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Today β€” July 11th 2020Your RSS feeds

Britain Gambles on a Bankrupt Satellite Operator, OneWeb

By Stanley Reed

Pushed by Brexit, the U.K. government will have a platform to expand into the space business.

Britain Gambles on a Bankrupt Satellite Operator, OneWeb

By Stanley Reed

Pushed by Brexit, the U.K. government will have a platform to expand into the space business.

Before yesterdayYour RSS feeds

Sky Q updates UI, adds HDR content

By Julian Clover

Disney+ will be available in HDR for the first time as part of an upgrade to the Sky Q set-top.

The platform is releasing a new expanded view UI, simplified new show and sports centres, intuitive ‘smart’ buttons and improved voice. It will be rolled out to receivers over the next few weeks and is also being introduced for subscribers in Germany.

The static menu bar has been replaced by a new dynamic collapsible menu that makes it possible to include more recommendations on the home screen.

Each show will have a show centre, which will feature every available episode, bringing together all seasons, episodes, recordings, broadcast schedules and on-demand links are together in one place for the first time. A new smart button will take viewers to the episode they require.

The smart button will switch between Continue, Delete, Watch from the Start, or Play the next episode –based on what was watched last.

“We’ve redesigned Sky Q to make it even smarter, simpler and better at aggregating all of the TV and app content you love into one place,” said Fraser Stirling, Group Chief Product Officer, Sky. “And we’re not stopping there, the tech team behind Sky Q and Sky Go are working hard on loads of new updates that we’ll be rolling out every few months, so you can expect your Sky TV experience to keep getting better.”

Following the launch of HDR on Sky Q earlier this year, Disney+ will also be available in HDR. Sky Nature shows and Sky originals are already being seen by viewers with a suitable television and later Sky Q receiver. Sky Cinema movies will be in HDR in time for Christmas and HDR live sport will be available in 2021.

For sports fans saying ‘football’ into the voice remote will take you to a page that brings together live and on demand football content from all channels and apps including; Sky Sports, Sky Sports App, BT Sport, terrestrial channels, YouTube and Spotify. The feature is available across a variety of sports including F1, Cricket, Golf, Boxing and Tennis.

SES delivers video services for BBC Studios

By Julian Clover

SES is to provide playout, content processing, distribution, and VOD services for BBC Studios and UKTV.

The satellite firm will provide the services from its new Stockley Park facility in London and with SES’s Munich playout facility overseeing operational management.

“Our UK and global audiences and advertisers expect seamlessly delivered high-quality services, and in the transforming world of broadcast we need flexibility and responsiveness to meet ever changing audience demands. By selecting SES, we believe we have found a partner that is committed to delivering innovation and can meet our business needs going into the future,” said Marcus Arthur, President UK, Ireland BBC Studios & CEO UKTV.

“We are truly excited to be delivering a complete set of video services to BBCS,” added Steve Collar, CEO of SES. “Our London and Munich service delivery approach is specially crafted so that broadcasters and production houses like BBCS and UKTV can focus on producing great content while we take care of the content preparation, playout and delivery. This dual facility approach is fundamental to our success in ensuring that we have always-on fully backed-up content delivery services and will enable us to provide the highest quality of service for BBCS.”

SES was awarded the multi-year contract after winning a joint RFP released by BBC Studios and its channels subsidiary UKTV.

Sky Q updates UI, adds HDR content

By Julian Clover

Disney+ will be available in HDR for the first time as part of an upgrade to the Sky Q set-top.

The platform is releasing a new expanded view UI, simplified new show and sports centres, intuitive ‘smart’ buttons and improved voice. It will be rolled out to receivers over the next few weeks and is also being introduced for subscribers in Germany.

The static menu bar has been replaced by a new dynamic collapsible menu that makes it possible to include more recommendations on the home screen.

Each show will have a show centre, which will feature every available episode, bringing together all seasons, episodes, recordings, broadcast schedules and on-demand links are together in one place for the first time. A new smart button will take viewers to the episode they require.

The smart button will switch between Continue, Delete, Watch from the Start, or Play the next episode –based on what was watched last.

“We’ve redesigned Sky Q to make it even smarter, simpler and better at aggregating all of the TV and app content you love into one place,” said Fraser Stirling, Group Chief Product Officer, Sky. “And we’re not stopping there, the tech team behind Sky Q and Sky Go are working hard on loads of new updates that we’ll be rolling out every few months, so you can expect your Sky TV experience to keep getting better.”

Following the launch of HDR on Sky Q earlier this year, Disney+ will also be available in HDR. Sky Nature shows and Sky originals are already being seen by viewers with a suitable television and later Sky Q receiver. Sky Cinema movies will be in HDR in time for Christmas and HDR live sport will be available in 2021.

For sports fans saying ‘football’ into the voice remote will take you to a page that brings together live and on demand football content from all channels and apps including; Sky Sports, Sky Sports App, BT Sport, terrestrial channels, YouTube and Spotify. The feature is available across a variety of sports including F1, Cricket, Golf, Boxing and Tennis.

Tricolor reveals viewing stats

By Chris Dziadul

Viewing of satellite TV services offered by Russia’s leading pay-TV operator Tricolor increased by 18% during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

Research findings published by the company show that in the period April 1 – May 17 each client and their family members watched an average of 167 minutes a day, compared to 141 minutes in the same period last year. At the same time, the TV rating increased by almost 2% to 11.6%.

Tricolor notes that historical and cultural programmes saw their ratings double, while entertainment programmes and series saw theirs increase by 23% and 20% respectively. On the other hand, there were significant falls in the ratings for sports programmes (-60%), music programmes (-40%) and talk shows (-11%).

Tricolor’s own series on satellite TV saw their ratings increase from 11% in April to 12% in May, while the popularity of national (federal) channels on the first and second multiplexes fell from 59.2% to 53.8%.

Tricolor’s OTT service meanwhile saw ratings of proprietary movie productions increase from 25% in April to 27% in May. Tricolor notes that there was a significant year-on-year viewing share reduction on the internet of the national channels on the two multiplexes, down from 54% to 37%.

It also says that the main increases in audience figures for satellite TV viewing were among those aged over 55, with the number of viewers rising by 35%. At the same time, those aged 4-17 and 35-54 increased by around 23% and 18-34 by 10%. Furthermore, there was a 73% increase in the rating of children’s content.

Tricolor reveals viewing stats

By Chris Dziadul

Viewing of satellite TV services offered by Russia’s leading pay-TV operator Tricolor increased by 18% during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

Research findings published by the company show that in the period April 1 – May 17 each client and their family members watched an average of 167 minutes a day, compared to 141 minutes in the same period last year. At the same time, the TV rating increased by almost 2% to 11.6%.

Tricolor notes that historical and cultural programmes saw their ratings double, while entertainment programmes and series saw theirs increase by 23% and 20% respectively. On the other hand, there were significant falls in the ratings for sports programmes (-60%), music programmes (-40%) and talk shows (-11%).

Tricolor’s own series on satellite TV saw their ratings increase from 11% in April to 12% in May, while the popularity of national (federal) channels on the first and second multiplexes fell from 59.2% to 53.8%.

Tricolor’s OTT service meanwhile saw ratings of proprietary movie productions increase from 25% in April to 27% in May. Tricolor notes that there was a significant year-on-year viewing share reduction on the internet of the national channels on the two multiplexes, down from 54% to 37%.

It also says that the main increases in audience figures for satellite TV viewing were among those aged over 55, with the number of viewers rising by 35%. At the same time, those aged 4-17 and 35-54 increased by around 23% and 18-34 by 10%. Furthermore, there was a 73% increase in the rating of children’s content.

SRG postpones transition to HEVC/H.265 on satellite

By JΓΆrn Krieger

The Corona crisis has put a damper on Swiss public broadcaster SRG’s plan to move its satellite channels to the new HEVC/H.265 compression standard in 2021.

The switchover will be postponed until further notice, SRG announced, citing two reasons: On the one hand, this is done out of consideration for DTH satellite households, which therefore do not need any additional or new equipment. On the other hand, the Swiss electronic equipment industry has signalled that it is not yet ready, especially regarding set-top boxes.

In January 2020, SRG announced that it would switch the satellite broadcast of its TV channels on Eutelsat Hotbird (13° East) from MPEG-4/H.264 to the more efficient HEVC/H.265 compression standard in the course of next year in preparation for the introduction of Ultra HD (UHD). However, TV sets and receivers non-compliant with the new standard need to be replaced.

Meanwhile, SRG wants to bundle its channels on Hotbird on one transponder in future. A new generation of satellite playout devices offers greatly improved encoding quality and more efficient bandwidth usage, according to the broadcaster. Instead of the currently needed two transponders, one will then be sufficient.

As part of the move, all of SRG’s TV and radio channels will be relocated on transponder 123 at the beginning of 2021. Transponder 17, which is no longer required, will be switched off at the end of April 2021.

SRG now wants to go ahead with the transition to HEVC/H.265 in 2024. In order to ensure that the largest possible number of reception devices will then be on the market, the broadcaster is calling on all retailers to sell only HEVC/H.265-compatible TV sets and set-top boxes including HbbTV from now on.

The playout for distribution partners is not affected by the delay: Cable companies, IPTV platform operators and online providers will be able to obtain data streams in different quality and transmission rates directly from SRG via broadband lines from 2021. Once the corresponding negotiations have been concluded, an UHD event channel will be set up in this playout, enabling individual programmes produced in UHD to be delivered to distribution partners.

SRG postpones transition to HEVC/H.265 on satellite

By JΓΆrn Krieger

The Corona crisis has put a damper on Swiss public broadcaster SRG’s plan to move its satellite channels to the new HEVC/H.265 compression standard in 2021.

The switchover will be postponed until further notice, SRG announced, citing two reasons: On the one hand, this is done out of consideration for DTH satellite households, which therefore do not need any additional or new equipment. On the other hand, the Swiss electronic equipment industry has signalled that it is not yet ready, especially regarding set-top boxes.

In January 2020, SRG announced that it would switch the satellite broadcast of its TV channels on Eutelsat Hotbird (13° East) from MPEG-4/H.264 to the more efficient HEVC/H.265 compression standard in the course of next year in preparation for the introduction of Ultra HD (UHD). However, TV sets and receivers non-compliant with the new standard need to be replaced.

Meanwhile, SRG wants to bundle its channels on Hotbird on one transponder in future. A new generation of satellite playout devices offers greatly improved encoding quality and more efficient bandwidth usage, according to the broadcaster. Instead of the currently needed two transponders, one will then be sufficient.

As part of the move, all of SRG’s TV and radio channels will be relocated on transponder 123 at the beginning of 2021. Transponder 17, which is no longer required, will be switched off at the end of April 2021.

SRG now wants to go ahead with the transition to HEVC/H.265 in 2024. In order to ensure that the largest possible number of reception devices will then be on the market, the broadcaster is calling on all retailers to sell only HEVC/H.265-compatible TV sets and set-top boxes including HbbTV from now on.

The playout for distribution partners is not affected by the delay: Cable companies, IPTV platform operators and online providers will be able to obtain data streams in different quality and transmission rates directly from SRG via broadband lines from 2021. Once the corresponding negotiations have been concluded, an UHD event channel will be set up in this playout, enabling individual programmes produced in UHD to be delivered to distribution partners.

China Reports Progress in Ultra-Secure Satellite Transmission

By William J. Broad

Researchers enlisted quantum physics to send a “secret key” for encrypting and decrypting messages between two stations 700 miles apart.

China Reports Progress in Ultra-Secure Satellite Transmission

By William J. Broad

Researchers enlisted quantum physics to send a “secret key” for encrypting and decrypting messages between two stations 700 miles apart.

China Reports Progress in Ultra-Secure Satellite Transmission

By William J. Broad

Researchers enlisted quantum physics to send a “secret key” for encrypting and decrypting messages between two stations 700 miles apart.

China Reports Progress in Ultra-Secure Satellite Transmission

By William J. Broad

Researchers enlisted quantum physics to send a “secret key” for encrypting and decrypting messages between two stations 700 miles apart.

Report: Sea Launch for sale

By Julian Clover

The Russian backers of the Sea Launch platform are in negotiations to sell the platform to a subsidiary of Russia’s state corporation Rosatom.

Sources quoted by the news agency TASS suggest S7 will sell the Odyssey floating platform and the commander ship as part of a sale of non-core assets.

Rosatom will potentially have considerable expense ahead of it. Both the platform and commander ship are in need of an upgrade. Much of the on board equipment was removed before launch activities were suspended in 2014.

S7 acquired the platform two years later.

Prior to the suspension Sea Launch conducted 36 space launches of which 32 were successful.

M7 Group signs five new channels for 1 West distribution

By Robert Briel

M7 Group has concluded various satellite distribution agreements for its 1 degree West DTH platform.

Apart from distribution via its local DTH Platforms FocusSat and UPC Direct, the agreements include satellite delivery of the channels to third party operators within the Europe-wide 1 degree West footprint coverage.

The newly signed-up channels are:
– JimJam Hungary and JimJam Romania: AMC Networks International – Central and Northern Europe owned channels focusing on quality children’s content with dedicated Hungarian and Romanian feeds;
– TV1000: a Viasat World owned channel providing a top-range of award-winning films, iconic blockbuster movies and high quality series for the Romanian market;
– Life TV: a Hungarian channel focussing on lifestyle and entertainment;;
– Bollywood TV: providing a line-up of Bollywood movies, all localised in Romanian.

“We are very pleased with these new agreements, commented Bill Wijdeveld of M7 Group Platform Services.

“They confirm our strong position in the Central Eastern European markets for both DTH distribution and third party satellite distribution solutions, as well as the attractiveness of 1 degree West as satellite hot spot for especially the Hungarian and Romanian market.

“The agreements also confirm that linear TV remains of key importance while there is a continuous demand for new, tailored and localised video content addressing specific target groups”.

M7 Group signs five new channels for 1 West distribution

By Robert Briel

M7 Group has concluded various satellite distribution agreements for its 1 degree West DTH platform.

Apart from distribution via its local DTH Platforms FocusSat and UPC Direct, the agreements include satellite delivery of the channels to third party operators within the Europe-wide 1 degree West footprint coverage.

The newly signed-up channels are:
– JimJam Hungary and JimJam Romania: AMC Networks International – Central and Northern Europe owned channels focusing on quality children’s content with dedicated Hungarian and Romanian feeds;
– TV1000: a Viasat World owned channel providing a top-range of award-winning films, iconic blockbuster movies and high quality series for the Romanian market;
– Life TV: a Hungarian channel focussing on lifestyle and entertainment;;
– Bollywood TV: providing a line-up of Bollywood movies, all localised in Romanian.

“We are very pleased with these new agreements, commented Bill Wijdeveld of M7 Group Platform Services.

“They confirm our strong position in the Central Eastern European markets for both DTH distribution and third party satellite distribution solutions, as well as the attractiveness of 1 degree West as satellite hot spot for especially the Hungarian and Romanian market.

“The agreements also confirm that linear TV remains of key importance while there is a continuous demand for new, tailored and localised video content addressing specific target groups”.

M7 Group signs five new channels for 1 West distribution

By Robert Briel

M7 Group has concluded various satellite distribution agreements for its 1 degree West DTH platform.

Apart from distribution via its local DTH Platforms FocusSat and UPC Direct, the agreements include satellite delivery of the channels to third party operators within the Europe-wide 1 degree West footprint coverage.

The newly signed-up channels are:
– JimJam Hungary and JimJam Romania: AMC Networks International – Central and Northern Europe owned channels focusing on quality children’s content with dedicated Hungarian and Romanian feeds;
– TV1000: a Viasat World owned channel providing a top-range of award-winning films, iconic blockbuster movies and high quality series for the Romanian market;
– Life TV: a Hungarian channel focussing on lifestyle and entertainment;;
– Bollywood TV: providing a line-up of Bollywood movies, all localised in Romanian.

“We are very pleased with these new agreements, commented Bill Wijdeveld of M7 Group Platform Services.

“They confirm our strong position in the Central Eastern European markets for both DTH distribution and third party satellite distribution solutions, as well as the attractiveness of 1 degree West as satellite hot spot for especially the Hungarian and Romanian market.

“The agreements also confirm that linear TV remains of key importance while there is a continuous demand for new, tailored and localised video content addressing specific target groups”.

M7 Group signs five new channels for 1 West distribution

By Robert Briel

M7 Group has concluded various satellite distribution agreements for its 1 degree West DTH platform.

Apart from distribution via its local DTH Platforms FocusSat and UPC Direct, the agreements include satellite delivery of the channels to third party operators within the Europe-wide 1 degree West footprint coverage.

The newly signed-up channels are:
– JimJam Hungary and JimJam Romania: AMC Networks International – Central and Northern Europe owned channels focusing on quality children’s content with dedicated Hungarian and Romanian feeds;
– TV1000: a Viasat World owned channel providing a top-range of award-winning films, iconic blockbuster movies and high quality series for the Romanian market;
– Life TV: a Hungarian channel focussing on lifestyle and entertainment;;
– Bollywood TV: providing a line-up of Bollywood movies, all localised in Romanian.

“We are very pleased with these new agreements, commented Bill Wijdeveld of M7 Group Platform Services.

“They confirm our strong position in the Central Eastern European markets for both DTH distribution and third party satellite distribution solutions, as well as the attractiveness of 1 degree West as satellite hot spot for especially the Hungarian and Romanian market.

“The agreements also confirm that linear TV remains of key importance while there is a continuous demand for new, tailored and localised video content addressing specific target groups”.

Intelsat swings to $218.8m loss

By Julian Clover

Satellite operator Intelsat says it hasn’t been immune to the effects of Covid 19.

Reporting its first financial figures since it entered Chapter 11, Intelsat’s Chief Executive Officer, Stephen Spengler said it had seen disruption to its due to the decline in its networks business and in media through a drop in demand for “occasional use” services for sporting events and concerts.

Networks, which fell by 27%, was particularly hit through the combination of lower renewal rates and two ‘unusual items’. Media faired better with a 9% year-on-year decrease.

Intelsat maintains a fill rate of 78%.

The company reported total revenue of $458.8 million and a net loss of $218.8 million.

Court deals new online blow to Sky Italia

By Julian Clover

Italy’s top administrative court has reimposed content restrictions on Sky Italia that had previously been lifted.

Last year, the competition commission imposed a three-year ban on Sky Italia distributing exclusive content over its online platform.

It followed a deal between the Comcast unit and Mediaset for the sale of its premium DTT business, which the regulator said had the potential to limit competition in a market where Sky was already dominant.

In March a lower administrative court lifted the restrictions, leading to an appeal by the commission.

Papers shown to the higher court of Thursday indicated the measures had been reimposed

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