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How Does Satellite TV Work - Satellite TV Simplified What is satellite TV and how does satellite TV work? Satellite TV is a television system whereby a broadcast center sends a program signal to a satellite in a stationary orbit above the earth. The satellite sends the signal back down to earth where it is picked up by a satellite dish, converted to a TV picture by a receiver, and displayed on a TV screen. What is a TV satellite? A satellite is a large electronic device that hovers in a stationary orbit 22,300 miles above the earth. It's function is to capture the signals being broadcast from satellite TV centers and beam them back down to earth. The reason satellites are necessary for large-scale broadcasts is that satellite TV providers use radio waves to broadcast programs. Radio waves can only travel in a straight line and a satellite TV signal can only be captured by an antenna that's directly in line with that signal. A satellite broadcasts a signal from overhead in the sky thereby avoiding buildings, trees, and other obstructions that would block the signal. What does a satellite TV dish do? The purpose of a satellite dish is to capture the signal sent to earth from a satellite. The dish is curved so it can focus the signal on the feed horn that sits in front of the dish. The feed horn sends the signal to an LNB (low noise block) converter which converts the signal and sends it to a receiver. How do satellite TV receivers work? The satellite TV receiver is the electronic box that sits next to your TV and allows you to change the satellite TV channels. The receiver decodes the satellite signal, converts it into audio and video signals, then sends it to your TV. In addition to regular receivers, DISH Network and DIRECTV also have DVR (digital video recorder) receivers that allow you to record your favorite programs, and HDTV receivers that allow you to watch satellite TV in high definition. Where does satellite TV programming come from? The major satellite TV providers - DISH Network and DIRECTV - pay networks like ABC, CNN, and HBO for the rights to their programming. The networks send their programs to a DISH Network or DIRECTV broadcast center which in turn sends the programs up to a satellite. Where can I get satellite TV? Satellite TV is available from three satellite TV providers in the U.S. - DISH Network, DIRECTV, and Sky Angel. * DISH Network offer 350 channels of satellite TV programming and 60 Sirius satellite radio channels with prices starting a $19.99 a month. Their satellite TV system - the dish and receivers - is free when you order a program package and includes free installation plus instructions from an installer on how to operate your system. * DIRECTV offers 250 channels of satellite TV programming and 67 XM satellite radio channels with prices starting at $29.99 a month. Their satellite TV system is also free when you order one of their packages and comes with free installation and free operation instructions. * Sky Angel is a Christian broadcast service that offers 20 satellite TV channels and 16 satellite radio channels. Their system costs $149 for one dish, one receiver, and one remote. Installation, which includes operation instructions, varies from $99 to $199. The author, Brian Stevens, is the senior editor for TheSatelliteTVGuide.com and has written a number of articles on how satellite TV works. © 2006 TheSatelliteTVGuide.com
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