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The Origins of Satellite TV

Satellites, via satellite TV, GPS and weather forecasts, play a role in our everyday lives. From the early days in the 60s satellite technology has come a long way.

There is no doubt that Satellite TV is seen as the cutting edge of television these days, but what is surprising that it has actually been around for over 40 years.

The first satellite TV signal was transmitted from Europe to the Telestar satellite, which at the time was positioned over North America, in 1962. The following year saw the launch of the first geosynchronous communications satellite.

Satellites with geosynchronous orbits are crucial to the satellite TV technology. They orbit the Earth at a speed consistent with the Earth's rotation. Because of this, they stay in the same relative part of sky at all times, meaning that satellite TV customers must only position their satellite dishes once, and then need not worry further about finding a signal.

Intelsat I was the first commercial communications satellite, launched in 1965.

The First Provider

In 1967, Orbita was created in the Soviet Union, officially becoming the world's first satellite television provider. The technology made it's way to North America in 1972 and further spread throughout the world in the following years.

While the basic principles of satellite television have remained unchanged since those early days, refinements in the technology have made it far more viable as an alternative to cable.

Perhaps the most critical advance in satellite TV was the switch from analog signals to digital. An analog signal transmits information through variations in the strength of a signal.

A good way to think of an analog signal is to imagine a long rope with one end tied to a tree and the other end in your hand. If you snap the rope, you'll see the curved section moving from your hand to the tree.

An analog signal is much like that curved, moving section. Digital signals are comprised of ones and zeros. It is much harder to corrupt an digital signal compared to an analog signal.

When used for a technology that transmits signals across over 20,000 miles from the satellite to the receiver dish on your roof, having a stable signal is crucial.

The Advent of HD

Over the past few years, high definition television has proven itself to be the future of viewing. Cable companies have started to transmit some of their signals in high definition, however their overall capacity for high definition is determined by how much information can physically be transmitted along the actual cables.

Because it transmits signals through the airFree Web Content, Satellite TV isn't hindered by these restrictions.

Article Tags: Analog Signal, High Definition

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