Similar to cellular telephones, many people around the world use Satellite TV. For some people, this is the only way to receive television signals, but for others it is simply a way to view more television channels than what standard cable providers provide. There are television providers in Japan, Europe, South America, and basically all over the world.
Satellite TV has existed since the 1960s, though it did not become popular until later when it became more accessible. The first TV company was in the Soviet Union, however it did not send TV signals directly into homes until 1976. Until then, there was a central antenna that received the signal and the signal was sent out to the homes of the people. This new technology did not appear in North America until some years later, but has now become extremely popular.
Direct broadcast is the mode that is typically used today, which is not the same as the earlier version. This direct broadcast is where the individual has his or her own satellite antenna and receives a signal that goes straight to his or her television. Today, signals are digital as opposed to analog, which means more or less, they are able to be broadcast at a higher frequency.
Typically, due to the laws of physics, a higher frequency wave will travel a shorter distance. This higher frequency often translates to better quality whether the medium is radio, television, or internet. However, because digital signals are better quality than analog signals, it is now possible for satellite TV to be broadcast in digital.
Currently, there are two major providers in the United States. These providers offer anywhere from 250 to 1000 channels. They charge for their service based on a series of packages, which are groups of channels. Typically, if the customer wants more channels, he or she will have to pay extra. Most of the time, there is a basic group of channels that the company deemed most customers would want, and then each subsequent package will have more channels. Most packages are a mix of sports, news, movie, and educational channels.
In recent years, HD television has become popular, and therefore, most providers offer High Definition service. This typically requires a larger antenna and a special high definition television, However, in many countries these are becoming cheaper and more accessible to the public.
The technology is being improved every day. Through technological innovations that allow the interaction between television and internet it will be possible, and is in some cases, to use the internet with the equipment provided for the satellite TV. It is already possible in many instances to listen to digital music with the satellite equipment.
It is thought that this form of television may not as disruptive to the environment, since to broadcast to homes, there does not need to be a wire connected from the home to the television provider. For people in more remote locations, where the cable companies cannot provide the wire connection, this may be their only option.