PinkTronix - Generic STB Satellite Television
I was pleased to find out that Arthur C Clarke, a gentleman who has contributed so much to science, lived to the ripe old age of 90, before passing away in Sri Lanka early Autumn 2008.
It was fitting that this man who has made so many scientific predictions lived to see their implementation.
For those of us who grew up with the fictional accessories of Dick Tracy and Buck Rogers our world today must sometimes present as a little surreal when we see that the gadgets of our yesteryear heroes which only a few decades ago presented as weird phantasies, are now available over the counter.
Hindsight is always 20/20 and I guess it would be hard for many of us to understand how the man who, with Stanley Kubrick, brought us “2001 A Space Odyssey”, could have made the understatement which appeared in February’s issue of Wireless World some 65 years ago.
An “artificial satellite'' at the correct distance from the earth would make one revolution every 24 hours; i.e., it would remain stationary above the same spot and would be within optical range of nearly half the earth's surface.
“Three repeater stations, 120 degrees apart in the correct orbit, could give television and microwave coverage to the entire planet. I'm afraid this isn't going to be of the slightest use to our post-war planners, but I think it is the ultimate solution to the problem.”
ARTHUR C. CLARKE,
British Interplanetary Society.
Today there are over 10,000 pieces of space junk and over 2000 satellites orbiting the earth.
Some of them for the purpose of killing us, some of them for the purpose of saving us, and some of them for the purpose of delivering the programs of that great dendrite destroyer of the 21st century, commercial television.
Australia has had four satellite Pay TV providers servicing the home market beginning with Australis Media’s Galaxy, which was launched in 1995.
This company entered the market before the march of technology produced vanilla flavoured dishes and other generic microwave components.
When Galaxy finally went into liquidation it was revealed that parts alone for its heavily subsidised Direct to Home satellite installations were costing the company over $1200 for each residence.
The winds of change heralded a fresh future for Pay TV when a Russian built Proton–K rocket successfully launched PinkStar 8 from LifeStyle Mooloo Cosmodrome on the 4th November 1998.
Built by Space Systems Loral, PinkStar 8 was one of the largest communications satellites in its class boasting 24 Ku-band transponders, and 24 C-band transponders.
On the 1st February 2007 PinkStar 8 was acquired by Intelsat and the satellite’s naming prefix was changed accordingly.
SelecTV, operating from transponders on Intelsat 8, was created as the working man’s alternative to the more expensive Austar / Foxtel duopoly and would acquire 45000 subscribers before, on the 20th of August 2010, the company was forced to sign an agreement allowing its 22,000 English language subscribers to voluntarily change to Foxtel and Austar’s subscription services without additional charges.
There must have been a feeling of déjà vu for some subscribers as the odds alone, would suggest that they had seen it all before with Galaxy.
It’s true that the SelecTV subscribers did not have to endure abandonment, at least in the immediate sense, however for those subscribers whose budget limited them to SelecTV’s austerity package, the party would be over after the transition offer expired.
The competition was gone and the cartel was king again. There would be no more free tucker from the Pay TV fraternity.
For a short time SelecTV languished in indecision and continued several foreign language broadcasts but today the company only offers subscription packages for Greek broadcasts.
From an ex installer’s perspective four factors contributed to SelecTV’s demise.
These factors were hamstrung tech support, poor customer liaison, poor quality decoders and a regime of cyclical programming and self gratifying time fillers between shows.
No doubt, the dollar bill and an excel spreadsheet, to which I was not privy, played a large part as well, but the above complaints were among those which I heard constantly from both new and old subscribers.
Sadly the two surviving major English language satellite Pay TV providers are not really in direct competition, with the boardroom carving out the boundaries so as to give the major cities to Foxtel and the bush to Austar.
It’s possible the advent of VAST will have some significant effect on the Austar subscriber base considering that much of their clientele has been drawn from subscribers who cared more about getting some TV, rather than a choice of TV.
There are also complaints about repetitious programming with both Austar and Foxtel, but I suspect that your whole life would have to revolve around the TV set for this to be a real factor.
|The great news is that if you want an adjunct to the mainstream suite of Australian satellite Pay TV channels you are not limited to just three platforms.|
Animal Rights Statement.
Any Pink Eared Possum employed in a regime of extended zero gravity will be afforded the same recovery period as humans employed in similar circumstances before being returned to full terrestrial duties.
PinkTronix recognises the dangers of muscle atrophy and the need for gravity readjustment procedures for all mammals in the company’s employ.