Satellite 'sidecar' receives terrestrial

Satellite ‘sidecar’ receives terrestrial
Melanie Reynolds Digital TV subscribers will be able to receive both terrestrial and satellite transmissions using the same box by plugging in an extra module. The first module available, referred to as a satellite sidecar, will enable terrestrial set-top boxes to receive satellite transmissions. A terrestrial sidecar to plug into satellite boxes is expected to be available later this year. The sidecars have been developed by digital specialist SCM Microsystems for BSkyB in response to the Independent Television Commission’s call for interoperability between the different TV services. ONdigital confirmed that it is working on sidecars but pointed out that a dish is still needed to receive satellite transmissions. A spokeswoman also indicated problems with the standards that the boxes are made to. Its box adopts an open European standard as used by Canal Plus to determine the functionality. BSkyB’s box is to its own standard, making it a closed system. “It’s a lot easier for BSkyB or whoever to make a sidecar to plug into a digital terrestrial TV box,” said the spokeswoman.

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