Rainbow Media orders five satellites to boost HD capacity to 5000 channels

Lockheed Martin will build five Ka-band satellites for Rainbow Media Enterprises' VOOM satellite service.

Rainbow Media Enterprises has contracted with Lockheed Martin to build five Ka-band satellites for its year-old HD satellite service VOOM.

The high-power satellites will give VOOM enough channel capacity for more than 5000 HD channels when operated in spot-beam mode. They will cover the entire United States.

The first satellite is scheduled to launch in the third quarter of 2007. The satellites will operate at the company's orbital locations at 62W, 71W, 77W, 119W and 129W. The company plans to expand its HDTV channel lineup from 39 to 70 channels covering the continental United States by March 2005. It will use 16 transponders on the SES Americom AMC-6 satellite, which VOOM refers to as Rainbow 2. VOOM will also offer about 200 standard-definition channels.

All programming transmitted by Rainbow 1 and Rainbow 2 will use a new encoding system from Harmonic, initially configured to run in MPEG-2. The software can be upgraded to MPEG-4.

All VOOM customers have MPEG-4 capable set-top boxes.

For more information, visit www.voom.com.

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