Last week Qatar Satellite issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a fast-track build for a second satellite, Es’HailSat-2. Es’HailSat-1 is already in position, and is a joint venture satellite with Eutelsat operating from 26 degrees East. Qatar’s plan is to have the new satellite in position by the end of 2016.
Ali Ahmed al-Kuwari, CEO at Es’Hail satellite company says the company’s first satellite is “fully sold in Ku-band, although we have some Ka-band still available. We have also reached a good agreement with Arabsat over our occupation of the 26 deg East slot.
Qatar Satellite is an enthusiastic supporter of Ultra-HD. “HDTV has needed time to happen in the MENA region. An increasing number of MENA homes have a flat-panel display, and HDTV is definitely growing in popularity. Costs are coming down [of displays] but any further progress and additional technologies need the support of the broadcasters. “beIN SPORT (the new name for Al Jazeera sports division) has an event by event plan for Ultra-HD. They have the 2014 FIFA World Cup rights, and they have certain plans to tap into the 4K transmissions. They know they must differentiate their broadcasts and while these test transmissions might only go to 20 sets, in shopping malls perhaps, but at least the consumer can view what is happening. We already host all their HDTV channels, and this means two HD channels in one transponder so the signal is already very good.”
“We can support, and even subsidise, the transmission of 4K because we know it is the future.”