History of Satellite TV
It all started in 1957 when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the first artificial satellite. In 1958 the United States followed suit by launching a small scientific satellite named Explorer I.
This was the dawn of the space age and the beginning of satellite communication.
In the 1960’s the technology of satellite communication was further advanced with dozens of new satellites being launched into orbit.
The first successful communications satellite was Syncom II launched by the US in 1963. In 1973, the Canadian satellite Anik I gave Canada the first satellite television network. Since then there have been numerous improvements in satellite performance and reliability leading to the incredible satellite technology that we have today.
Satellite TV …
It all begins with a satellite being placed into orbit in space. The satellite is stationary over a certain point on the earth. It maintains its position by traveling at the same speed as the earth. Small rockets on board the satellite will allow it to make minor adjustments and keep it in proper orbit. Your satellite network converts television programs into signals and beams them to the satellite.
The satellite then beams the signals back to to earth where your satellite dish captures them and relays them to your satellite box.
The box unscrambles the signal and provides you with clear digital programming. So the satellite in space is basically acting as a relay between you and the satellite company.
Satellite Television Providers
Continental Western Europe
In Europe, DBS satellite services are found mainly on Astra satellites and Hotbird (operated by Eutelsat.) BSkyB (known as Sky) serves the UK. Sky Italia, Canal Digital and UPC being the main providers in Italy, the Netherlands and Central Europe.
Modern Russian satellite broadcasting services based on powerful geostationary buses such as Gals, Express, Yamal and Eutelsat which provide a large quantity of free-to-air television channels to millions of householders. Pay-TV is growing in popularity amongst Russian TV viewers. The NTV Russia news company, owned by Gazprom, broadcasts the NTV Plus package to 560,000 households, reaching over 1.5 million viewers.
United Kingdom and Ireland
Sky Television Broadcasting (BSkyB) serves the UK and Ireland.Nordic countries
There are two competing satellite services: Canal Digital (Norwegian Telenor launched in 1997) was digital from onset and Viasat (Kinnevik) operating since the late 1980’s waited until the year 2000 before launching a digital service. MIDDLE EAST & NORTH AFRICA
MBC being broadcasts via the c band through Arabsat and is the first network in the world to offer a free-to-air Western based English language movie channel to the Middle East audience via its spin-off channel MBC 2. Its main rival is the Dubai; UAE based One TV, earlier known as Channel 33, which was the first channel in the Middle East to provide English language general entertainment programming for the expatriate community.
Orbit Satellite Television and Radio Network broadcasting via Arabsat (C band), later on Showtime Arabia a joint venture between Viacom (21% stake) and KIPCO (79% stake) started broadcasting, via Nilesat (KU band). Arab Digital Distribution although a late comer, gained ground by broadcasting exclusive sports events. Most of the popular channels are transmitting from these satellites and orbital positions: Arabsat at 26°E, Asiasat at 100.5°E and 105.5°E, Eutelsat Hot Bird at 13°E, Nilesat at 7°W, and PanAmSat at 68.5°E.
In Israel, Satellite TV services were introduced by YES! Company, using Israeli based Amos (satellite).
How Do Satellite Cards Work?
Satellite Cards tell your satellite receiver what programming you have paid for and therefore have access to. It is not hard to figure out that if you can reprogram this card, you can receive satellite programming for free.
How Do Pirate Satellite TV Cards Work?
You can purchase cards that have been reprogrammed by pirates to receive all channels for free. You must still buy the satellite equipment and then send your card to a ‘free satellite service’ to have it reprogrammed.
You can see right away that pirate satellite TV is not free since you must buy all of the equipment and then have the card programmed.
If you legally buy satellite TV, you will typically get the equipment for free from DirecTV or Dish Network. But at least you don’t have to pay anything else ever again right? Not exactly, read on.
How Do Satellite Providers Stop Pirate Cards?
Satellite providers will zap these cards regularly. They might do this once a week or even several times a week by sending signals to the satellite dish.
The signals they broadcast are called ECM’s or Electronic Counter Measures and they instruct the satellite receiver to corrupt or damage the card. When they do that, your card must be reprogrammed by a ‘free satellite service’ at a cost of course.
Police are also enforcing anti piracy laws. They will raid companies providing the cards and the satellite providers can actually prosecute you if your name is in the companies databases. The fines can be quite steep.
Is Pirate Satellite TV Worth It?
That is up to you to decide. You might still save a few euro, but you will have to pay for equipment, you will have to constantly pay to have your card reprogrammed and you will be breaking the law. Is it worth it to save a few euro, probably not.
Cable Versus Satellite TV
|Picture Quality||Cable offers Digital programming for an extra charge. Not all channels are digital however, some are still Analog.||Satellite TV offers 100% Digital programming for no additional charge.|
|Cost||Generally more expensive than Satellite. Additional taxes and fees apply.||Cheaper than cable. you can typically get more channels for less money.|
|Programming||Offers well over 200 channels with Digital cable.||Dish Network has the capability to broadcast over 500 channels.|
|Equipment||Requires a converter box to receive digital cable. Nothing required for older Analog cable.||Requires a converter box and a satellite dish mounted outside of your home. Satellite dish requires a relatively clear southern view.|
|Availability||Not as available in rural areas. Requires an intricate infrastructure to deliver.||Can be used anywhere there is a view of the southern sky. Rural areas can easily receive satellite.|
|Commitment||Most cable companies allow you to cancel anytime.||To receive free equipment, the satellite provider will usually require a one year commitment.|
|Local Programming||Includes all local television stations for no additional charge.||Charges additional to receive local channels. may not offer all stations.|
Free Satellite TV
Everyone wants something for free and Satellite TV is no different. But how can you get a free satellite dish system?
Well honestly the question should be where can’t you get one. Pretty much every company out there is offering free satellite systems. But look before you leap because there are often strings attached.
The Catch to Free Satellite TV
Companies are out there to make money. Nothing is free. If they just go around handing out dishes to everyone, most companies will go bankrupt quickly. That’s why they will usually have you sign a contract with some conditions. Just be aware of the catches to free satellite before you order and you should be just fine. Here are a few of the basics.
Minimum Satellite TV Contract Length
Usually they will stipulate in the contract that you must maintain satellite TV service for a minimum of one year. This is reasonable because it will give them time to make up the money that they spent on the free equipment. One year is the longest you should be obligated for however. Don’t sign a contract for any longer.
Minimum Satellite TV Subscription Package
They will usually make you agree to purchase a minimum service level. They won’t make much money if you just sign up for the bare bones package, so this is reasonable as well. You shouldn’t have to sign up for the works though. Don’t agree to anything more than expanded basic service. Sometimes they will give you a deal on higher level packages for the first few months, but make sure that you can lower your package if you so choose a few months down the line.
Free Installation of Satellite TV
Typically, you shouldn’t have to pay for installation of your system. Most companies will provide free basic installation of satellite TV. They may charge extra for extremely difficult installs however.
Plasma HDTVs have generally been a more expensive technology than LCD displays, but this gap is shrinking. Plasmas offer benefits like darker blacks and more accurate colors over LCD displays, but are generally not as bright and have their own set of issues.
Plasma displays are made up of many small cells that are filled with gas, typically neon and xenon. High voltage electrical impulses are used to excite this gas, which produces the state called Plasma from which the displays derive their name.
As a plasma is produced, it releases electrons that then excite phosphor materials that line the cell, which produce the red, green and blue lights that are used to create an image.
Three cells, one for red, green and blue, are grouped together to form a single pixel on the display. By modulating the electrical impulse to produce brighter or dimmer combinations of these three colors Plasma displays can produce any color in the visible spectrum.
Because they lack the backlights that LCD displays use, Plasmas are able to produce much deeper blacks and a higher contrast between the darkest black and brightest white. This also helps them produce more accurate colors.
The negative to Plasma displays are that they cannot get as bright as LCD displays, and all of that plasma gas means that the displays can get very hot if they are showing a lot of white.
So they don’t melt, most displays turn down the brightness as they show more white (called white falloff).
This means that if you are watching TV in a brightly lit room they will be more difficult to view, so if you show a lot of white screens (such as PowerPoint presentations, or documentaries on polar bears), they will look paler than their LCD cousins.
Plasma displays are also susceptible to burn-in: if a static image is left on the display for long periods of time, it can result in a “ghost” effect as the burned in image remains visible even after the display has switched to another image.
Plasma TVs are much smaller than their rear projection cousins. And because they create the light in the image in the panel itself, they usually have better viewing angles than LCD displays.
LCD displays use array of liquid crystal elements to create the image; a backlight creates the light, and the display uses the LCD elements to control how much light passes through tor each the viewer.
LCD technology is cheap to manufacture and is relatively energy efficient, making it very popular in HDTVs and other display devices such as computer monitors and cell phone displays. The display passes an electrical signal to each liquid crystal on the LCD display that controls how much light can pass through it, thus controlling the brightness.
Each liquid crystal elements can be individually controlled, and color is produced by using filters on the individual liquid crystals. LCD televisions group three elements (for red, green and blue) together to form a singl pixel.
By moderating how much light is allowed through each of these three liquid crystals, any one of the pixels can produce any color in the spectrum.
There are various negatives to LCD displays.
One of the problems is that it takes a certain amount of time for each individual liquid crystal to change the amount of light that is let through. This can result in ghosting on the display as the crystals lag behind the image, especially in fast action sequences that change quickly. Another problem with LCDs is viewing angle.
Each liquid crystal can be thought of as a small pipe that lets light through from the backlight. As the viewer moves off from right in front of the display, less light reaches them. Other technologies, like Plasma, create the light closer to the screen, with the result that the light exits the pipe at a wider angle than an LCD allows.
Another problem is burn-in. If a static image is left on an LCD for an extended period of time, the individual liquid crystal elements may become fatigued and get stuck, ending up with a ghost of that image on the screen.
This has become much less of an issue in recent years as manufacturers have used various techniques to address it, such as pixel orbiting. The other problem with LCD displays is the quality of black produced. As the backlight is always on with an LCD display, there will always be some light coming through.
Other technologies like Plasma and rear projection displays are able to produce much deeper blacks. LCD’s do have a higher maximum brightness than Plasma displays, however.
You probably see the term 1080p thrown around a lot when shopping for HDTVs, along with terms like 1080i and 720p. These refer to the different high defintion signal formats that the display can work with.
The quick and easy explanation is that 1080p provides the best quality, so if you’re going to get an HDTV and you want the best picture quality, you’ll want one that supports 1080p. All 1080p displays also support the lower resoltuon 1080i and 720p formats. Most HDTVs of both Plasma and LCD types on sale now are 1080p models, but many rear projection TVs only support 720p or 1080i.
To get a bit more technical 1080p refers to a format for television signals that contains 1080 lines from top to bottom. The “p” indicates that the lines are being dispayed in a progressive manner, meaning that all the lines are being displayed at the same time, 60 times a second.
This is in contrast to 1080i displays where there are actually two sets of 540 lines that are alternated very quickly, one set being shown every thirtieth of a second.
The result is that 1080i signals look more jittery; imbetween the two sets of frames, the image will have changed, and this produces the odd jagged look of some interlaced TV signals.
720p displays also use progressive scanning, so all the lines are displayed at once, but there are fewer lines to display. Despite the reduced resolution, however, the progressive display can often produce better picture quality than 1080i. For example many sporting events are broadcast in 720p as they contain a lot of motion, and this looks better in 720p.
So once you have a 1080p television you’re golden, right? Not necessarily. The simple truth is that there just isn’t very much 1080p content out there at the moment. Almost all broadcast television is 1080i, and even high definition consumer camcorders only record at 1080i.
But there’s still a benefit; a good television will have built in technology to convert a 1080i signal into 1080p by deinterlacing the two sets of lines. You should make sure that your 1080p television is capable of this.
Material that is deinterlaced will generally look better than the original 1080i content, but still won’t look as good as a true 1080p signal.
In fact about the only place you can get true 1080p content is via a Blu-Ray disc and the now defunct HD-DVD format. Despite the limited availability of content manufacturers are now offering 1080p displays across their entire product range and any potential savings you might have gotten in previous years by going with a 720p or 1080i television are disappearing.
We recommend that you do purchase a 1080p television as this will ensure that you get the best picture quality as more and more sources of 1080p content become available.
High Definition Televisions
High Definition (HD) refers to the resolution that a television is able to display. The image on your television is made up of many small dots. Standard Definition, which is the TV that you watched growing up, comes in at a resolution of 480 pixels from top to bottom and 640 pixels from left to right.
High definition, as the name suggests, increaess the number of pixels that form the image.
The terms used to describe high definition refer specifically to the number of lines that can be displayed from top to bottom.
The different formats of high definition TV signal are known as 720p, 1080i and 1080p.
The first refers to content with 720 lines from top to bottom and the latter two to content that has 1080 lines from top to bottom. The “p” and “i” refer to progressive scan and interlaced scan respectively.
Progressive scan means that the content is displaying all of the lines at any given moment. Interlaced scan means that content is being alternated between two sets of lines, so a 1080i Tv signal contains the 540 even lines in one frame, and then the 540 odd lines in the next.
Progressive scan signals provides higher quality than interlaced scan. In particular the latter can produce a jagged motion and artifacts.
The High Definition standard also defines the aspect ratio of the content. In order to be considered high definition the content must have an aspect ratio of 16:9, which is generally referred to as widescreen content.
As such any High Definition content will be widescreen. TV shows filmed in the 4:3 aspect used in standard definition TV can either be stretched to fit the screen, or presented with two black bars on the side to fill out the screen.
Currently both content and displays max out at 1080p, however more High Definition standards that have even higher resolutions are being worked on. The next expected resolution of high definition will be 2160p, which has a resolution of 2160 lines from top to bottom and 3840 lines from left to right.
The Japanese have also been experimenting with a format called Super Hi-Vision, which has a resolution of 7680 by 4320 pixels. This next iteration of HD is not expected to be commercially available for some years yet.
Another commonly used phrase with HDTVs is Full HD. Although this phrase does not have a formal definition, it usually refers to a display that has enough pixels to represent every pixel of a 1080p signal.
The majority of medium and high-end LCD and Plasma HDTVs on the market at the moment are Full HD models, but some rear projection and low-end models claim to be 1080p, but do not have enough pixels to represent every pixel in the signal.
Dreambox 800 DM
The Latest in the Dreambox series. The infamous Dreambox 800 HD PVR. The first Linux receiver to have High Definition and Hard Disk capability.
Its a very Powerful Receiver for Digital TV and Radio programs. Main features are a 300Mhz Processor, Linux TV DVB-S2 API to view HDTV, 10/100Mbit compatible Ethernet Interface, DVI Connector, plug and play Tuner, Brilliant OLED display, and SATA for use of internal HDD 2.5?and eSATA.
– 300 MHz MIPS Processor
– Linux Operating System
– OLED – Display
– MPEG-2 / H.264 Hardware decoding
– Tuner: DVB-S, optional: DVB-C, DVB-TDreamBox DM800-HD PVR multimedia.TV
– Tuner Module, Plug&Play
– 1 x Smartcard-Reader
– V.24/RS232 Interface
– 10/100Mbit Ethernet Interface
– 1 x Scart (RGB, FBAS or S-Video)
– 2 x USB 2.0
– analog modem
– S/PDIF Interface for digital bit stream out (AC-3)
– 64 MByte Flash, 256 MByte RAM
– for use either as internal SATA HDD 2,5”
– or to use for extern eSATA
– unlimited channel lists for TV/Radio
– channel-change time < 1 second – automatic service scan – directly bouquet-lists – EPG (electronic program guide) – multiple LNB-Switching control (supports DiSEqC) – OSD in many languages and skin-support – Videotext Decoder – extern 12V power supply Dreambox DM800HD PVR DreamBox DM800HD PVR technical data DBS-Tuner mit DVB-S2: Frequency Range 950 …. 2150 MHz Demodulation DVB-S (QPSK); DVB-S2 (8PSK,QPSK) Symbol rate DVB-S: 2 … 45 Mbaud/s, SCPC/ MCPC DVB-S2: 10 – 31 Mbaud/s (8PSK) , 10 –30 Mbaud/s (QPSK) Video decoder: Video Compression MPEG-2 and MPEG-1 compatible, H.246 Video Formats 4:3 / 16:9 Letterbox for 4:3 TV-Device Audio decoder:
Audiokompression MPEG-1 & MPEG-2 Layer I and II, MP3 Audio Mode Dual (main/sub), Stereo Frequency: 32 kHz, 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, 16 kHz, 22.05 kHz, 24 kHz Output analog: Output Level L/R 0,5 Vss on 600 Ohm THD > 60 dB (1 kHz)
Crosstalk < -65 dB
Output Level 0,5 Vss on 75 Ohm
Sampled Data Filtering 32 kHz, 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz
S/PDIF-Output optical, Toslink
Ausgangspegel FBAS 1 Vss +/- 0.3 dB an 75 Ohm
Input Level FBAS 1 Vss +/- 0.3 dB on 75 Ohm
Teletext filter in conformity with ETS 300 472 Standard
Output: FBAS, RGB, S-Video
Serielle Interface RS 232:
Typ RS232 bidirectional
Bitrate 115,2 kBit/s max.
Plug Connector SUB-D-9
Function: Update of Firmware
10/100 MBit compatible interface
Function: Update of Firmware
analoge modem for Internet connection
– for use either as internal HDD 2,5“ or eSATAor internal 2,5″ HDD
2 x USB 2.0 Host
LNB power and polarisation per tuner:
LNB Current 500mA max.; short-circuit-protected
LNB Voltage vertical < 14V no load, > 11,5V at 400mA
LNB Voltage horizontal < 20V no load, > 17,3V at 400mA
Count of active satellite position:
DiSEqC 1.0/1.2 SAT POSITION / SAT OPTION
DiSEqC – Rotor Control
< 15W at 12V
110-240V AC / 50-60Hz / 0,6A
12V = / 3,0A
Ambient Temperature +15°C…+35°C
Humidity < 80%
Size (W x D x H): 195 mm x 140 mm x 40 mm
Weight: 1,8 kg without HDD