| Home cinema,365
days a year
with Elizabeth Taylor, Gas Light with Ingrid Bergman, That
Hamilton Woman with Vivien Leigh. Satellite Movie Theater on BS-2
has shown a host of world-famous movies since its launch as a regular
program on October 1, 1989, when satellite broadcasting officially began.
The program debuted with the epic series Personal
Recommendations: Unforgettable Actresses of the Silver Screen.
A total of 100 movies were shown up to the year-end, and 100 more were
broadcast following New Year's Day, 1990.
Many of the first movies to be shown on BS-2
were in black and white, while color movies were packaged in a succession
of popular series such as The World of Hitchcock,
Japanese Movie Masters and Academy Award Winners.
BS-2 also co-hosted Satellite Movie Marathon 365 with Japan Satellite
Broadcasting (WOWOW), a joint promotion that established satellite TV
as the medium for movies.
10 million votes
A major BS-2 project in 1997 was the special
program 10 Million Votes: BS 20th Century
Songs of Japan, which gave viewers a chance to cast their votes
for the best songs of the 20th century. Votes came in by post, fax and
e-mail, and the 100 top songs were broadcast.
The selected songs had to have originated
in Japan and to be sung in Japanese, but there were no limitations on
genre: popular songs, folk songs and children's songs all qualified.
From the 17.75 million songs nominated, Misora Hibari's "Like the
River Flowing" emerged as the winner. BS-2 covered the event in
three special programs: the opening, the standings at the halfway point,
and the final results. In April 1998, a new regular program, BS
Songs of Japan, was launched.
BS-2 has hosted a variety of events in which
viewers can participate by voting, including BS
Youth TV: Time Travel, 20th Century News Top Ten, and Japan's Scenic
Legacy for the 21st Century.
Hi-Vision live relays
The BS channels have also pioneered the
development of large-scale special projects that are difficult to put
together on terrestrial TV. Typical of this category was San
Xia Travel Guide, which was shown in November 1996. The program
provided live coverage of a journey along a 650-kilometer section of
China's Yangtze River, which has played such an important role in the
country's 4,000-year history. The journey occupied a total of 24 hours
and 50 minutes spread over four days, and successfully conveyed to viewers
the sheer vastness of the landscape along the way. Lengthy relays of
this kind became a feature of BS, with comparable series on The
Rhine in June 1997 and The Silk Road:
Dunhuang in June 1998.
Similar large-scale relays were set up for
Hi-Vision (HDTV) broadcasting as well. In December 2000, to mark the
launch of digital satellite broadcasting, Millennium
Relay: The Mediterranean provided coverage linking Rome, Sicily
and Tunisia. Other lengthy relays featuring Hi-Vision quality have included
India: Spiritual Earth (April, 2002)
and Guilin Landscape (September, 2002).
Japan: Today's Prefecture
popular BS flagship program was based on the idea of using TV as
a tool for a promotional campaign. To succeed, the idea requires
the participation of as many viewers as possible and the inclusion
of information that everyone can enjoy. After much discussion, it
was decided that the program should focus on the natural environment,
local customs and individual characters in one prefecture per program,
and that it should be broadcast over the course of one full day.
The first program, broadcast on October 25, 1998, featured Toyama,
which is reputed to be the most comfortable prefecture to live in.
A new outside broadcast vehicle equipped with a system that could
track a satellite automatically was used to relay images from 13
different locations across the prefecture. The program turned next
to Kochi and Akita prefectures, and by December 2002, 39 prefectures
had been covered.