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Before going deeper into the Satellite TV technology, here's some
interesting and useful background information and a few important
terms which are frequently used in this industry.

The first communication satellite was developed and launched by a
consortium of business and government entities in 1963. It was known
as Syncom II and achieved an orbit at 22,300 miles over the Atlantic.
Television began using satellites on March 1, 1978 when the Public
Broadcasting Service (PBS) introduced Public Television Satellite Service.
Broadcast networks adopted satellite communication as a distribution
method form 1978 through 1984.

As the use of satellites for communication and broadcast purposes
increased, it became evident that everyone had the potential to receive
satellite signals for free. Early successful attempts to launch satellites
for the mass consumer market were led by Japan and Hong Kong in
1986 and 1990. The first successful attempt by the US was made by a
group of major cable companies and was named Primestar.

Satellite television used to involve the use of expensive metal satellite
dishes that occupied large areas of space. Back in those days, the only
people who used these devices were the diehard television enthusiasts
who went to the trouble and expenses of such elaborate setups. Back in
those days, it was considerable more difficult to broadcast satellite
television than is was to broadcast cable television.

Today, it is not uncommon to drive through a neighborhood and see
compact satellite dishes mounted all over the place. The more far
reaching the neighborhoods from the service areas of cable companies,
the higher the density of dished.

Satellite television is very much like broadcast television in that both use
wireless means to broadcast radio waves. In order to receive the
broadcasted information, viewers need to be in the line of sight of the
broadcasting antenna which is a major problem, because the surface of
Earth is curved.

Satellite television is able to get around this problem by having the signals
broadcasted by satellites that are in geosynchronous orbit with Earth. As a
result of the geosynchronous orbit, the orbiting satellites travel at the same
velocity as Earth. This means that the satellites stay at the same relative
position with Earth at all times. This way, the satellite dish receiving the
information on Earth does not need constant adjustment in order to capture
the signal. Since the satellites orbit is at an altitude of 35,700km above the
Earth (much higher than television antennas), they have a much better and
larger line of sight range.


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