SES ends week of speculation; UK channels migrate Tuesday

SATELLITE UPDATE SES Astra have ended a week of speculation regarding its newly operational satellite Astra 2F at 28.2 degrees East.

When reception of the BBC's HD test services on transponder 61 was suddenly lost in many parts of Europe and reception only became possible in a distinct part of Europe centred on the UK using a dish of 1 metre diameter or less, reports of the first migration to the new Astra 2F with its new, tighter UK spot beam began to spread. Fears arose that expats would soon lose channels, or have to buy larger satellite dishes.

Today SES clarified the situation, confirming reports that transponder 61 had already migrated.

Posting on Facebook, the satellite operator confirmed that the remaining services due to migrate would do so next Tuesday (4th December). Affected services include some ITV regions and HD channels, Channel 4 HD plus 4seven and all Channel 5 standard definition channels on the following frequencies:

10964  H 
Transponder 57
Channel 5 London
Channel 5 South Central
Channel 5 Scotland
Channel 5 North
Channel 5 Northern Ireland
5 USA +1
Channel 5+1

10994 H 
Transponder 59
ITV Meridian North
ITV Anglia West
ITV Yorkshire East
ITV Granada HD
ITV Central South West
ITV+1 Yorkshire

11023 H 
Transponder 61
Already migrated
BBC One HD Scotland (launching soon)
BBC One HD Wales (launching soon)

11052 H 
Transponder 63
ITV Central South
ITV Central East
ITV+1 Wales
ITV+1 Tyne Tees
ITV+1 West
ITV London HD

11127 V 
Transponder 68
Channel 4 HD

With the exception of viewers in Europe who currently cannot receive services on 11023 H from Astra 2F, there will be no adverse effect on reception. Viewers in the UK and Ireland should in most cases receive a stronger signal from the new satellite. No retune is required, as services remain on the same frequency. A short gap in transmission will occur when services transfer.

Beyond the services publicly listed as being transferred, some Astra 2B channels are understood to be transferring. However, as these services use the pan-Europe beam with broadly the same coverage as before, any transfer will largely go unnoticed - unlike the above services, which will use the UK spot beam to reduce overspill abroad.

However, the full picture with regards BBC, ITV and Channel 4 services operating on lower frequencies remains to be clarified. In the absence of any information suggesting otherwise, these services look set to remain on Astra 1N until the next new satellite to serve the UK and Irish TV market - Astra 2E  - is operational

Astra 2E is expected to launch next year and provide more UK spot beam capacity with a coverage area similar to the smaller footprint area of Astra 2F. It may provide a complete replacement for Astra 1N, which can then be moved to its final destination of 19.2 degrees East serving continental Europe.

  Related article:
Analysis: Fallout of satellite transfer (05/12/2012,
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