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In the past few months plenty of interesting new stations are finding their way to backyard satellite dishes in Australia and New Zealand, here Satdirectory presents the highlights. Just a reminder, all television and radio mentioned on these pages is received free-to-air in the DVB digital format unless otherwise noted.

Loud & Colourful Viewing from Videoland

A wide variety of satellite television channels from Taiwan can be viewed free-to-air across the Asia-Pacific, including to backyard dishes in Australia. Taiwanese channels offer fascinating viewing with a lot of Asian animation, English language movies and a bright in-your-face presentation style using a far louder and colorful presentation style than the Western Media. Some of the most entertaining television commercials seen world wide  are received on the Taiwanese channels.

Videoland one of Taiwan's major satellite television providers has recently moved to Singapore Technologies ST1 Satellite
at 88.0°east after leaving PAS-8 (Panamsat 8). Previously when on PAS-8 Videoland was often encrypted, however frequently the channels have been available free-to-air for months at a time. At the moment Videoland's eight in-house channels are free-to-air on ST1 including the popular Videoland Sports, Videoland Japan, Videoland Movie Channel, Videoland General Entertainment Channel (On-TV), Videoland Drama Channel, Videoland Max (Hollywood Movies with Chinese subtitles) and Videoland Kids.

The Videoland Channels are received at good strength in many parts of Australia  via ST1
88.0°east, 3550 V, SR 30000, FEC 3/4.

Taiwanese TV & Radio now @ JCSAT3A

Rapid growth of television in Taiwan has led to the country having one of the most  competitive media markets in Asia. Taiwan with 23 million people has a population number almost equal to Australia. However Taiwan has 7 twenty-four-hour news stations (compared to 1 in Australia, 3 in the US and 3 in UK). With an gigantic appetite for local news, Taiwan also has the highest density of Satellite News Gathering (SNG) trucks in the world. Spend any time watching any of the Taiwanese News Channels and you will experience almost blanket live crosses to their reporters in the field day and night.

Until recently Panamsat 8 (PAS8) was without question the home of Taiwan Television viewable in Australia. Teleport Access Services (TAS) at their Linkou Teleport in Taipei Hsien uplink the majority of the Taiwanese channels we receive in Australia .  With the expiry of transponder leases with Panamsat, TAS has shifted the uplink of over 30 Taiwanese television and 37 radio channels to Japan's JCSAT3A. The shift has reduced our ability to view the channels in many parts of Australia. JCSAT3A is frequently received in Australia, but with reduced strength when compared to PAS8.

Over 9 of the uplinked Taiwanese television channels and all 37 radio channels now on JCSAT3A are available free-to-air including the popular, Formosa Television Entertainment and News Channels.

TAS use 3 C-Band transponders on JCSAT3A at 128.0°

3960 V, SR 30000, FEC 5/6
4000 V, SR 30000, FEC 5/6
4120 V, SR 30000, FEC 5/6

Buddhist Channels Changes

The recent changes to the Taiwanese channels on Panamsat 8 (PAS8) has seen two Buddhist channels Hwazan Satellite Television and Da-Ai TV change their PAS8 broadcast parameters to 4130, Vertical, 5800, 3/4.

Hwazan Satellite Television presents the teachings of the Venerable Master Chin Kung. Master Chin Kung believes that adopting the principals promoted on the channel the social trend of the population will improve substantially. Eventually when people are in harmony, world disasters will also be significantly reduced.

Da-Ai Television is funded by The Tzu-Chi Compassionate Foundation and presents the teachings of Master Cheng Yen. The station has the goal of working to change the current TV culture allowing viewers to achieve the Master's goal of purity in the heart, a harmonious society and a world without disasters. Daily programming includes live news coverage, talk shows, documentaries, drama, educational, religious and cultural programs.

Afghanistan on Asiasat 2

Afghanistan under Taliban rule had banned television considering it to be morally corrupt. Since the fall of the Taliban government, satellite television has gained massive popularity with dishes springing up onto rooftops in even the most remote corners of the country. In the last few years hundreds of channels have become available to the people of Afghanistan. Most of the satellite channels beaming into televisions in Afghanistan are foreign, however Shamshad Television is one of a handful of local private television stations, and the first to be available on a major regional satellite that can be received in Australia.

Shamshad TV was launched in early 2006 from Kabul, the capital city of Afghanistan. The channel broadcasts 24 hours a day and provides educational, news, and entertainment programmes in English, Dari and Pashto languages. Its production studio and broadcast station are located in Kabul and provide digital terrestrial transmission and satellite transmission to both urban and rural areas of Afghanistan.

Shamshad is found on Asiasat 2 on 3790, Vertical, 2444, 3/4.

Blanket Satellite TV Coverage of Execution

On December 30, 2006, Saddam Hussein (former President of Iraq) was taken to a Baghdad police compound to be executed. The Iraqi government released an official video of the execution, including Saddam being lead to the gallows and stopping after the noose was placed around his neck. An hour or so after the execution satellite television channels started reporting Saddam's death and eventually segments of the official video were being broadcast. BBC World (Panamsat 2 & 8) showed Saddam being led to the gallows. Al-Jazeera English (Asiasat 3 & Optus C1) continued rolling the video for a few seconds longer and showed the noose being lifted over Saddam's head. Meanwhile Al Nile (Asiasat 2) and Iran's Alalam News Channel (Asiasat 2) showed a longer version of the video that ended just before the trapdoor swung open.

A few days after the execution controversy arose with the surfacing of a mobile phone recording of the hanging which included audio and Saddam falling through the trap door in the gallows. In the audio, not originally released in the official video, taunts between Saddam and the executioners could be heard, which raised many criticisms over the environment of his execution. Saddam's death was recorded in HDTV, but has not yet been released (or leaked) to the viewing public.

In Iraq itself many spent much of the day crowding around television sets to watch mesmerizing replays of the video recording that showed Hussein, in what appeared to be a state of subdued resignation, being led to the gallows.

News Channels from the Middle East that are received in Australia include:

Al Nile (Egypt) Asiasat 2 on 3660, Vertical, 27500, 3/4.
Al Alalam (Iran) Asiasat 2 on 3660, Vertical, 27500, 3/4.
Al Jazeera Arabic (Qatar) Asiasat 2 on 3820, Vertical, 27500, 3/4.
Al Jazeera English (Qatar) Asiasat 3 on 3760, Horizontal, 26000, 7/8.
Al Jazeera English (Qatar) Optus C1 on 12367, Vertical, 27800, 3/4.

Deepam Worldwide Tamil Television

The mushrooming growth of Indian ethnic grocery stores in Australia is one measure of our growing Indian population. The success of Sun and other Tamil channels on Optus B3 shows that there is a sizable Tamil audience in Australia willing to invest in a satellite dish to receive 24 hour Tamil television. Recently a new Tamil channel has turned up on Optus B3.

Deepam TV aims to provide quality Tamil programming worldwide. Unlike other Tamil channels received in Australia Deepam is not based in Chennai, in fact their operation is not even located in India. Operating from studios in the UK, Deepam TV broadcasts 24 hours throughout Europe, the Middle East and now Australia and New Zealand. Deepam TV aims to broadcast all facets of Tamil life including information, entertainment, news, documentaries, locally made programmes and other aspects of Tamil culture.

Deepam can be received via Optus B3, 12525, Vertical, 30000, 2/3.

Videoland Kids Channel has left PAS 8 for ST 1
Formosa Television Entertainment Channel new on JCSAT 3A
Formosa Television Entertainment Channel new on JCSAT 3A
Hwazan Satellite Television has shifted frequency on PAS 8
Shamshad Television Kabul Afghanistan, new on Asiasat 2
Saddam Hussein executed - Coverage on Al Jazeera English
Deepam Tamil Television new on Optus B3
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