If you work in the software industry you may be aware of hidden features that are often embedded in a program's code. These features, sometimes called "easter eggs", are only accessed by performing a series of non-intuitive steps. Usually the hidden feature is quite useful, other times it's just the result of a programer having fun. One well known example is a three dimensional flight simulator hidden inside in a  version of Microsoft Excel!

While there is not that many hidden easter eggs to be found in digital satellite signals, there are often  "hidden features" which are not immediately obvious to the viewer.

BBC World is available free-to-air in Australia and New Zealand from both Panamsat 2 and Panamsat 8. These feeds of BBC World are beamed to us from the BBC London Television Centre with a transit hop via the Napa Valley teleport in California. The BBC World signal is served to many pay tv networks in Asia and the Pacific as well as being able to be directly received by viewers with C-Band dishes.  Not only does this BBC feed contain the regular English language audio and vision, the signal also has two additional features, a Japanese audio translation channel and a behind-the-scenes audio feed from the BBC World control room.

BBC World news in Japanese is translated live by a London-based team of sixteen regular translators, backed by some fifteen others working on a part-time basis and produced by a seven-strong production team. The translated programs include both live news and pre-recorded Japanese versions of BBC World's current affairs, lifestyle and documentary programming.

To access the Japanese service select the right hand audio channel of Audio Track One on your receiver. The regular English audio is presented on the left hand channel of Audio Track One. 

On some receivers the individual Audio Tracks are referred to as Language Tracks - if you don't know how to change audio tracks refer to your receiver manual.

Another fascinating "hidden feature" of the Panamsat BBC World signals is the audio feed directly from the control room in London. On the right hand channel of Audio Track Two you can eavesdrop into the behind-the-scenes world of the director and presentation crew. The control room audio is used to issue cues to the BBC World distribution control centres in Singapore and Japan allowing the control of advertisement breaks and other alternative programing switching. Frequently the control room microphones are left open for many minutes and you can listen in to the director giving commands for camera switching and cueing video packages. This audio channel is usually silent when a previously recorded program is being presented, however it becomes quite active just before the hour and during the news bulletins.

BBC World is broadcast from the BBC News operation at "Television Centre" at Shepherd's Bush in London. The centre is one of the largest news production centres in the world and producers over 100 hours of live broadcasting each day for presentation on seven BBC television services. The operation employs over 2,000 journalists and claims to be one-and-a-half as times as large as its nearest rival,CNN. When in London, make some time to take the Television Centre tour. Tours are limited to 20 people and must be booked in advance: Call 0870 603 0304 to reserve your place a few days ahead of time. For more info surf to www.bbc.co.uk/tours .


..................................................................................................

Tuning & Resources
back to articles index
BBC World is featured in the MediaExplorer package on DVD Disk Six.

BBC World
Satellite : Panamsat 8
Orbit Location : 166.0 East
Frequency : 3940
Polarity : Horizontal
Symbol Rate : 27690
FEC: 7/8

BBC World
Satellite : Panamsat 2
Orbit Location : 169.0 East
Frequency : 3986
Polarity : Horizontal
Symbol Rate : 5700
FEC: 1/2
BBC World
BBC World  - Unlocking the hidden program features