Why did ABC and other networks and syndicators convert to
The older Ariel and Scientific Atlanta products were no
longer supported or repaired by their manufacturers.
2. New Receivers
could no longer purchase new Scientific Atlanta or
equivalent receivers. They stopped being manufactured
several years ago, and the number available on the used
equipment market shrunk considerably. This prevented some
stations from affiliating with a network that uses
Scientific Atlanta technology unless they had -- or could
find -- a used receiver.
3. Fixed Channel
Sizes: The Scientific
Atlanta DATS system had either 19 or 57 audio channels of
fixed sizes and could not accommodate any wide-band data
channels (wider than the 32 kbits / sec available today).
4. More Efficient
Audio Coding: Audio
coding has advanced since 1992. A 15 kHz mono channel for a
news or talk show can now be transmitted in 96 kbits / sec
instead of 128. A slightly lower grade channel, about 8.3
kHz in bandwidth, can now be transmitted at 64 kbits per sec.
The advantage is the ability for syndicators to make their
own choice between price and quality. Syndicators can choose
a stet, near-CD-quality stereo channel. Or they can choose a
64 kbit / sec mono channel that occupies one fourth the
space segment and is slightly more than one fourth the
price. Or the syndicator can choose anything in between. For
its own programming, ABC will use 192 kbits / sec in "joint
stereo" mode or 96 kbits / sec in mono. The 96 kb channels
will actually be half of a 192 kb channel operating in "dual
Why can't my affiliates use their existing receivers for
another 5 or 10 years and then replace them?
Audio satellite receivers are not standard and must be
compatible with the uplink. Receivers must be replaced when
the rest of the network or syndication world replaces their
receivers or the corresponding uplink equipment.
I've heard of stations that got free or cheap receivers from
their networks? How do I get one?
All networks, when selling receivers to their own
affiliates, can make negotiated deals or can sign barter
transactions so that station expenditures for receivers are
minimized. Individual stations should contact the affiliate
relations representative at their network or syndicator.
What's the difference between the Starguide III models that
were distributed by ABC and Premiere today and the Starguide
II models that were distributed by CBS and Westwood a few
The Starguide III has 6 card slots in the back compared to 5
in a Starguide II. The II model is also limited to receiving
a signal with a data bandwidth of 6.144 Mbits / sec. The
Starguide III can go up to 25 Mbits / sec. When ABC and
Clear Channel / Premiere convert to their permanent
transponder relocations, their signals will be wider than
6.144 Mbits / sec and therefore will not be receivable on
older Starguide II receivers. Starguide IIIs are the
"universal receptors" that can receive any Starguide signal,
new or old, wide or narrow.