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How Satellite TV Works

Additional Reading

How Satellite TV Works
By Kate Ivy and Gary Davis

Dish Network Satellite TV.ws

(Webmasters - you may freely use this article in your newsletter or website, providing
you re-print the article exactly as it appears, including the Byline, Bio and links back
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How Satellite TV Works

Gone are the days where you could spot a satellite dish six blocks away. Today’s
dish is drastically smaller, much more reliable and considerably less expensive
than its enormous ancestor.

So, just how does Satellite TV work?

First, you need to understand how the antenna broadcasting system works.
Traditional television broadcasting antennas use radio waves to transmit their
programming. Each broadcasting station operates at a unique frequency that
identifies the station to the FCC and allows your receiver to select a
particular “channel”. These radio waves are carried from the station’s antenna
to yours which, when tuned to the specific frequency picks up the waves for your
television to interpret and project.

Unfortunately, radio waves can only travel so far when emitted from an antenna
and are subject to distortion as objects get in between the two points of

Enter the Satellite

A satellite is actually any object that orbits a larger object, such as the
Earth. Our Moon is considered a satellite and, in theory, the Earth would be a
satellite to the Sun. Man-made satellites follow this same premise. A man-made
satellite is placed into position just over 20,000 miles above the Earth. It is
programmed to orbit the Earth so that the satellite stays in sync with the
Earth’s rotation. This means that a satellite that is positioned over the United
States will stay over the United States, despite the Earth’s constant movement.

These man-made satellites are electronic boxes that contain a communication
system, a power source and a navigational system. Many satellites use
rechargeable batteries as their power source, feeding off the Sun’s natural
energy source via large solar panels. The communication system is designed to
relay information back and forth through those same radio waves that the
traditional broadcasting system uses but at 20,000 miles over the Earth,
satellites have a much better range than a regular antenna and aren’t as
affected by trees, buildings and other objects that might obstruct a traditional
antenna’s path.

Satellite, Meet My TV

With its capabilities well established, it was only a matter of time before the
media industry began pondering the satellite’s potential in television.

Like traditional broadcasting antennas, satellite television works with radio
waves as well but with a much broader range. The older, larger dishes transmitted analog signals that rarely required decoding. Today’s smaller dish systems send digital signals, which produce a higher quality of sound and video.
This digital signal is encoded into MPEG-2 format – the same format as your
DVD’s - and transmitted to your receiver box where it is decoded and translated
into an analog signal that is then fed to your television. Why all the fuss?
Digital produces enhanced video and audio that you just can’t get from analog.

So how does it all work?

In order to receive satellite programming, you’ll need a broadcast satellite
provider. These providers have contracted with the various programming providers
such as HBO, Showtime and of course, all your local channels. The programming
providers send their programming to the satellite providers who in turn send it
back out via satellite to your dish. It is then transmitted from the dish to
your receiver box where it is decrypted and shown on your television.

Satellite television gives us the ability to have a seemingly endless supply of
programming without bulky equipment or a multitude of unique connections. And
because satellite technology is wireless, you have the freedom to move your
entertainment system as much as you’d like.

About the Author

About the Authors: Gary Davis is owner of Dish Network Satellite TV
and has written numerous articles on the satellite television industry. Kate
Ivy has written for a variety of publications and websites and is the owner of
Ivygirl Media & Design.


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