Compact satellite dish

Compact Satellite Dish

The biggest new-product news at last week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas was the unveiling of the first compact home satellite TV programming system, due on the market this spring.

It's RCA's DSS (Direct Satellite Service), in which the signal is beamed from a satellite directly to a receiver dish attached to your home. This isn't one of those big unwieldy receiver dishes. The RCA unit is small-just 18 inches.

What's noteworthy is the price. The RCA package, consisting of the dish, receiver/converter box and a universal remote, will retail at $700-before discounts. It's the first system that's compact and within the financial reach of many people. At the exhibit, RCA stressed that anyone who's relatively handy around the house can set it up. Another major selling point will be the laser-disc quality of the picture provided by the system.

You won't have to go to obscure outlets to find this product. It will be offered by both Sears Brand Central and Circuit City.

This is different from the satellite dishes that pull in stations from all over the country. The RCA system, which has a 150-channel capacity, is more like cable, offering service on specific stations. Two companies will provide programming: USSB and DirecTv. You'll be offered channels like Showtime and HBO that are already available but many that will be exclusive to the system, which also has pay-per-view capability.

What it amounts to is an additional, cable-like service, offering many new shows with laser-disc-quality clarity. Like cable, this satellite programming isn't free. USSB's package will be $8-$35 a month, while DirecTv's range will be $22-$30.

Initially, the programming will be limited but representatives from both services insist it will be beefed up fairly quickly.

The word around the convention was that in the next few years, this will be a real threat to the existing cable companies-particularly if these systems are eventually marketed by many other companies in the $200-$400 range that's affordable to many people.

Digital Format Woes

There wasn't much of a buzz about the digital formats introduced late in 1992, the digital compact cassette (DCC) and the MiniDisc, a tiny, recordable CD. In fact, retailers at the convention talked about cutting back on their stock of DCC and MD machines or dropping them altogether.

These machines aren't selling well because they're expensive and don't offer sound comparable to what's produced by CD players. With the hardware not selling, prerecorded music on the formats has been limited.

Still, the MD manufacturers aren't abandoning ship. Sansui, Clarion and Kenwood plan to enter the field with new MD machines this year, and two companies already manufacturing MD players, Sharp and Sanyo, both will introduce smaller, lighter portables this year-Sharp's a compact player-recorder. And Sony, the MD market's major player, is stepping up its involvement, offering five new MD players.

The DCC bandwagon has no new boarders, however.

What's New on Video

"Menace II Society" (Columbia TriStar, no set price): Grim, violent, sometimes brilliant melodrama set in Watts, focusing on the overwhelming hopelessness that grips young black men. Featuring talented unknowns such as Tyrin Turner, it's arguably the best drama about urban life ever made. What's astonishing is that it's the first film by a pair of 21-year-olds-the Hughes twins, Allen and Albert.

"Robin Hood: Men in Tights" (FoxVideo, no set price): Director/co-writer Mel Brooks' spoof of the Robin Hood movies, with Cary Elwes taking off on the Errol Flynn and Kevin Costner portrayals. Aims for zany, laugh-a-minute merriment but is mostly an endless stream of bad jokes. But there are a few sidesplitting moments, courtesy of Brooks playing Friar Tuck as a madcap rabbi.

"Heart and Souls" (MCA/Universal, no set price): Spirited ghost comedy about four dead bus-crash victims (Kyra Sedgewick, Charles Grodin, Alfre Woodward and Tom Sizemore) who invade the body of an uppity yuppie (Robert Downey Jr.) and direct him to settle outstanding details of their abruptly ended lives. Very amusing in spots.

"Bodies, Rest and Motion" (New Line, no set price): Nothing is more boring that watching boring people mull over their meaningless lives. Good cast, including Bridget Fonda and Eric Stoltz, stymied by stilted dialogue. Low-brow clone of "sex, lives and videotape."


Just announced: Warner is releasing "The Fugitive, " the adventure starring Harrison Ford, on March 22, priced at $25. MCA/Universal's "Judgment Night, " starring Emilio Estevez, comes out March 9. New Line's "Malice, " with Alec Baldwin and Nicole Kidman, is due April 13.

Portable RV Satellite Dish Antenna Kit Carry Out Tailgating MP1 Compact Durable Case Hard Plastic Satellite Antenna Digital Antenna Folding DSS DBS Digital Signal, Light Weight Camping / Tail Gating Unit
Speakers (DIRECTV)
  • KU-BAND Gain: @12.45 GHz 31.79 dB
  • Aperture-Long Axis: 40.2cm
  • Aperture-Short Axis: 35.2cm
  • Mounting Type Pole/Wall Mount
  • Pole Diameter Acceptable: 25 - 38mm
Winegard Pathway(Tm) X1 Ultra-Compact Automatic Portable Satellite Tv Antenna With Dish(R) Vip(Tm) 211Z Receiver (Black) "Product Category: Indoor Antennas/Hdtv Antennas"
Speakers (Winegard)

Related posts: