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The Technicalities Of Television Satellites

The Technicalities Of Television Satellites

Satellite has since inception in the world proven to be a veritable tech-driven tool in mankind’s day-to-day activity, and is presently gaining greater relevance by the day.

A satellite is a celestial object or spacecraft that orbits another object while serving for a particular purpose. It could be natural or artificial (manmade).

The Moon is a good example of a natural satellite that orbits the Earth. The world’s first ever artificial satellite – the Sputnik 1 – was launched by the Soviet Union in 1957. Since then, countless satellites have been launched into the Earth’s orbit.

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So far, about 6,600 satellites have been launched by different countries around the globe. Survey shows that, by 2013, 3600 of them remained in orbit. Among these, only about 1,000 were operational, whilst the rest have lived out their useful lives and thus become mere space debris.

Research further indicates that approximately 500 operational satellites are in low-Earth orbit (at about 2000km altitude), 50 are in medium-Earth orbit or intermediate circular orbit (at about 20000km altitude), and the rest are in geostationary orbit (at about 36000km altitude).

It’s worth noting that satellites are used for many purposes. Common types include the weather satellites, navigation satellites, military cum civilian earth observation satellites, communications satellites, and space telescopes.

Moreover, space stations and human spacecrafts in orbit are equally known as satellites. This discussion, as long as it lasts, will border on communication satellites, particularly ‘television satellites’ as the topic implies.

A communication satellite, which is purposely deployed for telecommunications, is an artificial satellite that relays and amplifies radio telecom signals via a transponder. It creates a communication channel between a source transmitter and a receiver at different locations on the Earth.

The Beeptool satellite

It is used for television, radio, internet, telephone, or military applications, as might be the case. There are, at the moment, over 2,000 communication satellites in the Earth’s orbit, used by both private and government organizations.

Wireless communication via television, for instance, uses electromagnetic (EM) waves to carry signals. These waves require line-of-sight, and are thus obstructed by the curvature of the Earth. Hence, the prime purpose of communication satellites is to relay the signal around the curve of the Earth allowing communication between widely separated points.

A communication satellite uses a wide range of radio and microwave frequencies. To avoid signal interference, international bodies have regulations for which frequency range or band any firm is allowed to use.

Specifically, the Television (TV) satellite delivers TV programming using signals relayed from space radio stations. The signals are received via an outdoor parabolic reflector antenna often referred to as a satellite dish, and a low-noise block (LNB) down-converter.

A satellite receiver then decodes the desired TV programme for viewing on a TV set. The receiving device can be in the form of an external set-top box known as ‘decoder’, or a built-in TV tuner.

On TV satellites, some transmissions and channels are unencrypted, hence are free-to-air or free-to-view, whilst many other channels are transmitted with encryption requiring a subscription.

Most homes these days are set up for Cable TV – a system that distributes television signals by means of coaxial or fibre-optic cables, though there’s a growing number who have opted for the more advanced Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) TV commonly called Satellite TV.

With newer technologies in satellite broadcast being developed, it has apparently overtaken cable pattern of broadcast. Meanwhile, there are two sides to satellite TV that you should consider before cutting your ties with cable providers.

Satellite TV has access to a wide range of channels and services, especially in geographic areas without terrestrial/cable TV. The ability to receive and send broadcast signals using satellite tech increases the possibilities of gaining access to channels from other countries that utilize similar tech for broadcasting.

It suffices to say that, with satellite tech, you are not restricted to only the channels on cable networks. DBS TV has high-quality audio and picture display compared to cable TV.

DBS TV possesses parental lock-out options. It takes the worry out of parents who are concerned at what their kids are watching while they are away. Most DBS TV receivers are now able to block certain channels from a TV set.

It equally has a WebTV option, contrary to cable TV that does not. Internet data can be transmitted wirelessly, thus DBS TV can receive internet service from your TV set. In addition, it has digital video recorders. With some satellite TV receivers, one can record shows or programmes directly to a hard-disk drive for playback later.

However, for initial investment, the receiver and satellite dish could be exorbitant. Similarly, multiple TV sets would require multiple receivers unlike in the case of cable TV, thereby making both installation and sustenance very expensive if one has more than one TV set at home.

Its installation techniques, which involved many technologies, might attract additional charges. Above all, DBS can malfunction in bad weather. Since the satellite dish is usually located outdoors, it becomes susceptible to malfunction owing to atmospheric conditions like rainfall, strong winds, snow, and lightning, or what have you. For instance, thunderstorms could pose a threat to, or even completely damage, the receiver.

However, it’s noteworthy that obtaining high quality products could help to curtail or prevent any of these anomalies. Hence, we are advised to invariably opt for products manufactured by reliable firms whenever we intend to upgrade our viewing pleasure. This precaution can best be adhered to by involving an expert when need be.

Whatever the case might be, the fact is that TV satellites remain the best mode of radio cum microwaves transmission. But it’s pertinent to note that its installation and day-to-day maintenance require sound and adequate professional attention. 

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