1998 March 15
The SATCODX mailing list records test carrier transmissions from Astra 1D during final movements to its destination, between 26.5°E and 28.2°E. Video transmissions were expected to begin on the 16th of March.
DigitalSpy user jimbo states that video transmissions began on the 15th of March, comprising a Castle Video (effectively the BBC’s) mux at 11.719H and another at 11.979H via Astra 1D.
1998 March 18
DigitalSpy user jimbo, in the same post as that describing events several days prior to the 18th of March, states that Sky test transmissions began on this day, comprising 5 channels airing Sky News with “DIGITAL TEST TRANSMISSION” marked on them, and 5 channels showing test cards, or colour bars, and referred to as “Sky Box Office (type 05)”. These channels were present on two muxes, at 11.914H and 11.934V via Astra 1D.
1998 March 22
The SATCODX mailing list reports that Astra Vision 2, a digital promotional and satellite launch feed channel, is live on 11.817V. Additionally it mentions similar information to that provided by jimbo; BBC transmissions testing on 11.798H with 3/4 FEC, Sky on 11.914H and 11.934V with 2/3 FEC, and all muxes operating with a symbol rate of 27500, via Astra 1D.