Orby TV Hitches Ride with Eutelsat to Launch New Satellite TV Service

Start-up pay TV operator reveals a few more technical details at IBC
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After shining a light on the management structure for its new U.S. satellite TV service that quietly soft-launched earlier this year, Orby TV Friday released more details regarding its technical execution.

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The company is teaming with Eutelsat Americas for capacity on the Eutelsat 117 West A satellite. Outlining the arrangement at the IBC Show in Amsterdam, the companies are referring to their deal as a “multi-year, multi-transponder” agreement.

Related: Start-up Orby TV Beams into U.S. Satellite TV Biz with Pre-Pay Play

Speaking to Light Reading, Orby TV CEO Michael Thornton said the company is launching the new pre-paid, $40-a-month service largely off existing third-party spectrum and delivery platforms. For set-top receivers, the company has contacted Kaon to deliver boxes that receive both satellite and over-the-air signals.

Burbank, California-based Orby TV is delivering a base package of around 44 basic cable channels, which includes the big WarnerMedia, Viacom, AMC Networks and Discovery Networks entertainment-themed channels, but little in the way of live sports outside of, say, TNT. Local broadcast stations are delivered via OTA, eliminating retrans considerations from the price point.

The U.S. satellite business has, of course, been in free-fall, with AT&T warning investors yesterday to expect even more DirecTV subscriber attribution in its upcoming Q3 report. This warning came two days after a hedge fund with $3.2 billion worth of skin in AT&T’s game demanded that the telecom sell DirecTV.

For its part, Orby TV believes that satellite remains a reliable, cost-effective way to deliver pay TV, particularly in rural areas with less access to broadband. And it believes it can undercut DirecTV and Dish Network in this market.

“This groundbreaking deal showcases the important role satellite continues to play in TV distribution, even in well-established markets. We look forward to supporting Orby TV as their innovative business and offerings continue to grow,” said Mike Antonovich, CEO of Eutelsat Americas, in Friday’s IBC announcement. 

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