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June 30, 2009

Eutelsat Launches FRANSAT
By Jai C.S.
TMCnet Contributor

Europe's satellite operator, Eutelsat Communications, has commercially launched its new service - FRANSAT, enabling satellite access from metropolitan France to all French free DTT (Digital Terrestrial Television) channels.

"The launch of FRANSAT on our ATLANTIC BIRD 3 satellite underscores Eutelsat's (News - Alert) objective to support the seamless transition of broadcasting in France into a fully digital environment, as mapped out in the government's "Digital France 2012" Plan,” said Giuliano Berretta, chairman and chief executive officer at Eutelsat Communications.
Digital France 2012 is a plan initiated by the French government to switch to digital for the significant number of satellite homes already receiving analogue TV in areas not served terrestrially. Berretta clarified that Eutelsat’s 5degrees West orbital position has been delivering French national analogue channels to terrestrial transmitters for more than 20 years.
The newly launched solution is said to enable these homes to switch to digital without any need to adjust their dish.
Eutelsat made a clarification that in order to receive FRANSAT households can buy a labeled Pack comprising a decoder and a FRANSAT conditional-access smartcard. Packs are already available at typical points of sale for satellite TV (individual suppliers and antenna installers, as well as major DIY centers, specialist retail warehouses and hypermarkets), with particular emphasis on availability in "white zones".
Some of the major benefit of FRANSAT is that it offers access to France's 18 free DTT channels, plus France O and the four HD channels TF1 HD, France 2 HD, M6 HD, and ARTE HD. This is a subscription-free service with no time limit.
Homes equipped with a dish fitted with a universal LNB to receive France's six national analogue channels via ATLANTIC BIRD 3, can just replace their analogue decoder with a digital FRANSAT Pack and they will get access to France's free DTT channels.
Additionally, FRANSAT has developed the "FRANSAT Via Eutelsat" label, where decoders with this label will offer a series of functions including fast installation and automatic numbering of channels, availability in metropolitan France with Viaccess conditional access, a parental lock, automatic decoder upgrades, multi-satellite reception as well as access to all channels broadcasting via ATLANTIC BIRD 3 and other satellite positions.
Eutelsat also clarified that four manufacturers and distributors - Aston, Metronic, Servimat and Wisi will be providing labeled FRANSAT decoders tailored to individual needs. Decoder prices will depend on the functionality provided like high definition or recording function.

Jai C.S. is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Jai's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jessica Kostek


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