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Eutelsat to Integrate New Enhancements on Upcoming MENA Satellite

By | January 15, 2013
      [Satellite TODAY 01-15-13] Eutelsat Communications will deploy a new generation of advanced functions developed by the satellite’s prime contractor Thales Alenia Space on its upcoming Eutelsat 8 West B satellite to enhance its performance, flexibility and signal security.
        The new features are now entering the final qualification phase as part of the Atlas program, which was launched by the European Space Agency (ESA) in November 2012 to stimulate the acquisition of flight heritage of innovative equipment, following development within the framework of ESA’s ARTES and the CNES FLIP programs.
         Eutelsat 8 West B, due for launch in 2015 to the 7/8 degree West orbital slot, was developed with the support of the ESA and the French space agency CNES. The satellite aims to support the digital broadcasting market in the Middle East and North Africa. Eutelsat said the cooperative group also is focused on using the satellite as an example in delivering three key benefits: mitigating the effects of interference by increasing control over uplink frequencies to a satellite; increasing the number of active channels by optimizing a satellite payload’s use of the electrical power generated by its solar panels; and expanding options for repositioning satellites with frequency agile command receivers.
         Separately, Eutelsat Communications announced it had selected Harmonic’s ProStream 1000 with ACE stream processing and transcoding solution to optimize bandwidth allocation for its direct-to-home (DTH) service in Africa. Utilizing the highly scalable, ultra-dense ProStream platform, Eutelsat implemented dual illumination of DVB-S/MPEG-2 and DVB-S2/MPEG-4 video content to increase satellite capacity and its DTH service offerings, as well as deliver superior video quality to subscribers.
         “The main objective of this project was to capitalize on the bandwidth efficiencies offered by MPEG-4 while ensuring there was no discernible difference in service quality for our customers," Eutelsat’s Platform Engineering and Operations Team Director Jerome Gressier said in a statement. “ProStream 1000 with ACE transcoding achieves excellent video quality at exceptionally low bit rates, enabling us to deliver additional channels at a more competitive price.”
         Eutelsat will use the ProStream 1000 to maximize bandwidth efficiency, as it provides up to 20 HD or 60 SD channels of video and audio transcoding from a single rack unit. The solution also incorporates ASI-to-IP multiplexing and scrambling while seamlessly integrating with the existing headend, which includes Harmonic ProView 7000 integrated receiver-decoders (IRDs).
      Eutelsat also will leverage the ProStream solution’s advanced DiviTrack statistical multiplexing technology to create up to 16 pools of transcoded channels with 64 channels per pool.  
         “The high-density platform lowers capital and operating expenses through reduced rack space and energy consumption, drawing only 10 watts per HD channel and less than 3 watts per SD channel,” Harmonic said in a company statement. “Through its scalable architecture, the ProStream solution provides Eutelsat with the flexibility to support additional channels, as well as value-added services such as multiscreen in the future, to meet the demands of its growing customer base.”
         "Harmonic has successfully implemented numerous DTH deployments in Africa and around the world, giving us a unique perspective on the bandwidth concerns affecting Eutelsat and their innovative dual illumination project," said Harmonic Vice President of Sales Ian Graham. “Harnessing a combination of our market-leading MPEG-2/MPEG-4 IRD and transcoding solutions, Eutelsat can cost-effectively deliver a better quality of video and an increased number of digital video services to its customers.”
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