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The Technology Behind Satellite TV

Satellite TV has become the new TV carrier - particularly useful if you live in a rural area, where broadcast TV has difficulties delivering a good signal, and cable TV is nowhere to be found. So what is satellite TV, and how does it work?

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All TV systems have to have three essential components: the broadcast center, where the TV signal is broadcast from; a carrier, that is some way of moving the TV signal from the broadcast center to the receiver; and the receiver - that is your TV.

The Broad Picture

Satellite TV takes the signal from the broadcast center, and beams it up to a satellite that sits in geosynchronous orbit above the earth - geosynchronous orbit is an orbit that makes sure that the satellite will stay in one position relative to the earth.

The signal can then be bounced from the satellite to a TV dish once the TV dish is lined up with the satellite. This signal is quite diffuse, so it is "collected" by the parabolic dish, and focused onto the horn in the middle of the TV dish. The signal is then taken by cable to the receiver where it is decoded and shown on the television.

The Detail

Although all satellite TV works in this way, there are some important additional technologies that are necessary in order to give a quality of service that makes satellite TV acceptable - and indeed, sometimes preferable. Satellite TV has come into it's own with the advent of digital broadcasting. It has some disadvantages - there can be as much as a one-second delay in transmission because of the distances covered, and some coding issues, but for most TV purposes, this is acceptable.

As interactive TV becomes more popular, satellite TV has the ability and the technology to allow the user to take advantage of new developments. This is a TV system that delivers when other systems cannot.

© 2004 HQ Publications.   All rights reserved.