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Programming News
Last Updated 01/17/04
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PROGRAMMING: HBO Does the Dolby Dance 07/13/2001

HBO Does the Dolby Dance - Dolby Labs announced that HBO's primary channel will debut programming in Dolby Digital 5.1 with the pay network premiere of "The Perfect Storm." In addition, upcoming HBO programming in Dolby Digital includes movies such as "What Lies Beneath" and "The Contender," the HBO Film "Dinner With Friends," and the ten-part miniseries "Band of Brothers." Dolby Labs estimated that by the end of 2001, 10 million U.S. households will have a set-top box capable of playing Dolby Digital via DBS and/or digital cable.

ESPN to Re-Launch News Service - ESPN will re-launch its 24-hour sports news television network, ESPNEWS, as an integrated news service merging enhanced video elements with the additional content and interactivity of More than a year in development, ESPNEWS will combine for sports fans the best of television with the timeliness of the Internet. The network re-launch will occur Sep. 7 on the 22nd anniversary of the launch of ESPN.



C-Band Offers NFL Games Digitally  07/13/2001

The NFL Sunday Ticket will be available to C-Band subscribers in a digital format for the first time this season.

The National Football League has selected the AT&T Digital Media Centers (ADMC) to provide the satellite downlink, digital uplinking and nationwide distribution to its Sunday ticket subscribers.

Analog game transmissions are broadcast on two satellites: Galaxy 3R and Telstar 6. The analog digital plan will redundantly place the games shown on Telstar 6 and on Galaxy 3R. NFL Sunday Ticket subscribers who have purchased a 4DTV receiver will be able to receive all the games on satellite Galaxy 3R. Subscribers with Analog Videocipher receivers will continue receiving the games by looking at Galaxy 3R and Telstar 6 satellites.

Remember, the NFL is offering for free the first four weeks of NFL Sunday Ticket to anyone who purchases a 4DTV unit.

Also, for C-Band subscribers interested in seeing the Sidecar infomercial please click the link below to see the schedule complete with satellites, dates and times:



NFL Grows C-Band Effort, Ultimate TV Cuts Price  07/12/2001

NFL SUNDAY TICKET, the sports programming package delivering up to 13 out-of-market pro football games each weekend, will be available to C-Band subscribers in digital format for the first time this upcoming season, NFL announced Wednesday.

Subscribers will have access to the games each Sunday afternoon through the Motorola 4D line of digital IRDs. NFL SUNDAY TICKET subscribers who have purchased a 4D receiver will be able to receive the games on satellite Galaxy 3R. Subscribers with analog Videocipher receivers will continue to receive the games through satellites Galaxy 3R and Telstar 6.

Meanwhile, RCA slashed the price on Microsoft Ultimate TV receivers with DirecTV service by $100. The RCA systems now sell for $299. The company hopes the price-cutting move will attract more customers to get the satellite/PVR/Internet TV system.


Motorola Debuts 4DTV Sidecar 05/13/2001

Orbit communication is proud to announce it's new 4DTV  DigiMax Digital Pack with over 100 Digital Audio and Video Channels. The best part is we do not force customers to sign up for a sports package to get channels like MTV, VH1, Discover Digital Pack, CourtTV, 

The DigiMax includes the followings channels: Access 1 &2, BBC America, Bloomberg Business News, B-Mania Movie Network, Canales N Audio + Video, CourtTV E & W, DMX Music 30+ commercial free Music channels, Direct to U Network, Discover Digital Suite, Do It Yourself Network, Ecom TV, Educable, Educast (Spanish), Food Network, Gems TV, Great American Country, Health Network, International Network, Lifetime Movie, MTV2, MTVS (Spanish), MTVX (Hard Rock), Music Choice (40 Commercial Free Music Channels), National PBS, Nebraska PBS, NETV, Nick Games and Sports, , Nick Too E/W, Outdoor channel, Outdoor Life, Oviation, PBS, Peach Star, Toon Disney, Video Italla, VH1 Country, VH1 Soul. And the 4DTV Interactive Guide 

Motorola Debuts 4DTV Sidecar 04/19/2001

Regulations governing off-air antennas, known at the Federal Communications Commission as Over-the-Air Reception Devices ("OTARD") rules, survived another challenge at the agency.

Earlier in the year, the Real Access Alliance (RAA), an organization representing landlord and property owner interests, filed a petition asking the commission to stay its decision to extend OTARD protection to two-way antennas that transmit and receive communications, such as two-way broadband satellite dishes. The Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association and the Satellite Industry Association, through their Satellite Broadband and Internet Division, filed an opposition to the motion.

On Wednesday, the commission announced a decision upholding the SBCA/SIA position and rejecting the Alliance's petition. The FCC ruled that the Alliance failed to meet any of the four criteria necessary to sustain a motion for stay.

In one part of the Alliance's petition, which was rejected by the FCC, the Alliance argued that the extension of the OTARD rules to transmit antennas may create a "human health and safety hazard because they both transmit and receive radio energy at the office or apartment premises of the tenant subscriber."

In response, the FCC said, "Contrary to what RAA's motion implies, the order does not diminish or negate existing radiofrequency exposure safeguards. Rather, the order sets forth incremental safeguards in the form of additional labeling requirements for antennas for which licensees seek the new OTARD protections, as well as the recommendation that such antennas should be professionally installed."

The SBCA praised the FCC decision.

"The SBCA is pleased that the commission accepted our arguments and rejected those made by the Real Access Alliance," SBCA spokesman James Ashurst said. "We feel that satellite is going to be a major player in the emerging broadband market. It's imperative that the OTARD rules are extended to cover two-way transceivers in order to protect consumer choice."

Motorola Debuts 4DTV Sidecar 04/13/2001

On Thursday, Motorola's Broadband Communications Sector formally unveiled its 4DTV digital sidecar, a digital satellite receiver that connects to C-Band system analog receivers. 

The new unit allows C-Band subscribers to access up to 200 channels of digital programming, many of the channels for free, in addition to up to 300-plus analog channels currently available to big dish viewers.

Additional sidecar features include a port to connect a Motorola HDD-200 high definition decoder for access to high definition television broadcasts and a three-in-one remote to control the viewer's sidecar, TV set and VCR. 

"The 4DTV sidecar is a significant product introduction for C-Band subscribers," said Doug Means, vice president and General Manager of Motorola's Satellite and Broadcast Network Systems business unit. "It allows these satellite customers to take advantage of the latest broadcast technology at an affordable price with a virtually seamless integration of their current equipment."

Lifetime Launches New 24-Hour Network 04/13/2001

TVN Entertainment announced this week that it acquired BET's Action-Pay-Per-View channel from Avalon Pictures. 

Action Pay-Per-View will be programmed, distributed and marketed by TVN as part of its ongoing initiative to provide targeted near-video-on-demand pay-per-view programming that will complement new-release movie offerings. Bob Johnson, chairman of BET Holdings, will retain an interest in Action Pay-Per-View, the companies said. 

TVN said it will keep the urban-oriented lineup that Action Pay-Per-View provides today. Cable affiliates that have Action Pay-Per-View will continue to receive the service, the company said. 

TVN's 37-channel near-video-on-demand digital programming service delivers special events, concerts, music and sports. The company said it plans to expand its NVOD service to address under-served markets, including Spanish-speaking viewers, children and other targeted audiences.

Lifetime Launches New 24-Hour Network 04/12/2001

Lifetime, television for women, will launch "Lifetime Real Women," a new 24-hour network with reality related programming told from a woman's point of view.

The new network will soon be available on satellite and cable television late this summer.

Carole Black, president and CEO of Lifetime Entertainment Services, said, "'Lifetime Real Women' strengthens and expands our connection to women by offering them a wide variety of heartfelt true stories. We are pleased to offer women more of this type of programming at times that fit their schedules day or night."

Appeals Court Keeps Must-Carry Fight Alive 04/03/2001

According to sources, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a petition filed by the government, the National Association of Broadcasters and others to stay a challenge of the Federal Communications Commission's must-carry rules. 

"The Circuit Court's decision is a significant victory for satellite consumers, and brings us one step closer to resolving this contentious issue," said Chuck Hewitt, president of the Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association. The SBCA filed the appeal along with EchoStar. 

The government and the NAB had asked the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to delay hearing the appeal until after the FCC ruled on various petitions for reconsideration filed against its satellite must-carry rulemaking. In addition, they asked that the challenge be delayed until after the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ruled on a separate constitutional challenge of satellite must carry rules brought jointly by the SBCA, EchoStar and DirecTV last September. 

In opposition to the petition, attorneys for SBCA and EchoStar emphasized the need for an expeditious decision. "We argued that the court should not delay deciding an important First Amendment challenge that it is best situated to resolve," Hewitt said. 

"We remain committed to protecting rights of consumers to receive popular broadcast services via satellite and the First Amendment rights of satellite providers," Hewitt said. "The Circuit Court's decision means that we are now fighting satellite must carry on three fronts, at the commission, before the Federal District Court and now before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. With satellite must carry scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2002, time is of the essence."

Odyssey to Relaunch as Hallmark Channel  03/30/2001

Hallmark Cards and Crown Media Holdings announced Wednesday that they will re-launch Crown Medias Odyssey Network as the Hallmark Channel on Monday, Aug. 6. 

According to the companies, the re-launch will be backed by a multi-million dollar promotion and advertising campaign featuring a comprehensive graphics package and promotional materials built around the Hallmark brand. The Hallmark Channel's programming will include productions from the Hallmark Hall of Fame Collection as well as other content. 

"The Hallmark brand is one of quality, caring and integrity, all of which the Hallmark Channel embodies. Hallmark plays a major role in peoples lives and this channel will certainly reflect the upstanding meaning and trust people hold in the Hallmark brand," David Evans, president and chief executive officer of Crown Media Holdings, said.

PrimeTime 24 Loses Supreme Court Fight  03/27/2001

On Monday, the Supreme Court turned down an appeal from PrimeTime 24 focused on the company's transmission of National Football League games to Canada. 

The court, without comment, rejected the company's argument that it could transmit the games without violating the NFL's copyright, the Associated Press reported. The NFL has been fighting the company's delivery of games to Canadian viewers for more than two years. 

The NFL filed suit in May 1998 in U.S. District Court in New York, alleging that PrimeTime 24 was infringing on copyrights held by the league by retransmitting game telecasts from the United States to Canada without authorization.

According to the NFL, the court first ruled in 1999 that PrimeTime 24 had violated the U.S. Copyright Act, and that ruling was affirmed last April by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The rulings cleared the way for a trial, held in October 2000, limited to determining the amount of damages to be awarded to the NFL. 

In February, a U.S. magistrate awarded the NFL $2.6 million in damages in its copyright infringement action against PrimeTime 24. 

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Some or our news stories are provided by:
Skyreport, Orbit Magazine, DigiFax News and Satellite TV Weekly.

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