Thursday, December 4, 2008

Astro::Making Your Life Richer

Here's some information about Astro TV I got from Wikipedia.

Astro is a subscription-based direct broadcast satellite (DBS) or direct-to-home satellite television and radio service initially in Malaysia, but has expanded to Brunei and Indonesia. The service is broadcast from the All Asia Broadcast Centre (ABC) located in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Astro is owned by MEASAT Broadcast Network Systems, a subsidiary of Astro All Asia Networks plc.

The service was launched in 1996 following the launch of the MEASAT-1 satellite with an initial bouquet of 22 television and 8 radio channels. Currently, the service consists of 80 television, 17 radio, and 4 pay-per-view channels plus various interactive services. Astro's own news channel, Astro News, carries programming from the Australia Network and DW-TV (although rumours, now going on for several years, have had a full time slot for Australia Network "coming soon"). It also airs Astro News, a half-hour locally produced news program.

Until February 2007, Astro News was co-produced with the national news agency BERNAMA, with the former taking 12 minutes of the programme for general, The news is also translated into Mandarin on Astro AEC, Malay on Astro RIA and Tamil on Astro Vaanavil. In February 2007, BERNAMA took over the full half-hour production pending a revamp of the internal news team at Astro.

Astro has previously announced that it would introduce 50 new channels with the launch of the MEASAT-3 satellite. However, the satellite and problems with the launch vehicle has pushed back the launch of the satellite from mid-2005 to December 12, 2006.

From May 2007, Astro added another 9 channels into its line-up. The nine channels that were announced are Jia Yu Channel, Discovery Science, Discovery Real Time, Discovery Home & Health, E! Entertainment, Astro VellithiraiSun Music, Eurosport and The Golf Channel. Jia Yu Channel, Discovery Science and Discovery Real Time were already added into Astro's line-up on April 26, 2007. The other six channels became available from May 1, 2007 onwards. These nine channels will be available for free until November 15, 2007. After that, these channels will be available in their respective packages. Another two channels, which are The History Channel and the Crime & Investigation Network, had joined the Astro platform on June 15, 2007.

In June 2007, Astro introduced Astro On Demand, a new video on demand channel featuring the latest TVB dramas from Hong Kong on 6 channels. On July 1, 2007 onwards, Astro On-Demand preview was introduced, and it is entirely devoted to telling the Astro subscribers about this new channel. Prior to July 1, 2007, all dramas that were on broadcast on Channel 910 - 916 (now moved to Channel 931 - 937) were free. After that, in July 2007, the introductory price for shows on Astro-On Demand was set at RM 0.99 per episode, for Dynasty Package subscribers, and RM 1.49 per episode, for those who are not. A total of 31 channels have been allocated for this new service. [1]

On September 6, 2007, Astro Awani, a new in-house Malay language entertainment, variety and news channel, was added into the Astro platform. On October 13, 2007, Astro added seven new channels into its repertoire, namely the Asian Food Channel, Astro Hua Hee Dai, Astro Oasis, Astro Xiao Tai Yang, Chutti TV, KBS World and Makkal TV. This increased the number of television channels on Astro to 80.

Astro has also announced that it is currently developing its HDTV systems.

The direct-to-home service, branded as Direct-to-U (DTU), is broadcast as high-power Ku-band transmissions utilizing the transponders of the MEASAT satellite system. Reception of the service signals uses a fixed 60-cm diameter dish antenna.

Although Ku-band signals can be affected by rain attenuation (rain fade), making it susceptible to frequent outages in heavy rainfall areas such as Malaysia, the operators of Astro have employed a tailor-made system to boost power of the satellite delivery system to overcome this problem. The advertised service availability of 99.7%, however, is still a topic of much debate by subscribers.

Astro's broadcast signals are DVB-S compliant and compressed using MPEG-2 standards (also used in DVD Video). It is currently, however, broadcasting in SDTV 576i at a 4:3 aspect ratio, and its audio signals are in Dolby Digital Stereo the signals are also encoded and encrypted prior to transmission, creating a conditional access subscriber service that allows access only to subscribers with a decoder and authorized smartcard.

If no signal

Press "Menu" button on your remote control. Go to "Satellite Signal" and press 369 on your remote control when still in the "Satellite Signal" page. Select "Yes" on the universal or left it on "No" and press 09750 into Frequency.

Digital Video Recorder

In July 2006, Astro announced the Astro Max system, a new Astro receiver/decoder integrated with a digital video recorder. This decoder will enable Astro subscribers to record up to 60 hours of programming on a 80GB hard disk. The system records programming without converting the MPEG-2 digital satellite stream, as such the recorded video is the same high quality as the broadcast feed. Inclusion of 2 tuners enables the recording of one programme, while viewing another. However, the system is not able to record two channels/programmes at the same time.

Astro MAX includes standard features found on digital video recorders such as pausing, rewinding and replaying "live" TV as well as a 30 second skip. The unit also has a 30 minute buffer which constantly records the currently watched program. Full integration with Astro's electronic programme guide enables easy selection of programmes to be recorded. Additional features include the ability to record all audio tracks and all subtitle tracks on multiple language programming. Copies of programmes recorded can also be transferred to DVD or VHS tape.

As of 2008, there is no service fee for the use of the Astro MAX system.


The Astro service uses the package pricing model commonly used by other pay-TV operators in which channels are grouped into packages (i.e. basic and premium) made available to subscribers at a monthly fee.

Since 15 November 2007, there has been a slight alteration to the packages and prices. The Family package, which is the lowest entry level, offers a fee of RM37.95. Subscribers who pay this amount will only enjoy channels grouped under Astro Family banner that offers 26 channels, including six free-to-air terrestrial television networks, in-house vernacular channels and some international networks.

The basic packages (also known as Mini packages) are categorised into four groups known as Variety (Entertainment channels such as MTV and E!), Learning (Educational and documentary-related channels such as Discovery Channel), Fun (Children's channels such as Nickelodeon) and News. The sports package – initially a mini package – is now offered separately, and must be subscribed with another Mini package at least.

Premium packages (known as Super packages) include the Movie and Dynasty (Chinese language channels) packages. They are offered at a higher rate than the other available package.

Also, four new packages, collectively known as the Plus packages, were introduced to Astro since 15 November 2007. They include the Metro package (such as Discovery Home & Health and BBC Entertainment), the Maharaja package (Tamil language channels), the Gold package and the New Emperor package (both Chinese language packages). Subscribers cannot select both the Gold Package and the New Emperor Package as four channels in the Gold Package are available within the New Emperor Package as well.[3]

A separate subscription to Astro's PlayJam interactive game channel allows the viewers full access to the games in that channel. Passes valid for 24 hours and 30 days from the time the pass is issued can be obtained through SMS and must be manually renewed.

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The key is to write more. Don't worry so much about quality just chuck out as many articles based around your keywords as possible. I suggest using Google keyword tool because it's fucking fantastic!

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