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Satellite TV Usage

Categories of usage
There are three chief forms of satellite television usage: reception direct to the viewer (including direct broadcast satellite (DBS) and television receive-only/ TVRO, both for home or business usage), reception by local television affiliates, or reception by headends for distribution across terrestrial cable systems.

Direct broadcast via satellite “Direct broadcast satellite” can either refer to the communications satellites themselves that deliver DBS service or the authentic television service. DBS systems use the upper portion of the Ku band and are frequently referred to as "mini-dish" systems.

A way for networks to maneuver around legislation in some countries’ legal specifications on Ku-band transmissions, modified DBS systems can also run on C-band satellites.

DBS systems are predominantly based on proprietary transport stream encoding and/or encryption requiring proprietary reception equipment. Broadcasters sometimes license several manufacturers to supply equipment capable of receiving the proprietary streams. In this case, the equipment typically uses a smart card as a component of the decryption system or conditional access. This security measure guarantees satellite television providers that only authorized, paying subscribers have permission to Pay TV content but simultaneously allows free-to-air (FTA) channels to be received even by the people with standard equipment available in the market.

Television receive-only
Before there was a DTH satellite television broadcat industry, the term Television Receive Only (TVRO) was used to indicate and differentiate it from commercial satellite television uplink and downlink operations (transmit and receive). At this time in the history of satellite television communications, the channels transmitted were designated for cable television networks and not to be viewed in the private sector. TVRO systems are the dinosaurs of the satellite TV days, when, typically, one could see a large, over 10’ satellite parked on a lawn or backyard. For this reason, this technology is referred to as “big dish” satellite television.

TVRO systems have the technology to receive analog and digital satellite feeds of television and audo from both C-band and Ku-band transponders on FSS-type satellites. Higher frequency Ku-band systems have greater power transmissions and antenna gain and can be accessed as Direct To Home viewing using the smaller dish antenna.

TVRO systems have the propensity to use larger rather than smaller satellite dish antennas, and it is more likely that the owner of a TVRO system would have a C-band-only setup rather than a Ku band-only setup. Different types of digital satellite signal reception such as DVB/MPEG-2 and 4DTV can be accessed with additional receiver boxes in TVRO systems.

In the Middle East, Arab countries began to acquire their own satellite systems after the onset of the Gulf War and the subsequent coverage from international news agencies. The Egyptian Space Channel (ESC) began transmission at the end of 1990, the first in the Arab world.

Following this, in 1993, NILE TV and the Middle East Broadcasting Center (run by Saudi Arabians in London) sprang up. In 1994, Orbit Satellite was set up by a Saudi group in Rome and carries 24 tv and 24 radio networks.

In 1996, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. helped to set up the Phoenix Chinese Channel in Hong Kong in 1996. In 1999, Phoenix announced it reached almost 2 billion viewers in more than 30 Asian countries, including 47 million households in mainland China.

Al-Jazeera, a 20 Arab country strong satellite television network, beams its signal free of charge to most countries, provided the household procures a dish.

In India, STAR TV bought by Rupert Murdoch in 1993. In 1999, STAR TV claimed 19 million viewers in India. Additionally, in 1992, India launched Zee TV, the inaugural private Hindi-language satellite channel.