Satellite Television

The envision and growth of the satellite industry and satellite television was made possible by a variety of factors, from major technological developments such as the advent of the space program, advances in digital technology and successive generations of more powerful hardware, to the efforts of a select group of pioneering individuals like Arthur C. Clarke, who first suggested the concepts for a worldwide satellite communications system. (SBCA 2018)
On July 23, 1962, millions of people watched a historic broadcast as Telstar beamed live transatlantic video into viewers’ living rooms for the first time. The age of satellite television had dawned (Klein 2012). This broadcast was made possible by Telstar, a spherical satellite built by AT&T.
Generally speaking, satellite TV is a type of television programming that is wirelessly delivered to TV sets across the world via a network of radio signals, communications satellites, broadcast centers and outdoor antennas (Xfinity 2017). Broadcast signals are transmitted from satellites orbiting the Earth and received by local and regional satellite TV systems.
The signals are received via an outdoor parabolic antenna commonly referred to as a satellite dish and a low-noise block downconverter. These satellite dishes transmit signals to a satellite receiver such as a set-top box or satellite tuner module within a TV set. A satellite receiver then decodes the desired television program for viewing on a television set. Early systems used analog signals, but modern ones use digital signals which allow transmission of the modern television standard high-definition television, due to the significantly improved spectral efficiency of digital broadcasting. Compared with traditional cable televisions, satellite television could provide more programs for audience and it could transmit signals to remote areas without hindering much of the quality.
Early satellite TV viewers could discover some programming that wasn't necessarily intended for mass audiences. For example, foreign stations, live feeds between different broadcast stations, and a lot of other stuff transmitted using satellites. But today, most satellite TV customers get their programming through a direct broadcast satellite (DBS) provider. The provider will only provide those subscribed programs.
Federal Communications Commission. “Installing Consumer-Owned Antennas and Satellite Dishes”. Accessed May 8, 2018.
Klein, Christopher. “The Birth of Satellite TV, 50 Years Ago”. July 23, 2012.
Satellite Broadcasting & Communications Association. “Industry History”. Accessed May 9, 2018.
Xfinity. “An Overview of Satellite TV”, July 07, 2017.