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Satellite Update: Blaze tests, ITV moves, BBC World Service changes

Test transmissions for new entertainment channel Blaze have commenced on satellite, two weeks before the grand launch of the channel, which will also be available on Freeview.

Blaze, from A+E Networks UK officially goes live at 3pm on the 20th September, and will feature a selection of programmes such as Pawn Stars, Mountain Men and American Restoration from its parent company's portfolio of pay TV channels, which include History, H2 and CI.

The channel will only available in standard definition. On Freeview, space has also been created for a +1 service, not discovered on satellite yet, although it's expected that the +1 service will not run as a proper service for viewers, rather as a placeholder for A+E Networks UK on Freeview.

Free-to-air satellite test transmissions are currently available using the following satellite parameters via the Astra 2 cluster of satellites used by Sky (UK/Ireland) and Freesat:

Frequency:    11081
Polarisation: Horizontal
Symbol Rate:  22000 (22.0 Mbaud)
FEC:          5/6

Mode:         DVB-S
Service ID:   50350

This is a test transmission. Test transmissions are subject to interruptions, cessation, encryption or background technical changes without notice and are not intended for domestic viewing or recording.

ITV3 HD and ITV4 HD services on the move
Both pay TV services, currently only available on satellite through Sky UK, are moving transponders as ITV rejigs its satellite capacity, making use of amended parameters that allow it to carry more channels per transponder and eventually offer at least one version of every ITV region in HD on satellite. The channels continue on UK spotbeam capacity, making reception for expats and holidaymakers around the Mediterranean difficult.

Frequency:    11097
Polarisation: Vertical
Symbol Rate:  23000 (23.0 Mbaud)
FEC:          3/4
Mode:         DVB-S2
Service ID:   21050 (ITV3 HD) and 21060 (ITV4 HD)

Changes will be automatically dealt with by Sky receivers, so viewers should not need to take any action when the frequency change is completed. ITV is unable to confirm at the moment when we are likely to see additional ITV HD regional services go live.

Viceland will be available in both standard and high definition
The channel is testing both variants on satellite ahead of launching on Sky channel 153 on 19th September. Viceland is only available on satellite through Sky, as part of a deal between Vice Media and the pay TV giant, announced earlier this year.

Frequency:    11836
Polarisation: Horizontal
Symbol Rate:  27500 (27.5 Mbaud)
FEC:          5/6
Mode:         DVB-S  
Service ID:   5115

Frequency:    11739
Polarisation: Vertical
Symbol Rate:  29500 (29.5 Mbaud)
FEC:          8/9
Mode:         DVB-S2  
Service ID:   3840

BBC international services on the move
The BBC's Arabic TV service is among a number of BBC services available across most of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East that have appeared on a new frequency on the Eutelsat Hot Bird satellite cluster, for users of European or motorised satellite systems.

The European and Middle East versions of BBC World Service Radio have also launched on this new frequency. The transponder already carries BBC World News TV, so the move brings more of the BBC's services together in the same place.

The affected stations are moving from their home on 11117 V, so users of the Hot Bird system will need to make adjustments to continue listening or watching.

Satellite:    Hot Bird 13E
Frequency:    12596
Polarisation: Vertical
Symbol Rate:  27500 (27.5 Mbaud)
FEC:          3/4
Mode:         DVB-S  

BBC Arabic TV
Service ID:   8203

BBC Arabic Radio
Service ID:   8205 

BBC World News TV
Service ID:   8204 (was already here)

BBC World Service Radio (Europe version)
Service ID:   8206

BBC World Service Radio (Middle East version)
Service ID:   8207