British Satellite Broadcasting (BSB) (1986-1990) was a company set up in 1986 to provide direct broadcast satellite television services to the United Kingdom. Year 1986 ( MCMLXXXVI) was a Common year starting on Wednesday (link displays 1986 Gregorian calendar) Direct broadcast satellite (DBS is a term used to refer to Satellite television broadcasts intended for home reception also referred to more broadly as direct-to-home The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom, the UK or Britain,is a Sovereign state located Though rival Sky Television was also suffering massive losses by 1990, BSB was in a worse position. For other uses see Sky Television (disambiguation. Sky Television plc (1989-1990 was a four-channel satellite television service launched by Rupert The companies merged, though it was in effect a takeover by Sky to form today's British Sky Broadcasting or BSkyB. British Sky Broadcasting ( BSkyB — Sky Television and BSB) is a company that operates Sky Digital, a subscription television service in the BSB shareholders Granada, Pearson and Chargeurs maintained an interest in BSkyB through BSB Holdings Limited, but gradually sold their shares throughout the 1990s. Granada Television is the United Kingdom ITV contractor for North West England. Pearson plc () is a London -based media conglomerate. It is the largest book Publisher in the UK, India, Australia Chargeurs Réunis (United Shippers was a major French company formed in 1872
The British Satellite Broadcasting consortium was formed in 1986 by Granada, Pearson, Virgin and Amstrad. Virgin Group Ltd is a branded Venture capital conglomerate of separately run companies that each use the Virgin brand of British business tycoon Amstrad is an electronics firm based in Brentwood in Essex, England and founded in 1968 by Sir Alan Michael Sugar in the In early 1988 the BSB consortium was awarded a licence to operate three channels by the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA). The consortium changed around this time; Virgin and Amstrad withdrew and Australian businessman Alan Bond joined. Alan Bond (born 22 April 1938 is a notorious Australian businessman famous for high-profile business ventures including what was at the time the biggest corporate collapse
Rupert Murdoch, having failed to gain regulatory approval for his own satellite service, announced in July 1988 that his pan-European Sky Channel would be relaunched as a four channel UK based service, Sky Television.
The BBC had previously proposed its own satellite service, but pulled out when the Government insisted that the BBC should pay for the satellite's construction and launch. In addition to BSB's three channels licences for two more channels would be put out to tender.
The stage was set for a dramatic confrontation. BSB, anticipated as the UK's only satellite service, was faced with an aggressive drive by Murdoch's Sky to be the first service to launch.
BSB was forced by the conditions of its licence to pay for the construction and launch of two satellites, named Marcopolo 1 and 2 after Marco Polo, jointly capable of broadcasting five channels that could be received on 30cm (12") diameter dishes. Marcopolo or Marco Polo 1 and 2 were two satellites designed launched and tested by Hughes Space and Communications (now part of Boeing Satellite Marco Polo ( September 15 1254 – January 9 1324 at earliest but no later than June 1325 was a Venetian trader and explorer The satellites were high powered versions of Hughes Space and Communications' HS376 satellites. Hughes Aircraft Company was a major aerospace and defense company founded by Howard Hughes. As Britain's official satellite provider BSB had high hopes. The company planned to provide a mixture of highbrow programming and popular entertainment, from arts shows and opera to blockbuster movies and music videos. The service would also be technically superior, broadcasting in the D-MAC (Multiplexed Analogue Components type D) system, with potentially superior picture sharpness, digital stereo sound and the capability to show widescreen programming, rather than the existing PAL system. Multiplexed Analogue Components (MAC was a Satellite television transmission standard originally proposed for use on a Europe-wide terrestrial HDTV system although it was PAL, short for Phase Alternating Line, is a colour -encoding system used in Broadcast television systems in large parts of the world
In contrast to BSBs ambitious (and highly expensive) technology; Sky chose to use the European Astra satellite and broadcast in PAL with analogue sound; this system would require 60cm (24") dishes, although 80cm versions were recommended for Scotland and the north of England. SES Astra SA, is a corporate Subsidiary of SES, based in Betzdorf, in eastern Luxembourg, that owns and operates the Astra This article is about artificial satellites For natural satellites also known as moons see Natural satellite. BSB ridiculed Sky's proposals, claiming that the PAL pictures would be too degraded by satellite transmission, and that in any case BSB had superior programming.
To distance itself from Sky and its dish antennas, BSB announced a new type of flat-plate satellite antenna called a "Squarial" (i. e. , "square aerial"). However the prototype Squarial shown to the press was a dummy; BSB eventually commissioned a working version from a Japanese company, but it was almost 45 cm (18") in width. A conventional dish of the same diameter was also available. The company also had serious technical problems with the development of its MAC receivers. When Sky went on air in February of 1989 BSB was still hoping to launch that September, but eventually had to admit that the launch would be delayed. The only compensation was that since no one else had come forward to operate the two spare channels, BSB now had a licence to operate five channels rather than just three. The company continued to promote its new improved Squarial with the slogan "It's Smart to be Square". Despite the length of time since the service closed down, squarials can still be seen on some houses. BSB also had a "minidish" in addition to the squarial, these can also still be seen attached to some properties.
BSB's five satellite channels were 1:The Movie Channel, 2:The Sports Channel, 3:Galaxy, 4:The Power Station and 5:Now. The Movie Channel was a predecessor of some of the Sky Movies channels launched on BSB in 1989, survived merger with Sky in 1990 The Sports Channel was a British Television channel, operated by British Satellite Broadcasting, that broadcast live and recorded sporting action Galaxy, was a satellite television channel one of the five channels run by British Satellite Broadcasting (BSB focusing on General Entertainment The Power Station was a British Television channel that was operated by British Satellite Broadcasting (later British Sky Broadcasting after Now was a British television channel transmitted as part of the British Satellite Broadcasting (BSB service during 1990
The successful launch of Sky had proved two things. First, the PAL system usually gave adequate picture quality; and second, many people were quite happy to watch Sky's "lowbrow" programming and not wait for BSB's promised quality output. Sky also had lower overheads. BSB had an expensive headquarters (Marco Polo House) in Battersea, south London, while Sky operated out of a west London industrial estate. Marco Polo House is a large marble- and glass-clad office building at 346 Queenstown Road facing Battersea Park in the London Borough of Wandsworth. Battersea is a place in the London Borough of Wandsworth. It is an inner-city district located 2 BSB's construction and launch of its own satellites cost an estimated £200 million while Sky leased transponders for 10 years on the Astra satellite system for around £50m. SES Astra SA, is a corporate Subsidiary of SES, based in Betzdorf, in eastern Luxembourg, that owns and operates the Astra BSB also indulged in corporate extravagance, for example flying executives to Florida to witness the launch of one of its satellites.
When BSB finally went on air in March 1990, more than a year after Sky, its technical problems were resolved and its programming was critically acclaimed. Year 1990 ( MCMXC) was a Common year starting on Monday (link displays the 1990 Gregorian calendar) But its receivers were incompatible with Sky's, and also more expensive. Many potential customers saw the competition between the rival satellite companies as being like the format war between the VHS and Betamax video systems, and many of them decided to wait and see which company would succeed rather than committing themselves to buying equipment that might soon be obsolete. A format war describes competition between mutually incompatible proprietary formats typically for Data storage devices and Recording formats for Electronic ---- Betamax is a home Videocassette tape recording format developed by Sony, and released on May 10, 1975.
In October 1990 an enterprising manufacturer came up with a dual satellite dish that could be used to receive both Sky and BSB services, although separate receivers would still be required. Year 1990 ( MCMXC) was a Common year starting on Monday (link displays the 1990 Gregorian calendar) It was almost instantly obsolete.
In 1990 both companies were beginning to struggle with the burden of massive losses. The failure of BSB in November 1990 led to a merger, which was in effect a takeover by Sky - quality programming and superior technical quality was beaten by shrewd, aggressive marketing and pragmatic capital expenditure. The new company was called British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) but marketed as Sky, Marco Polo House was emptied (most staff were made redundant with a few moving to Sky's HQ), BSB's channels were largely scrapped in favour of Sky's and the Marco Polo satellites were withdrawn and eventually sold in favour of the Astra system (Marcopolo I in December 1993 to NSAB of Sweden and Marcopolo II in July 1992 to Telenor of Norway. Marco Polo House is a large marble- and glass-clad office building at 346 Queenstown Road facing Battersea Park in the London Borough of Wandsworth. This article is about the Scandinavian satellite operator See also Sirius Satellite Radio. Telenor () is the incumbent Telecommunications company in Norway, with headquarters located at Fornebu, close to Oslo. Both companies had already one HS376 in orbit at the time). The merger may have saved Sky financially; despite its popularity, Sky had very few major advertisers to begin with. Acquiring BSB's healthier advertising contracts and equipment apparently solved the company's problems. Ironically, Sky News began transmitting services to Scandinavia from the Thor satellites.
NSAB operated Marcopolo I (as Sirius 1) until sending it to junk orbit in 2003, Marcopolo II was operated (as Thor 1) until 2002 and shared the same fate. A graveyard orbit, also called a supersynchronous orbit, junk orbit or disposal orbit, is an Orbit significantly above Synchronous
BSB's expensive headquarters, Marcopolo House, remained owned by the new company, and in 1993 became the home of shopping channel QVC when the channel launched in the UK. Year 1993 ( MCMXCIII) was a Common year starting on Friday (link will display full 1993 Gregorian calendar) QVC is a West Chester Pennsylvania, USA, multinational corporation specializing in televised home shopping. Broadcasting platform ITV Digital moved into part of the building as part of the settlement that saw Sky forced out of the original company. ITV Digital was a British Digital terrestrial television broadcaster, which launched a pay-TV service on the world's first digital terrestrial television network
Technically, only one BSB channel still exists. The Movie Channel kept its name until 1997, being briefly rebranded as "Sky Movies Screen 2", Sky Moviemax and then Sky Movies 2. The channel is now Sky Movies Premiere.
Peter Chippindale, Suzanne Franks and Roma Felstein, Dished!: Rise and Fall of British Satellite Broadcasting,(London: Simon & Schuster Ltd, 1991).