Madrid, Spain -- Portugal's small but advanced
television business took another leap forward late last month, as the country's
largest cable operator launched the market's first digital direct-to-home satellite
José Manuel da Graça, president of the board of MSO TV
Cabo, said the company's strategy of providing both cable and digital DTH will ensure
nationwide pay TV coverage. TV Cabo is a unit of telco Portugal Telecom.
"Our cable and digital-DTH services will not compete
against each other, because DTH will not be commercially attractive to those who already
have a cable service, nor in areas already passed by cable," da Graça said.
The DTH platform offers 13 basic channels plus one premium
service, Sport TV. The content of the premium service will be provided by Sport TV
Portugal, a sports-rights company, which TV Cabo owns 31 percent of.
The launch of the platform follows an agreement between TV
Cabo and Spanish digital-DTH platform Vía Digital, which will provide 13 of the 14
services to TV Cabo through the Spanish Hispasat satellite.
TV Cabo expects to sign up between 20,000 and 30,000
subscribers to its DTH platform by the end of the year, at a monthly subscription cost of
about $11. Philips Media and Sagem will manufacture the set-top decoders.