Satellite television

History

The first satellite television signal was relayed from Europe to the Telstar satellite over North America in 1962. The first geosynchronous communication satellite, Syncom 2, was launched in 1963. The world’s first commercial communication satellite, called Intelsat I (nicknamed Early Bird), was launched into synchronous orbit on April 6, 1965. The first national network of satellite television, called Orbita, was created in Soviet Union in 1967, and was based on the principle of using the highly elliptical Molniya satellite for re-broadcasting and delivering of TV signal to ground downlink stations. The first domestic North American satellite to carry television was Canada geostationary Anik 1, which was launched in 1972. ATS-6, the world’s first experimental educational and Direct Broadcast Satellite, was launched in 1974. The first Soviet geostationary satellite to carry Direct-To-Home television, called Ekran, was launched in 1976.

Technology

Satellites used for television signals are generally in either naturally highly elliptical (with inclination of +/-63.4 degrees and orbital period of about 12 hours, also known as Molniya orbit) or geostationary orbit 37,000 km (22,300 miles) above the earth equator.

Satellite television, like other communications relayed by satellite, starts with a transmitting antenna located at an uplink facility. Uplink satellite dishes are very large, as much as 9 to 12 meters (30 to 40 feet) in diameter. The increased diameter results in more accurate aiming and increased signal strength at the satellite. The uplink dish is pointed toward a specific satellite and the uplinked signals are transmitted within a specific frequency range, so as to be received by one of the transponders tuned to that frequency range aboard that satellite. The transponder ‘retransmits’ the signals back to Earth but at a different frequency band (a process known as translation, used to avoid interference with the uplink signal), typically in the C-band (48 GHz) or Ku-band (1218 GHz) or both. The leg of the signal path from the satellite to the receiving Earth station is called the downlink.

A typical satellite has up to 32 transponders for Ku-band and up to 24 for a C-band only satellite, or more for hybrid satellites. Typical transponders each have a bandwidth between 27 MHz and 50 MHz. Each geo-stationary C-band satellite needs to be spaced 2 degrees from the next satellite (to avoid interference). For Ku the spacing can be 1 degree. This means that there is an upper limit of 360/2 = 180 geostationary C-band satellites and 360/1 = 360 geostationary Ku-band satellites. C-band transmission is susceptible to terrestrial interference while Ku-band transmission is affected by rain (as water is an excellent absorber of microwaves at this particular frequency).

The downlinked satellite signal, quite weak after traveling the great distance (see inverse-square law), is collected by a parabolic receiving dish, which reflects the weak signal to the dish focal point. Mounted on brackets at the dish’s focal point is a device called a feedhorn. This feedhorn is essentially the flared front-end of a section of waveguide that gathers the signals at or near the focal point and ‘conducts’ them to a probe or pickup connected to a low-noise block downconverter or LNB. The LNB amplifies the relatively weak signals, filters the block of frequencies in which the satellite TV signals are transmitted, and converts the block of frequencies to a lower frequency range in the L-band range. The evolution of LNBs was one of necessity and invention.

The original C-Band satellite TV systems used a Low Noise Amplifier connected to the feedhorn at the focal point of the dish. The amplified signal was then fed via very expensive and sometimes 50 ohm impedance gas filled hardline coaxial cable to an indoor receiver or, in other designs, fed to a downconverter (a mixer and a voltage tuned oscillator with some filter circuitry) for downconversion to an intermediate frequency. The channel selection was controlled, typically by a voltage tuned oscillator with the tuning voltage being fed via a separate cable to the headend. But this design evolved.

Designs for microstrip based converters for Amateur Radio frequencies were adapted for the 4 GHz C-Band. Central to these designs was concept of block downconversion of a range of frequencies to a lower, and technologically more easily handled block of frequencies (intermediate frequency).

The advantages of using an LNB are that cheaper cable could be used to connect the indoor receiver with the satellite TV dish and LNB, and that the technology for handling the signal at L-Band and UHF was far cheaper than that for handling the signal at C-Band frequencies. The shift to cheaper technology from the 50 Ohm impedance cable and N-Connectors of the early C-Band systems to the cheaper 75 Ohm technology and F-Connectors allowed the early satellite TV receivers to use, what were in reality, modified UHF TV tuners which selected the satellite television channel for down conversion to another lower intermediate frequency centered on 70 MHz where it was demodulated. This shift allowed the satellite television DTH industry to change from being a largely hobbyist one where receivers were built in low numbers and complete systems were expensive (costing thousands of Dollars) to a far more commercial one of mass production.

Direct broadcast satellite dishes are fitted with an LNBF, which integrates the feedhorn with the LNB.

The satellite receiver demodulates and converts the signals to the desired form (outputs for television, audio, data, etc.). Sometimes, the receiver includes the capability to unscramble or decrypt; the receiver is then called an Integrated receiver/decoder or IRD. The cable connecting the receiver to the LNBF or LNB must be of the low loss type RG-6, quad shield RG-6 or RG-11, etc. It cannot be standard RG-59.

Standards

Analog television distributed via satellite is usually sent scrambled or unscrambled in NTSC, PAL, or SECAM television broadcast standards. The analog signal is frequency modulated and is converted from an FM signal to what is referred to as baseband. This baseband comprises the video signal and the audio subcarrier(s). The audio subcarrier is further demodulated to provide a raw audio signal.

If the signal is a digitized television signal or multiplex of signals, it is typically QPSK.

In general, digital television, including that transmitted via satellites, are generally based on open standards such as MPEG and DVB-S or ISDB-S.

The conditional access encryption/scrambling methods include BISS, Conax, Digicipher, Irdeto, Nagravision, PowerVu, Viaccess, Videocipher, and VideoGuard. Many conditional access systems have been compromised.

Categories of usage

There are three primary types of satellite television usage: reception direct by the viewer, reception by local television affiliates, or reception by headends for distribution across terrestrial cable systems.

Direct to the viewer reception includes direct broadcast satellite or DBS and television receive-only or TVRO, both used for homes and businesses including hotels, etc.

Direct broadcast via satellite

Direct broadcast satellite, (DBS) also known as “Direct-To-Home” is a relatively recent development in the world of television distribution. irect broadcast satellite can either refer to the communications satellites themselves that deliver DBS service or the actual television service. DBS systems are commonly referred to as “mini-dish” systems. DBS uses the upper portion of the Ku band, as well as portions of the Ka band.

Modified DBS systems can also run on C-band satellites and have been used by some networks in the past to get around legislation by some countries against reception of Ku-band transmissions.

Most of the DBS systems use the DVB-S standard for transmission. With Pay-TV services, the datastream is encrypted and requires proprietary reception equipment. While the underlying reception technology is similar, the Pay-TV technology is proprietary, often consisting of a Conditional Access Module and smart card.

This measure assures satellite television providers that only authorised, paying subscribers have access to Pay TV content but at the same time can allow free-to-air (FTA) channels to be viewed even by the people with standard equipment (DBS receivers without the Conditional Access Modules) available in the market.

Television receive-only

The term Television receive-only, or TVRO, arose during the early days of satellite television reception to differentiate it from commercial satellite television uplink and downlink operations (transmit and receive). This was before there was a DTH satellite television broadcast industry. Satellite television channels at that time were intended to be used by cable television networks rather than received by home viewers. Satellite TV receiver systems were largely constructed by hobbyists and engineers. These TVRO systems operated mainly on the C band frequencies and the dishes required were large; typically over 3 meters (10 ft) in diameter. Consequently TVRO is often referred to as “big dish” or “Big Ugly Dish” (BUD) satellite television.

TVRO systems are designed to receive analog and digital satellite feeds of both television or audio from both C-band and Ku-band transponders on FSS-type satellites. The higher frequency Ku-band systems tend to be Direct To Home systems and can use a smaller dish antenna because of the higher power transmissions and greater antenna gain.

TVRO systems tend to use larger rather than smaller satellite dish antennas, since it is more likely that the owner of a TVRO system would have a C-band-only setup rather than a Ku band-only setup. Additional receiver boxes allow for different types of digital satellite signal reception, such as DVB/MPEG-2 and 4DTV.

The narrow beam width of a normal parabolic satellite antenna means it can only receive signals from a single satellite at a time. Simulsat or the Vertex-RSI TORUS, is a quasi-parabolic satellite earthstation antenna that is capable of receiving satellite transmissions from 35 or more C- and Ku-band satellites simultaneously.

Direct to Home television

Today, most satellite TV customers in developed television markets get their programming through a direct broadcast satellite (DBS) provider, such as DISH TV or DTH platform. The provider selects programs and broadcasts them to subscribers as a set package. Basically, the provider goal is to bring dozens or even hundreds of channels to the customers television in a form that approximates the competition from Cable TV. Unlike earlier programming, the provider broadcast is completely digital, which means it has high picture and stereo sound quality. Early satellite television was broadcast in C-band – radio in the 3.4-gigahertz (GHz) to 7 GHz frequency range. Digital broadcast satellite transmits programming in the Ku frequency range (10 GHz to 14 GHz ). There are five major components involved in a direct to home (DTH) satellite system: the programming source, the broadcast center, the satellite, the satellite dish and the receiver.

Programming sources are simply the channels that provide programming for broadcast. The provider (the DTH platform) doesn create original programming itself; it pays other companies (HBO, for example, or ESPN or STAR TV or Sahara etc.) for the right to broadcast their content via satellite. In this way, the provider is a reseller of the programming sources. (Cable television networks also work on the same principle.) The broadcast center is the central hub of the system. At the broadcast center or the Playout & Uplink location, the television provider receives signals from various programming sources, compresses these signals using digital compression (scrambling if necessary), and beams a broadcast signal to the proper satellite. The satellite receive the signal from the broadcast station and rebroadcast them to the ground. The viewer dish picks up the signal from the satellite (or multiple satellites in the same part of the sky) and passes it on to the receiver in the viewer house. The receiver processes the signal and passes it on to a standard television. These are the steps in greater detail:

Programming

Satellite TV providers get programming from two major sources: International turnaround channels (such as HBO, ESPN and CNN, STAR TV, SET, B4U etc) and various local channels (SaBe TV, Sahara TV, Doordarshan, etc). Most of the turnaround channels also provide programming for cable television, so sometimes some of the DTH platforms will add in some special channels exclusive to itself to attract more subscriptions. Turnaround channels usually have a distribution center that beams their programming to a geostationary satellite. The broadcast center uses large satellite dishes to pick up these analog and digital signals from several sources.

Broadcasting centers

The broadcast center converts all of this programming into a high-quality, uncompressed digital stream. At this point, the stream contains a vast quantity of data about 270 megabits per second (Mbit/s) for each channel. In order to transmit the signal from there, the broadcast center has to compress it. Otherwise, it would be too big for the satellite to handle. The providers use the MPEG-2 compressed video format the same format used to store movies on DVDs. With MPEG-2 compression, the provider can reduce the 270-Mbit/s stream to about 3 or 10 Mbit/s (depending on the type of programming). This is the crucial step that has made DTH service a success. With digital compression, a typical satellite can transmit about 200 channels. Without digital compression, it can transmit about 30 channels. At the broadcast center, the high-quality digital stream of video goes through an MPEG-2 encoder, which converts the programming to MPEG-2 video of the correct size and format for the satellite receiver in your house.

Encryption and transmission

After the video is compressed, the provider needs to encrypt it in order to keep people from accessing it for free. Encryption scrambles the digital data in such a way that it can only be decrypted (converted back into usable data) if the receiver has the correct decoding satellite receiver with decryption algorithm and security keys. Once the signal is compressed and encrypted, the broadcast center beams it directly to one of its satellites. The satellite picks up the signal, amplifies it and beams it back to Earth, where viewers can pick it up.

The dish

A satellite dish is just a special kind of antenna designed to focus on a specific broadcast source. The standard dish consists of a parabolic (bowl-shaped) surface and a central feed horn. To transmit a signal, a controller sends it through the horn, and the dish focuses the signal into a relatively narrow beam. The dish on the receiving end can transmit information; it can only receive it. The receiving dish works in the exact opposite way of the transmitter. When a beam hits the curved dish, the parabola shape reflects the radio signal inward onto a particular point, just like a concave mirror focuses light onto a particular point. The curved dish focuses incoming radio waves onto the feed horn. In this case, the point is the dish feed horn, which passes the signal onto the receiving equipment. In an ideal setup, there aren any major obstacles between the satellite and the dish, so the dish receives a clear signal. In some systems, the dish needs to pick up signals from two or more satellites at the same time. The satellites may be close enough together that a regular dish with a single horn can pick up signals from both. This compromises quality somewhat, because the dish isn aimed directly at one or more of the satellites. A new dish design uses two or more horns to pick up different satellite signals. As the beams from different satellites hit the curved dish, they reflect at different angles so that one beam hits one of the horns and another beam hits a different horn. The central element in the feed horn is the low noise blockdown converter, or LNB. The LNB amplifies the signal bouncing off the dish and filters out the noise (signals not carrying programming). The LNB passes the amplified, filtered signal to the satellite receiver inside the viewer house.

The receiver

Further information: Set-top box

The end component in the entire satellite TV system is the receiver. The receiver has four essential jobs: It de-scrambles the encrypted signal. In order to unlock the signal, the receiver needs the proper decoder chip for that programming package. The provider can communicate with the chip, via the satellite signal, to make necessary adjustments to its decoding programs. The provider may occasionally send signals that disrupt illegal de-scramblers, as an electronic counter measure (ECM) against illegal users. It takes the digital MPEG-2 signal and converts it into an analog format that a standard television can recognize. Since the receiver spits out only one channel at a time, you can tape one program and watch another. You also can watch two different programs on two TVs hooked up to the same receiver. In order to do these things, which are standard on conventional cable, you need to buy an additional receiver. Some receivers have a number of other features as well. They pick up a programming schedule signal from the provider and present this information in an onscreen programming guide. Many receivers have parental lock-out options, and some have built-in Digital Video Recorders (DVRs), which let you pause live television or record it on a hard drive. While digital broadcast satellite service is still lacking some of the basic features of conventional cable (the ability to easily split signals between different TVs and VCRs, for example), varied programming selection and extended service areas are features now seen as an alternative.

Satellite television by region and country

Africa

South African-based Multichoice’s DStv is the main digital satellite television provider in sub-Saharan Africa, broadcasting principally in English, but also in Portuguese, German and Afrikaans. Canal Horizons, owned by France’s Canal+, is the main provider in French-speaking Africa. Another entrant into the satellite television circuit in Africa is MyTvAfrica, a subsidiary of Dubai based Strong Technologies. Satellite television has been far more successful in Africa than cable, primarily because the infrastructure for cable television does not exist and would be expensive to install since majority of Africans cannot afford paid cable television. Furthermore, maintaining a cable network is expensive due to the need to cover larger and more sparsely populated areas though there are some terrestrial pay-TV and MMDS services.

The launch of Free2view has made satellite TV available to the masses in Africa. Free2view currently broadcasts MSNBC as its exclusive news channel and is about to roll out additional channels.

GTV, a British-based company, has become the second in sub-saharan Africa providing digital satellite television with the focus first on Kenya Uganda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Congo ETC.

Nigeria

Traditionally DStv had held a monopoly over Nigeria’s Satellite television sector but three new companies, HiTVmytv and trend tv are starting to compete in this sector

Sudan

Sudan TV, the government-owned national network, is available by satellite as well as broadcast.

The Americas

United States

It has been suggested that this section be split into a new article titled Satellite television in the United States. (Discuss)

Currently, there are two primary satellite television providers of subscription based service available to United States consumers: Dish Network and DirecTV.

Over the past three decades, various U.S. satellite services have come and gone or combined to form the current primary services. In 1975 RCA created Satcom 1, the first satellite built especially for use by the then three national television networks (CBS, NBC, and ABC). Later that same year, HBO leased a transponder on Satcom 1 and began transmission of television programs via satellite to cable systems. Owners of cable systems paid $10,000 to install 3-meter dishes to receive TV signals in C-band. In 1976 Taylor Howard built an amateur system, which consisted of a converted military surplus radar dish and a satellite receiver designed and built by Howard, for home satellite reception. Taylor’s system could be used for receiving TV programs both from American and Soviet communication satellites. In 1977 Pat Robertson launched the first satellite-delivered basic cable service called the CBN Cable Network. In 1979, the Satellite Home Viewers Act allowed homeowners in the US to own and operate their own home satellite system, consisting of C-band equipment from a multitude of manufacturers who were making parts for systems such as Taylor Howard’s, and began a large controversy of which channels could be received by whom.

USSB was a direct-to-home service founded in 1981. In the early 1990s they partnered with Hughes and continued operation until purchased in 1998 by DirecTV.

In 1991 Primestar launched as the first North American DBS service. Hughes DirecTV, the first national high-powered upper Ku-band DBS system, went online in 1994. The DirecTV system became the new delivery vehicle for USSB. In 1996, EchoStar Dish Network went online in the United States and has gone on to similar success as DirecTV primary competitor. The AlphaStar service launched in 1996 and went into bankruptcy in 1997. Dominion Video Satellite Inc’s Sky Angel also went online in the United States in 1996 with its DBS service geared towards “faith and family”. Primestar sold its assets to Hughes in 1999 and switched from DBS to an IPTV platform.

In 2004, Cablevision Voom service went online, specifically catering to the emerging market of HDTV owners and aficionados, but folded in April 2005. The service xclusive high-definition channels were migrated to the Dish Network system. Commercial DBS services are the primary competition to cable television service, although the two types of service have significantly different regulatory requirements (for example, cable television has public access requirements, and the two types of distribution have different regulations regarding carriage of local stations).

90cm multiple-LNA toroidal satellite dish

The majority of ethnic-language broadcasts in North America are carried on Ku band free-to-air. The largest concentration of ethnic programming is on Galaxy 19 at 97 W. Pittsburgh International Telecommunications and GlobeCast World TV offers a mix of free and pay-TV ethnic channels in the internationally-standard DVB-S format, as do others. Home2US Communications Inc. also offers several ethnic channels on AMC-4 at 101 W, as well as other free and pay-TV channels. Several U.S.-English language network affiliates (representing CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS, FOX, the CW (formerly the WB and UPN), ION Network and MyNetworkTV) are available as free-to-air broadcasts, as are the three U.S.-Spanish language networks (Univisin, Telefutura and Telemundo). The number of free-to-air specialty channels is otherwise rather limited. Specific FTA offerings tend to appear and disappear rather often and typically with little or no notice, although sites such as LyngSat do track the changing availability of both free and pay channels worldwide.

On October 7, 2009, NAB TV Board chair Paul Karpowicz planned to testify before the Senate Communications Subcommittee that broadcasters would be willing to allow subscribers of distant signals to continue to do so even if the digital transition resulted in those subscribers receiving stations that they could not before. The NAB did oppose offering new distant signals if a digital signal was available. The Satellite TV Modernization Act had to be passed by the end of 2009. The House bill also allowed Dish Network to offer distant signals. On November 5, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy said he hoped for a “short-time agreement” on the bill passed out of committee September 24. If the Senate approves, the House will have to approve the bill, and if the two versions cannot be reconciled, the license to import signals that expires at the end of the year could be extended. The House version included an agreement with Echostar that, where possible, all 210 markets could receive signals, and Echostar could once again deliver distant signals.

The Senate Commerce Committee approved a version of the bill on November 19, without an amendment requiring local signals in all markets in three years, though a study would be conducted on why 30 markets still had a problem. Before Senate approval, the two versions of the bill will have to be reconciled; the Judiciary Committee had a short market fix, while the Commerce committee bill required PBS in HD sooner.

The House approved the Satellite Home Viewer Reauthorization Act December 3. It included both the House Commerce Committee and House Judiciary Committee versions and renewed the ability to use distant signals for five years, allowed Dish Network to offer distant signals again, and required 28 markets to receive signals not available locally. The bill also dealt with some copyright issues and required Dish Network to offer HD noncommercial signals by 2011 instead of 2013.

One potential problem: determining who cannot receive a signal is still based on analog rather than digital TV.

On February 11, 2010, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the satellite reauthorization was part of a jobs bill. Rick Boucher, House chairman for communications and the Internet, believed the bill would pass. The deadline is March, since it has been extended 60 days.

Canada

Currently, there are two primary satellite television providers of subscription based service available to Canadians consumers: Bell TV and Shaw Direct.The CRTC has refused to license American satellite services, but nonetheless hundreds of thousands (up to a million by some estimates) of Canadians access or have accessed American services usually these services have to be billed to an American address and are paid for in U.S. dollars, although some viewers receive American signals through pirate decryption. Whether such activity is grey market or black market is the source of often heated debate between those who would like greater choice and those who argue that the protection of Canadian firms and Canadian culture is more important. In October 2004, Quebec judge Danile Ct ruled Canada’s Radiocommunication Act to be in direct violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, insofar as it bans reception of unlicensed foreign television services. The judgment gave the federal government a one-year deadline to remedy this breach of the Constitution. However, this contradicts prior Supreme Court of Canada decisions and, at last word in late 2004, was expected to be appealed.[citation needed] In addition, Canadian satellite providers continue to be plagued by the unquestionably black market devices which “pirate” or “steal” their signals as well as by a number of otherwise completely lawful devices which can be reprogrammed to receive pirate TV. Although there are no official statistics, the use of American satellite services in Canada appears to be declining as of 2004 Some would claim that this is probably due to a combination of increasingly aggressive police enforcement and an unfavourable exchange rate between the Canadian and U.S. currencies. As the U.S. dollar has been declining as of 2005 versus other international currencies, the decline in DirecTV viewership in Canada may well be related not to a cost difference as much as to the series of smart card swaps which have rendered the first three generations of DirecTV access cards (F, H and HU) all obsolete.

Latin America

Latin America main satellite system are SKY Latin America, which has approximately 1.4 million subscribers in each of Brazil and Mexico and DirecTV Latin America, which provides service to the rest of the Americas, with a total of approximately 1.3 million subscribers. Pay-TV is not popular among Latin Americans because fees are expensive in PPP terms.

The service offered in Brazil includes Digital TV with full Dolby Digital surround support, mts and multiple subtitle options, a first for the Brazilian market. A recent update to Sky’s services in Brazil is Sky+ which allows the customer to record a program while watching another one and also Sky HD which currently provides up to 29 high definition channels. Services are however relatively expensive, therefore market penetration is still limited.

Asia

Bangladesh

There are several satellite providers in Bangladesh. The main ones are listed below: – – # Bangla Vision – # NTV – # RTV – # ATN Bangla – # Channel I – # Channel 1 – # KASTURI – # DD – # Boishaki TV – # ETV – # DESH TV – # Diganta Television – # Islamic TV – # STVUS –

Kazakhstan

The first salellite TV channel in Kazakstan, CaspioNet, was launched by the Khabar news agency in 2002.

Malaysia

Astro’s “mini-dish”.

Malaysia’s sole satellite television operator, Measat Broadcast Network Systems (a subsidiary of Astro All Asia Networks plc) launched Astro in 1996. It currently holds exclusive rights from the Malaysian government to offer satellite television broadcasting services in the country through the year 2017.

Japan

The medium-scale Broadcasting Satellite for Experimental Purposes (BSE) was planned by Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (MOPT) and developed by the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA) since 1974. After that, the first Japanese experimental broadcasting satellite, called BSE or Yuri, was launched in 1978. NHK started experimental broadcasting of TV program using BS-2a satellite on May, 1984. The satellite BS-2a was launched in preparation for the start of full scale 2-channel broadcasts. Broadcasting Satellite BS-2a was the first national DBS (direct broadcasting satellite), transmitting signals directly into the home of TV viewers. Attitude control of the satellite was conducted using the 3 axial method (zero momentum), and design life was 5 years. The TV transponder units are designed to sufficiently amplify transmitted signals to enable reception by small, 40 or 60 cm home-use parabolic antennas. The satellite was equipped with 3 TV transponders (including reserve units). However, one transponder malfunctioned 2 months after launch (March 23, 1984) and a second transponder malfunctioned 3 months after launch (May 3, 1984). So, the scheduled satellite broadcasting had to be hastily adjusted to test broadcasting on a single channel. Later, NHK started regular service (NTSC) and experimental HDTV broadcasting using BS-2b on June, 1989. Some Japanese producers of home electronic consumer devices began to deliver TVsets, VCRs and even home acoustic systems equipped by built-in satellite tuners or receivers. Such electronic goods had a specific BS logo. On April, 1991, Japanese company JSB started pay TV service while BS-3 communication satellite was in use. In 1996 total number of households that receive satellite broadcasting exceeded 10 million. The modern two satellite systems in use in Japan are BSAT and JCSAT; the modern WOWOW Broadcasting Satellite digital service uses BSAT satellites, while other system of digital TV broadcasting SKY PerfecTV! uses JCSAT satellites.

Pakistan

In the recent years, there has been a lot of investment in television industry in Pakistan. There are more than 90 Satellite channels operating directly inside Pakistan and about 40 operating their broadcasting from Dubai, Thailand, Bangkok and UK.[citation needed]

Philippines

Dream Satellite TV is pay DTH service of Philippine Multimedia Service Inc. (PMSI)

Cignal Digital TV is pay DTH service of Mediascape Inc.

G Sat is pay DTH service of FUBC.

Thailand

See also: TrueVisions

and Media in Thailand

TrueVisions is the leading pay TV service of Thailand which operate cable TV in Bangkok and satellite TV across the country. TrueVisions is owned by True Corporation. VIet Nam sat is just launched in 4/2008 and GMM Grammy is the second pay TV service of Thailand

Australasia

Australia

Satellite television in Australia has proven to be a far more feasible option than cable television, due to the vast distances between population centres. The first service to come online in Australia was Galaxy, which was later taken over by Cable Television giant Foxtel, which now operates both cable and satellite services to all state capital cities (except Darwin and Hobart) and the whole of Western Australia. Its main metropolitan rival was Optus Vision, while rural areas are served by Austar, both of which just rebroadcast Foxtel as of 2005. In 2006 SelecTV began operating, aiming at providing comparatively low cost packages and catering to specialised market segments.

New Zealand

In New Zealand, SKY Network Television offers multichannel digital satellite TV, in addition to its non-digital terrestrial UHF service. The newly released Freeview service is also available on the Optus D1 satellite, as well as a High Definition digital terrestrial service.

Europe

Continental Western Europe

In Europe, DBS satellite services are found mainly on Astra satellites and Hotbird (operated by Eutelsat.) BSkyB (known as Sky) serves the UK. SKY Italia, Canal Digitaal and UPC being the main providers in Italy, the Netherlands and Central Europe.

The overall market share of DBS satellite services in 2004 was 21.4% of all TV homes, however this highly varies from country to country. For example, in Germany, with many free-to-air TV-stations, DBS market share is almost 40%, and in Belgium and the Netherlands, it only about 7%, due to the widespread cable networks with exclusive content.

Russian Federation

The first Soviet communication satellite, called Molniya (, or “Lightning”), was launched in 1965. By November, 1967 the national system of satellite television, called Orbita was deployed. The system consisted of 3 highly elliptical Molniya satellites, Moscow-based ground uplink facilities and about 20 downlink stations, located in cities and towns of remote regions of Siberia and Far East. Each station had a 12-meter receiving parabolic antenna and transmitters for re-broadcasting TV signal to local householders.

However, a large part of Soviet central regions were still not covered by transponders of Molniya satellites. By 1976 Soviet engineers developed a relatively simple and inexpensive system of satellite television (especially for Central and Northern Siberia). It included geostationary satellites called Ekran equipped with powerful 300 W UHF transponders, a broadcasting uplink station and various simple receiving stations located in various towns and villages of Siberian region. The typical receiving station, also called Ekran, represented itself as a home-use analog satellite receiver equipped with simple Yagi-Uda antenna. Later, Ekran satellites were replaced by more advanced Ekran-M series satellites.

In 1979 Soviet engineers developed Moskva (or Moscow) system of broadcasting and delivering of TV signal via satellites. New type of geostationary communication satellites, called Gorizont, were launched. They were equipped by powerful onboard transponders, so the size of receiving parabolic antennas of downlink stations was reduced to 4 and 2.5 meters (in comparison of early 12- meter dishes of standard orbital downlink stations).

By 1989 an improved version of Moskva system of satellite television has been called Moskva Global’naya (or Moscow Global). The system included a few geostationary Gorizont and Express type of communication satellites. TV signal from Moscow Global satellites could be received in any country of planet except Canada and North-West of the USA.

Modern Russian satellite broadcasting services based on powerful geostationary buses such as Gals, Express, Yamal and Eutelsat which provide a large quantity of free-to-air television channels to millions of householders. Pay-TV is growing in popularity amongst Russian TV viewers. The NTV Russia news company, owned by Gazprom, broadcasts the NTV Plus package to 560,000 households, reaching over 1.5 million viewers. –

United Kingdom and Ireland

Sky Digital “mini-dish”

The first commercial DBS service in the United Kingdom, Sky Television, was launched in 1989 and used the newly launched ASTRA satellite, providing 4 analogue TV channels. The channels and subsequent VideoCrypt video encryption system used the existing PAL broadcast standard. This gave Sky a distinct advantage over the winner of the UK state DBS licence, BSB.

In the following year, after many delays, BSB was launched, broadcasting five channels (Now, Galaxy, The Movie Channel, The Power Station and The Sports Channel) in D-MAC format and using the EuroCypher video encryption system which was based heavily on the General Instruments VideoCipher system used in the USA. While the BSB system was technologically more advanced than the PAL system and one of the main selling points of the BSB offering was the Squarial, an expensive flat plate antenna and LNB. Sky’s system used conventional and cheap dish and LNB technology.

The competition between the two companies was fierce and bidding wars over the UK rights to movies. Sky kept costs to a bare minimum, operating from an industrial park in Isleworth in West London. BSB had expensive offices in London (Marco Polo House). The two services subsequently merged to form British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) though the new BSkyB was really Sky. The technologically more advanced BSB D-MAC/EuroCypher system was gradually replaced with Sky’s VideoCrypt video encryption system.

In 1994 17% of the group was floated on the London Stock Exchange (with ADRs listed on the New York Stock Exchange), and Rupert Murdoch News Corporation owns a 35% stake.

By 1999, following the launch of several more satellites (at 19.2E by SES Astra, the number of channels had increased to around 60 and BSkyB launched the first subscription-based digital television platform in the UK, offering a range of 300 channels broadcast from the ASTRA satellites at 28.2E under the brand name Sky Digital. BSkyB analogue service was discontinued on 31st December 2001 and all customers have migrated to Sky Digital.

In May 2008, a free-to-air satellite service from the BBC and ITV was launched under the brand name Freesat, carrying a variety of channels, including some content in HD formats.

Nordic countries

The first satellite service specifically set to the Nordic region was TV3 which launched in 1987. With the launch of Astra 1A, getting the TV3 channel got easier. The first Nordic-specific satellite, Tele-X, was launched in 1989. The services directed at Scandinavia were then scattered among several satellites. In 1993, the former BSB satellites were bought by a Swedish and a Norwegian company, respectively. These two satellites were renamed Thor 1 and Sirius 1, moved to new positions and started broadcasting services intended for people in the Nordic region. With the launch of additional Thor and Sirius satellites later in the 1990s, Astra and other satellites were abandoned by the Nordic services with almost all Nordic satellite television migrating to the Sirius and Thor satellites.

Initially the basic channels were free-to-air. This caused several rights problems since viewers throughout Europe were able to see very much acquired English language programming as well as sports for free on the Nordic channels, although the channels only held broadcasting rights for specific countries. One way of avoiding that was to switch from PAL to the D2-MAC standard, hardly used anywhere outside the Nordic region. An unencrypted channel could still be seen in all the Nordic satellite homes, so eventually all channels went encrypted (several of them only being available in one country). There are two competing satellite services: Canal Digital (Norwegian Telenor) and Viasat (Kinnevik). Canal Digital launched in 1997 and was digital from the start, broadcasting from Thor. Kinnevik had been operating an analogue subscription service since the late 1980s, but waited until the year 2000 before launching a digital service. All analogue services from Thor and Sirius will have ceased in 2006, when the three remaining Danish channels go digital-only. The competition between Viasat and Canal Digital has caused some homes in Scandinavia to have to buy two set-top boxes and have two subscriptions to get the full range of channels. Viasat doesn’t provide their own channels (TV3, TV3+, ZTV, TV1000 and the Viasat-branded channels) on the Canal Digital platform. Canal Digital does however have exclusive distribution of channels from SBS Broadcasting, Discovery, TV2 Denmark and Eurosport; for several years the Swedish SVT and TV4 channels were also exclusive to Canal Digital.

Middle East & North Africa

The Middle East has a high penetration of homes receiving TV channels via DTH satellite. One of the pioneers of free-to-air digital satellite television is considered to be MBC, which began broadcasting in c band through Arabsat and is the first network in the world to offer a free-to-air Western based English language movie channel to the Middle East audience via its spinoff channel MBC 2. Its direct rival is considered to be Dubai, UAE based One TV, earlier called Channel 33, which was the first channel in the Middle East to provide English language general entertainment programming for the expatriate community.

Nourmina Channel is the first satellite channel owned by a Jordanian national of the private sector, which broadcasts on Nile Sat reluctantly 12303H, which covers all the Arab countries, Africa and most parts of Europe – The first digital DTH pay-TV network to provide indian Entertainment was Orbit Satellite Television and Radio Network broadcasting via Eurobird 2 (Ku band), later on Showtime Arabia a joint venture between Viacom (21% stake) and KIPCO (79% stake) started broadcasting, via PanAmSat (C band), but later switched over to Nilesat (KU band). Arab Radio and Television Network(ART) now known as Arab Digital Distribution although a late comer, gained ground by broadcasting exclusive sports events. Most of the popular channels are transmitting from these satellites and orbital positions: Arabsat at 26E, AsiaSat at 100.5E and 105.5E, Eutelsat Hot Bird at 13E, Nilesat at 7W, and PanAmSat at 68.5E. + Currently, there are two primary satellite television providers of subscription based service available to Canadians consumers: Bell TV and Shaw Direct.

In Israel, Satellite TV services were introduced by YES! company, using Israeli based Amos (satellite).

See also

Satellite dish

Microwave antenna

Commercialization of space

FTA Receiver

Molniya orbit

References

^ Robertson, Lloyd (1972-11-09). “Anik A1 launching: bridging the gap”. CBC English TV. http://archives.cbc.ca/500f.asp?id=1-75-92-594. Retrieved 2007-01-25. 

^ BBC News: Country profile: Sudan. Page last updated at 13:38 GMT, Wednesday, 18 June 2008 14:38 UK. Accessed July 13, 2008.

^ LyngSat tracking

^ Eggerton, John (2009-10-06). “NAB Won’t Oppose Some Grandfathering Of Distant Signals”. Broadcasting & Cable. http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/356999-NAB_Won_t_Oppose_Some_Grandfathering_Of_Distant_Signals.php?rssid=20068&q=digital+tv. Retrieved 2009-10-09. 

^ Eggerton, John (2009-11-05). “Leahy Looks for ‘Short-Time’ Agreement on Satellite Reauthorization”. Broadcasting & Cable. http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/382942-Leahy_Looks_for_Short_Time_Agreement_on_Satellite_Reauthorization.php?rssid=20068&q=digital+tv. Retrieved 2009-11-10. 

^ Eggerton, John (2009-11-19). “Senate Passes Satellite Reauthorization Bill”. Broadcasting & Cable. http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/389824-Senate_Passes_Satellite_Reauthorization_Bill.php?rssid=20068&q=digital+tv. Retrieved 2009-11-20. 

^ Eggerton, John (2009-12-03). “SHVRA Passes Convincingly in House”. Broadcasting & Cable. http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/417629-SHVRA_Passes_Convincingly_in_House.php?rssid=20065&q=digital+tv. Retrieved 2009-12-03. 

^ Eggerton, John (2009-12-15). “Satellite Bill Extension Said To Be On Table In House”. Broadcasting & Cable. http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/440498-Satellite_Bill_Extension_Said_To_Be_On_Table_In_House.php?rssid=20103&q=digital+tv. Retrieved 2009-12-17. 

^ Eggerton, John (2010-02-11). “Senate Version of Satellite Bill Hits Hill”. Broadcasting & Cable. http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/448896-Senate_Version_of_Satellite_Bill_Hits_Hill.php?rssid=20068&q=digital+tv. Retrieved 2010-02-25. 

^ “CTV.ca | Lawsuit targets grey market satellite dealers”. Ctv.ca. Updated Mon. Oct. 21 2002 8:46 PM ET. http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/1035231116797_30640316//. Retrieved 2008-09-06. 

^ “Broadband TV News | Central and East Europe | Home”. Broadbandtvnews.com. http://www.broadbandtvnews.com/archive_cen/240306.html. Retrieved 2008-09-06. 

External links

Lyngemark Satellite Charts

Worldwide satellite locations and feed information, available in a wide variety of languages

Upcoming Satellites

Satellite XML Generator

SES Astra interactive fleet map

SES Astra channel guide

Satellite-TV/TVRO/ C-Band FAQ List

Linowsat PID-Lists and Videobitrate Charts

Satellite and Digital Broadcasting

Steve Birkill’s History of C-Band and Early Satellite TV

Mark Long’s Russian Statsionar Satellite Systems

Online Satellite Calculations

Online Satellite Finder Based on Google Maps

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Cable, satellite and other specialty television providers

Cable

television

Asianet Cable Vision  Adams Cable  Adelphia  Airtel Digital Tv  Armstrong Telephone Company  Atlantic Broadband  Austar  Bright House Networks  Buckeye CableSystem  Cablelink  CableOne  Cable TV Hong Kong  Cable TV Wakasa Obama (Japan)  Cablevision (U.S.)  Cablevision (Canada)  Canal Digital  Champion Broadband  Charter  Cogeco  Columbus Communications  Comcast  Com Hem  Cox  DartyBox  EastLink  EMBARQ  ER-Telecom (Russia)  Fastweb (Italy)  First Media  Foxtel  GCI  Global Destiny  Globosat  GUdTV (Guam)  Hathway  Hot  IndosatM2  Insight  Kabel Deutschland  Knology  Kujtesa  MASTV  MC Cable  MCV Broadband  Mediacom  MetroCast Cablevision   Midcontinent Communications  Millennium Digital Media  Neighbourhood Cable  Net Brasil  Ono  Optus  Persona  Qwest Choice TV  RCS&RDS  RCN  Rogers  Satview Broadband Ltd  Service Electric  SkyCable  Shaw  Smallworld  StarHub TV  Suddenlink  TDC  Tele2  Tele Columbus (Germany)  Telenet (Belgium)  TelkomVision  TelstraClear InHomeTV  Time Warner  TransACT  TrueVisions  Turksat Kablo  TV Cabo  TVTEL  UCS  UPC Ireland  UPC Netherlands  UPC Romania  Uralsvyazinform (Russia)  Vidotron  Virgin Media  WOW!  WightCable  Ziggo 

Satellite

television

AB Sat  Airtel Digital Tv  AlphaStar  Arab Digital Distribution  ART  Astro  Astro Nusantara  Austar  Bell TV  BIG TV  Boom TV  CanalDigitaal  Canal Digital  CanalSat  CanalSat Caldonie  CanalSat Carabes  CanalSat Horizon  CanalSat Reunion  CaspioNet  Cyfra+  D-smart  DD Direct Plus  DialogTV  Digi TV  Digit-Alb  Digital+  Digiturk  DirecTV  Dish Network  Dish TV  Dolce  Dream  DStv  Euro1080  Focus Sat  Foxtel  freesat  Freesat from Sky  Freeview (NZ)  GlobeCast World TV  Globosat  Glorystar  HiTV  Home2US  Indovision  Kristal-Astro  Max TV  MBC (Middle East)   N (Poland)  NOVA Cyprus  NOVA Greece  NTV Plus  Sky Deutschland  Orbit Showtime Network  PrimeStar  SelecTV  Shaw Direct  Sky Digital  SKY Italia  Sky Latin America   SkyLife  Sky PerfecTV!  SKY TV (NZ)  STAR Select  STAR TV  Sun TV  Tata Sky  Tiv Sat  TPS  TelkomVision  TrueVisions  TV Cabo  TV Vlaanderen Digitaal  TVTEL  UBI World TV  USSB  Viasat  Viasat Ukraine  Voom  WOWOW  Yes

IPTV

Alice Home TV (Italy)  Beeline (Russia)  Belgacom  BSNL  Bell Aliant TV  BT Vision  Canal Digital  Clix  Crnogorski Telekom  DartyBox  Deutsche Telekom (T-Home)  Elioni DTV (Estonia)  Fastweb (Italy)  Fine TV  Free  Freewire TV   hanaTV (Korea)  Imagenio  iNES  Infostrada TV (Italy)  KPN  La Tl des P&T (Luxembourg)  Maroc Telecom TV (Morocco)  mio TV  MTNL  Neuf  now TV  Orange  Portugal Telecom (Meo)  Sky Angel  ShqipTV  T-com Hrvatska  T-Home Macedonia  TalkTalk TV  Tele2  Telefnica  TeliaSonera  Telus TV  Tiscali TV (Italy)  TPG IPTV  TrueIPTV (Thailand)  TVCatchup  U-verse  VDC  Viasat

Terrestrial

television

Boxer (Sweden)  Cablevision (Lebanon)  Doordarshan  Freeview (Australia)  Freeview (NZ)  Freeview (UK)  KPN (Netherlands)  La 7 Cartapi (Italy)  Mediaset Premium (Italy)  MiTV  Multi-Choice TV (Barbados)  Pakistan Television Corporation  PlusTV (Finland)  RiksTV (Norway)  Sky Picnic  Tlvision Numrique Terrestre (France)  Top Up TV  Televiso Digital Terrestre (Portugal)

Fiber-Optic

TVTEL   Verizon FiOS  at&t  meo fibra

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Wireless video and data distribution methods

Advanced Wireless Services  Amateur television  Analog television  Digital radio  Digital television  Digital television in Europe  Digital terrestrial television (DTT or DTTV) 

Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB): Terrestrial – Satellite – Handheld  Multipoint Video Distribution System (MVDS or DVB-MS)  HomeRF  Instructional Television Fixed Service (ITFS) now known as Educational Broadband Service (EBS)  Ku band  Local Multipoint Distribution Service (LMDS)  Microwave  Mobile broadband  Mobile TV  Mobile WiMAX (IEEE 802.16e)  Mobile broadband wireless access (IEEE 802.20)  Multichannel Multipoint Distribution Service (MMDS) now known as Business Radio Service (BRS)  MVDS  MVDDS  Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (3G MMMS)  Satellite Internet access  Satellite radio  Satellite television  UWB (IEEE 802.15.3)  Visual sensor network  Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11)  WiMAX (IEEE 802.20)  WRAN (IEEE 802.22)  Wireless local loop (WLL)  Wireless broadband  Wireless USB  3GPP Long Term Evolution (LTE) 

4G

v  d  e

Satellite communication

Main articles

Satellite television  Satellite radio  Relay satellite  Transponder  Satellite Internet access  List of communications satellite firsts  List of communication satellite companies  Earth station  more…

Hardware

Satellite dish  Satellite modem  Very small aperture terminal  Satellite phone

Satellite radio/TV

DVB-SH  S-DMB  DVB-RCS  DVB-S2  Digital Audio Radio Service  more sat radio…  more sat tv…

Broadcast radio/tv companies

Astra Digital Radio  1worldspace  Sirius Satellite Radio  Sirius XM Radio  XM Satellite Radio  Dish Network  DirecTV  AfriStar  Sky Television plc

Relay satellite companies

Inmarsat  SES Astra  Eutelsat  Thales Alenia Space  EADS Astrium  Arianespace  Boeing  Lockheed Martin  SED Systems  Tooway  Viasat  Globalstar

Trade organizations

ETSI Satellite Digital Radio  Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems

See also: Category:Communications satellites

Categories: Satellite television | Broadcasting | Satellite ground stationsHidden categories: Articles with weasel words from March 2009 | Articles with unsourced statements from December 2009 | All articles with unsourced statements | Article sections to be split from April 2009 | Articles to be split from April 2009 | All articles to be split | Articles with unsourced statements from February 2007 | Articles with unsourced statements from April 2008

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