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RURAL AREAS ARE FIRST TO GET INEXPENSIVE, SMALL-DISH TV

 RURAL AREAS ARE FIRST TO GET INEXPENSIVE, SMALL-DISH TV
 WASHINGTON, Sept. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Eighteen months from now, the typical rural American will be enjoying more than 60-70 channels of crystal-clear television programming received over a satellite dish so small that it can be attached to a window-sill. That is the vision spelled out by representatives of the nation's rural utilities and Hughes Communications, the international satellite firm.
 Under the terms of an agreement between Hughes and the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative (NRTC), rural Americans will be the first U.S. consumers to view television programming sent via digital satellite signal. According to industry experts, the digital signal is so powerful and produces a picture so superior in quality that viewers need a receiving dish measuring only 18 inches in diameter to capture it.
 "The much smaller dish also comes with a much smaller price tag," said Bob Phillips, head of NRTC. "It costs about $700, compared to four times that amount for the 8- to 10-foot systems now found in rural America."
 Phillips added that the new technology, called direct broadcast satellite television (DBS-TV), will offer the widest possible range of viewing choices for rural Americans, ultimately delivering more than 120 channels of entertainment, sports, news, education, theater, music and children's programming.
 Added Tom Bracken, a spokesman for Hughes, "DBS-TV offers an opportunity to advance light-years beyond present viewing and telecommunications options, putting rural Americans at the forefront of an exciting, state-of-the-art technology."
 Hughes will launch the first of two DBS-TV satellites within the next 18 months, allowing time for rural utilities and affiliated organizations to sign up interested subscribers before digital signals start transmitting in early 1994.
 Rex Carpenter, executive vice president of the Nebraska Rural Electric Association, has already made the commitment to offer DBS to his customers "because of the overwhelming demand for affordable, cable-type programming in rural areas." As many of 1,500 rural utilities nationwide are eligible to provide DBS-TV to customers not currently served by cable.
 NRTC and Hughes representatives say the 18-inch DBS-TV dish can be consumer-installed and placed in a fixed position, virtually anywhere with a view of the southern sky. This contrasts sharply with existing 8- to 10-foot dishes which must be professionally installed in large, open areas and equipped with gears and motors to allow for constant repositioning of the dish.
 -0- 9/2/92
 /CONTACT: Fritz Stolzenbach, 703-787-0874, or Tom Waldinger of Waldinger/Birch, Inc., 410-361-6161, both for the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative/ CO: National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative; Hughes
 Communications ST: District of Columbia IN: TLS ENT SU:


DC -- DC020 -- 6058 09/02/92 16:14 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 2, 1992
Words:438
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