(Nikkei BP Group)
(No.1 High Tech News Site in Japanese)
| Sony Pictures, NEC Join PanAmSat's HDTV Demonstration
July 17, 1998 (SAN FRANCISCO) -- Sony Corp. and NEC Corp. participated
in a recent demonstration of high-definition TV (HDTV) satellite broadcasting
technology organized by PanAmSat Corp., a major satellite operator based
in Greenwich, Conn.
|Sony joined the HDTV demonstration through its Sony Pictures Entertainment
unit, and NEC teamed up in the test as a supplier of equipment. Mitsubishi
Electric Corp. also joined via its Mitsubishi-Tektronix HDTV venture
(representing a team of Mitsubishi Electric America Inc. and Tektronix
In total, more than a dozen broadcasting companies and developers of
HDTV technology took part in the live demonstration of multiple HDTV
systems via satellite.
During the event, electronics and TV equipment vendors conducted tests
of their HDTV systems from PanAmSat's Napa teleport facility, using
the PAS-2 Pacific Ocean Region communications satellite. The Napa teleport
is in the Napa wine country, northeast of San Francisco, Calif.
Broadcasters and programmers viewing the HDTV demonstrations included
CBS Corp., Walt Disney Co., General Electric Co.'s NBC unit, Sony Pictures
Entertainment, Turner Broadcasting System Inc. (the operator of CNN)
and Viacom Inc. (which owns Paramount).
Japanese customers of PanAmSat include Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK - Japan
Broadcasting Corp.), Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS), TV Asahi, NTV
and Bekkoame Internet. Hughes Electronics Inc. owns a controlling interest
PanAmSat has been a leader in digital television services via satellite
since the early 1990s. PanAmSat was the first to use compressed digital
video services for cable distribution worldwide and the company is moving
toward delivery of HDTV via satellite for broadcasters and program companies.
Digital TV services will start in the United States market this autumn,
and HDTV will follow later.
"This two-day demonstration is facilitating the practical implementation
of HDTV technology and services in the United States," said Robert Bednarek,
PanAmSat's senior vice president and chief technology officer.
"PanAmSat is creating an important forum for broadcasters to see HDTV
in action, scrutinize system options and implement their HDTV plans
under the U.S. deadlines set by the Federal Communications Commission,"
said David P. Berman, PanAmSat's senior vice president of program distribution.
"Satellites are uniquely capable of supporting any configuration of
HDTV transmissions, and PanAmSat has unparalleled satellite resources
to make the delivery of HDTV a reality for broadcasters and programmers
in the United States and around the world."
HDTV equipment vendors conducting satellite system demonstrations included
Thompson, Sony, NEC, Mitsubishi-Tektronix and others.
Each test starts with high definition TV source material at a 1.5Gbps
data rate. Using each vendor's HDTV equipment, the material is encoded
into a post-production quality video signal at 45Mbps or distribution-quality
video signal at 19.3Mbps. Next, the video is uplinked from the Napa
facility to PanAmSat's PAS-2 satellite in either the 1080I or 720P HDTV
formats. The satellite transmissions comply with MPEG-2/DVB, the latest
global video standard for compressed digital video services, according
The HDTV satellite transmissions are accessed again at Napa, demodulated
and decoded into the HDTV format using the vendor's integrated receiver/decoder,
and signals are displayed on HDTV monitors. PanAmSat said it provides
bit error rate analysis to measure the overall quality of HDTV transmissions.
PanAmSat is one of the largest commercial providers of satellite-based
communications services. The company operates a global network of 16
satellites, including those in the Galaxy series. The company provides
communications services and video distribution to hundreds of corporate
The satellite operator was the first U.S. company to obtain a Type One
telecom carrier license for international service from Japan's Ministry
of Posts and Telecommunications, in November 1995. It plans to orbit
the PAS-7 and PAS-8 satellites for more comprehensive Asian communications
coverage within this year.
In January, PanAmSat opened an office in Tokyo, mainly as a contact for
Separately, Sony Electronics' Broadcast & Professional Co. introduced
in the U.S. market the HDS-7100 high definition digital video switcher,
which is billed as a flexible and affordable solution for high definition
"The HDS-7100 switcher was designed for production facilities creating,
for example, longer form documentaries or sitcoms, and provides affordable
entry into high definition post production while retaining the tools
they've become accustomed to in SDTV (standard definition television)
production," said Ron Naumann, marketing manager for production and
post production products at Sony Electronics' Broadcast & Professional
(Neil Davis, Asia BizTech Correspondent)