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Last updated on:
7th July 2007
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Satellite, Free Radio, TV, Music, Movies
Cable and Satellite TV for foreigners living in Asia
Computer and internet users in many places now have internet access in one form or another. All resident ex-pats and tourists from many countries and language groups can also enjoy the luxury of television reception in their own language too, legally for free watching by internet. Many areas in Asia have satellite and cable-supplied transmissions now. There are services we have personal experience of in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and now the Lao PDR (Laos); Lao Cable TV is very inexpensive and available in Vientiane city and surrounding villages. Due to Lao's 'assisted development' status, many language groups are catered for. The national terrestrial service is limited in content and quality, but cable gives you English from the UK, USA and Australia, all Thai channels, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Chinese (mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan), Japanese, Korean, Russian, French and German. Some thirty channels including Star Movies and HBO, the usual news and information services from the BBC, CNN, CNBC, ABC (Australia), all for $100 installation, then $1.50 per month. Difficult to beat that for variety or value! But it's not the same everywhere in Asia. There's another option, for audio only at present, but video will be available before too long.
Free satellite TV on your computer
A further solution is 100% legal free TV via PC over the internet. Some 5000 channels from all over the world are accessible without special equipment such as smart cards, decoders, antenna dish or subscription fees. Access is via a one-time low payment and you can be watching your favourite topics on multiple channels in minutes.
Connecting your PC or laptop to a USB TV Tuner allows you to view and record programs. They range in price from a StarTech TV tuner/recorder at $75, to an Adaptec Dual Channel FM/TV Tuner for $225. The advantages are numerous: unattended recording, manual editing, and permanent storage of pre-recorded programs or music on VCD or DVD are possible at virtually no cost. This is infinitely easier and better (and cheaper) than VHS or TIVO recording! They even come with a remote controller and you can connect to your stereo audio system too.
MP3 Music and Movies - all free to download ...
Satellite Radio – an alternative for quality music and news
Because cable or satellite TV service is either too expensive or not possible, due to coverage and costs in certain areas, we recently discovered that Satellite Radio is becoming a popular alternative. Compared to limited English service from most local FM stations – and the novelty of Thai, Lao or other Asian pop music wears off quickly – satellite radio provides higher audio quality, is cheap and more portable too. You can listen while speeding or on the slow boat on the Mekong River if you like. Whereas traditional FM radio stations broadcast their programs via large antennas to provide reception in the surrounding area, and powerful transmitters may cover 160 kilometres (100 miles), most FM broadcasts reach only about 60 km (35 miles). With satellite radio you can have continuous access to your favourite music, news and sports stations and mainly without commercials. Outside the US, popular stations include Virgin Radio UK, Radio Caroline, UPop, BBC and CNN.
Satellite radio delivers audio content to huge areas of the world in digital form which drastically improves the quality of reception with no fading, noise or interference. The quality of these digital stereo broadcasts approaches that of CD audio. In the US, XM and Sirius are the best known with about 100 stations. Outside the USA, World Space Inc. currently provides around 80 channels of digital broadcasts over two thirds of the globe, including Asia, using AsiaStar.
Satellite receivers – reception and data download
All that is required is a satellite radio costing as little as $70, plus a small subscription of $7 per month ($84 per year). A good deal is the high spec Tongshi model for $99 (RRP $229) including free shipping and activation, shown in the picture. These radios come with built-in antenna and USB data port that turns it into a wireless modem, so you can download to your computer at up to 128 kbps including multimedia. A Satellite Radio is ideal for ex-pats, retirees, business people and tourists. We have read nothing but praise for these radios.
WorldSpace uses two satellites, launched in 1998 and 2000, each with three beams, and each beam capable of sending up to 80 channels directly to portable satellite radios around the world. You only need to be in 'line of sight' of a satellite to receive its signal. The satellites are 'geo-stationary', orbiting the globe in fixed positions more than 35,000 kilometres above the Equator. Using powerful spot beams, they transmit to three overlapping coverage areas approximately 14 million square kilometres each, with a total coverage of 28 million.
Back on the ground, each satellite is supported by three major components: the Regional Operations Center (ROC); Telemetry, Command and Ranging (TCR) Stations; and Communications System Monitoring (CSM) Stations. Each component plays a major role in ensuring the best possible digital signal is received throughout the WorldSpace System. Twenty-four hour monitoring by a dedicated team of professionals further ensures uninterrupted signal quality.
Satellites use on-board processing to enable program reception from many stations. Content providers on the system can uplink their programs via the traditional hub method, sending broadcast signals to a central location for transmission to the satellite. A second mode enables use of smaller, more mobile Feeder Link Stations (FLS). Onboard processing technology converts these multiple signals at the satellite, combining them into a single downlink signal before transmitting them back to earth. Learn more by visiting the worldspace.com web site.