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In 1945, Arthur C. Clarke pointed out that an orbiting satellite at an altitude of 22,000 miles would revolve around the earth with the same period as the earth rotates on its axis, thereby remaining above a fixed point on the earth’s surface, and so could be used as a transmitting TV station. Since then there have been marvelous developments and there are many different uses for satellite technology. In television, satellite is the easiest way to transmit a large number of services and thus a wide range of choices across a wide region, thereby overcoming the need for the complex infrastructure of transmitters that a terrestrial network needs to broadcast its signals throughout a country.
By and large, the technological principles of satellite television offer instant and almost total coverage within its footprint, giving it an advantage over both terrestrial and cable television. A coded (‘scrambled’) signal carrying the television programs is beamed from an earth station via a large dish (9 to 12 meters in diameter) up to the satellite, where it is amplified and retransmitted toward the earth to individual consumers. At the earth reception level, satellite television requires the installation of a dish and a ‘set-box’ to decode the incoming signal.
Satellite television is affected by the convergence and digitalization of the media communication technologies since it can be connected by various types of new television services such as Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) as well as to provide access to basic broadband around the world (Informa Telecoms & Media 2012). According to the Satellite Industry Association (2012), overall worldwide satellite industry revenue growth was 5 percent in 2011, equaling the 5 percent growth rate in 2010. More precisely, satellite services revenues grew by 6 percent, led by a steady increase in Direct-to-Home Television (DTH) subscribers, particularly in emerging markets (Satellite Industry Association 2012).
- Informa Telecoms & Media (2012). The future of TV: Strategies for becoming connected, social and in the cloud. London: Informa Telecoms & Media.
- Papathanassopoulos, S. (2002). European television in the digital age: Trends, realities and issues. Cambridge: Polity.
- Satellite Industry Association (2012). State of the satellite industry report. Futron analysis; All data current as of May 2012. Washington, DC: Futron Corporation.