In the year 1992, the Federal communications commission (FCC), allotted the spectrum of 2.3 GHz, known as 'S band', for broadcasting a satellite-based radio service. This service is called digital audio radio service (DARS). Satellite radios are available according to your needs, in cars, at homes, and as a plug and play utility. They come in compact shapes and require separate accessory kits for operating them in cars, home, or at any other place.
Satellite radio is an emerging radio technology. Its working is similar to that of cable TV, where you have to subscribe and pay a monthly fee for the service. It provides unparalleled program variety, including hip-hop, rock, country, jazz, classical, Latin, Christian, and pop music channels.
Portable satellite radios have a base station on the Earth. From this base station, music, talk shows, news, and commentary of a game, are transmitted to the satellite, which then transmits the signal to the intended continent. The stations broadcast digital signals to portable sets and this broadcast is available anywhere with high clarity. Commercial breaks are eliminated and instead, a monthly subscription fee is levied on the listeners. These stations use geostationary satellites that provide signal to the receiver unit on the earth. These receiver units provide service to the subscriber's set. The receiver units buffer the signals that they receive. If a signal is lost, the repeaters retransmit the signal, and a continuous signal is made available.
The portable sets receive meta data along with the actual information. That is, a song is broadcast along with the title, artist, name of the program, and name of the channel that plays the song. It has the facility of recording a certain program or sports commentary, so that you can listen to it when you have time. During a major natural calamity, the satellite stations can work without failure and continuously provide exact information about the calamity.
Traditional radio has the biggest disadvantage of commercial breaks. Usually, stations are flipped by users, to avoid the commercial breaks. Satellite radio removes this drawback, as it has no commercial breaks. Also, the transmission is digital, which ensures a clear sound quality.
Laptop computers can also play satellite radio. Also, a subscription provides you with access to 120 channels. Any traditional station does not provide this facility. The coverage provided is for a whole continent and is not restricted to a particular city.
Many people do not prefer a portable satellite radio because of its one time activation charge along with the monthly subscription fee. Also, it requires a different receiver and does not broadcast the traditional stations. Nevertheless, its popularity is increasing day by day. The diversity of programs on offer and portability, are the major reasons that contribute to its success.