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Rigger's Digest News for the TV & Satellite Industry

Winter 2000

Inside: Sky digiboxes under review Philips Switchline GII range examined Unaohm meters put to the test Latest product news from SMW A closer look at the Fracarro K Series The Strong partnership is revealed Technical Solutions

Absolute Control! “Next generation of home entertainment, where you control the action!� see page 6


No unnecessary engineer call-outs.

simple. flexible. secure. A SMATV Digibox Rack that makes installation easier.

System will automatically reboot and reset any or all digiboxes as required.

Fast to install, tamperproof in use. Fully integrated system in one secure lockable cabinet.

A name you can trust. Global Communications are world famous for quality and reliability.

Encryption updates very simple. Cards are easily changed or updated once front cover is unlocked.

Program changes very simple. Channel changes can be made to suit the customer or broadcasters requirements Quality assured at all times. Special control unit monitors video and audio output of each BSkyB digibox.

Easy to maintain. Up to 5 BSkyB digiboxes may be installed. BSkyB units are not modified in any way.

Support you can trust. Solutions Group will assist installers with advice, system design and product supply.

Expansion very simple. Units are pre-wired for all 5 BSkyB digiboxes, even if you only start with a few.

Included within each Rack: Built-in SMC (SMATV Master Controller) IF Multiswich Equaliser Combiner with variable pre-amp Cooling Fans Full mains distribution

Flexibility for any installation.* Integration with other services is possible such as CCTV, digital terrestrial tv, etc.

Available from your local trade supplier: Northampton [HQ] 01604 787888

Wembley 0208 451 1777

Birmingham 0121 544 0220

Cheshire 01260 299658

Edinburgh 0131 448 2900

Fax. 01604 787999

Fax. 0208 451 1223

Fax. 0121 544 0440

Fax. 01260 299674

Fax. 0131 448 2626

Glasgow 0141 849 7440

Dorset 01202 624441

Manchester 0161 746 8595

Woolwich 0208 316 0123

Nottingham 0115 982 6400

Fax. 0141 849 7445

Fax. 01202 632453

Fax. 0161 746 8596

Fax. 0208 316 0126

Fax. 0115 982 6020

Tyne & Wear 0191 487 7676

Leeds 0113 236 1111

Hertfordshire 0800 0921120

Berkshire 01344 621531

East Yorkshire 01482 222295

Fax. 0191 487 6699

Fax. 0113 236 1122

Fax. 01992 822793

Fax. 01344 624526

Fax. 01482 222213

*Subject to circumstances. Š 2000 Solutions Group (UK) Plc. Reproduction Prohibited. All offers subject to availability and may be changed without prior notice. All prices exclude VAT, CP&I, E&OE.


Contents

Rigger's Digest News for the TV & Satellite Industry

As professionals in this ever-changing industry, you need to access the latest TV and satellite product news in order to satisfy the demands of today’s well informed consumers. In response to the lack of such an invaluable source of information, we have launched Riggers Digest to provide you with an essential trade publication. It offers practical advice and technical support along with impartial reviews, product reports and important industry bulletins. This industry is one of the most technologically advanced in the world and we celebrate this by including

many new and improved products from some of the most renowned manufacturers in the business! As one of the UK’s leading distributors of TV and satellite communications equipment, we are in a unique position to share our extensive product knowledge and industry experience with installers and retailers across the UK. Fay Bliss Editor

Product News Sky announce the Personal Television Recorder ONdigital launch internet service Sky digiboxes under review Unaohm meters put to the test New multiswitch is making waves A closer look at Fracarro’s K Series Philips Switchline GII range is examined The Strong partnership is revealed Affordable digital contract aerials Latest LNB from SMW New satellite card for the PC

6 7 8 9 10 14 16 17 18 20 21

In General New trade outlet opens in the North Specialised system planning Digital ready service centre On the road with Solutions Group tv-installers.com is launched CD Rom catalogue now available

2 2 3 4 22 22

Regulars Dish of the Day Technical Solutions

21 24

Riggers Digest Solutions Group (UK) Plc National Headquarters, 1 Hartburn Close, Crow Lane Industrial Park, Northampton NN3 9UE Tel: 01604 787888 Fax: 01604 787999 e-mail: marketing@solutionsgroup-plc.com www.solutionsgroup-plc.com © 2000 Solutions Group (UK) Plc. Reproduction Prohibited. E&OE.

Winter 2000

1


News

new staff Joining the company as Personal Assistant to Managing Director, Grant Lester, is Carole Cooper. Carole, who has just recently moved to Northampton, is also responsible for all personnel matters. With her secretarial knowledge and excellent organisational skills, Carole’s efficiency will undoubtedly benefit our increasing number of personnel. “The number of staff is expanding at a phenomenal rate as the company grows and we open more and more depots. It is important that each member of staff receives the correct level of training, enabling them to deliver a high quality service”, said Carole. Nicola Dyer is the latest addition to the expanding Sales Team at our Northampton depot. Nicola is primarily responsible for sales activities in and around the area of Northampton as well as dealing with enquires over the busy trade counter. “I am keen to develop my knowledge of the TV and satellite industry and believe that building and maintaining customer relations is a priority for a leading distributor like Solutions Group. In order to provide a good service, we must understand the customers’ needs. Listening and responding quickly to specific requirements is the key to a first class distributor”, said Nicola. Sophie Trippett also joins the company’s busiest trade outlet at our Northampton depot. Sophie will provide administrative support to the Sales Team along with answering general sales enquires. “We are able to offer some fantastic deals on thousands of products which is why installers and retailers visit our popular trade counters time after time”, said Sophie.

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Winter 2000

Distributor welcomed by riggers of the North Solutions Group’s new Tyne & Wear depot has proven to be a popular option for installers and retailers in the region requiring top quality products at low prices.

counter with many different technical problems and it is our aim to offer them the most affordable solution.”

Situated just behind the famous sculpture ‘Angel of the North’ at Team Valley Industrial Park in Gateshead, the trade counter is Depot Supervisor easily accessible, providing Norman Guy customers with the opportunity to collect products at their convenience. Depot Supervisor Norman Guy said: “The TV and satellite industry is thriving in this region and we believe we can offer installers and retailers a wide range of products at very low prices!

Sales Engineer David Liddle has extensive experience in the TV and satellite industry and knows only too well the problems that can occur when installing complex systems in the area: ”We are here not only to offer a comprehensive product range, but also technical support and assistance. “We have the knowledge to suggest the appropriate equipment which can maximise the reliability of a system and ensure the best results”, said David.

Sales Engineer

“Customers visit our trade David Liddle

For further details please call 0191 487 7676.

Technical designs at your service New products are being introduced to the industry all the time and it can be difficult for retailers and installers to keep up to date with product ranges and compatible items. That’s why Solutions Group offers a Technical Design Service, providing professionals with technical plans and product advice for locations ranging from hotels or housing estates to shop outlets. These often involve the planning of MATV, SMATV and IRS systems, offering innovative solutions to many complex installations. As an efficient distributor, we have access to a wide range of products from a variety of manufacturers and this places our technical engineers in a unique position, enabling them to select the best items to suit specific requirements and particular projects. Strict evaluation tests are carried out by our technical team on all products before they reach the customer which means that plans are always designed to the highest standard. Plans are produced according to the customers budget as well as their technical requirements. With the most advanced equipment available to our technical experts, they can select the products that

are best suited to the installer’s specific needs. Accuracy is an important element in the selection of suitable equipment and because our Technical Engineers are located around the UK, their localised experience means they can achieve a high level of accuracy, ensuring optimum product performance. Factors, such as the terrain or local transmitter conditions, may have long term affects on particular products which may not be apparent when they are first installed. Practical advice at an early stage from an experienced engineer can help prevent expensive, time consuming problems in the future. The service provided by the Technical Team does not stop at system design. Once installed, system plans are supported and on site assistance is available for riggers on location. Application information is also readily available to assist the installer with extensions or adaptations to their system. If you would like more information about how we can help you, call Solutions Group Headquarters on 01604 787888.


News

Bradford on the move!

new staff

solutionsgroup

Old Location

TM

(UK)Plc

Bo

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ng

Ba

ck

Lan

e

To M606

ad Ro ds

Lane

L ee

r Sticke

Thornbury Roundabout

New Address: Unit C12 New Pudsey Square Bradford Road Stanningley Pudsey Leeds LS28 6PX

B 47 Ro rad ad for d xio n

A647 A6 4 Stanningley Br 7 ad Bypass Ro for Unit C12 d ad New Pudsey To Leeds Square

The repair staff at our dedicated National Service Centre have all recently received comprehensive training on various products ranges, including BSkyB digiboxes, enabling them to provide a second to none service with maximum efficiency.

Service Engineer Kevin Robinson

NEW PREMISES

De

In order to maintain a high level of customer satisfaction, Solutions Group offers installers and retailers an efficient in house repair facility for both analogue and digital systems.

Service Centre Supervisor Darren Holmes

He joins the Technical Support Team with 22 years experience as a Telecommunications Manager.

A6

Digital Ready Service Centre

Manufacturers see only a small percentage of failed products which means repair times are reduced and costs are kept to a minimum. “Having access to a service centre provided for by a reliable distributor is very useful for my business. I don’t have to deal with manufacturers which saves me time and money,” said an installer.

Solutions Group Bradford has now become Solutions Group Leeds following its move to a new location. But there’s no need for customers to worry because it has only moved a few miles down the road! As well as being brand new and much larger, the depot is now more conveniently located to serve new and existing customers in both the Bradford and Leeds areas. Stephen Murphy and David Evans will continue to man the trade counter and offer technical information and advice on product suitability. Both Stephen and David are experienced trade suppliers within the TV and satellite industry and are well aware of the complexities involved in receiving ghost free signals in the Yorkshire region. “The landscape up here in West Yorkshire can cause reception difficulties and pose serious problems for installers”, said David. “But we have the experience to advise customers on the best equipment for the job. Analogue and digital signals can be reached with little interference if the correct products are used and the right advice is followed,” said Steve. “Our trade counter offers installers and retailers a unique service which they have never experienced before in this area,” continued Steve.

We are now also able to repair out of warranty products at a far lower cost than offering replacement without subsidy. “Amstrad tuner repairs are very common”, said Darren Holmes. “Typical tuner exchange and setup only costs around £60 plus VAT.”

Ian Richardson has been appointed Technical Supervisor at our National Headquarters.

Depot Supervisor Stephen Murphy

Sales Engineer David Evans

Ian said: “This is a new challenge for me but I intend to maintain the reputation we have for supplying reliable technical advice.” The Technical Team also provides an MATV, SMATV and IRS System Planning Service offering innovative solutions for all your technical requirements (see opposite).

Mike Thomas has joined our Customer Services Department as Customer Service Supervisor. Mike has many years experience as a Customer Services Team Leader within an electrical goods environment. He says: “I aim to ensure customer satisfaction is always achieved. Our department offers front line assistance in the process of after sales care and we pride ourselves on having the ability to deal with problems quickly and appropriately. The support we offer is unbeatable.”

The Purchasing Department warmly welcomes the return of Kerry Laughton. Kerry returns to the position of Assistant Buyer and will work along side head of Purchasing, Mary Fletcher. Kerry who has many years experience in the TV and Satellite industry said: “In this progressive industry we have to be aware of the new and exciting products that are constantly being introduced. We will endeavour to access the best resources, enabling Solutions Group to offer a wide range of products at very affordable prices!

Winter 2000

3


News

On the Road

new staff The Accounts Team welcomes Becky Carter who joins the company as a Purchase Ledger Clerk.

by Spencer Payne

Becky, who has a background in finance, is keen to learn more about the industry and its requirements. This team is growing rapidly and it remains as one of the most competent accounts departments in the industry. Arthur Gardiner has joined our Edinburgh depot as a Sales Engineer. Arthur has had extensive experience in the electrical installation business and understands the benefits of using a reliable distributor. “Our product lines offer a one-stop-shop solution for all your requirements,” said Arthur. “We have depots nationwide to ensure rapid stock availability and top coverage of leading name brands. Each of our trade outlets has a team of highly trained staff, selling the right products at the right price.”

A Boy For Debbie! Debbie Williams, Sales Supervisor at our Northampton Depot, has given birth to a boy!

Customer satisfaction is the number one priority of a competent and reliable distributor and this is reflected highly in the range of services offered by Solutions Group to the independent installer and retailer. Field based sales executives have been introduced to compliment these services and ensure customers receive the support and advice they need to run their retail or installation business.

Spencer Payne visits retailer Frank Kelly in Southend

This initiative is headed by National Accounts Manager Richard Stallworthy (pictured below), and along with myself, he has been tasked with providing technical and after sales assistance to customers on a one to one basis. “Like all our staff, field based sales executives are trained to a very high standard which enables them to offer suitable solutions and secure long term business relationships based on loyalty and c o m m i t m ent,” commented Richard Stallworthy. “Going out on the road provides the team with a great opportunity to share their knowledge of the industry with installers and retailers face to face. Customers have expressed their appreciation at our dedicated determination to meet their individual needs.”

Weighing 8lb 10oz, Luke Austin Williams was born on 12 September 2000. Debbie joined the company in 1991 as a sales administrator but now heads the largest of our depot sales teams.

We aim to introduce innovative ways in which installers and retailers can meet consumer demands and benefit from the wide range of services available to them

including system planning, in house repairs and free delivery. We bring extensive product knowledge to the doorstep of new and existing customers. For those installers and retailers who are not familiar with the services available to them, one visit from a Solutions Group representative can make all the difference to their business. One area of the country I am keen to develop further is the south coast. This is a previously untargeted region for Solutions Group but we have already satisfied a number of retailers with the products and information we have offered them. One particular aerial and satellite retailer in the south east has been very happy, not only with our large product range and instant availability, but also the van delivery service. The fact that I call on him personally to inform him of our latest offers and product developments has kept his leading retail business ahead of the rest. If you are a retailer or independent installer who would like to know more about the product and services we offer call our National Headquarters on 01604 787888.

Universal Master! UK mains plug fitted (suitable for retail or trade use)

Tamper proof saddle and clamp with snap-on hinged cover Set back or floor standing CE approved / Double Insulated

Power Unit guaranteed to work with any 12V masthead!

es Pric at t star VAT 9+ 4 . 4 £

SHORT CIRCUIT PROTECTION For more details, contact: Solutions Group HQ Tel: 01604 787888 Fax: 01604 787999

4

Winter 2000


News

Solutions Group speeds into top gear Thanks to Solutions Group sponsorship, top Formula Locust driver Darryl Beckwith was able to enter into the last race of the current season at Mallory Park. Darryl achieved the second fastest lap of the race but qualified a close 3rd after a minor engine failure forced him to retire with only two laps remaining. The car, which is a Locust and is based on the classic Lotus 7 design, appeared on the BBC2 show Top Gear back in September as part of a celebration of British sports cars. For those of you who missed that, it also

appeared in the September issues of the Top Gear magazine. RonChampion.com, who manufacturers the car, is now launching the Locust in the USA and the Solutions Group car may well make it’s American debut in the coming 2001 racing series. You can also catch it racing around a number of European tracks next year. You can follow next years championships by visiting: www.ronchampion.com

Social Solutions! Installers and retailers across the country have been enjoying a variety of social events organised by Solutions Group. Throughout the summer customers were invited to join members of staff at a number of events including dog racing and fishing. The sales team at the Northampton depot headed for Peterborough race track and were joined by customers from the region. Sales Supervisor Debbie Williams said: “Everybody had a great time and it gave us a chance to thank customers for their loyalty and support”.

track. “The evening turned out to be a huge success. I am certainly intending to repeat this because it gives us a great opportunity to meet customers on a social level”, commented Piers. The Dorset depot decided to venture out to sea on an organised fishing trip. Depot Supervisor Mark Bartlett and Sales Engineer Chris Rankin were joined by Sky’s Business Development Manager, Barry Shuter and Allicraft Manufacturing’s Mike Bennett as well as customers from the southern regions.

Jo Griffiths, Midlands Area Manager, said: “These events Customers enjoying a Staff at our Woolwich depot are an ideal opportunity to night out at went to the dogs at Catford Peterborough race track build on customer relations race track. Depot Supervisor and get to know what John Ellul said: “Both staff and customers installers and retailers really want from a said they were looking forward to putting competent distributor like ourselves. We aim faces to names at to introduce a sense long last. New of trust and customers who have commitment into only just recently every aspect of the started to take distribution process advantage of our van which in turn delivery service also secures a strong joined us and they all partnership went away fully between ourselves appreciative of our and our customers.” hospitality .” If you are interested Customers enjoying a drink at Birmingham Depot in attending a Perry Barr race track supervisor Piers Solutions Group Johnston and Sales social event, Engineer Richard Street invited their contact your nearest depot for information customers along to the Perry Barr race on forthcoming trips.

new staff As the number of trade outlets expand so too does our Depot Development Team. Mat Gray is the most recently appointed member and will assist team leader, Stuart Boate with the initial establishment of each new depot and the subsequent training of its staff. Mat, who has extensive experience as an installer in the TV and Satellite trade, said: “We aim to ensure Solutions Group depots are consistently managed in a professional and competent manner. We are fully aware of the company’s operations and intend to maintain the highest level of service throughout our UK outlets.” David Bryson joins Depot Supervisor Fraser Scott as a Sales Engineer at our trade counter in Glasgow. David comes from a background in retailing and has a broad knowledge of TV and radio equipment. “The number of highly trained sales staff here at Solutions Group has doubled over the last few months because it is our priority to respond instantly to our customers needs. We offer thousands of high quality products at fantastic prices, along with invaluable technical support and prompt deliveries,” said Fraser Scott. Jonny Jones is the latest Sales Engineer to join our Manchester depot. Jonny has several years experience working in the TV and Satellite industry and is keen to share his industry knowledge with both new and existing customers in and around the Manchester area. “Lee Wallworth and myself understand the requirements of installers and retailers in the region. We can demonstrate how to get the best results out of our wide range of products, particularly the digital reception equipment. Installers and retailers return to our trade counter time after time to receive a second to none service,” said Jonny.

Winter 2000

5


ProductNews

Next generation of digibox announced by Sky Sky has catapulted the TV and satellite industry into the 21st century with the announcement of its intention to launch its integrated Personal Television Recorder (PTR) early next year. The revolutionary set-top box will be the first of its kind in Europe, combining an improved digital decoder with a 40-gigabyte harddrive. Viewers will have the opportunity to record a maximum of 40 hours of programming, including all current and future programmes, and will be able to automatically record every episode of their favourite series.

Controls will be similar to a VCR, with a facility to pause digital satellite transmissions and store them on the harddrive for viewing at a later date. The two digital satellite tuners will allow the simultaneous recording of a programme with the viewing of a live digital transmission or a pre-recorded programme. The existing electronic programme guide, already familiar to the 3.8 million Sky digital users, will be developed to include the option of automatically recording programmes seven days in advance. The PTR promises to be one of the most advanced recording system available to European consumers. It will be supported by the latest technology, powerful enough to capture the original digital signal of the live transmission and consequently maintaining the excellent quality of the selected programme.

functionality is available in one single system activated by a remote control. Sky’s Chief Executive, Tony Ball, encapsulates the importance of the PTR to the development of digital reception equipment in the UK: “Sky’s integrated Personal Television Recorder is the first truly 21st century home entertainment product. It gives viewers greater power to choose what they want to watch when they want to watch it. “Yet again we’re leading the way and clearly positioning Sky digital as the leading multichannel platform in the UK”.

The integrated nature of the recorder means that Sky’s digital services can be obtained without any additional set-top box. All its

PHILIPS

The NEW Multi-output LNB Range The brand NEW range of top quality, light weight LNB’s from Philips are now available in Single, Twin, Quad and Quattro versions.

L.O. frequency

Low Band

High Band

9.75 GHz

10.6 GHZ

With a low noise figure and low power consumption together with a conversion gain of an impressive 55dB, these versatile LNB’s compliment the extensive range of satellite installation equipment distributed by Solutions Group.

For further details contact: Solutions Group HQ on 01604 787 888 Fax: 01604 787999

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Winter 2000


High performance DAB aerial is a popular option for installers As Digital Audio Broadcast coverage expands and Hi-fi manufacturers add new DAB tuners to their range, an exciting new technological opportunity for Hi-fi retailers is now available. Most domestic aerials currently installed are unsuitable for DAB reception due to restricted coverage, incorrect polarisation and/or components that may restrict this range of signals, such as amplifiers, combiners etc. The LPVA antenna was launched early this

year for Band III digital audio broadcast and it has been received with much enthusiasm. Richard Stallworthy, National Accounts Manager at Solutions Group, explains the advantages of installing a DAB aerial: “Recent experience with digital terrestrial television has demonstrated that a high quality aerial installation is essential for reliable digital reception in many areas of the UK and the same is true for DAB”. Using Log Periodic technology, LPVA DAB antenna is designed to give a high 9dB gain across the Band III DAB frequencies. Its lightweight design and compact size ensure low wind loading. The Log Periodic design also ensures high directivity and superb Front/Back ratio for ‘interfering signal’ rejection. LPVA DAB is supplied boxed and preassembled using a ‘through the boom’ cable connection for speedy, neat and simple installation. The aerial comes complete with a ‘PVL clamp’ essential for UK vertical polarisation and it can be installed on mast diameters of up to 1.5”. LPVA DAB can be ordered by any trade customer from all branches of Solutions Group.

ProductNews Easy link to Sky A combined TV link eye and remote control pack has been introduced as a cost effective option for consumers wanting Sky digital on more than one home TV . The pack includes a functional Sky digital remote control with user friendly features and a Global Communications TV link eye. This innovative infra red device makes it possible to watch and control a sky digibox from a different room through a second television. It’s a great way to get more from your Sky digital services! Global Communications also now offer a fun alternative to their standard black TV link eye. The new Glo-links perform the same function as the original infra red mouse, but come in three bright illuminious colours: pink, yellow and green. This range will undoubtedly brighten up any Sky digital system!

ONdigital launch internet site Digital terrestrial broadcaster ONdigital has launched its very own internet service.

allows you to send video stills and audio clips to any e-mail address worldwide! The arrival of ONdigital’s online venture is most certainly an exciting new glimpse of digital television’s potential, giving the consumer of today a whole new outlook on entertainment, education and communication.

It is the first service provider to offer full access to the internet through the home television. To access the ONnet service, consumers will require a free internet package consisting of a state of the art netbox, cordless keyboard, recorder and a voice grab e-mail. Other features include a picture-in-picture facility enabling viewers to simultaneously watch digital channels whilst accessing the web. Alternatively, viewers can simply switch between programmes and websites at the touch of a button.

ONnet box and keyboard

The internet visuals are of a high quality, and ONdigital’s Chief Executive Stuart Prebble describes the service as “the easiest way to get on-line”.

Customers do have a single payment option which is available through an ONdigital Prepaid Plus pack. The pack contains all the products included in the ONnet pack but its services are paid for in advance by the consumer for up to twelve months. The only extra cost is the telephone call! Consumers also have the option of choosing six ONdigital primary channels.

Subscibers to ONdigital can connect to the web through their television for a monthly subcription charge of £5 a month. BT has agreed to allow subscribers the opportunity to surf the net for 1p at off peak times and 2p at all other times.

ONmail+, ONdigital’s new email service, is also available in the ONnet package, allowing you to chat online straight from the TV without the need for a PC! There are five ONmail accounts available per ONdigital box and this revolutionary service even

For more information visit: www.ondigital.co.uk

Winter 2000

7


ProductNews

Sky digiboxes provide a silver service Service provider BSkyB currently approves various internationally renowned manufacturers to design and produce its range of digital receivers. Sony, Panasonic and Grundig all conform to the standard specifications requested by Sky, but how do their digiboxes compare in reality? Here Ian Richardson reviews three contenders in the digital revolution.

The basic format of each digibox is constrained by the official specifications stipulated by BSkyB. The receivers all include a number of Scart sockets, a fully agile RF modulator, two RF output sockets and audio outputs. They must also present a standard menu layout, be compatible with Sky’s remote control and use consistent operational methods. In addition to these standard requirements, the eagerly awaited Sony box has a digital optical audio output, enabling the connection of a suitable hi-fi to the digibox via an optical lead. This facility undoubtedly maximises the sound quality of the digital broadcast and improves your viewing experience. The Panasonic receiver does not have this function, but it does have the advantage of being the quickest out of the three models. Its specially designed ASIC chip allows the loading and storage of channel information at a much faster rate than its competitors. In contrast to this, Grundig’s GDS310 unfortunately does not have the fastest processor on the market. However, behind the sleek, silver exterior its performance remains the same as the GDS300 and is therefore worthy of its reputation as a highly reliable digibox. Although BSkyB digiboxes have fixed s o f t w a r e a n d f u n c t i o n a l i t y, t h e manufacturers obviously have a free hand in designing aesthetic aspects of the box which is where the differences really begin. The slim casing of the Sony box, 51mm high to be precise, and its silver facia, together with its chrome buttons, make it the most unique looking model of the three boxes. Designed to compliment the Sony range of TVs and DVDs, it’s innovative appearance certainly distinguishes it from other models in the same field. G r u n d i g ’s G D S 3 1 0 r e p r e s e n t s i t s predecessor with a futuristic facelift. Its metallic silver casing is the only alteration to be made to its appearance and it maintains

8

Winter 2000

exactly the same facia design as the GDS300. Panasonic’s TU-DSB30 also has silver casing with the typical control buttons but it’s the speed of this particular digibox which is its most important feature, making it a serious contender in the digital market. Interactive TV is another feature available to consumers through each of the BSkyB digiboxes. The high quality keypad from Open... includes features found on the remote control but allows consumers the opportunity to access various online

services. The keypad is compatible with anymake of BSkyB digibox, which means email and on-line ordering can be activated by all three models. TV link eyes, which connect the BSkyB digibox to a second TV and consequently allow for the control of Sky digiboxes from another room, can also be used with the Sony, Panasonic and Grundig models. So the overall performance of each model differs only marginally compared to their appearance which is perhaps what ultimately attracts the consumer.


ProductNews

Measure quality by the Unaohm meter The products and services available to the TV and Satellite industry progress at a dramatic rate as consumers demand the latest entertainment facilities and expect to receive top quality products.

EP507 Frequency Range of 5-2150MHz

Unaohm has responded to the many technological advances experienced by the industry, particularly the advent of digital reception, by introducing a new range of test and measurement equipment. The range is intended to enable professional installers to explore and support the quality of their installation, consequently allowing consumers the opportunity to enjoy various options to the full. Modern day test equipment must be able to measure three important parameters of digital signals; Digital Carrier Power, Digital Carrier to Noise and Bit Error Ratio (BER). Unlike the single video carrier of the analogue signal, the digital signal has multiple carriers across the 8 MHz (terrestrial) bandwidth. In order to measure this signal accurately, the use of a meter with the ability to measure the Digital Carrier Power across the bandwidth rather than through the amplitude of the carriers is essential. The multiple carriers which construct the digital signal, comprise multiplexed data which are made up of digits or bits. Digital Carrier to Noise is the energy of those bits in contrast to the noise of the carrier.

Bit Error Ratio measurement facility for QPSK, QAM and COFDM 5.8” colour LCD monitor

Frequency Range of 45-2150MHz Bit Error Ratio measurement facility for QPSK 4.5” black and white CRT monitor

EP314 To achieve a correct signal, the noise of the bits must be stronger than the noise of the carrier. In order to receive an accurate measurement, an appropriate meter which has a function to measure the Digital Carrier to Noise is necessary and serves as a fundamental piece of equipment for every installer. QPSK (Quadrature Phase Shift Keying), QAM (Quadrature Amplitude Modulation),

EP307 Frequency Range of 5-2150MHz

and COFDM (Coded Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing) are the three chosen modulation formats for satellite, cable and terrestrial digital broadcasts and must be determined to assess the BER. The BER is the definitive assessment of a signal’s quality and is a comparison between the number of bits transmitted over the number of bits received in error. As a result the bit error ratio can be calculated and improved by the installer if necessary. All of these factors need to be tested, and with the new and interesting features now available through the range of Unaohm test equipment, installations can be correctly performed in the minimum time and with optimum results.

Bit Error Ratio measurement facility All test meters in this range have a BER for QPSK, QAM, COFDM 5” black and white CRT monitor

measurement facility, an audio tone for signal peaking and accurate alignment. Their small size and light weight, combined with simplicity and accuracy, make them the perfect tool for the professional installer.

The availability of a SCART socket, for video and audio in and out, RS232, external and charging socket differ from meter to meter but all include a BNC connector for signal input and LNB powering.

Frequency Range of 5-2150MHz Bit Error Ratio measurement facility for QPSK, QAM, COFDM

These compact test meters are also supplied with carry case, shoulder strap and charger unit.

4.5” black and white CRT monitor

EP319

For prices and product specifications relating to any Unaohm meter, contact your local depot or visit: www.unaohm.com

Winter 2000

9


ProductNews

Making waves in IF distribution Italian manufacturer Fracarro has introduced a new range of IF multiswitches for those installers who want a reliable yet affordable unit. Fully screened with a sealed case, these multiswitches compliment a range of satellite equipment and are available with 4, 8 and 12 outputs. They are suitable for use in domestic households or in more complex SMATV systems, such as a block of flats or a hotel. If you require more than 12 points a suitable IF splitter can be incorporated into the system to feed more than one multiswitch.

Input 950-2300 MHz 18 V / 22 kHz

Input 950-2300 MHz 18 V / 0 kHz

Output 47-2300 MHz

Output 47-2300 MHz

The maximum UHF output of all three units is 90dBµV and 94dBµV at IF. They each have an IF bandwidth range of 9502300MHz ensuring high quality transmissions, including both analogue and digital broadcasts. The UHF bandwidth covers 47-862MHz allowing FM, DAB (Band III) and UHF to be diplexed onto each output (a suitable diplexed outlet plate is required to separate the satellite signal back from the UHF). The units are also digital terrestrial compatible. The 5x8 and 5x12 models have built in power supplies with good ventilation slots

Output 47-2300 MHz

Output 47-2300 MHz

Output 47-2300 MHz

Output 47-2300 MHz

for reliability, but the 5x4 includes a separate UK plug top. LNB inputs are selected by each receiver using a combination of 13/18V and a switch tone of 22KHz. The insertion loss of the 5x4 and 5x8 models is 10-14dB at satellite IF and 4dB at UHF. The 5x12 has a fixed value of 12dB loss at satellite IF and 4dB at UHF. These multisitches are suitable for dual and quattro LNB’s making it a ideal solution for a variety of complicated multipoint requirements.

Input 47-862 MHz

Multiswitch 5 in - 12 out Art. SV512A cod. 289.121

Input 950-2300 MHz 13 V / 22 kHz

Frequenza Attenuazione Livello max. di uscita Searazione H / V Corrente max. per LNB

(60/35 dB IMR3)

Input 950-2300 MHz 13 V / 0 kHz

Output 47-2300 MHz

Output 47-2300 MHz

47 - 862 2-4 90

Output 47-2300 MHz

220-230 Vac

950 - 2300 MHz 6 10 dB 94 dBuV >20 dB 700 mA

Output 47-2300 MHz

50 Hz - 30 VA

ATTENZIONE! scollegare dalla rata prima di aprire Output 47-2300 MHz

Output 47-2300 MHz

TERRESTRIAL INPUT 40-860MHZ SAT/TV OUTPUTS 950-2300MHZ AND 40-860MHZ

SAT/TV OUTPUTS 950-2300MHZ AND 40-860MHZ

10

Winter 2000

230V A/C

multiswitch


Free standard minidish and digibox installation for your customers. When they spend over £199 and subscribe to any Sky World package.

Tell your customers why you, the Independent, are better than the competition: You can install better extras You have a wider range of Set Top Boxes You do your own installations, which means a more discreet service. You can provide more information about your installation and Sky system than your competitors. You can install before Christmas

Offer finishes 12th December 2000

a digital vision for everyone Spend of £199 must be made in one visit. Minimum Sky digital subscription is 12 months. Sky World packages currently cost from £30-£32 per month. Prices may increase in accordance with the subscription contract. This offer may not be taken in conjunction with any other Sky digital offer. Free minidish and digibox: terms and conditions apply - ask in store for details. Offer ends 12.12.00.


solutionsgroup

company tree

(UK)Plc

Grant Lester Managing Director

Solutions Group Plc is one of the largest trade distributors of TV, radio and satellite reception equipment in the UK. As we open more and more depots nationwide to serve retailers and installers with assurance, the number of highly trained staff is constantly expanding. We have produced a company tree to keep you up to date with all the latest developments!

David Metcalfe

Jeremy Kennedy

Director

Technical Director

Jo Griffiths

Richard Stallworthy

Tony Ritson

Midlands Area Manager

National Accounts Manager

Tom Carnie Northern Area Manager (Technical Team)

Southern Area Manager (Technical Team)

Stuart Boate Depot Development Team Leader Mat Gray Depot Development

TBA

Spencer Payne

Field Sales Executive

Field Sales Executive

Head Office

Northampton

Cheshire

Birmingham

Nottingham

Wembley

Woolwich

Hertfordshire

Berkshire

Dorset

E Yorkshire

Glasgow

Edinburgh

Manchester

Bradford

Tyne & Wear

Tel. 01604 787888

Tel. 01260 299658

Tel. 0121 544 0220

Tel. 0115 982 6400

Tel. 0208 451 1777

Tel. 0208 316 0123

Tel. 01992 642255

Tel. 01344 621531

Tel. 01202 624441

Tel. 01482 222295

Tel. 0141 849 7440

Tel. 0131 448 2900

Tel. 0161 746 8595

Tel. 01274 732473

Tel. 0191 487 7676

Debbie Williams

Louvain Jones

Piers Johnston

Steve Caress

Neil Clacken

John Eilul

Ben Demitriou

Robert Calaz

Mark Bartlett

Adrian Guy

Fraser Scott

Arthur Gardiner

TBA

Norman Guy

Depot Supervisor

Depot Supervisor

Depot Supervisor

Depot Supervisor

Depot Supervisor

Depot Supervisor

Depot Supervisor

Depot Supervisor

Depot Supervisor

Depot Supervisor

Sales Engineer

Depot Supervisor

Stephen Murphy

Sales Supervisor

Depot Supervisor

Depot Supervisor

Nicola Dyer

Bob Heath-Webb

Richard Street

Kevin Tomkiss

Donal Martin

Dean Shepherd

Chris Rankin

David Bryson

David Mitchell

Sales

Technical Engineer (Technical Team)

Sales Engineer

Sales Engineer

Warehouse Supervisor

Sales Engineer

Sales Engineer

Sales Engineer

Sales Engineer

Lee Wallworth

TBA Sales

Sales Engineer

Mike Bennett

Jonathan Jones

Sales Engineer

Sales Engineer

David Evans Technical Engineer (Technical Team)

David Liddle Sales Engineer

Sophie Trippett Sales Assistant

Carole Cooper Personal Assistant

Accounts

Marketing

Liz Hackett Accounts Supervisor

Louise Smith Adam Monaghan Mick Craddock Purchase Ledger Accounts Credit Controller Administrator

Becky Carter Purchase Ledger Clerk

Technical

Customer Service

Repair Centre

Purchasing

Stores

Wayne Dorrington Marketing Supervisor

Ian Richardson Technical Supervisor

Mike Thomas Customer Service Supervisor

Darren Holmes Repair Centre Supervisor

Mary Fletcher Buyer

Neil Royce Logistics Controller

Amy Pink Fay Bliss Marketing Assistant Marketing Assistant

Andrew Bull Technical Engineer

Martin Coughlan David Scott Customer Services Customer Services

Kevin Robinson Service Engineer

(See also Technical Team above)

Kerry Laughton Assistant Buyer

TBA Assistant Buyer

Andy Passay Warehouse Supervisor

Kevin Quinn Warehouse Operative

Dave Foley Warehouse Operative

Gaby Baciu Warehouse Operative

Rod Neal Warehouse Operative


solutionsgroup

company tree

(UK)Plc

Grant Lester Managing Director

Solutions Group Plc is one of the largest trade distributors of TV, radio and satellite reception equipment in the UK. As we open more and more depots nationwide to serve retailers and installers with assurance, the number of highly trained staff is constantly expanding. We have produced a company tree to keep you up to date with all the latest developments!

David Metcalfe

Jeremy Kennedy

Director

Technical Director

Jo Griffiths

Richard Stallworthy

Tony Ritson

Midlands Area Manager

National Accounts Manager

Tom Carnie Northern Area Manager (Technical Team)

Southern Area Manager (Technical Team)

Stuart Boate Depot Development Team Leader Mat Gray Depot Development

TBA

Spencer Payne

Field Sales Executive

Field Sales Executive

Head Office

Northampton

Cheshire

Birmingham

Nottingham

Wembley

Woolwich

Hertfordshire

Berkshire

Dorset

E Yorkshire

Glasgow

Edinburgh

Manchester

Bradford

Tyne & Wear

Tel. 01604 787888

Tel. 01260 299658

Tel. 0121 544 0220

Tel. 0115 982 6400

Tel. 0208 451 1777

Tel. 0208 316 0123

Tel. 01992 642255

Tel. 01344 621531

Tel. 01202 624441

Tel. 01482 222295

Tel. 0141 849 7440

Tel. 0131 448 2900

Tel. 0161 746 8595

Tel. 01274 732473

Tel. 0191 487 7676

Debbie Williams

Louvain Jones

Piers Johnston

Steve Caress

Neil Clacken

John Eilul

Ben Demitriou

Robert Calaz

Mark Bartlett

Adrian Guy

Fraser Scott

Arthur Gardiner

TBA

Norman Guy

Depot Supervisor

Depot Supervisor

Depot Supervisor

Depot Supervisor

Depot Supervisor

Depot Supervisor

Depot Supervisor

Depot Supervisor

Depot Supervisor

Depot Supervisor

Sales Engineer

Depot Supervisor

Stephen Murphy

Sales Supervisor

Depot Supervisor

Depot Supervisor

Nicola Dyer

Bob Heath-Webb

Richard Street

Kevin Tomkiss

Donal Martin

Dean Shepherd

Chris Rankin

David Bryson

David Mitchell

Sales

Technical Engineer (Technical Team)

Sales Engineer

Sales Engineer

Warehouse Supervisor

Sales Engineer

Sales Engineer

Sales Engineer

Sales Engineer

Lee Wallworth

TBA Sales

Sales Engineer

Mike Bennett

Jonathan Jones

Sales Engineer

Sales Engineer

David Evans Technical Engineer (Technical Team)

David Liddle Sales Engineer

Sophie Trippett Sales Assistant

Carole Cooper Personal Assistant

Accounts

Marketing

Liz Hackett Accounts Supervisor

Louise Smith Adam Monaghan Mick Craddock Purchase Ledger Accounts Credit Controller Administrator

Becky Carter Purchase Ledger Clerk

Technical

Customer Service

Repair Centre

Purchasing

Stores

Wayne Dorrington Marketing Supervisor

Ian Richardson Technical Supervisor

Mike Thomas Customer Service Supervisor

Darren Holmes Repair Centre Supervisor

Mary Fletcher Buyer

Neil Royce Logistics Controller

Amy Pink Fay Bliss Marketing Assistant Marketing Assistant

Andrew Bull Technical Engineer

Martin Coughlan David Scott Customer Services Customer Services

Kevin Robinson Service Engineer

(See also Technical Team above)

Kerry Laughton Assistant Buyer

TBA Assistant Buyer

Andy Passay Warehouse Supervisor

Kevin Quinn Warehouse Operative

Dave Foley Warehouse Operative

Gaby Baciu Warehouse Operative

Rod Neal Warehouse Operative


ProductNews

Italian S does th

FR is regarded by many to be an expert in the fiel production of high quality TV reception equipment ha finally found an affordable solution for all those FR is well aware of the problems associated with crowded airwaves and has provided MATV and SMATV systems in cities which have 40 channels or more. This extensive knowledge and experience has been used to focus on the growing difficulties facing installers in the UK today.

maximum of 120 dBµV. In most cases further amplification is not required. To extend the flexibility of the K Series, FM, DAB and Band III modules are available in both filter and amplifier types. The Series also includes a range of power supplies, modulators, digital terrestrial receivers, digital satellite receivers and IF amplifiers.

The technical challenge embraced by FR has evidently been met with outstanding results. Michele Gazzola, Area Export Manager at FR, said: “We have designed and produced a flexible yet cost effective system providing full channel level control and equalisation without compromising quality or reliability”.

An independent installer said: “An ideal solution would allow the level adjustment of individual channels, for both analogue and digital signals.” K Series Winter Hill CH59 & CH60 Before -10

-20

-30

-40

dBm

FR has responded to this general consensus by launching a system which allows the weaker channels (usually digital) to be raised, ensuring digital terrestrial receivers will operate without being swamped by adjacent high channels (analogue).

* 41dB (-14dB Power Correction) = 27dB

-50

-60

-70

-80

Available in two versions, the high performance K Series enables signals to be sloped to compensate for system cable losses and is flexible enough to combine the signals from one or more aerials and/or transmitters. The standard KF Series has a gain of 11dB with 35dB adjustment. It has a maximum output of 95dBµV per channel and is designed for equalising and levelling signals before launch in a broadband amplifier.

-90 762.0

764.9

767.8

770.6

773.5

776.4

779.3

782.2

785.0

787.9

790.8

793.7

MHz

In the above example we can see that the reading indicates 41dB difference between Analogue & Digital signals. In actuality, the signal difference is 27dB, as 14dB must be deducted to compensate for power correction*.

After

K120 Series +40dB gain, reduced digital / analogue variation

20

10

0

30dB (-14dB Power Correction) = 16dB

-10

*

-20

-30

-40

dBm

-50

The KF Series is also designed for adjacent and stand alone UHF channel filtering of analogue and digital signals. The K120 Series provides a range of high gain (45dB) modules with 30dB adjustment. Each module has a maximum output allowing the system to launch 40 or more channels, each at a

14

Winter 2000

-60

-70 762.0

764.9

767.8

770.6

773.5

776.4

779.3

782.2

785.0

787.9

790.8

793.7

MHz

After the K120 is introduced into the system, we can now see that the difference between Analogue & Digital is now only 16dB (30dB - 14dB*) an incredible 11dB improvement! ADD:

*

10 log

= 14.048dB ( Signal_BW Res_BW (


ProductNews

Solution he Job!

ld of Digital Terrestrial Reception. The design and as been its forte for nearly seventy years. So has it hnical problems incurred by our crowded airwaves?

Analogue Modules

Multiple Inputs

Digital Modules

Adjustable gain, single channel

Mix aerials/ transmitters as required

Adjustable gain, single channel

CH26 ANALOGUE

Modular Design Add modules as systems grow

CH28 DIGITAL

CH31 ANALOGUE

CH35 DIGITAL

Other modules may be added including modulators for CCTV/ VCR/ DVD etc

CH39 ANALOGUE

Ch42 DIGITAL

Simple operation: LED Power Indicator and Front Panel Gain Control

CH47 ANALOGUE

FM/ DAB/ Band III modules also available

CH55 DIGITAL

Two Versions Choose from KF or K120

Winter 2000

15


ProductNews

Philips launch Switchline GII Following the successful launch of the Switchline range a few years ago, Philips have introduced a new and improved version called GII, incorporating the latest technological advancements in IF distribution. Here, Andrew Bull takes a closer look at the products dubbed the “Cascadable Range”.

The flexibility of the GII network is certainly an advantage because it allows the simple installation of a five wired IF distribution system (IRS) in locations requiring multiple outlet points, such as a high rise building.

The GII power supply is a 3A/18V high power unit for driving more taps and multiswitches.

PSU 8331

The one way taps have a low loss and excellent flatness for improved cascadability.

AMP 9444

Philips have designed the GII range to deliver adequate signal levels at IF and UHF for both digital and analogue reception with a maximum of an 80 metre cable drop. Due to the systems flexible design, multiswitches can be positioned alongside the taps in the cable drop or at a more suitable location, such as in a room, without affecting the performance of the system.

The splitters have five inputs, four satellite and one terrestrial with an insertion loss of 5dB or 2dB depending on your specific requirements.

PAS 2613/PAS 2713 PAS 7504C PAS 7506C PAS 7508C PAS 7512C

By cascading the line amplifiers, a high quality signal for both satellite and terrestrial television can be maintained whilst allowing the extension of the system through the inclusion of additional taps and multiswitches.

AMP 9853

In contrast to the original IF systems, the design of Switchline GII offers a simple upgrade path where mains are not accessible after the head-end. The range consists of a head-end amplifier, line amplifiers, power supplies, taps, splitters and a variety of multiswitches, as shown on the right.

PAS 2613

PAS 2713

16

Winter 2000

The frequency range of the GII system covers satellite IF at 9502400MHz and terrestrial at 87862MHz. This allows for FM and DAB frequencies to pass. The system also has a return path facility at the installers disposal covering 5-65MHz. The Philips Switchline GII range ensures high quality performance throughout the network, delivering all the benefits of a DTH system to the end user. It has also been approved by Sky and is currently being used by SkyHomes. If you require technical support and assistance with planning your GII system, contact your nearest Solutions Group depot or e-mail our experienced Technical Department at the following address: technical@solutionsgroup-plc.com

All switches and line amplifiers are powered from the head-end and have gain controls to allow for correct level adjustment of terrestrial and satellite signals. The head-end amplifier consists of 4 dedicated amplifiers in one single box. The repeater amplifier has four satellite and one terrestrial amplifers also in the same box.

Installers have the option of 4, 6, 8 or 12 way multiswitches which increases the availability of points to each location. Each multiswitch has a maximum satellite output level of 97dBµV and 86dBµV at terrestrial, with less than 4dB through loss.

The cascadable nature of the GII network ensures the right solution is available for every installation.

For further details visit: www.philips.co.uk


ProductNews

A Strong Partnership Strong Sat, part of the well established Strong Group, entered the European market of satellite television back in 1988. Since then, it has become a leading manufacturer of digital reception equipment and has recently announced its decision to release one of its latest products to the UK trade through leading distributor Solutions Group. Here, we take a closer look at this high quality set-top box.

SRT4375 Digital/Analogue CI Receiver/Positioner

The partnership between Solutions Group Plc and Strong Sat is the final piece of the jigsaw in Strong’s pan-European network distribution puzzle. Strong has acquired a worldwide reputation for versatile, user friendly products with a high degree of reliability built in as a standard feature. It was proud to have introduced one of the very first digital IRD satellite receivers with a Irdeto Conditional access system. One of the most sophisticated digital and analogue combined free to air products, the SRT4250, was also designed and manufactured by Strong. Strong added further innovative digital IRDs to its range to support a variety of embedded conditional access solutions including Media guard, Media Highway, Viaccess, Irdeto, NegraVision, Cryptoworks and

Conax. The Strong SRT4300 CI digital IRD was the first fully compliant DVB MPEG2. Strong’s latest range of motorised analogue and digital receivers includes the model shown above, which has a number of standard features offering a wide variety of services. The SRT4375 provides teletext, an electronic programme guide and an auto and manual search facility. Other noteworthy features include a symbol rate range of 2 to 45 and a frequency range of 950-2150 Mhz. A single and multiple carrier per channel and a UHF modulator, with a tuning range of between channels 21 to 69, as well as an IF loop through are also available. This model is equipped with a RS232 port, providing the consumer with the opportunity to perform software upgrades.

The channel memory capacity of the SRT4375 is an impressive 3500 stations. It also has a DiSEqC V1.0 function with the ability to upgrade to V1.2. The array of advanced specifications incorporated into this receiver will undoubtedly satisfy consumer demands for high quality digital television and will perhaps place it amongst the best and most affordable on the market. As a manufacturer at the forefront of digital reception, and with the support of leading UK distributor Solutions Group, Strong Sat appears to be going from strength to strength! Further products may be added to the Solutions Group range so watch this space! For more information visit: www.strongsat.com

Winter 2000

17


ProductNews

Digital Contract Aerials are best choice for affordable antennae DIGITAL analogue

TM

TRUE balun PERFORMANCE

Low cost contract aerials are now available from Fracarro providing installers with a light weight, yet robust option for digital reception equipment.

wideband coverage. In contrast to this the 20 element has a greater gain of 10-13dB from groups A to BC/D and 6.5-11dB over wideband.

Available in 10 or 20 element versions, covering groups A, BC/D and wideband reception, Fracarro incorporates a high performance multi-element reflector encouraging an excellent front to back ratio ranging from 20dB to 23dB, depending on your requirements.

Wind load at 120km/h for the range of 10 element aerials is 2,8 for group A and 2,3 for group BC/D and wideband. The 20 element aerials have a wind load of 4,2 for group A, 3,8 for group BC/D and 3,6 for wideband.

The 10 element aerial has a gain of 8-11dB for groups A and BC/D and 6.5-9.5 for

18

Winter 2000

Unlike many other digital aerials, these models include a balun transformer which ensures maximum signal levels with minimum signal degradation.

For simple installation the elements are colour coded to match the slots on the boom arm. Dipole elements are press fitted to the boom for secure mechanical and electrical performance. A polypropylene junction box is attached to the aerial ensuring good protection against weather damage. The durability of these aerials is exceptional and they can be bought pre-built or in low cost self-assembley versions. For more information visit: www.fracarro.co.uk


ProductNews

Specialist Solutions from Sweden Swedish Microwave has been manufacturing LNBs at its factory in Motala since 1986 making them Europe's oldest manufacturer of LNBs. Over the years, SMW products have become known for their reliability under an extreme range of operating conditions. Long term reliability is essential in commercial grade equipment and SMW is well aware of this which is why every LNB is subjected to a lengthy test program before it’s allowed to reach the installer. This involves heating and cooling, rigorous electrical investigations as well as waterproof testing. SMW prides itself on its ability to source the best available components and every SMW LNB is carefully hand tuned to achieve the very best performance from each unit. These factors maintain the quality that has become synonymous with Swedish Microwave. Always striving to new levels of excellence, SMW has recently launched a new competitively priced PLL LNB to complement its already extensive range of high perfromance LNBs.

The introduction of this +/- 25kHz PLL LNB is another addition to SMW's product line of commercial grade DRO LNBs and its existing PLL LNB with LO stability of +/- 150 kHz.

The new Phase Locked Loop, or PLL, LNB boasts a local oscillator stability of +/- 25kHz within -30deg to +60deg C, minimising LO frequency drift and making the unit ideal for applications such as commercial satellite headends, digital radio, VSAT systems and reception of high speed data transmissions.

For those applications that require a non standard specification, SMW also offers a wide range of commercial features on their LNBs including a low gain and an RF shielding option.

Available with F or N connectors, the units are supplied with a choice of four local oscillator frequencies 9.75, 10.0, 10.75 and 11.3 GHz as standard. To ensure the lowest BER (Bit Error Rate) the phase noise is optimised @ 10kHz to as low as -85dBc.

A further range of professional reception equipment is also available for maximum reception including specialist IF line amplifiers and switches, 9-14.5 GHz up and down converters, feed horns, depolarisers and quarterwave convertors .

Low Cost Inductive Splitter/Combiner W LO S A AS

.2T7 2 ÂŁ +VA

This outdoor 2 way masthead splitter/ combiner has an insertion loss of <4dB High 20dB separation to minimise interference DC pass to either leg

For more information, contact: Solutions Group HQ Tel: 01604 787888 Fax: 01604 787999 (Stock Code: 78711)

20

Winter 2000


SatelliteNews

Satellite viewing card for your PC Following the launch of various TV and radio reception cards for computer enthusiasts, Hauppage Computer Works UK has announced the long awaited introduction of its new Win TV DVB-s.

interface housed in a 5¼ inch drive bay is also an available option. Once the card has been inserted and the corresponding software has been loaded

This high performance digital satellite reception card for the PC allows consumers to view free to air satellite channels on their home computer. It also provides access to various internet sites, via satellite with Europe Online, enabling consumers to download selected information and store it on their hard drive. Other features include an IF output for an analogue satellite card or additional receiver, an Integrated soundcard connector, and a single LNB input. A common

ASTRA 2B has arrived ASTRA 2B, which was successfully launched in the late hours of Thursday the 14th September, finally came into operation at the 28.2 degrees east position on the 1st November 2000. ASTRA 2B has 30KU band transponders operating in the 11.700 12.75GHz w h i c h a r e powered by 109 WAT T T W TA (Travelling Wave Tube Amplifiers). ASTRA 2B also has a steerable antenna which has the facility to activate up to 16 transponders in the 12.50012.750GHz frequency range outside of Europe, accessing any area of the earth visible from 28.2east. ASTRA 2D is scheduled to be launched in December 2000 to also join up at 28.2east. ASTRA 2C is set to follow in the first quarter of 2001.

BSkyB now using low band 28.2E BSkyB have now started broadcasting in low band from the ASTRA 1D satellite, which is located with ASTRA 2A at 28.2 degrees east. The frequencies currently being used are 10935MHz Vertical and 10861MHz Horizontal with a symbol rate of 22000 and an FEC of 5/6. The 10935 V frequency is at present used for interactive sport. If you scan this frequency you will find SKY SPORTS EXTRA, SPORTS EXTRA TEST and an unnamed channel.

onto the PC, the wide range of services offered by this digital video broadcasting card can be fully accessed, including the user friendly electronic programme guide. A teletext reader is also available, providing all the standard functions of teletext. Internet pages can be saved or copied into other files and digital satellite transmissions can be recorded for convenience viewing. LNBs are set up for Astra 1 and Hot Bird with the option of adding other satellites. The speed with which the Win TV DVB-s can download information and its consistent presentation of high quality visuals, make it one of the most advanced PC cards on the market today. As a reliable data receiver and personal recorder, this card transforms the home PC into a credible second television.

On DTH (Direct To Home), this should not cause any problems but people using IRS (Integrated Reception Systems), which have a 2/3wire backbone delivering High Band only, and terrestrial, will find that when selecting Sky Sports Extra and pressing the red button to get the interactive service, they may be met by the message NO SATELLITE SIGNAL BEING RECEIVED. IRS which has a 4/5 wire system delivering SKY digital high band only and Sky analogue on the low band along with terrestrial will have the same problem as above. IRS which have a 4/5 wire system delivering all polarities and both bands for SKY Digital should not experience any problems. The 10861 H frequency is currently just broadcasting SKY Digital test cards. By downloading the frequency, Dtoon, DPH, D+1 and Dnew will appear. More transponders may be activated at a later date.

Dish of the Day This months recommended ‘Dish of the Day’ is the 80cm mesh wall mount dish from UK manufacturer Channel Master. This high quality dish is constructed of steel and has an expected gain of 37.8dBi at 10.70Ghz, 38.3dBi at 11.70GHz and 38.9dBi at 12.75GHz. It is suitable for dual feed reception when used with a suitable bracket, such as an LNB extension bracket. It’s available as a wall mount, but can be converted to a pole mount when used with a wall to pole adaptor.

Winter 2000

21


What’snew?

www.tv-installers.com Searching through phone directories and similar listings for a good local television and satellite installer can be time consuming. But thanks to a new website, finding a reliable local installer is now as simple as clicking a mouse button.

www.tv-installers.com incorporates a point and click interface for consumers to easily locate your business.

Midlands Staffordshire Shrewsbury Leicestershire West Midlands Hereford & Worcester Oxfordshire

TV-Installers.com is the first dedicated directory on the internet solely for installers to make their presence known across the UK. It is a free service and provides each Installer with a blank webpage to promote their company, which can include photographs and trade association logos together with detailed information on their range of services. Using the latest web technology, users are shown a map of the UK which provides a simple “point & click” interface to locate the nearest services to their location. To advertise on the site for FREE, contact the Solutions Group Marketing Department on 01604 788207, or visit the website at www.tv-installers.com

Web of distinction The number of visitors to the Solutions Group website has increased dramatically over the last few months, according to Marketing Supervisor Wayne Dorrington. “The response to our new and improved website has been amazing. In today’s progressive industry people want information at their finger tips and we have provided a website which is both efficient and easy to use,” said Wayne. The latest Macromedia flash technology and enhanced graphics have been incorporated into the design, enabling visitors to move to the required pages without any complications. New and existing customers can download current price lists at their convenience, as well as e-mail any member of staff they need to contact. Information about the company’s facilities and depot locations is available along with in depth technical advice, product news and special reports. The website also has a facility to link visitors to other useful sites including sky.co.uk, ondigital.co.uk and allicraft.co.uk. To find out more what our website has to offer visit: www.solutionsgroup-plc .com.

22

Winter 2000

Buckinghamshire Bedfordshire Hertfordshire Warwickshire

Northamptonshire

CD Rom puts products Web of at your fingertips Distinction Being able to access comprehensive product information efficiently is a major advantage in the TV and satellite industry today. With the new Solutions Group interactive catalogue, our customers are able to access our complete range of products at the touch of a button. Custom written software provides a simple, user friendly interface that can be used by skilled or novice computer users alike. You can instantly access the details of thousands of products, including prices and product specifications as well as colour photographs. A ‘slide show’ function is available which creates an excellent ‘point of sale’ display for your trade counter. Alternatively, the information can be printed out with just one click!

locations and the in depth search facility allows you to find the required product quickly and easily. It also contains information about the many services offered by Solutions Group, together with all staff listings and depot locations. A colour map of your n e a r e s t d e p o t c a n b e o b t a i n e d a l o n g w i t h t h e c o n t a c t n u m b e r and E-mail address of every staff member. This CD Rom catalogue is a real time saver for retailers and installers everywhere and is available from National Headquarters or by contacting marketing@solutionsgroup-plc.com For those of you who do not have access to a PC, an illustrated product guide and price list are also available from any Solutions Group depot.

Products are arranged in convenient

Van-tastic

Following the successful introduction of a number of vans throughout the country, Solutions Group is planning to expand its fleet.

Existing routes already cover the majority of the country and the extra vans will supplement this service by offering free deliveries between new depots. Solutions Group also has a 17 tonne Iveco lorry which has the capacity to deliver large consignments safely and efficiently. These transportation methods help to maintain the customer care Solutions Group is renowned for by saving customers both time and money. Contact your nearest depot for more information.


Northampton 1 Hartburn Close Crow Lane Ind. Park Northampton NN3 9UE

Tel. 01604 787888 Fax. 01604 787999

Wembley Unit 5, Iron Bridge Close Great Central Way, Neasden London NW10 0UF

FREE information at your fingertips

Tel. 0208 451 1777 Fax. 0208 451 1223

Birmingham 2 Willow Court, Crystal Drive Warley West Midlands B66 1RD

Tel. 0121 544 0220 Fax. 0121 544 0440

Cheshire Bath Vale Works, Bromley Road Congleton Cheshire CW12 2HD

Tel. 01260 299658 Fax. 01260 299674

Edinburgh

8 Dryden Vale Bilston Glen Ind. Est. Loanhead, Edinburgh EH20 9HN

Tel. 0131 448 2900 Fax. 0131 448 2626

Glasgow Unit 5 Greenhill Ind. Est Paisley PA3 1RQ

Tel. 0141 849 7440 Fax. 0141 849 7445

Dorset Unit 28, Factory Road Upton Industrial Estate, Upton Poole, Dorset BH16 5SL

Tel. 01202 624441 Fax. 01202 632453

Manchester

Solutions Group (UK) Plc can now offer you an exciting new information pack.

Unit 9, Bridgewater Centre, Robson Avenue, Urmston Manchester M41 2TE

Tel. 0161 746 8595 Fax. 0161 746 8596

Woolwich

This professional, clearly laid out pack features up to the minute information on our latest products, including:

Unit 7 Block 2 Woolwich Dockyard Ind. Est. Church Street, Woolwich London SE18 5PQ

Tel. 0208 316 0123 Fax. 0208 316 0126

Nottingham

Attractive set of colour product leaflets CD Rom Interactive Catalogue Current Price list Contact information

Unit 39 Nottingham South & Willford Ind. Est Ruddington Lane Wilford Nottingham NG11 7EP

Tel. 0115 982 6400 Fax. 0115 982 6020

Hertfordshire

All presented in a professional folder.

1 Fieldings Road Cheshunt Hertfordshire EN8 9TL

Tel. 0800 0921120 Fax. 01992 641655

For your FREE information pack, cut out the the box below and send it your nearest depot or alternatively give us a call.

Berkshire 13 High Street Sunningdale Berkshire SL5 0NF

Tel. 01344 621531 Fax. 01344 624526

Leeds Unit C12, New Pudsey Square Bradford Road Stanningley Leeds LS28 6PX

Please send me an information Pack: Company Name:

Tel. 0113 236 1111 Fax. 0113 236 1122

East Yorkshire Unit B3 Citadel Business Park Garrison Road Hull HU9 1TQ

Tel. 01482 222295 Fax. 01482 222213

Contact Name:

Tel: Address: Fax:

Email

Tyne & Wear 7 Perth Court 11th Avenue North Team Valley Trading Estate Gateshead Tyne & Wear, NE11 0NJ

Tel. 0191 487 7676 Fax. 0191 487 6699

solutionsgroup

(UK)Plc

TM


TechnicalSolutions

techNICAL SOLUTIONS Q Q Do you recommend a particular digibox and is it true that Sky are going to introduce a new digibox recorder? Bill Griggs, Northampton

If you have an installation problem or just need advice on product suitability then look no further than our TECHNICAL SOLUTIONS page! Our Technical Support Team have the experience and knowledge to provide you with a total solution for all your technical requirements. If you have a technical problem you want solving contact our Technical Team at Tech Talk, Solutions Group, 1 Hartburn Close, Crow lane Industrial Park, Northampton, NN3 9UE or e-mail them at: technical@solutionsgroup-plc.com

intention to release a Personal Television Recorder early next year. This integrated recorder will be a revolutionary set-top box for Sky subscribers and will begin a new generation of digital receivers. For more information see page 6.

A A Sky digiboxes generally have the same specifications and it really is down to the installer’s or customer’s choice. For product specifications see Ian Richardson’s review of the Sony, Panasonic and Grundig boxes on page 8. Sky have indeed announced their

Q Q Please can you explain the benefits of using a dipole amplifier over a masthead amplifier? Craig Jones, Manchester

A A By placing the amplifier in the dipole you are placing it as near to the signal as possible therefore avoiding any degradation in the cable between the amplifier and the cable. Dipole amplifiers reduce the number of cuts an installer needs to make in the cable which results in less attenuation, less noise and a tidier installation. In contrast to your average masthead amplifier, dipole amplifiers have a lower noise figure and are easier to install because they are not fixed to the mast.

Q Q I have a good Digital Terrestrial signal off air but my picture still continues to break up. What can I do to get an acceptable picture? D Collins, Glasgow

A A The off air signal could be operating on its threshold level. In good weather the picture

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Winter 2000

may be fine, but in bad weather the picture will be poor because the signal is attenuated. This would cause the signal to drop below its threshold consequently resulting in signal disruption or even its disappearance all together. Other important factors to consider are the quality of the cable, the position of the connectors, interference from other appliances or mobile phone transmitters, too much signal and the noise generated by the masthead amplifiers or distribution amplifiers.

Q Q I have installed a DAB aerial for one of my customers but he is still getting a poor reception. What am I doing wrong? P Blake, Buckingham

A A Ensure that the aerial is mounted vertically and not horizontally because, at present, all Digital Audio Broadcast transmissions in the UK are vertical. If the signal is coming through a TV + FM outlet and the DAB is present on a TV port not the FM then this may be the cause. A quality double screened cable should also be used to keep digital carrier to noise to a minimum. If there is a relay transmitter locally, which is broadcasting vertical transmissions, it is possible that the aerial is also receiving these transmissions and consequently experiencing interference.

Q I need to install a network in a house to provide each room with Sky. Please can you give me some advice on how to run more than seven TV link eyes from one Sky Digibox. Stuart Martin, London

A A To run more than seven TV link eyes from one digibox you simply feed one of the legs on a seven way amplifier into a Global direct current inserter and then into your chosen distribution amplifier. Please also remember overload may cause the system to work incorrectly and restrict the viewing on other TVs.

Q Q I have installed an ONdigital box but there is no TV Travel Shop, Simply Money or ITN. The channel names are still there so what am I doing wrong? J Atkinson,Birmingham

A A Like a lot of channels provided by the ONdigital Service, these channels are only broadcasted at certain times of the day. TV travel Shop is on from 6am to midday, Simply money is on from 7am to 10am and ITN is broadcast from 5.30am until 9am. For further information contact ONdigital.


When our customers require a wide range of bracketry to suit all conditions and applications, experience has taught us to build strong, cost effective products. Our hand-built, quality controlled production lines means that each product never fails to meet the high standards we are renowned for. Using the best materials with secure welding means that the good performance is guaranteed time and time again! Also available from Allicraft:

Wide range of Masts & Accessories Contract TV and FM Aerials Custom build service Plus much more! For more information, contact your nearest depot: Northampton [HQ] 01604 787888 Fax. 01604 787999 Dorset 01202 624441 Fax. 01202 632453 Berkshire 01344 621531 Fax. 01344 624526 Woolwich 0208 316 0123 Fax. 0208 316 0126

Wembley 0208 451 1777 Fax. 0208 451 1223 Hertfordshire 0800 0921120 Fax. 01992 822793 Birmingham 0121 544 0220 Fax. 0121 544 0440 Nottingham 0115 982 6400 Fax. 0115 982 6020

Cheshire 01260 299658 Fax. 01260 299674 Sheffield 0114 2880111 Fax. 0114 2880333 Manchester 0161 746 8595 Fax. 0161 746 8596 East Yorkshire 01482 222295 Fax. 01482 222213

Leeds 0113 236 1111 Fax. 0113 236 1122 Tyne & Wear 0191 487 7676 Fax. 0191 487 6699 Glasgow 0141 849 7440 Fax. 0141 849 7445 Edinburgh 0131 448 2900 Fax. 0131 448 2626

Š 2001 Solutions Group (UK) Plc. Reproduction Prohibited. All offers subject to availability and may be changed without prior notice. All prices exclude VAT, CP&I, E&OE.

Archive Rigger's Digest Issue1 November 2000  

This an archived copy of a previous edition of Rigger's Digest. Prices quoted will no longer be valid and some products featured or adverti...

Archive Rigger's Digest Issue1 November 2000  

This an archived copy of a previous edition of Rigger's Digest. Prices quoted will no longer be valid and some products featured or adverti...

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