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How Does Satellite TV Work?

Posted by Ashley Wiglesworth on

Satellite TV is an alternative to cable, and it works by sending video and audio signals from station on Earth to satellites in orbit. These geostationary (meaning they stay over the same location on the ground below at all times) satellites then broad cast the signal to your dish, which sends the signal to your TV. That is the really short answer; let's go into a little more detail.

How is the Content Delivered?

The programming we love to watch comes from two primary source, the national channels like HBO, Starz, and CNN, and the local channels which include affiliates of ABC, NBC, and more. Broadcast centers like DIRECTV and DISH receive and send signals to the satellites above the Earth. They then convert the local programming the received to a digital format before sending it out into space.

The satellites receive  the signals, process the information, and then rebroadcast it back to individual dishes in our homes on Earth. Once your antenna gets the signal it sends it to a receiver either within the TV, or a receiver box attached to the TV by HDMI cables. Your TV then displays the signal it's receiving.

Digital Satellite TV

In recent years, analog satellite TV has given way to digital TV. Being able to encode the information digitally makes it possible for broadcasters to provide a greater number of channels on the same amount of bandwidth as before.

Compressing and encoded the data digitally also means that we can not only watch our shows in the standard resolutions, but now more programs come in HDTV (High Definition TV). Digitally broadcast TV shows usually have a much better picture and sound quality.

Can I Get Satellite TV at my Home?

your local service provider can come and do a survey of your home and property to confirm that you have an unobstructed view of the sky. Anything that might get in the way of the radio signal that is used to broadcast the digital information will disrupt the signal and thus your favorite shows.

To use satellite TV, you will need to have a satellite dish attached to your home, usually on the roof. Your local professionals will let you know the best place to mount the dish. You must have the right location to ensure the correct line of site for the best possible signal.

If you are a renter or you live in a community with a Home Owner's Association (HOA), we highly recommend doing your due diligence. Check the regulations prior to installing a dish on your home. Some landlords and HOAs have strict rules regarding ownership of the dish and installation locations.


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