Satellite -vs- Cable TV
By David – K3DAV
Fans of both satellite and cable TV have been arguing for a long time over which is better. Which provides the better picture and sound? Which provides better high definition pictures? Which is more reliable? Which has more choices? Fans of satellite TV will argue that they have had both, and satellite is better. Then you have the cable TV fans that argue they have had both, and cable is better. So which fans are telling the truth, and which fans are just convinced that their choice is better. I hope to dispel the myths about both provider systems. By the way, we will talk about FiOS a bit later.
Satellite TV has been around for many years. Long before DirecTV and DISH hit the market, broadcasters (NBC, ABC, CBS….) and cable companies have been receiving programming (HBO, CNN, ESPN….) by satellite. Satellites are mostly located 22,000 miles in space, in geostationary orbits above the equator. This means as the earth turns, the satellite orbits the earth at a speed that keeps them above the same spot over the equator at all times.
This is done by a ground station that watches and controls the satellite to maintain it’s position. If a satellite begins to change it’s orbital path, the ground station steers it back where it belongs. The reason for being 22,000 miles above the equator is, the satellite can use a wide dispersion dish antenna to beam a signal wide enough to cover the entire country with an equal signal. Also there are no obstructions in space to interfere with the signal. The only obstructions are found within our atmosphere such as water and polution in the air.
Satellite TV has grown into a provider of service to your home like cable TV has done for many years. DirecTV went online as a 100% digital service before digital TV became the standard. A set-top box and an 18 inch dish receives the signals from the satellite, and convert it to your analog TV. DirecTV and DISH network use frequencies in the Ka and Ku bands. Usually around 11 to 30 Gigahertz.
Here is how it works
Stations like HBO, CNN, ESPN and most channels send their programming from their studios digitally to a satellite. DirecTV, Dish network, and cable TV all pick up those channels from the satellite, and prepare them for delivery to your home through enhancement electronics and low power transmitters to put the signal on the cable, or up to a satellite.