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High Above - The untold story of Astra, Europe’s leading satellite company is a book describing the development of the European satellite provider SES, published in 2010 on the occasion of the company’s 25th anniversary by Broadgate Publications in Richmond, UK.
|Authors||Geoff Bains, Julian Clover, Chris Forrester, Jörn Krieger and Serge Siritzky|
|Media type||Print (Hardback)|
It is a large “coffee table” style book (32 x 24cm) of 239 pages with hundreds of photographs.
High Above tells the story of SES, and how brave pioneers managed to overcome technical, political and commercial obstacles to become the world's leading satellite operator. It is the story of the Luxembourg-based satellite provider and the growth of European satellite TV, the history of recent developments of the European TV and media industry, and their context in the wider development of TV and space technology.
The story of High Above is of interest to anyone who watches TV. It covers a period that has seen the emergence of television as the dominant information and entertainment medium. The account shows how Astra was a main driver of European TV development, without which we would not have the necessary base ingredients to make the great leap forward into digital TV, HDTV, 3D television, and future revolutionary prospects for home entertainment.
But the story of satellite TV is more than a story of rockets and technology; it is the story of the birth of a whole array of new industries and the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs. High Above is also a reflection of politics, 20th Century history, the Cold War and the collapse of Communism, the creation of Europe, economic growth and wealth, big brands, the Internet age and of technological convergence.
Space journalist, Gerhard Kowalski described High Above as “not only a eulogy to the TV pioneer … also a fact-rich and fascinating history of satellite television in general” while consumer technology website Tech Radar said the book “delivers a fascinating reminder of television’s early days as well as the technology behind the development of satellite TV”.
Using a series of interviews with key figures from the European satellite TV industry, as well as straightforward story-telling, High Above tells the inside account of how the tiny country of Luxembourg produced the company that established and then led the DTH satellite industry in Europe. With the commercial, technical and regulatory hurdles to overcome, it was a rough ride, both for Astra and for the broadcasters that now dominate the industry (BSkyB, Canal Plus, Premiere - now Sky Deutschland, etc.) – and the whole tale is told, the defeats as well as the victories.
The book also chronicles the development of television itself and of satellites, with the early experiments and the story of rocketry from the first trials of Robert Goddard, through Wernher Von Braun’s V-2 to the US and Soviet space programmes, and the European Ariane launchers that have carried many of the Astra satellites into orbit.
High Above explains the technology behind, and within, satellite television: why satellites are used for TV broadcasting, how the geostationary orbit makes it work, how the tiny signals are received and decoded by domestic equipment, and how digital TV gives a choice of thousands of channels to every home.
High Above is edited by Chris Forrester and written by Chris Forrester with Geoff Bains, Julian Clover, Jörn Krieger, and Serge Siritzky.
Chris Forrester is a well known broadcasting journalist and industry consultant. He reports on all aspects of broadcasting with special emphasis on satellite, the business of television and emerging broadcast applications. This very much includes interactive multi-media and the growing importance of web-streamed and digitised content over all delivery platforms including satellite, cable and digital terrestrial TV as well as cellular and 3G mobile. Indeed, he has been investigating, researching and reporting on the so-called “broadband explosion” for more than 25 years. He has been a freelance journalist since 1988.
Geoff Bains has worked in technology journalism since 1983, investigating, reporting, and explaining the technological advances of the time, as they affect consumers – both in their homes and in the High Street. Author of several books on computing and electronics, Geoff began to follow the emerging satellite TV industry in 1986, and served as Editor of several specialist satellite TV publications, including a 13-year tenure at Europe’s leading consumer magazine, What Satellite. Freelance since 2003, Geoff continues to inform and guide satellite TV viewers and enthusiasts both in print and online.
Julian Clover is a Media and Technology journalist. He has two decades of combined experience in online and printed media. Julian is an editor of Broadband TV News and New Television Insider. An accomplished conference moderator, Julian is a regular chairman at the annual IBC congress in Amsterdam, as well as Anga Cable in Cologne and the Broadband TV News Business Breakfasts. Television appearances include the BBC’s technology magazine Click and the popular consumer programme Watchdog. He is a committee member of the Broadcasting Press Guild.
Dr. Jörn Krieger has specialised in media journalism since 1990. He has contributed to a wide range of German and English-language trade publications, including Inside Satellite TV, Rapid TV News, Inside Digital TV and Interspace, in addition to providing consultancy and analysis. His emphasis is on satellite television, cable networks, digital television, pay-TV and new markets such as IPTV, HDTV and mobile TV.
Serge Siritzky studied at ENA, one of France’s Grandes Écoles. He has dual French and American nationality, and has a long career in the cinema and television industries. He is currently Editorial Director of Ecran Total, the highly regarded French magazine devoted to the audio-visual business.
- SES ASTRA HIGH ABOVE (April, 2010). Executive Summary
- Kowalski, G. "High Above – Buch von Chris Forrester zeichnet Erfolgsgeschichte von SES ASTRA nach" www.gerhardkowalski.com (May 18, 2010) German) “Das sehr aufwändig gestaltete Werk ist aber nicht nur eine Eloge auf den TV-Pionier… Es ist zugleich eine faktenreiche und spannende Chronik des Satellitenfernsehens überhaupt”
- Lane, Alex. "SES Astra: the full, 25-year story now available" Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine www.techradar.com (June 6, 2010)
- High Above Broadgate Publications (April, 2010).