Satellite television, as defined by Wikipedia, an encyclopedia, is a service that delivers television programs to viewers by relaying them from a communications satellite orbiting the earth directly to the viewer’s location. The signals are received through an outdoor satellite dish commonly referred to as a satellite dish and a low noise block down converter.
A satellite receiver then decodes the desired television program for viewing on a television. Satellite TV offers a wide range of channels and services. It is typically the only television available in many remote geographies without terrestrial or cable television service.
Early systems used analog signals, but modern systems use digital signals that allow transmission from standard high definition television to modern television, due to the dramatically improved spectral efficiency of digital broadcasting.
According to study.com, the founding of satellite broadcasting began years before the concept was even considered. Arthur C. Clarke, science fiction writer and inventor, was among the first to talk about the possibility of communicating globally via satellites.
However, the concepts became reality in the late 1950s thanks to the “space race” between the United States and Russia. The space race was a competition between the two countries, each attempting to show that they were the leader in space exploration. In 1957, Russia struck first, launching Sputnik into space. The sound emitted by the world’s first satellite in space could be heard on radio and television by some listeners. Two years later, the United States launched their first satellite. Four years later, the first communications satellite, Syncom II, was sent into space, enabling communications for the US military.
It was not until the late 1970s that television signals were sent for the first time via satellite. Over the following years, this became the primary method of communication for all major television networks.
This was the real start of the satellite television business. Early networks included Home Box Office (HBO), Turner Broadcasting System (TBS), and Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN).
Consumers adopted this new technology and were happy to receive television programs through the satellites. People bought giant satellite dishes for their gardens. Those in rural areas who previously had difficulty receiving regular television broadcasts could now enjoy television.
Still, this created a problem for some TV stations since anyone with a satellite dish could access the programming for free. The stations took their fight to court because they did not want consumers to be able to access their programming without paying.
The FCC has spoken out against them, however, stating that satellite television is governed by an open skies policy. This meant that if television stations could use satellites to broadcast programs, the public had the right to access those programs.
This prompted broadcasters to start coding their signals, forcing consumers to subscribe and pay for access.
Today, satellite television is as popular as cable television, with subscribers flocking to clearer pictures and more programming options than ever before. Consumers have a choice of one of two major satellite companies: DirecTV or Dish Network.
In 1990, Hughes Communications introduced DirecTV as a means of delivering satellite television to consumers around the world. To do this, they developed a smaller and lighter 18-inch satellite dish that would suit consumers in suburbs and cities, offering nearly 200 channels of programming.