Test Pattern
Old School Satellite Dish 4/24/2007 10:42PM Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Back in the day before Dish or DirectTV there was the big satellite dishes that people had in their yard. You could point the dish to a certain satellite and watch anything in the World. No commercials, network feeds, local news anywhere....can you still get this?
Pamela Andersons Left Nipple
RE: Old School Satellite Dish 4/25/2007 7:08AM - in reply to Test Pattern Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
No. Those dishes were for C-Band and Ku-Band satellites. Those satellites are still working, but almost all of the broadcasters use encryption to scramble the signal, or they have begun transmitting a digital signal.

Furthermore, in the old days, you would get commercials during network feeds; however, you would be spared the local commercials. Basically, each local station gets about one minute per hour of network time to do local advertising. Basically, a typical commercial block consists of:

Pepsi (national spot) :30
Chevy (national spot) :30
Subway (national spot) :30
"American Idol Next" (promo) :10
Jim Bob's Underwear Emporium (local) :30

Your theory of "local news anywhere" is entirely incorrect. Every local station broadcasts from a local transmitter, not via satellite. Networks uplink their signal to a satellite, the local station in turn receives the satellite signal, inserts their local commercials, uses a microwave link (or optical fiber) to send the signal to the transmitter, and then you pick it up from the rabbit ear antenna on top of your set. Cable TV you say? Well, they do the same thing, except for all the channels, and then they put all the signals into a multiplexer and feed the signal to your house. The cable box will filter (tune in) each individual channel from the multiplexed signal.

The latest form of "broadcasting" now consists of "pitching". Basically, syndicated shows like old "The Simpsons" and "South Park" are sold as syndication packages. Uplinkers (I work for one) used to feed it out "real-time (you could sit in front of a monitor and watch it). Now, however, we "pitch it". What we do is have the shows delivered as a datafile (like an mpeg file on a PC, only better quality). Since we are broadcasting digitally, in part of the signal are "unused packets". We now take that mpg and feed it in bits (literally) and pieces. What this means is that in part of every signal, a little bit of the show is being fed the spare (null) packets. Each station has a receiver that accepts these packets and puts the pieces back together again to form a whole show. We pitch constantly, whether we are feeding a show or not. During a regular feed, we can continue to feed the bits, just not as many of them, so the background transmission is slower.

Back in the day, you could watch a lot of stuff off satellite, but encryption and digital broadcasting, resulting in a scrambled signal of snow/static, made the satellite dishes of yore obsolete.

Probably more than you wanted to know, but hey...
HRE
RE: Old School Satellite Dish 4/25/2007 7:39AM - in reply to Pamela Andersons Left Nipple Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Since you're in the business, maybe you'll know this. Is there a satelltie package anywhere in the US that would carry foreign broadcasts, e.g. BBC, CBC or basically anything that would broadcast international athletic meets with better coverage than we get in the US?
A few years ago I was in a gas station owned by a Lebanese guy and they had a TV that was broadcasting a station from Lebanon. I asked how they managed that but didn't get much of an answer.
Pamela Andersons Left Nipple
RE: Old School Satellite Dish 4/25/2007 7:57AM - in reply to HRE Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Each satellite has a "footprint", the area of the earth that it covers. For the majority of satellites in geosynchronous orbit over North America (geosynchronous means that they are "fixed" in orbit), they are C-band, Ku-band, and hybrids. A station from Lebanon would have to go up and down to a number of satellites several times before it could hit one of our satellites.

Here's a listing of "free US TV" available on old-school satellite dishes. DVB is digital signal and Digicipher 2 is encryption. The stations that have NTSC are the only stations you would be able to see.
TV Guide reader
RE: Old School Satellite Dish 4/25/2007 8:41AM - in reply to HRE Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
DirectTV and Dish Network offer foreign packages as add-ons. http://www.dishnetwork.com/content/whats_on_dish/international/index.shtml

I am pretty sure that BBC and Eurosport are excluded from these packages. If you have the time, I guess you could research the international distribution of GP meets (sold as a package to various countries around the world) and find a country off the beaten path that is showing the meets (think Northern Africa, Middle East or maybe Asia).