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Larry the Loafer5,613 posts since 2 Jul 2005
Granada North West Today
I know these won't be knew to most of you but it gives me a chance to ask something about them. Super Channel apparently had to close down from time to time due to their satellite being eclipsed. My question is why did Super Channel appear to be the only channel that fell victim to this? Was it a downside of being a 24 hour channel, or did other stations succumb to this and there's just no record of it?

Also, was the loss of power simply displayed as a gradual degradation in the signal? Or was it something more dramatic and appealing to the eye?


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Neil Jones5,641 posts since 23 Dec 2001
Central (West) Midlands Today
I presume Super Channel launched on the Marco Polo 1/Thor satellites?

If that is the case, these were solar powered in addition to battery power so an eclipse would have reduced the power to the batteries so its probably safe to assume it affected all the services on that satellite or there was only a finite amount of power:
https://space.skyrocket.de/doc_sdat/marco-polo.htm

Mind you that being said Astra was near enough the same (but in a different position in the sky - Astra at 19.2 degrees East compared to Thor which was 5 degrees East) which may have had more to do with it (Astra may also have had longer solar wings too), but all satellites were at risk of sun outages:
https://www.astra2sat.com/technical/sun-outages/
rdd3,434 posts since 21 Jun 2001
Super Channel wasn’t on Marco Polo - only BSB (and for a little while after the merger, Sky) channels were, IIRC Super Channel was on Eutelsat, and much later Astra.
Inspector Sands13,966 posts since 25 Aug 2004
The satellite mentioned in the video was ECS1, also known as Eutelsat 1 F 1:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eutelsat_I_F-1?wprov=sfla1



Mind you that being said Astra was near enough the same (but in a different position in the sky - Astra at 19.2 degrees East compared to Thor which was 5 degrees East) which may have had more to do with it (Astra may also have had longer solar wings too), but all satellites were at risk of sun outages:
https://www.astra2sat.com/technical/sun-outages/

This is different to a sun outage, they occur twice a year around the autumn and spring equinox and are when the sun is directly behind the satellite and overwhelms the signal into the dish. You get a brief decrease in signal from the satellite.

The Superchannel example is different, the outage is power related and as Trish says they will happen every night for a few weeks.

Presumably its to do with being out of view of the sun and thus without power. Though why the batteries wouldn't keep not going I don't know. Maybe Direct to Home services like Superchannel were higher powered and thus shut down to preserve the lower powered communications ones?

Here is how Dish TV in the US handled sun outages in the 90s. Note, this is the signal into them degrading, not the one to the customers dish... hence they were able to put up a caption about it

VMPhil9,986 posts since 31 Mar 2005
Granada North West Today
Nick Higham reports on the launch of BBC Choice, and the forthcoming digital TV services. I didn't know that there was a reception in London where invited guests could watch the launch, and interesting to see a bit of video of the pre-launch trailer at 1:13

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Inspector Sands13,966 posts since 25 Aug 2004
I didn't know there was a big event like that but it makes sense as it launched before both Sky Digital and OnDigital so no one at home was watching.

The early programmes were shown again once the service was publicly available, and some repeated many times!
VMPhil9,986 posts since 31 Mar 2005
Granada North West Today
I didn't know there was a big event like that but it makes sense as it launched before both Sky Digital and OnDigital so no one at home was watching.

The early programmes were shown again once the service was publicly available, and some repeated many times!

I had a look on Genome recently, and whilst the Tomorrow's World Guide to Digital was repeated a lot in the first few months, I came across an updated version - which was only shown once!
Neil Jones5,641 posts since 23 Dec 2001
Central (West) Midlands Today
I seem to remember the launch was on the internet too... which would have been fun with your 56k modems.


It was perfectly possible to stream video on a 56k connection. Wouldn't be silky smooth video and would be relatively tiny picture wise but it was possible. If you didn't do anything else with your connection at the same time.

Of course in those days the only real technology to do it was most likely going to be RealVideo. Which at the time could only be played by RealPlayer. Which was a horrible piece of software. IMO.
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VMPhil9,986 posts since 31 Mar 2005
Granada North West Today
I seem to remember the launch was on the internet too... which would have been fun with your 56k modems.


*


Of course in those days the only real technology to do it was most likely going to be RealVideo. Which at the time could only be played by RealPlayer. Which was a horrible piece of software. IMO.

Yes, people always used to say this, but I never had a problem with RealPlayer or their jukebox software RealJukebox. Certainly there was a lot of promotion for their own services, but you could hide most of it. Later on I discovered the 'Enterprise Version' which was a stripped down, no-frills player, and from then on whenever anyone complained about RealPlayer I just directed them to that. iTunes is another piece of software that seemingly everyone hates but again, I've never had any problems with it.
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chinamug460 posts since 29 Jul 2013
UTV Newsline
Spending a few months in America in 2000 I was living the dream watching RTE News live on Real Player and it was a really good picture as well... As long as you were 15 feet from the monitor.