Technology : Astra's new satellite slot does for the dishes

 作者:权垤麸     |      日期:2019-02-27 02:10:01
By Barry Fox HUNDREDS of extra satellite TV programmes and interactive services are on the cards after Astra’s announcement that it plans to launch a new series of satellites. The snag is that European satellite viewers will no longer be able to receive all the new programmes and services with a simple dish aerial. Luxembourg-based Astra’s existing satellites are all at 19° East and broadcast analogue programmes from BSkyB and other European stations in the “low-band” frequencies between 10.7 and 11.7 gigahertz. Astra has now run out of both frequencies and room in space at this orbital slot, so in August 1997 the company will start launching a new series of satellites at 28° East. These will transmit digital signals in the “high-band” frequencies between 11.7 and 12.75 gigahertz. Existing dishes will not be capable of receiving the high frequencies or “seeing” the new orbital slot. The new satellites will be called Series 2 and BSkyB has already leased 14 transmitters on the first one. It will use them to broadcast around 200 extra channels, but viewers will not be able to receive them with existing dish aerials. Dishes will have to be modified to include an electronic device known as a high-band LNB directed at 28° East as well as a low-band LNB pointed at 19° East. Dishes will need updating again in 1988 to take advantage of Astra’s next innovation—interactive control. Viewers with suitable electronics in their living room and in their aerial will be able to send digital signals up to the satellite. These will trigger the rapid transmission of information from the satellite to the viewer. For example, PC users will be able to order software on demand. Last week in Luxembourg, Astra’s director-general Romain Bausch was unable to offer any advice for people planning to install a dish—no future-proof equipment is yet available. The company’s marketing director Yves Elsen says that “Astra will work with BSkyB to take all necessary steps to advise the public”. Bausch acknowledges that Astra’s interactive system effectively makes the viewer’s home a satellite broadcasting station. Under current laws, viewers may therefore be obliged to apply for a government licence. “We think that people will be able to transmit without a licence, but we will have to check,