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Sat-n-Surf aims to take the results of Sat@Once, a previous ARTES-3 project, and bring it additional tools and the means to become a full-sized new broadcasting medium on par with popular radio or television.
The key issue addressed in the project is the large number of existing users to be supported; many of them do not upgrade often and have various PC and browser configurations. The software releases must be very well tested and validated in several versions of Windows. Each feature, such as a change in the archive format, must be available several releases before the effective date of the change of the feature in the transmission in order to remain compatible across a large number of users.
The expected benefit brought by the project is to initiate a new webcasting entertainment media in addition to radio and television and to bring more business to the satellite telecommunication industry.
The architecture of the system developed in the project is composed of several layers of detail.
The project plan was composed of 3 phases which match the evaluation plan of Deutsche Welle (DW).
The project started in September 2004. The multi-transponder tuning application of TechniSat was successfully released commercially. The project distributed more than 190.000 copies of the free receiver software through its official web sites. It identified more than 80.000 unique voters (by voting for web sites they reported anonymously to have used the service). The service is directly compatible with iTunesTM and supports standard podcasting and vodcasting.
Sat@Once transmission was moved to 23.5ºE in June 2006 and exhibited the same number of voters during the first 3 months on 23.5ºE as during the last 3 months on 19.2ºE. This proved that the users of the service are not linked to a single popular orbital position. Satellite-wise, they are opinion leaders and early adopters.
The Pilot Test has been carried out extensively for 2 months with 80 identified volunteers from all Europe, both on 19.2ºE and 23.5ºE. After 2 months, 50 pilot users have carried out all the detailed tests required from them. All pilot users have found significant filtering improvement with the tool developed by CRP-Henri Tudor and LORIA, with almost no impact on robustness, speed and memory size.
However this filtering and profiling could not be applied to enhance messages from advertisers because of lack of interest of the latter. Therefore the strategy of evolution is to propose the technology to public broadcasters to carry their podcasts and vodcasts to a large population at a very low unit cost. Promising contacts are being made with satellite operators in Far-East Asia.