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International airwaves roundup

Investment consortium acquires Intelsat

Intelsat, a provider of satellite services in more than 200 countries, has been acquired by Zeus Holdings, a consortium of investments funds which is being advised by Apax Partners, Apollo Management, Madison Dearborn Partners and Permira.

The acquisition is subject to the approval of those holding 60 percent of Intelsat’s outstanding shares and regulatory approval. The company said it expects to gain those approvals before the end of the year.

China to promote digital television with low-interest loans

Cable companies in China will be eligible for low-interest government loans to pay for the conversion of their systems to deliver digital television to 100 million city dwellers by 2008.

Currently fewer than 300,000 Chinese households receive digital television. Ultimately, China foresees conversion of all of its 380 million households to digital television service by 2015.

The government’s actions to promote digital television should benefit domestic and foreign consumer electronics companies as well as expand the availability of production services in China.

To hit its initial goal of 100 million digital TV households will require about a $7 billion investment in set-top boxes.

Ofcom report indicates growth in digital television

Digital television is available throughout most of the UK via satellite, cable and terrestrial broadcasts, and viewers are responding by increasing their viewing, according to a new report from Ofcom, the UK’s regulatory agency for communications services.

According to “The Communications Market 2004” viewers have increased the time they spend in front of the set from 25.6 hours to 26.1 hours per week during the 1999-2003 period measured.

Other findings include:

  • 53 percent of UK households have at least one digital-capable set
  • The average weekly spending on television in 2003 was 61 percent greater than 1999
  • In 2003 there were 271 TV channels; in 1999 there were 56
  • 18 digital terrestrial television receivers were available in 2003 for $107.68 or less
  • Television subscription revenue has surpassed advertising revenue

The report also examines U.K. trends in radio, mobile devices, broadband and fixed line communications.

DR takes digital workflow to Olympics

In Athens, news and sports crews from Danish Broadcasting are taking the DVCPro format acquisition equipment to the field, and ingesting footage into an all-digital workstation environment where it can be edited.

DR is using its digital field production gear at the International Broadcast Center in Athens to supply video, radio and Web material to its domestic audience. The core of the system includes a compact SGI Origin 300 server, two SGI Media Servers for broadcast systems, and one SGI InfiniteStorage TP 9300S 6TB SATA storage drive. With that setup, DR can store 200 to 400 hours of DVCPro25 and DVCPro50 footage.

ENG teams will use 30 PCs running Easy Cut software for low resolution, pre-editing. DR sent a Pinnacle Systems' Liquid blue and Liquid purple editing system to Athens for final editing.

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