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PBS Satellite Service

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

PBS Satellite Service (also known as the PBS National Program Service; formerly known as PBS Schedule X in Eastern Time, with the West Coast delay signal designated PBS-XP) are feeds relayed from PBS by satellite. The service was launched in September 1978.[1] The service provides a mixed variety of programming selected from PBS's regular network services. In the X/XP years a satellite feed was multicast by some PBS member stations on an over-the-air DTV sub-channel along with their regular programming, or during overnight hours on their main channel to provide a second opportunity for viewers to watch or record primetime programming. PBS currently utilizes two transponders on the AMC-21 satellite. Transponder 24 is a MCPC (multiple channel per carrier) which currently has seven channels uplinked from the PBS NOC (Network Operations Center) in Alexandria, VA.[2] Transponder 23 utilizes four SCPC (Single channel per carrier) feeds which are shared amongst different affiliates across the country at various times.[2]

As of 2020, the PBS satellite feeds can be received unscrambled using a free-to-air satellite receiver set to these coordinates:

Currently, select stations broadcast the feed, usually overnight, like KGTF (PBS Guam, broadcasts most of the channel as a localised feed). The channel is also available over satellite providers like DirecTV (Channel 389). PBS stations provide all of their channels free to TV providers who do not receive local channels.

PBS is currently transitioning to a fiber-based interconnection system known as sIX. The original end date for the PBS Satellite Service was slated for 2016, but was later pushed to 2018, and was then pushed again to the beginning of 2021; none of these deadlines were met. As of April 2021, all of PBS's feeds are still active and are expected to remain active throughout the remainder of 2021.

History

Starting in the early 1970s, PBS had been distributing programs via telephone lines from AT&T.[5] According to PBS, the use of telephone lines to deliver programming was "incapable of producing high-fidelity sound," so they started to look for an alternate method of distributing via satellite.[6] At the time, which was during the mid-1970s, PBS utilized what was knows as DATE (Digital Audio for TElevision) to transmit stereo audio; however, according to PBS, it was never widely adopted due to "high cost".[7] In September 1978, PBS made programming available via satellite for the first time.[1] PBS utilized four transponders on the Westar 1 satellite to deliver programing. In April 1988, PBS began encoding programs with VideoCipher II, which not only allowed for stereo audio (something PBS had been trying to accomplish,) but also enables multi-channel audio for services such as Descriptive Video Service or for a Secondary Audio Program.[8] The feeds for PBS were usually broadcast in a "fixed key" mode (usually 0000,) which allowed anyone with a VideoCipher II receiver to be able to receive these feeds.[9] PBS would encrypt the feeds anytime they aired what they referred to as "private communications," which include teleconferences and previews of programs that they haven't yet received broadcast rights for.[7] In 1994, with the launch of the Ku-Band feeds, PBS began encoding their feeds with DigiCipher I; PBS later switched to DigiCipher II in 1996.[10] PBS made the switch to DVB-S MPEG-2 starting in 2006. In 2012, PBS began encoding their feeds in the DVB-S2 MPEG-4 codec. This is the current codec PBS uses for their feeds, with the exception of SD05 and SD06, which are still using the DVB-S MPEG-2 codec.

From 1978 until 1994, PBS distributed its content via C-Band (first on Westar 1 from 1978-1982, Westar II from 1982-January 3rd, 1991, Spacenet 1 from January 3rd, 1991-July 18th, 1992, and Spacenet IV from July 18th, 1992-February 5th, 1994); on February 5th, 1994, which the launch of Telstar 401, PBS switched its primary feeds to Ku band. With the failure of Telstar 401 on January 11th, 1997, PBS temporarily moved their feeds to Telstar 402R.[11] Later, PBS moved their feeds to AMC-3 (GE-3) at 87°W, where they resided until 2008, when the feeds moved to AMC-21 at 125°W, where they currently reside.[12]

Transition Away from Satellite

In 2015, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting commissioned the help of Cognizant Technology Solutions to come up with a new cost-effective solution to improve the Public Television Interconnection System; the report was released in November 2015.[13] Cognizant's recommendation was "that the system adopt a single interconnection system that is cloud-based, using mainly the public internet and an ecosystem of centralized master control service providers".[13] This interconnection system is known as sIX ("six"), which represents the sixth major update to the interconnection system, the last occurring in 2005.[13] Testing of sIX commenced in 2018.[14] With initial tests proving successful, PBS discontinued their NRT (non-real-time) file-based transponder on AMC-21 in 2019. The goal is to move all linear-fed content to sIX in the near future.

The rollout of sIX is occurring in three phases.[13] Phase 1 involved phasing out the NRT file-based Ku-band transponder. Phase 2 was expected to begin at the end of 2020; this appears to be the current phase, which involves gradually moving programming fed via satellite to sIX.[15] It is unknown when Phase 3 will begin. The original plan was to migrate the satellite feeds to C-Band in March 2016.[13] This transition never occurred, and the plan was later abandoned.

In the last few years, PBS has begun to phase out a few of their satellite feeds. In 2016, PBS discontinued their 'Schedule SD01' Ku-band feed on AMC-21. On March 4, 2019, PBS's C-Band feed on SES 3 (103°W) was discontinued.[16] As mentioned previously, PBS discontinued their NRT file-based transponder on AMC-21 in 2019. On November 13, 2019, PBS discontinued their 'Schedule SD07' Ku-band feed on AMC-21, which was uplinked from SCETV in Columbia, South Carolina. According to KNME (New Mexico PBS), "99% of Public Television Stations have successfully implemented sIX functionality".[17] PBS, however, has expressed that they will continue to lease transponder space for live and near-live programs, such as PBS NewsHour; PBS will also continue to lease transponder space in the event their sIX system suddenly fails or experiences an outage.[13] According to the website for the National Educational Telecommunications Association, or NETA, new programs distributed by NETA will no longer be fed via HD04 starting in July 2021; all programs will move to sIX only.[18] New information shows that NETA will continue to feed eight programs via HD04 until the end of August 2021, possibly meaning that PBS's satellite feeds will likely remain active throughout the rest of 2021.[19] American Public Television began transitioning their programs to sIX in March 2021, although some programs are still being fed on HD03.

Channels

The channels currently available via Ku-Band satellite are as follows (Lyngsat):


Discontinued Feeds:


PBS's satellite feeds utilize the national PBS logo.

Scheduling

Throughout much of their history on satellite, PBS utilized four transponders corresponding to a different "Schedule," namely 'Schedule A,' 'Schedule B,' 'Schedule C,' and 'Schedule D'. Starting around 1988, PBS would begin displaying a on-screen schedule on their feeds; this was in response to confusion and concerns from home dish users concerning schedule availability.[20] PBS would later drop this practice starting around 1996. In 1997, PBS would rename their feeds with the prefix "50-" (Schedule 501, 502, etc.).

In 2008, with the transition to HD, PBS launched feeds HD01-HD04, along with feeds SD01-SD07 (SD01, SD03, and SD07 are now defunct). The 'Schedule 501-504,' 511, 512, and 513 feeds were discontinued on February 11, 2009. In June 2013, PBS launched their HD05 feed.[21]

Overview

The PBS Satellite Service is freely and nationally available from the designated Ku-band broadcast satellites using free-to-air satellite dishes as small as 30 inches, though a bigger dish (at least 1 meter) is needed to receive the SCPC feeds. The five 'Schedule' feeds (HD03, HD04, HD05, SD05, SD06) broadcast different programs at various times throughout the day, with weekends and late night hours usually having no feeds. Some program feeds are only temporary and are usually not consistent. PBS will usually feed programs a few days to as long as a few weeks in advance. The SD05 and SD06 feeds are rarely utilized, usually showing a test pattern for the whole day.

When no program is being fed, the channels will broadcast a slate displaying the name (e.g. Schedule HD03) and the time & date (both Eastern and Pacific time are shown).

HD03 is uplinked from the PBS NOC 24/7 and uplinks programs from PBS as well as APT. This feed mostly includes soft feeds, pre-feeds, and until January 2020, promo reels (which have moved to PBS Source). HD04 is uplinked from various sites as well as the PBS NOC and includes programs from NETA. This feed is the feed used solely for affiliate uplinks, with the exception of a few programs on HD05, usually from KNME. HD05, like HD04, is occasionally uplinked from various sites and the PBS NOC. Pledge feeds are likely to be uplinked on this feed as well during pledge season, though pledge programs will also air on HD03 and HD04. PBS content is less likely to air on HD04 due to the amount of other programs fed by different uplinks, though PBS programming is more likely to air on HD05 than HD04. Starting in February 2021, the majority of pledge program feeds moved to HD03.

Various Videos of the Service

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTvdHsI3VzY (PBS-X, 1994; PBS ident with a schedule of programs and a looped message reading, "On this transponder, you'll find programs from the PBS National Program Service and programs from other Public TV distributors as well.")

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phF2IsbBt84 (Schedule B, May 10, 1990; electronic programming guide showing a schedule for part of the current day's programs)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0peKirF1SI (PBS-X, 1995; 5-second indent saying, "You're watching PBS. Viewer supported public television.")

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwiCfrngm-Q (HD01, 2018; PBS Promos before Mister Rogers' Neighborhood)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9K6YiPSEsvU (2001; During 9/11 The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer credits before PBS Kids)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ps9w_Q8POfo (Schedule HD03, July 06, 2016; Test Pattern and slate before Charlie Rose; this is the current layout.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gE1mmx8US8A (Schedule SD01, July 01, 2016)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-S80WKV67sY (Schedule B, March 17, 1992; EPG showing the day's programs)

External links

  1. ^ a b https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stampPDF/getPDF.jsp?tp=&arnumber=8964629&ref=
  2. ^ a b http://bento.cdn.pbs.org/hostedbento-prod/filer_public/PBS_About/Producing/Red%20Book/tos%202013%20pt3%20satellite%20uplinks%2010_18_13.pdf
  3. ^ "Lyngsat - AMC 21 at 124.9°W". Lyngsat.com. Retrieved 2018-12-08.
  4. ^ "Lyngsat - SES 2 at 87.0°W". Lyngsat.com. Retrieved 2018-12-08.
  5. ^ Brown, Les (1976-06-19). "PBS WILL EXTEND SATELLITE TV USE". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-05-09.
  6. ^ Finance, United States Congress House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications and (1989). Satellite Scrambling: Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and Finance of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, House of Representatives, One Hundredth Congress, First [and Second] Session on H.R. 1885. U.S. Government Printing Office.
  7. ^ a b Communications, United States Congress Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on (1988). Public Telecommunications Act of 1988: Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Communications of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, United States Senate, One Hundredth Congress, Second Session on S. 2114 ... March 15, 1988. U.S. Government Printing Office.
  8. ^ Communications, United States Congress Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on (1988). Public Telecommunications Act of 1988: Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Communications of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, United States Senate, One Hundredth Congress, Second Session on S. 2114 ... March 15, 1988. U.S. Government Printing Office.
  9. ^ Transportation, United States Congress Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and (1988). Nominations--July-September: Hearings Before the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, United States Senate, One Hundredth Congress, Second Session, on July 14, 1988, Leslee Alexander ... Corporation for Public Broadcasting; September 9, 1988, B. Kent Burton ... Department of Commerce; September 15, 1988, Thomas Griscom ... Communications Satellite Corporation. U.S. Government Printing Office.
  10. ^ Birdwell, C. Scott (September 1995). "PBS Delivers Digital Compressed Video, Audio and Data". Proceedings 137th SMPTE Technical Conference and World Media Expo: 370–381. doi:10.5594/M00506.
  11. ^ "Current.org | PBS recovers quickly from satellite failure". current.org. Retrieved 2021-05-09.
  12. ^ "AMC 21 at 125.0°W - LyngSat". web.archive.org. 2008-12-17. Retrieved 2021-05-09.
  13. ^ a b c d e f https://www.cpb.org/files/reports/CPB_Interconnection-Cognizant_Assessment_Report.pdf
  14. ^ Fybush, Scott; Contributor, Freelance. "Public TV begins transition to new interconnection system". Current. Retrieved 2021-05-09.
  15. ^ "PBS Opens Request for Information Process for Public Television's Interconnection System". About PBS - Main. Retrieved 2021-05-09.
  16. ^ "It's Official: PBS Sunset March 4th, 2019". SatelliteGuys.US. Retrieved 2021-05-09.
  17. ^ https://www.newmexicopbs.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/TV5-2096-A-LCS-Report-2019-final.pdf
  18. ^ "YOUR FANTASTIC MIND | NETA". www.netaonline.org. Retrieved 2021-05-09.
  19. ^ "SONGS AT THE CENTER | NETA". www.netaonline.org. Retrieved 2021-05-09.
  20. ^ Finance, United States Congress House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications and (1989). Satellite Scrambling: Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and Finance of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, House of Representatives, One Hundredth Congress, First [and Second] Session on H.R. 1885. U.S. Government Printing Office.
  21. ^ http://pbs.bento.storage.s3.amazonaws.com/hostedbento-prod/filer_public/TechCon2014/TC14%20Presentations/VECCHI_OPENING%20CEREMONIES_V21.pdf
This page was last edited on 3 June 2021, at 18:12
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