Hot Bird refers to a number of satellites operated by Eutelsat, a satellite company serving broadcasters, telecoms, ISPs and government agencies. Well-used Hot Bird satellites include the four broadcasting satellites operating at 13 degrees east, which serve Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Other Hot Bird satellites serve Europe, North Africa, the Atlantic and the Middle East. Not all Hot Bird satellites remain in service, including two satellites in junk orbits as of 2015.
The well-used Hot Bird satellites at 13 degrees east provide a wide range of broadcast services to Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, including 1100 TV channels, 170 HDTV channels and a few channels in Ultra 4K HD. Some broadcast services provided by Hot Bird satellites are free-to-air, whereas others use encrypted signals that require the purchase of specific radio and television packages.
Eutelsat started operations in 1977 and launched its first satellite in 1983. The company considers itself one of the most experienced commercial satellite operators in the world and operates satellites across Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas.
In 2002, Hot Bird 7, designed to replace an earlier Hot Bird satellite based at 13 degrees east, suffered a launch failure. However, the company successfully launched 16 satellites consecutively before the failed Hot Bird 7 launch.