CBS loses signals, avoids disruption

Las Vegas - CBS lost its national feed on Telstar VI early Sunday morning, but signals were quickly shifted to two other satellites to avoid transmission disruptions, CBS engineers revealed Monday.

The primary computer on Telstar VI shut down, with functions automatically shifting to a back-up computer on the same bird at around 6:30 a.m.(ET) on Sunday. But the back-up computer failed to shift the 90-foot solar panels into proper position, and that software error effectively shut down CBS's national signal. Engineers at Loral Skynet quickly shifted the CBS feeds to Telstar IV and V, according to Terry Hart, president of Loral, who said signals would be shifted back to Telstar VI late Monday afternoon.

The satellite glitch was discussed at the start of CBS's Engineering breakfast meeting at the NAB convention in Las Vegas. No CBS affiliates experienced any transmission interruptions - or were even aware of the outage, according to Brent Stranathan, vice president, broadcast distribution, for CBS. "Because of the full redundancy we have, we had no loss at all," Stranathan said. - Richard Tedesco