(French text follows English text  -  Texte en français suit le texte en anglais)



King family pleased with earth station



DOC's Mike Nawrocki (right) points out a feature

of the 1.2 m earth station to the King family, Macdiarmid, Ontario



Since Doreen King and her family, of Macdiarmid, Ont., were loaned a 1.2 m dish antenna for direct reception of TV signals off the Anik B satellite as part of a federal Department of Communications (DOC) project, her neighbours have been asking where they too can get a dish.


Until the Sept. 25 start of the King family experimental direct-to-home broadcasting service, the King family had been getting poor TV reception. But that's changed. Now signal reception, says Mrs. King, has been "real clear".


Furthermore, "all the neighbours want to know about it, if they're going to get a 'dish' too and if they too can get clear reception by hooking into the dish."


Mrs. King says the direct-to-home reception of TV Ontario's programming has helped her with the children. "The kids have a real interest in it now. They watch it on the weekends and after school because it is so clear, not snowy or fading like before. It's kept the kids happy."


The King family is just one of about 100 families, community centres and cable TV companies in rural areas which are being loaned 1.2 m or 1.8 m dish antenna earth stations as part of the DOC project.


As a result of a project sponsored by DOC in co-operation with broadcasters and provincial governments, Canada became the first country to install earth stations in private homes to test a direct broad­cast satellite service. The project is planned to continue until at least next spring.


"If this project is a success and if our government decides to develop the concept of direct-to-home satellite broadcasting a step further, millions of Canadians in remote and rural areas could benefit," said Communications Minister David MacDonald at the time of the Sept.25 announcement.


The Department purchased the earth stations from SED Ltd of Saskatoon. Electrohome Ltd. of Waterloo, Ont. and Andrew Antenna Ltd. of Toronto were major sub­contractors. DOC engineers have been working for several years to develop the technology of small, low-cost earth stations.


The dishes are being distributed to families in Ontario and British Columbia and in the Yukon and Northwest Territories. More than 12 hours a day of TV programming will be available over Anik B, which was launched last December for Telesat Canada. The Department has leased channel space for two years for this and other projects using the 14/12 gigahertz transponders on Anik B.


Ontario viewers will have access to programming supplied by TV Ontario, while those in British Columbia and the North will have access to CBC and BCTV programming.


Users of the earth stations in Ontario are being chosen by the project participants which include DOC, the Ontario Educational Communications Authority, the Ontario ministries of Transportation and Communications, Culture and Recreation, and Northern Affairs.


Although there have been other direct broadcast satellite experiments in Canada and other countries ­including tests conducted by DOC using Hermes, the eighth Canadian satellite - this trial is the first involving extended transmission of regular programming to substantial numbers of home receivers.


Mr. MacDonald said the Department has undertaken this project "not only to test the feasibility of using small, low cost earth stations for direct-to-home satellite broadcasting but also to stimulate an important high technology industry in Canada."


The earth stations to be used in the project cost about $3,600 a unit but could cost as little as $500, or even less, if manufacturers are able to sell to a mass market.




La famille King et sa station terrienne


Mike Nawrocki, du ministère des

Communications, montre à la famille King de Macdiarmid (Ontario) un des composants de

l'antenne parabolique de 1,2 m


Doreen King et sa famille, de Macdiarmid (Ontario), ont reçu en prêt une antenne parabolique de 1,2 m pour la réception en direct de signaux de télévision au moyen du satellite Anik B. Et depuis, leurs voisins ne cessent de demander où ils peuvent eux aussi en "emprunter" une.


Avant le 25 septembre, date où a débuté le service expérimental de radiodiffusion en direct au foyer dans le cadre d'un projet du ministère fédéral des Communications, la famille King captait des signaux de télévision de mauvaise qualité.


Mme King estime maintenant que la réception est "vraiment claire".


De plus, "tous les voisins veulent en savoir plus long: peuvent-ils eux aussi se procurer une antenne et obtenir une bonne réception en s'y branchant?"


Mme King pense que la réception en direct des émissions de l'Office de la télécommunication éducative de l'Ontario est bénéfique. "Les enfants s'y intéressent beaucoup maintenant. Ils écoutent les émissions pendant les fins de semaine et après l'école, parce que la réception est tellement claire et qu'il n'y a plus de "neige" ni de perte de l'image comme auparavant."


Les King font partie des cent familles, centres communautaires et compagnies de télévision par câble en région rurale à qui le Ministère prêtera des stations terriennes à antennes paraboliques de 1,2 m ou de 1,8 m.


Ce projet est mis en oeuvre de concert avec les radiodiffuseurs et les gouvernements provinciaux. Le Canada est le premier pays à installer des stations terriennes chez des particuliers pour mettre à l'épreuve un service de radiodiffusion en direct par satellite. Le projet doit se poursuivre au moins jusqu'au printemps prochain.


Le ministre des Communications, M. David MacDonald, a déclaré, lors de l'annonce du programme le 25 septembre dernier, que "si cette expérience s'avère un succès et si notre gouvernement décide d'aller de l'avant, des millions de Canadiens en régions éloignées vont en bénéficier.


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