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Power failure on INSAT-4B hits DTH, regional channels
In a rare development, a power supply glitch on Indian Space Research Orgnisation's (Isro) INSAT-4B has resulted in partial disruption of the services of two direct-to-home (DTH) operators, a few regional television channels and telecom services.

Sun Direct and DD Direct Plus use the Ku-band transponders of Insat-4B.

There was a power supply anomaly in one of the two solar panels that supply power to the satellite, said an Isro official.

The INSAT-4B carries a total of 24 communication transponders (12 Ku-Band and 12 C-Band) and has been in operation since March 2007.

Isro admitted on the night of 7 July INSAT-4B experienced a power supply glitch which led to switching 'off' of 50 per cent of the transponder capacity (6 Ku and 6 C-Band transponders).

An expert team is studying the possibilities of partial utilisation of some of the transponders that were switched off and restoring the services at the earliest.

"We are looking at the problem and are trying to solve it over the next week. In case that does not happen, we will consider other arrangements," said a source at Isro.

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DTH customers hit by Insat-4B power glitch

About 70 percent of direct-to-home (DTH) customers across the country have been affected by the sudden failure of Insat-4B's solar panel, a leading digital cable operator claimed Friday.

"About 70 percent of major DTH customer base has been affected with television channels going off air due to the satellite failure," Atria Convergence Technologies (ACT) Television managing director Sunder Raju said here in a statement.

Earlier in the day, state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) admitted a power glitch in one of the satellite's two solar panels had hit its operational services, switching off the broadcasting service from 12 of its 24 transponders.

"A power supply glitch in one of the two solar panels late Thursday switched off services from 12 of the 24 transponders in Ku-band and C-band on board the satellite," ISRO director S. Satish told IANS here.

The three-tonne Insat-4B was launched March 12, 2007 from Kourou in French Guiana on board the Ariane-5 rocket of the European ArianeSpace agency to meet the growing communications requirements of India.

As a communication component, a transponder receives a signal from the earth and sends it back at a different frequency, allowing near-instantaneous transmission between distant points on the earth's surface.

Customers of digital cable and IPTV (internet protocol television), however, continue to receive uninterrupted service as their operators do not depend on external satellites.

The sudden snag has affected the broadcasting services of major DTH operators such as Sun TV and state-run Doordarshan and data services of Tata VSNL.

ISRO scientists are working overtime to restore the DTH services of the operators at the earliest, by shifting them to transponders on its other satellites.

"Our scientists and technical experts are taking contingency measures to shift the affected services from Insat-4B to other Insat series of satellites, which are operating in Ku band," Satish said.

ISRO has about 210 transponders on board its communication satellites in the Insat series.

The suspension of satellite-based DTH service has again brought to the fore the debate between digital cable TV and DTH players in providing uninterrupted television viewing.

The Bangalore-based ACT Television is a leading multi service operator offering cable TV, internet, data and brandband services to its customers through cabel-to-home link.


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Bad news to those who view more of regional channels.
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