High Above: The untold story of Astra, Europe's leading satellite company

Front Cover
Chris Forrester
Springer Science & Business Media, Aug 28, 2011 - Technology & Engineering - 231 pages
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Frequently it is suggested that the ‘golden age' of television was during the period 1950-1960. It is true that television almost ruined Hollywood's fortunes during this period. But if this was the authentic golden age, then it was an age of black and white, somewhat limited creativity, poor reception, lack of competition (except in the United States) and – by and large – public service broadcasting. However, if we take 1950 as a generic ‘starting point' for modern television broadcasting, then we talk about a kind of prehistoric stage of the medium – in which it remained for the best part of three decades. The younger days of broadcasting were the 1980s; the time when commercial television started on a large scale and, in this youth, was getting younger in terms of programming. Luxembourg-based SES Astra appeared on the scene at exactly this time. Astra was instrumental in the dramatic developments in television that we have witnessed since then. This is the story we want to tell in this book. Without satellite technology and the success of satellite reception, without the resulting mass-market penetration of television sets and general economic prosperity we would not have the necessary base ingredients to make the great leap forward into digital, into HDTV, 3D-television, and the prospects of Ultra High Definition now in sight.
 

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Contents

Our Digital Age
8
01 TV that Comes Alive
14
02 Location Location Location
24
03 A Place in Space
38
The Mouse that Roared
48
05 Achieving the Breakthrough
64
06 Europes Dish and Box Wars
86
07 Astra Cracks the German Market
102
11 The Brave Pioneers
142
The Early Birds
154
13 The Satellite Miracles
166
Beyond the Shannon Limit
178
15 The Future for the Box
190
16 How on Earth?
198
17 Hard Science or Science Fiction?
208
18 The Astra Chronicles
218

08 Overcoming the Barrier
110
09 Astra Adds Up for Canal+
118
10 Countdown to Launch
128
Acknowledgements
232
Bibliography
234
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SES ASTRA, Château de Betzdorf, Luxembourg

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