World Association of News Publishers

Direct broadcast satellites - the contest between strongly competitive suppliers and a modest demand

Direct broadcast satellites - the contest between strongly competitive suppliers and a modest demand


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This paradox describes the mood on the eve of the launching of the first European direct broadcast satellites, TV-SAT and TDF-1. As far back as the World Administrative Radio Conference (WARC), Geneva, 1977, after the concept of direct broadcast satellites had emerged, every country in Europe, independent of its size, i.e. including Andorra, Lichtenstein, Monaco and San Marino, was each allocated five frequencies (channels) as well as an orbital position to ensure a "just" distribution. This would have thrown open the entire field to speculators, but the anticipated heavy demand did not materialise. Direct broadcast satellites (DBS) are high-powered satellites (200-300 W per channel) whose signals can be directly received by private households via relatively small dish antennae, while low-powered communication satellites (CS), 20 W per channel, require large-scale receiving installations that can be provided only by so-called cable head-end stations. Because the power source on a satellite is limited, broadcast satellites can feed only 3-5 channels, i.e. transponders, whereas in the case of communication satellites this number can be more than 12. Naturally, this has a very great influence on the costs per programme channel. When, in mid-1984, Luxemburg announced the, GDL/Coronet, a medium-power direct broadcast satellite with 16 transponders, this caused reactions ranging from confusion to dismay. For many reasons this project has not yet materialised. However, the feeling of doubt as to whether so few channels per satellite could be profitable remains. Thereforq the Eutelsat organisation, with Europesat, plans to put into orbit a Pan-European direct broadcast satellite with twelve or twenty-four 100- 125 W transponders in 1991 to replace all national direct broadcast satellites. The aim of this Special Report is to give our members a brief overview of the rapid developments in this field, thus providing them with a basis for greater planning security

IFRA Special Report
Fuchs, Boris


Jochen Litzinger's picture

Jochen Litzinger


2001-04-03 00:00

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