Satellite TV system Working idea

How Satellite TV system works? A Full DTH system

There is rapid advancement in technology, especially Information Technology within these 10 years. I remember the time when I used to run the internet speed of 8 kbps at my High School level & even slower than that. Mobile networks are just willing to come. Cell phones were the big dreams of big people. Lots of hassle & expense was there in putting our own dish for a few channels. Very few people were aware of Satellite TV.

Now it’s over, the Internet speed is, these days, as you demand. smartphones are hand to hand & cheap as well, Dish sizes are like a kitchen plates with hundreds of channels in HD quality.

Technology has changed the meaning of entertainment to the next generation.

Here today, we are going to discuss some basic concepts of Satellite TV: behind the technology.

Do you have any idea for, “how it works?” “What’s the idea behind that?”

Form the series of articles, little bit of research, I have collected the overall details on dish TV. While satellite TV may seem like a complicated technology, the system is quite easy to understand when you break it down into its components.

Quick Explanation of “How Satellite dish TV works”?

In Short, What is DTH?

DTH stands for Direct-To-Home. It refers to a digital satellite service that provides television channels direct to subscribers in any part of the country. Since it makes use of wireless technology, TV channels/programs are sent to the subscriber’s television direct from the satellite, with no need for cables or any cable infrastructure. It transmits its broadcasts via radio signals.

Surface Idea of Satellite TV system

The ultimate source of these radio signals are the broadcast stations. Satellites were launched in the space. They orbited the Earth at exactly the same speed as the Earth (7,000 mph or 11,000 kph), at a distance of 22,200 miles (meaning, they appeared to be “stationary” above the Earth, “hovering” over a certain point. So, the signals

How Satellite TV system works

(broadcasts) could be directed from the Earth to the satellites and continually engage them in receiving & transmissions of the signal.

“To receive these signals we have to be in ‘line of sight’. If the earth was perfectly flat, no curves at all, we could pick up broadcast TV signal thousands of miles from the source.”

So now on the ground, there is a need for an antenna to receive these broadcasters’ signals. There were very large satellite dishes started popping up in people’s back yards at our grandpa’s time, Now we have small 45cm in diameter plates available.

WORKING idea behind satellite TV system

The direct broadcast satellite (DBS) providers collect the programs available via satellite and re-sell them to the viewer. the DBS providers are like brokers – they buy programs in wholesale from the broadcasting channel and re-sell them for a profit bringing dozens to hundreds of TV channels as a package. e.g. Dish Home in Nepal, Dish TV in India.

Dish Home in Nepal

Program packages were created in different categories, like sports, movies, documentaries, news, etc. So, viewers could choose the required package and wouldn’t have to pay for channels they are not interested in.

So in review, here’s the basic path of a radio signal containing television programming: from the programming source (the broadcaster) to a satellite, then, to the DBS broadcast center & again sent back to a satellite, finally to the viewer’s receiver i.e. to the television set. Uff …. how long YEAH!

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Exactly how is signal sent to satellite?

In Early time, satellite tv used to broadcast signal in C-band radio (i.e. 3.4 GigaHertz [GHz] to 7 GHz). Remember, the picture and sound signal is actually a radio signal. But these days as the channels come in HD format, for superior video and audio to its viewers, Ku frequency (12 GHz to 14 GHz) is being used. Now the picture and sound are theatre-like in quality.

Now for a quick, but not too deep, look at the data sent back as satellite signal. The original broadcasts are converted into a high-quality, uncompressed digital stream, that contains a huge amount of data, and sends it at a speed of 270 Mbps for each channel. But without compressing the digital data signal, its total waste of bandwidth & the satellite wouldn’t be able to accept it.

Satellite TV system Working idea

So, there is a system of compression. Most widely, MPEG-2 & MPEG-4 compressed video format is used. This is similar to the system used for making DVDs. The provider can change the 270 Mbps stream to about 5 – 10 Mbps, saving the bandwidth & enabling them to transmit more channels at once.

The Receiver – at the end & beginning of Entertainment world

The receiver is what we have in our roof, a small plate, it is almost at the end of the signal’s journey, which accept the program signal and converting it into the required format that can be viewed on our TV. However, it’s also the beginning of your viewing pleasure. The receiver at the end, does three basic things:

  • It receives and processes the signal which contains the program & passes it to TV
  • It separates the selected channels according to the category defined.
  • It tracks your usage (or view of the channels) and sends the billing information to your provider. After your session ends-up, you have to recharge again to view channels.

DTH system also provides services like Internet, datacasting, Radio channels, gaming, e-commerce, and interactivity to users.

Some DTH service providers offer you Quality pictures with digital stereophonic sound along with a new age interactive services like Child Games, Video on Demand, Songs on Demand, Personal Video Recording & many more.


So now on, we’ve traced the radio signal from its origination at the broadcaster to its reception on your television. And now I hope, you know some basic underlying of “how satellite TV works“. You’re hence, qualified to make an informed decision when buying a satellite TV system.

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