Hot Bird 4 was a geostationary communications spacecraft of the European EUTELSAT consortium. With a constellation of 5 satellites, the Hot Bird family at 13 degrees E formed one of the largest broadcasting systems in the world. By fourth quarter 1998, the system was deliving over 320 analogue and digital television channels, as well as radio and multimedia services, to more than 70 million homes connected to a cable network or equipped for satellite (direct-to-home or community) reception. The Hot Bird satellites provided full coverage of Europe and also took in parts of Africa and Asia, including the entire Middle East. In addition to the basic Widebeam and Superbeam, Hot Bird 3 and 4 were equipped with a Steerable Beam which could be oriented anywhere visible from 13 degrees E, either northern or southern hemispheres. Hot Birds 4 and 5 were the first in the world to be equipped with SKYPLEX for on-board multiplexing of digital signals into a single DVB stream which could be received in the downlink by standard IRDs.
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