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Choosing your cable or satellite TV services

Remember those happy days with no cable television, no satellite TV? Only a single analog TV service available, and everything about getting and using it was as simple as: get it, click, go. No need to waste time on anything else but watching your favored programming.

Those days are gone. Today, you have to decide between competing cable TV companies and satellite TV providers, each coming at you with a juicy red carrot swinging from the end of a long, wobbly stick. Television, phone, Internet, radio... You need to filter out what matters, and compare. In other words, in order to make the right decision, you need to get informed.

Looking for that best TV deal? You probably can chose between cable TV and satellite television. Then between the two satellite TV providers, DirecTV and Dish Network. And, possibly, between two or even more cable TV providers.

If you are interested in cable TV offers, you'll probably find info on cable TV equipment and installation, as well as specific offers from cable TV providers helpful.

Thinking about satellite TV? After looking over Why satellite TV? and Free digital satellite TV system installed! you should know better why it is - or isn't - a good idea for you. If curious about the way satellite TV works, you'll find Direct Broadcast Satellite and related articles interesting.

Is cable TV better than satellite? In the end, it is only you whose judgment will matter, but Cable or Satellite TV? can help you make that decision.

Then there are high-speed Internet deals. Which one is best for you? Also, high-definition television; do you need it, or not? And is that satellite radio really so much better?

For the latest in the cable/satellite TV offerings, check out Allconnect.

You may find glancing over the Glossary helpful in surfing this site. And, take your time. Before deciding for a particular service, make sure you know what the whole package is, including terms and conditions. That can save you unwanted surprises, and make sure that you are getting what you want. 


Home  Remember those happy days with no cable television, no satellite TV? Only a single analog TV service available, and everything about getting and using it was as simple as: get it, click, go...

Cable or satellite TV?  Which one is better: satellite TV or cable? In most any comparison, the answer seems to depend on whom you ask...

Cable TV  Cable TV is how the television entered American homes. In its early stages, cable TV service was quite different from the modern cable TV we know now...

Direct Broadcast Satellite  Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) TV service is a high-powered broadcast service to homes using satellites as the primary form of signal transmission. Its high transmission power makes possible use of relatively small dish antennas for efficient signal reception and utilization. Commercial satellite TV, as we know it, is a DBS service...

Dish Network  Dish Network is the second largest direct broadcast satellite (DBS) service provider in the US. Together with DirecTV, it shares the US home satellite TV market. Dish Network started commercial DBS broadcasting  in 1996, after its first TV satellite - EchoStar I - has been launched in 1995...

DirecTV  DirecTV is a direct broadcast satellite (DBS) service provider, based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Launched in 1994 by Hughes Electronics Corporation, it was the very first high-powered (mini-dish) DBS service in the world...

High-speed INTERNET  Whether you spend many hours browsing the Internet on daily basis, or use it less frequently, high-speed Internet connection appears to be irresistibly convenient. While it comes at added cost, most people find its benefits worth added expense, which can be quite low...

High-definition TV  Are you too mystified and intrigued by this new kid on the TV block: high-definition television. Expectations run high, but so is the uncertainty - what is really different about it, when compared with standard-definition television (SDTV)?...

Satellite Radio  If you like listening to radio programming, satellite radio has some goodies to offer. Great variety of channels, most of them commercial-free, high quality sound when it is needed, possibility to listen to your favored programming wherever you are...

 News Wire  The latest in the satellite/cable industry...

Glancing over these few basic terms may be helpful in using this site.

ANALOG SIGNAL - continuous electromagnetic signal based on amplitude; compared to digital signal, of less reliable quality and significantly lower channel capacity

DCT - Digital Cable Terminal, usually set-top box with cable converter and descrambler needed for reception of digital cable TV channels

DIGITAL SIGNAL - electromagnetic signal based on binary code; much less affected by loss in amplitude than analog signal; also, due to better compression, with much higher channel capacity

DTV - Digital Cable Television

C-BAND:  The original microwave (radio) frequency range (4GHz-8GHz) set aside for communication satellites in the United States. Its transmission power is is limited, so that satellites wouldn't interfere with terrestrial radio services, using similar frequency range. As a consequence, the minimum dish size antenna required for efficient reception is around 3 feet in diameter, with the average dish size being around 6 feet. While its use by individuals is now relatively infrequent, it is still widely used on the global level. C-band emissions typically cover larger to much larger areas than more recent satellite frequencies; being of a longer wavelength, they are less affected by adverse weather.

DIRECT BROADCAST SATELLITE (DBS): Commercial television service at high-powered frequencies, allowing the use of a small dish antenna receptor. The original frequency range for DBS transmission was Ku-band ("u" stands for "under", or lower frequency range of the K-band), but recently it expanded to include the lower frequency FSS range, as well as higher frequency Ka-band ("a" stands for the portion of K-band "above" the Ku-band frequency).

FOOTPRINT: Area on the ground over which the signal from a particular TV satellite can be effectively utilized.

FSS: "Fixed service satellite", a term used to describe satellites operating in portions of the C-band and low Ku-band (11.7GHz-12.2GHz) frequencies. Since the minimum allowed orbital separation between these satellites is only 2, transmission power is limited to lower powers in order to avoid emission interference.

HDTV - High-definition television

K-BAND: Broad range of radio frequencies from 12GHz to 90Ghz

Ka-BAND: 18GHz-40GHz transmission frequency range, mainly for radar and general communications. Recently, frequencies used for satellite TV transmission have expanded to the lower portion of this range. 

Ku-BAND: The original radio frequency range (12GHz-18GHz) set aside for DBS television service. Since it doesn't interfere with terrestrial radio services, its transmission power can be significantly higher than that for the C-band. As a result, it requires a smaller minimum dish antenna size for efficient reception. The limit to transmission power comes from the need to avoid emission interference between Ku-band satellites themselves. For that reason, the minimum orbital separation between two independently operated Ku-band satellites is set by regulations at ample 9.

MPEG-2: Video data transmission (compression/decompression) format, developed by the MPEG (Moving Pictures Experts Group).

MPEG-4: More advanced video data transmission protocol, that also uses only about half as much bandwidth for a given quality level as MPEG-2. This makes it better suited for bandwidth demanding programming, such as HDTV.

POLARIZATION: Splitting radio frequency into two modes, in order to double transmission capacity

TiVo: Brand of satellite TV receiver that uses hard-disc technology to record and manipulate programming.



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