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Technology of satellite television
Direct broadcast via satellite
Television receive-only
Early history of satellite television
Beginning of the satellite TV industry
TVRO/C-band satellite era
1990s to present of satellite television
History of Freesat
Video on demand
Reception equipment of satellite television
Technical details of satellite television



Satellite television


Satellite television is a service that delivers television programming to viewers by relaying it from a communications satellite orbiting the Earth directly to the viewer's location. The signals are received via an outdoor parabolic antenna commonly referred to as a satellite dish and a low-noise block downconverter.

A satellite receiver then decodes the desired television programme for viewing on a television set. Receivers can be external set-top boxes, or a built-in television tuner. Satellite television provides a wide range of channels and services. It is usually the only television available in many remote geographic areas without terrestrial television or cable television service.

Modern systems signals are relayed from a communications satellite on the Ku band frequencies (1218 GHz) requiring only a small dish less than a meter in diameter. The first satellite TV systems were an obsolete type now known as television receive-only. These systems received weaker analog signals transmitted in the C-band (48 GHz) from FSS type satellites, requiring the use of large 23-meter dishes. Consequently, these systems were nicknamed "big dish" systems, and were more expensive and less popular.

Early systems used analog signals, but modern ones use digital signals which allow transmission of the modern television standard high-definition television, due to the significantly improved spectral efficiency of digital broadcasting. As of 2018, Star One C2 from Brazil is the only remaining satellite broadcasting in analog signals, as well as one channel (C-SPAN) on AMC-11 from the United States.

Different receivers are required for the two types. Some transmissions and channels are unencrypted and therefore free-to-air or free-to-view, while many other channels are transmitted with encryption (pay television), requiring the viewer to subscribe and pay a monthly fee to receive the programming.

Satellite TV is being affected by the cord-cutting trend where people are shifting towards internet based streaming television.


Freesat

Freesat is a British free-to-air satellite television service, provided by joint venture between the BBC and ITV plc. The service was formed as a memorandum in 2007 and has been marketed since 6 May 2008. Freesat offers a satellite alternative to the Freeview service on digital terrestrial television, with a broadly similar selection of channels available without subscription for users purchasing a receiver.

The service also makes use of the additional capacity available on satellite broadcasting to offer a selection of 17 (as of October 2018) high-definition channels from the BBC, ITV, Channel 5, Arirang TV, Bloomberg, Daystar, Discovery Networks, France 24, NHK, RT UK and TRT World.

Freesat's main competitors are Freeview, Freesat from Sky, Virgin Media and BT. TalkTalk also offer a YouView service (with Channel 4HD and All 4 catch up).