03/22/2013]

Intelsat S.A. gets multi-year extension agreement with ART/International Network Distribution of Lebanon for capacity on Intelsat 21 and Intelsat 805, [SatNews – 03/22/2013]

Estonia’s student cubesat satellite is ready for the next Vega launch. [Space Travel – 03/22/2013]

PolarSat receives order for VSATPlus3 from Guangdong Dapeng LNG Company of China to be used for real time SCADA, voice, and corporate services. [SatNews – 03/22/20103]

U.S. Air Force launches second satellite for SBIRS, GEO-2, from Vandenberg AFB. [Satellite Today – 03/21/2013]

High-Throughput dominates Satellite 2013 discussion as NovelSat CEO predicts demand for international satellite bandwidth services will have increased 2,000% in a 10-year timespan between 2002 and 2020. [Satellite Today – 03/21/2013]

Yahsat system is certified for use with the U.S. Air Force’s Wideband Global Satcom (WGS) – WGS terminals will be interoperable with Yahsat’s Ka-band military satellite frequencies. [Space News – 03/21/2013]

Echostar subsidiary Hughes Network Systems announces that it has selected Space Systems/Loral to build the world’s highest capacity broadband satellite, JUPITER2/EchoStar XIX, with over 150 Gbps throughput. [SatNews – 03/21/2013]

ViaSat executive says the company’s refusal to decide on a builder for its ViaSat-2 Ka-band satellite has nothing to do with its lawsuit against Space Systems Loral. [Space News – 03/21/2013]

Sea Launch and EchoStar reach preliminary agreement for launch services in 2015. [Space Travel – 03/21/2013]

Astrium Services expects to partner with MDA on Earth Observation satellite network. [Space News – 03/21/2013]

Apollo-era rocket engine parts are recovered from beyond 3 miles deep in the Atlantic by an expedition funded by Rick Bezos of Amazon. [R&D Magazine – 03/21/2013]

SES reach in 2012, driven by strong gains in India and Germany, extends to 276 million TV homes worldwide. [Satellite Evolution Group – 03/21/2013]

ESA’s Planck satellite telescope data used to map the Universe’s most ancient light. [BBC – 03/21/2013]

Space Exploration Technologies’ Merlin 1D engine achieves flight qualification and is now fully qualified to fly on the Falcon 9 rocket. [Satellite Evolution Group – 03/21/20103]

Mitsubishi Electric completes expansion of satellite production facility at its Kamakura Works in Kamakura, Japan. [Daily Herald – 03/21/2013]

Armarda Group subsidiary China Mobile Satellite Communications Group (CMSCG) and Thuraya Telecommunications announce distributorship arrangement with China Telecom Satellite (CTS) for the Thuraya SatSleeve, a module that transforms an iPhone into a dual mode satellite phone. [The Business Times – 03/21/2013]

C-COM Satellite Systems introduces new generation of Ka-band flyaway antennas at Satellite 2013. [Satellite Evolution Group – 03/21/2013]

SingTel’s ConnectPortal allows shore side professionals to have total control over their shipboard crews’ internet usage by implementing a flexi-time allowance. [Satellite Evolution Group – 03/21/2013]

Spacecom adds eighth DTH platform on AMOS-5 over Nigeria. [Satellite Evolution Group – 03/21/2013]

Signalhorn has completed the rollout of over 400 point of sale (PoS) sites which service a global fuel retailer’s South African network. [Satellite Evolution Group – 03/21/2013]

Free ESA iPhone app allows quadcopter owners to attempt simulated dockings with International Space Station while flying their drones for real. [Space Daily – 03/21/2013]

Voyager 1 leaves our solar systems after traveling 11 billion miles. [R&D Magazine – 03/20/2013]

Radio Frequency Interference-End Users Initiative and Global VSAT Forum collaborate, with support and commitment from World Broadcasting Unions – International Satellite Operations Group, to launch training of satellite newsgathering operators to reduce interference. [SatNews – 03/20/2013]

NSR report grades the financial performance of the big four satellite operators. [SatNews – 03/20/20013]

Newtec wins WTA Teleport Technology of the Year award, presented at WTA luncheon at Satellite 2013. [Newtec Press Release – 03/19/2013]

Launch Services Panel at Satellite 2013 recognizes common challenges while examining cooperative approch to increase business and profitability for the sector. [Satellite Today – 03/20/2013]

Kratos introduces new SATCOM Cybersecurity Assessment service addressing increasing threats and unique requirements of the satellite industry. [Satellite Spotlight – 03/19/2013]

Chinese collaboration with neighbouring countries’ space-related programmes sparks off a fresh scare in India’s national security establishment. [The Economic Times – 03/19/2013]

Nupoint Systems selects Globalstar Data Services for M2M satellite connectivity. [Daily Herald – 03/18/2013]

 WBMSAT satellite communications consulting services

SES Stands for Typos

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Thanks to PixelPusher for sending this over a couple of weeks ago.

We used to joke “people need to know how to spell satellite” before they can do marketing or p.r. work for us. Maybe the satellite folks should learn how to spell “possibility” — or at the very least learn how to proofread their ads before they’re submitted for publishing.

The above ad, which really doesn’t say much, ran on the cover wrap of the 16 January 2012 issue of Multichannel News, opposite a lead story on DISH Network (a big wholesale customer for SES in North America).

At least they know to run a satellite business. Nice launch from Baikonur, and successfully separating SES-4. In this Russian video, they refer to SES-4 as “the Dutch satellite.”

In their “boilerplate,” they write “SES stands for long-lasting business relationships, high-quality service and excellence in the broadcasting industry.” Us rocket scientist know SES actually stands for “Société Européenne des Satellites” and that they’re based in the Groussherzogtum Lëtzebuerg (Grand Duchy of Luxembourg), not Holland.

Know When to Fold Em

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

It was in the cards. Keeping Blockbuster retail outlets open for video rentals is not a good business. The future, my boy, is “streaming.”

However, if you convert parts of the store into a Dish Network service center, you may have a really good proposition on your hands. Via Reuters

“We are committed to keeping the profitable stores open that are generating positive cash flow, but there are ones that aren’t going to make it,” Clayton said in an interview. “We will close unprofitable stores. We will close additional stores.”

Clayton would not give a time frame on the closings or say how many stores were currently unprofitable. Spokesman Marc Lumpkin said the closings will be on a “case by case” basis.

Clayton, who became CEO of Dish last year when billionaire Charlie Ergen stepped down to focus on Dish’s wireless strategy as chairman, said the stores that stay open will sell Dish subscriptions and may one day provide customer support for its television customers.

“If a consumer has a problem, just bring your box in and we’ll give you a new one so you don’t have to stay at home and wait for an installation,” he said.

Subscribers to Dish’s Latino service may also be able to pay their TV bills in stores in metropolitan markets, he added.

Dish has tried to tap the Blockbuster brand by unveiling a new Internet streaming service and a program to rent DVDs by mail, in a bid to challenge Netflix Inc.

If they buy Hulu and add wireless spectrum to serve their streaming business, Dish Network can be very well positioned in remaining a good business model.

Africa’s Digital Future: DTH Satellite

Friday, June 10th, 2011

Nice pitch from SES Astra’s Christoph Limmer in Balancing Act on the digital transition in Africa. Timed to coincide with a recent deal in Kenya, and the SatCom Africa 2011 show in J-burg, the points made are typical and correct, including…

According to Christoph Limmer, requests for information on satellite TV are flooding in. “Quite often we get asked if satellite can really reach more homes than other infrastructures like cable or terrestrial. The answer simply, is yes. Unlike DTT (Digital Terrestrial Television) or cable which are ground based infrastructures and normally roll-out in certain areas only; satellite has no limitations in achieving 100% population reach.” Digging cable is costly and time consuming and rolling out DTT network infrastructure is facing similar challenges.

However, one must first assume there is electrical power availability and somebody to pay for the service. Advertiser-supported content needs an audience that’s able to pay for their products/services. What I think needs to happen is the satellite operators take the hit and get the service going and wait for the market to catch up.

The developing world needs our help. Get on with it!

Rain Fade Rights

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

As a satellite TV customer, there are times when the weather messes with your reception. The interference from rain/snow between you and the spacecraft with cause an outage and you can’t do anything about (rain fade or attenuation). I get that.

Now let me tell you why I’m pissed off.

I switched to Dish Network from cable in 2004 and we had some outages, but the storms had to be pretty big to knock out the signal (we were looking at 110°/119° West). Then I went back to cable so I could get MSG-HD. The Voom channels start going away to make room for a bunch of useless HD channels. Forget that — I went for the DirecTV bundle with Verizon DSL.

Big mistake. We had an outage every time it rained or snowed. I’d call DirecTV a half-dozen times to complain, hoping to get either a credit or a technician to come out an peak the antenna. No chance, valued customer. Either I sign up for a “maintenance” contract for $60 annually, or pay $50 for the tech to come out. Forget that.

Went back to Dish Network and I haven’t had a problem since (now looking at 61.5° West). Ever since I cancelled DirecTV, I’d had 3 or 4 “retention specialists” call and probably a half-dozen “come back” letters. Where were you during my moment-of-truth? Forget that, too.

Who cares about rain fade credits? Maybe trial attorneys should read up on it, in light of the current flooding around Old Man River. Prompted by the Alabama Attorney General’s office, cable and satellite TV providers are offering replacement equipment and suspending billing because of the flooding, caused by storms. The satcom statements, via WSFA-TV

DISH Network provided the following statement about its response: “Taking care of our customers who have been impacted by any disaster, including tornadoes, is our top priority. DISH Network has a disaster policy in place and works with affected customers on a case-by-case basis to determine the best solution. We normally provide several no-cost options for victims to suspend their satellite service, including a pause of service, with no equipment fees.”

Ellen Filipiak, Sr. Vice President for Customer Service at DIRECTV, stated, “We join all service providers in Alabama in a sincere expression of sympathy for the people of Alabama who lost loved ones and homes in the terrible storms that hit the state last month. We are working with both our customers and employees in Alabama to help them rebuild as well as reconnect their TV services.  And to ease the burden and worry for our customers who were affected by the disaster, we have suspended accounts for those who were without power, offered free service calls and have waived equipment replacement costs and all other fees. More broadly we are also providing support to all victims of the storm through the Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity.”  Consumers may contact DirecTV by calling 1-800-531-5000.

Think about that. Will other storms that cause widespread outages in a particular area also become subject to crediting customers for service interruptions? Makes sense to me.

Syria: Satellite Sucks

Friday, April 1st, 2011

Is satellite TV the great information distributor of our age? According to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, it is…

On Wednesday morning the al-Watan newspaper, which is close to the regime, predicted Assad would “reassure all Syrians and draw clear features for the coming phase”.

But instead he criticised “satellite channels, propaganda and a sectarian divide”, which he said had contributed greatly to the unrest that has reverberated through the country.

Assad did acknowledge that “mistakes” had been made in the southern city of Deraa where security forces have been accused of shooting dead more than 100 unarmed demonstrators. “Not all the demonstrators are conspirators,” he said.

The speech was interrupted regularly by members of Syria’s national parliament and was well-received in his constituency.

You just can’t stop people from downlinking content from satellite orbiting 36,000 km in space! Here’s the speech…