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Satellite TV History

Whitney Alen

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Before satellite television, there were limited options for those who enjoyed watching television. However, in 1962, the first satellite television signal was received in Europe to the Telstar satellite over North America. From then on, satellites were created for communications and television purposes in the Soviet Union and Canada, as well as other areas of the world. By 1972, the first domestic North America satellite, Anik 1, was launched for television purposes.

Much of the history of satellite television is based on the available of current technology. From the beginning, each new satellite offered something in addition to what the others provided. For example, after Europe made history in satellite television with the first signal, the Soviet Union was the first in the world to create a commercial communication satellite. The next line of technology created domestic and experimental educational satellites and direct broadcasting satellites.

To best understand the history of satellite television, it is important to realize the nature in which satellite television signals work. High above the earth's equator, you will find that satellites will either have an elliptical or geostationary orbit.

Once the satellite is in orbit, an uplink facility that houses a large uplink satellite dish will start with an antenna that is used to transmit the signal with accuracy and strength to the satellite. Each uplink satellite dish is given a unique satellite direction and frequency range in which the receiving satellite will have transponders specifically tuned.

After the transponders receive the signal, they retransmit them back to Earth at a different frequency range to the downlink satellite, which is held at a receiving station. The change in frequency range is required to keep the signals which are going up to the satellite and down from the satellite from interfering.

The history of satellite TV is different for each region and each country in the world. For those who do not have access to cable television, satellite television is the only connection to information from around the world. In other countries, satellite television provides options for those who want more from their television.

Although many people may not realize the depth and range that satellite television provides, satellite networks can be found in various regions of Africa, the Middle East, Bangladesh and other areas of Asia, and more. They can also be found in North American countries like the United States and Canada, as well as the United Kingdom, Australia, and Russia.

Either way, satellite television plays an important part of giving direct access to television shows that are only provided on a cable or satellite level. Although many people must pay more for these shows, they provide access to channels of interest, like sports, news, and music, which are not always accessible on network channels.

In the history of satellite television, direct satellite reception by an individual viewer is just one of the ways in which satellites can be used. Local television affiliates and headends for reception distribution are the other type main types of use. Headends allow for delivery across terrestrial cable systems.

For more information about satellite TV or the programming options available for DIRECTV visit


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