AUSTAR is an Australian telecommunications company. Its main business activity is Pay TV, although it is also involved with internet access and mobile phones. The company commenced operations in 1995, and thus celebrated its 10th birthday in 2005.

It is owned by Austar United Communications Limited (ASX:AUN). 54% of Austar United is owned by Liberty Global, through United Austar Partners. The remaining 46% is owned by public shareholders.

Austar, along with Galaxy provided the Sega Channel for the Sega Mega Drive, but Austar was the only provider for Sega Channel after Galaxy's closure in 1995.

AUSTAR also owns 50% of XYZnetworks, a pay television program provider, a 50-50 joint venture between Foxtel and Austar.

Mobile telephony (AUSTAR Mobile)

Established in 2000, AUSTAR Mobile offers mobile services via resale agreements with Optus and Telstra for access to their GSM and CDMA mobile networks respectively. After the closure of Telstra's CDMA network, AUSTAR mobile will only offer services through Optus.

At the end of 2005, there were about 30,500 customers. At the end of the 2007 Financial year, customer numbers had grown to 30,991.

Dial-up internet (AUSTARnet)

Established in 2000, AUSTARnet currently outsources its network to COMindico and is available across Australia.

At the end of 2005, there were about 38,326 customers. At the end of the 2007 Financial Year, customer numbers had fallen to 26,431

[edit] Broadband Internet (Austar Broadband)

Established in 2006, Austar Broadband is only available in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales and Tamworth, New South Wales

Until 2008, AUSTAR held a considerable number of 2.5 & 3.5 GHz spectrum licences in regional Australia that was previously utilised for the delivery of their former MMDS Service and for an ill-fated attempt at wireless internet through a joint-venture with Chello.

Austar/Unwired Alliance

In 2005, Austar United and wireless internet provider Unwired announced a deal to swap spectrum under either companies control to allow for interoperable wireless broadband services across the country. In 2006, Austar United and Unwired together with Soul formed AUSalliance for the purposes of obtaining funding from the Australian Government's Broadband Connect Infrastructure Program and rolling out a regional broadband network.

In 2008, Austar sold its 2.5 & 3.5 GHz spectrum licences to the OPEL consortium (Optus & Elders) for AU$65 million and will enter a wholesale agreement with Optus for the resale of products operated by the OPEL consortium. Austar will continue to operate their two existing wireless services (Wagga Wagga & Tamworth)

Subscription television (AUSTAR Television / AUSTAR Digital)
Subscription Growth
1998 300,000
2000 400,000
2004 443,000
2005 500,000+
2006 600,000+
2007 658,087

AUSTAR's main business is subscription television, serving customers outside of the major metro areas. It takes programming from both Foxtel and Optus services, and operates in both analogue and digital platforms.

AUSTAR Television is available in 2.4 million homes in regional and rural areas of all mainland states (bar Western Australia), Gold Coast, Tasmania and the capital cities of Darwin and Hobart. Subscriber numbers to Austar Television are second behind Foxtel. Delivery methods include utilising the Optus C-Class Satellite Optus C1 and a digital cable network in Darwin.

Austar's Television offering, as at September 2007 has 658,087 customers

AUSTAR Digital

List of Austar channels

Launched in March 2004, AUSTAR Digital subscribers account for about 75% of all of AUSTAR's Television Subscribers. In October 2004 the cable network utilised in Darwin was converted to allow the AUSTAR Digital product to be sold over that delivery method.

The MyStar Personal Digital Recorder

Announced in November 2005, Thomson SA have been awarded the contract for the development of a 4 tuner PDR, two of which will be dedicated for Australia's Digital Terrestrial free-to-air (FTA) service. MyStar will also allow for recording of two shows at one time, while still being able to watch one pre-recorded. The FTA tuner does not work in a blackout area.

Mr. Porter had announced that the MyStar personal digital recorder had been delayed back to August 2007 rather than the May 2007 release date they had planned. [13] In November 2007 the MyStar was released to people who nominated to be informed when it was released.

MyStar was launched to existing subscribers in late 2007, with a general launch to both new and existing customers in February 2008.

The MyStar is manufactured by Thomson Telecom Australia. The current MyStar is the model T500.

It is a 4 tuner set-top box equipped with 2 satellite tuners and 2 terrestrial tuners available both for viewing and recording standard definition digital free-to-air services including full electronic program guide data for Seven Network, WIN Television, Prime Television and Network Ten. (ABC, SBS and ABC2 continue to be provided via satellite). However, only two tuners can be used, e.g. If you are recording two FTA shows, you cannot record or watch a show from the satellite. You can, however, watch a show that has been previously recorded to the hard drive while recording two shows.

It features a 160GB Hard Drive, with 120GB User Accessible. It can record 60 hours of content. Because it is equipped with Macrovision Copy Protection, content saved to the MyStar cannot be transferred to other mediums (such as VHS or DVD). It has support for Time shifting for up to 1 hour.

Support for Dolby Digital Surround Sound is incorporated, and, when connected to appropriate equipment, can produce true surround sound on shows that support it. It also has support for Closed Captioning and 4 different aspect ratios (4:3 Cropped, 16:9 Letterbox, 16:9 Postcard and 16:9 Widescreen). Both of these features are accessible through the remote’s coloured buttons.

It supports additional outputs not found on the normal decoders such as Component Video, as well as both Coaxial and Optical digital audio outputs. Support for Composite Video, S-Video and RF Out are also available. It also has USB and Ethernet ports, but they have no clear function as yet.

The MyStar Remote is similar to the standard Austar Digital remote, but it has the addition of buttons specific to recording and playing back video. It is also similar in design to the Foxtel IQ remote, with the exception that it has an Austar button instead of a Foxtel button.

Tutorials on how to use the MyStar run at about 3:00AM most days on The Weather Channel. (Credit: Wikipedia).






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