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Satellite TV Receivers

Satellite TV Receivers

Satellite TV companies have now reached every nook and corner of the country. In this article we will study the working of satellite TV receivers, which are often provided free by the company.
Ashwini Kulkarni Sule
When satellite TVs were first launched, they were too much of a hassle. You had to buy a very large dish which would occupy considerable space in your yard. Setting up the various components of satellite TV was also a tedious task. Hence, most people preferred to have cable TV. However, satellite TV has evolved since then, so that the components have become more compact and less expensive. Programming source, the broadcast center, satellite, satellite dish and the receiver are the important components of a satellite TV. In this article, we will understand how a satellite TV works and also discuss the types of satellite TV receivers available.

Working of a Satellite TV

Satellite TV companies broadcast the digital content through a satellite. These satellites are launched in space at about 22 miles from earth. They are geosynchronous, meaning, they keep pace with the earth's speed of rotation. As a result, these satellites also complete one rotation in 24 hours. Prior to satellite TVs, information was broadcasted using a powerful TV antenna. Radio waves were transmitted through this antenna, which the small household antennae would pick up. The problem with this type of broadcast was that your antenna had to be in a linear site of transmission. Earth's curvature posed as an obstacle while transmitting signals over thousands of miles. This problem was eliminated when satellites were used for broadcasting.

Since, the satellites are geosynchronous, they are stationary when observed from earth. Also, their very high altitude eliminates the problems due to earth's curvature. The height also enables them to serve customers spread over a vast geographic expanse. Satellite TV companies pay the programming sources (e.g. TV channels like HBO, ESPN, CNBC, etc.) to allow them to broadcast their content. The programming content from various sources is encrypted in the broadcast center. Broadcast center then transmits this digital content to the satellite located in the sky with the help of a powerful dish. The satellite then retransmits this content to the individual dishes of subscribers. A satellite TV receiver decrypts this content and sends it to the TV set for actual viewing.

Types of Satellite TV Receivers

They are provided by the satellite TV provider, mostly free of charge. A Free to Air (FTA) satellite TV receiver allows you to legitimately watch thousands of unencrypted channels without subscribing to them. Mobile receivers allow you to receive program signals on your portable satellite TV, while you are traveling. Satellite TV receivers, usually come in three types, standard, DVR and HDTV. Standard receiver allows you to watch all regular programs without any enhanced features. Digital Video Recording (DVR) receiver allows you to record 100 hours of live programming. It also allows you to pause the live telecast, so that you can take a break to answer the door or grab food from your refrigerator. Besides, it also provides you the facility to fast forward through TV commercials. High Definition TV (HDTV) receiver offers you the best satellite TV picture quality possible.

As mentioned before, the receiver is provided for free as a bonus on your subscription. The exact number of receivers to be given for free is decided by the satellite TV company. The number of television sets in your home will also determine the receivers required. Some companies may provide you a separate receiver for every individual TV set. The receivers provided by these companies are mostly of standard type.

While buying a receiver on your own, do check its compatibility with your TV and service provider.