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30 years since the closure of BSB

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RD
Roger Darthwell
So today marks 30 years since the closure of British Satellite Broadcasting, or rather it's merger with Sky Television plc to form British Sky Broadcasting
Here is the video of NOW's closure on the 1st of December https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UO_PWFg4JIk
And here is the video of Galaxy's closedown on the 2nd of December https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfOEx_3Hm8k
So 30 years after it's closure, what are your memories of BSB?
VM
VMPhil
Well, it lasted about eight months, thirty years ago in 1990 when barely anyone had satellite TV, so I doubt there's going to be many memories!

I mean, my main memory is this webpage which is still online after all these years.
http://colin99.co.uk/bsb.html

Also there's a shop where I live that still has a squarial on the building.
NJ
Neil Jones Founding member
The "curse" of Maropolo House. BSB came from there and the later Ondigital (which also failed in the ITV Digital days) came from there too, although QVC didn't have any issues and lived there for many years. Indeed they were expanding operations wise and needed more space, not that they can go back now anyway as it was knocked down and had some houses built on it.

There's some footage of inside the building in the BSB days in this IBA Engineering Announcement "episode" from 1990:
DE88 and Roger Darthwell gave kudos
BL
bluecortina
So today marks 30 years since the closure of British Satellite Broadcasting, or rather it's merger with Sky Television plc to form British Sky Broadcasting
Here is the video of NOW's closure on the 1st of December https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UO_PWFg4JIk
And here is the video of Galaxy's closedown on the 2nd of December https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfOEx_3Hm8k
So 30 years after it's closure, what are your memories of BSB?


My memories. I applied for a job there before they went on air, in fact before Marco Polo House was completed. The IBA loaned them temporary office space in their Brompton Road HQ in Knightsbridge which is where I was invited along for an interview. Can’t remember who interviewed me now after all these years it would have been someone from an engineering perspective and someone from ‘personnel’ as these departments used to be called. Seemed to go ok so I awaited the post with interest. Nothing. Waited some more. Nothing. Waited even looooonger. Nothing. So I got in touch with them to find out what was happening to be told they were facing some delays in replying and I would hear in due course. Since you remind me it’s over 30 years ago I’ve given up waiting for the letter. So my memories are what an unprofessional bunch of w*****s and on reflection I had a lucky escape.

Closer to home we converted TLS’s Studio 5 to component working to service one or two of BSB’s programme sub contractors. Didnt last long for obvious reasons and the studio stood empty for a while before GMTV came along.
JA
james-2001
Also there's a shop where I live that still has a squarial on the building.


There's a house on my estate which still has one of the BSB dishes (not squarial) on the chimney.
JA
james-2001
The "curse" of Maropolo House. BSB came from there and the later Ondigital (which also failed in the ITV Digital days) came from there too, although QVC didn't have any issues and lived there for many years. Indeed they were expanding operations wise and needed more space, not that they can go back now anyway as it was knocked down and had some houses built on it.

There's some footage of inside the building in the BSB days in this IBA Engineering Announcement "episode" from 1990:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLUqBOJNpWA


The quality of that video is excellent, doesn't look like it's from VHS. Someone has access to the master tape?
ToasterMan and Roger Darthwell gave kudos
EG
eggsontoast

Closer to home we converted TLS’s Studio 5 to component working to service one or two of BSB’s programme sub contractors. Didnt last long for obvious reasons and the studio stood empty for a while before GMTV came along.

And of course GMTV went back to composite working until well into 2000!
ToasterMan and Roger Darthwell gave kudos
MA
Markymark
My memory is October 1990, installing at Champion TV in Hammersmith (who were one of the production companies for BSB sport) a component video edit suite. Based around a GV200 CV mixer (which was a beast of thing, three crates interconnect by screened cascade ribbon cables)

We finished the job, and did final acceptance Nov 2 (which was a Friday) I can remember getting into my car to drive home. Switched on the radio, and heard the merger announcement!
Roger Darthwell, DE88 and UKnews gave kudos
CB
ChipperBird
I'm somewhat surprised "Square Peg" wasn't already linked here. If you have an hour or so to binge and want to know the nitty gritty on how BSB somehow managed to totally fumble the satellite ball to Sky. Bob/Applemask has you covered.








In terms of remembering? My first experience with Satellite was my aunt and uncles Sky set up, I remember seeing the name and being told the BSB in the Sky BSB was the competitor they merged with, but there wasn't much to find of it till archive footage popped up online. The Lamby-Narn idents for Galaxy and Powerhouse are great though.
IS
Inspector Sands
There's an interesting episode of IBA Engineering Announcements about their uplink site for BSB at Chilworth in Hampshire.


The site is still operational, but is owned by Sky now, it's their main uplink site (possibly some downlinking too) and also houses some playout and DR facilities.

Looking at Google Maps I don't think the two uplink dishes featured in the video are still there, but then as they were installed to point at 31 degrees west and Astra 2 is at 28.2 degrees east they presumably weren't ideal (and they'd be over 3 decades old now if they were) . Also of course once the satellites were sold off the the control and telemetry facilities became obsolete too
Last edited by Inspector Sands on 3 December 2020 9:05am - 5 times in total
MA
Markymark
There's an interesting episode of IBA Engineering Announcements about their uplink site for BSB at Chilworth in Hampshire.

The site is still operational, but is owned by Sky now, it's their main uplink site (possibly some downlinking too) and also houses some playout and DR facilities.


The roof of one of the buildings has dozens (and I do mean dozens) of domestic dishes, if you look on Google Maps you can spot them as 8 rows of grey lumps (the giveaway is their angle of course). They are there to provide 'real world' reception conditions for the r&d set top box 'zoo'.
Roger Darthwell and UKnews gave kudos
NG
noggin Founding member

The site is still operational, but is owned by Sky now, it's their main uplink site (possibly some downlinking too) and also houses some playout and DR facilities.


Yep - I believe the main playout from Chilworth was the pre-encoded Sky Box Office movie transport PPV streams (I think they were/are played out as transport streams rather than baseband video and encoded on-the-fly - as there is/was so much duplication of time shifted movies it made more sense to pre-encode, and optimise, rather than live-encode, even losing the benefit of statmux). Or I may be misremembering.
Last edited by noggin on 3 December 2020 10:38am
Roger Darthwell and UKnews gave kudos

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