I have become aware that many of your readers have been very disappointed at the
loss of the BBC's news and information television channel, BBC World, when it left
Asiasat 1 at the beginning of April of this year.
The move was occasioned because of the end of our contract with Star TV with whom
we still have a relationship in terms of selling advertisements although BBC World
is no longer part of the Star TV bouquet.
On the date we left the southern beam of Asiasat 1 we moved to two other satellites
serving Asia - PanAmSat 4 serving South Asia and the Gulf and PanAmSat 2 serving
East Asia, thus fulfilling our pledge to return to East Asia after BBC World left
the northern beam of Asiasat 1 in April 1994. The PanAmSat 2 signal is a digital
one producing very high quality picture and is designed principally for cable or
MMDS operators, none of which, alas, exist in Cambodia.
Our disappearance from Asiasat 1 made us realise quite how many people in IndoChina
were watching our signal from that satelite which we believed not to be visible very
readily in your region.
Many people then attempted to switch their satellite dishes to the analogue signal
on PanAmSat 4 but were disappointed to receive no signal at all or one of very poor
quality. The truth is that although some channels on PanAmSat 4 are visible in Indo-China,
BBC World is not, because it is on a vertically polarised, half-transponder which
does not reach much beyond Burma.
Therefore readers interested in watching the BBC have only one choice and that is
to acquire an Integrated Receiver Decoder (IRD) from the supplier Scientific Atlanta
in Canada. This is a box which sits on top of the television set which converts the
signal from digital to an analogue format which the television set can understand.
The signal is not encrypted.
However, viewers will need a multi-standad format set since the signal is in NTSC
format for our principal cable markets in the region. Full details of how to get
hold of the necessary equipment can be acquired from my office in London (Fax number
44 181 576 2782) or from your local satellite installer who should be well conversant
with these technical matters. (Please insert the name of Phoenix Import/Export if
you feel you can recommend them) - they could make a bulk order for IRDs if people
got in touch with Gordon direct. As you can see, this is not something for amateurs!
I appreciate that this may all appear very complicated for people who used to just
have a dish pointing at Asiasat 1 with an analogue signal going straight through
the receiver and into their television set. It remains a disappointment that the
more easily accessible PanAmSat 4 signal does not reach Cambodia but for the foreseeable
future there is nothing we can do about this.
Many thanks to all those loyal viewers who have written to us and we hope that as
the distribution of the digital receivers becomes more widespread they will be able
to hook up and watch their favourite channel as they have done in the past.
- Alan Macdonald, Head of Business Development, Channels, BBC Worldwide Television.