The ESA-Eutelsat developed Skyplex payload on Hot Bird 4 is an example of how satellite technologies are adapting to the digital broadcasting environment. Direct uplinking from a production facility to a satellite eliminates the use of terrestrial master stations; Skyplex puts this objective into reality. It is possible for a production facility to transmit its programmes as a digital stream. The Skyplex processor onboard Hotboard 4 receives these low-rate sources and re-combines them into a single, high-rate multi-channel digital video broadcast signal transmitted directly to viewers' homes. Skyplex payloads are mounted on Eutelsat's Hot Bird 4 and Hot Bird 5 satellites, due to be launched in late February and Summer 1998 respectively. Second-generation Skyplex processors, capable of handling the different kinds of data found in advanced multimedia applications and able to provide multi-beam downlink operations, are currently under development. The Skyplex payload has been built by Alenia Spazio in Rome, Italy under ESA contract.