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The History of Satellite TV

From Sputnik to free Satellite TV on your very own PC, the history of Satellite TV has encountered a number of events. While Sputnik had nothing to do with television, it had everything to do with the idea of Satellite television. If it were not for Mr. Arthur C. Clarke’s writings on Satellites and the Russians experiments with his thoughts, Satellite television could never have been invented.

Many years after the launch of Sputnik and Explorer I in the 1950’s, the birth of digital satellite television came about. It was in 1976 that Home Box Office (HBO) made history by initiating satellite delivery for its programming to cable. The first event offered through satellite was a heavyweight boxing match that came to be known as “The Thriller From Manila.”

That wasn’t the end of history in 1976 with satellite television. It was also in 1976 that the first consumer Direct To Home (DTH) Satellite System was created. While you may expect such a creation to take place in a historical laboratory of some sort, the invention happened in an unusual surrounding. It was in the garage of Stanford University Professor Emeritus H. Taylor Howard that it took place. He used a large dish-shaped antenna to pick up the programs.

In 1977, Pat Robertson launched the first digital Satellite television that delivered basic cable service called the Christian Broadcasting Network, which later became known as the family channel. After that, there was a wave of basic cable services that followed including the well known Turner Broadcasting System (TBS).

As satellite television continued to grow, it became cheaper and cheaper because the programming came from multiple sources. In 1985, a digital satellite television system cost approximately ,000. However, by 1985 the systems had dropped to ,000 each. During this time, more and more people were looking into the multiple-channel capabilities of satellite television, especially since it was a one time fee to get over 100 channels for free afterwards.

Cable programming providers quickly realized that there was no way to make profit by giving away free satellite television service, thus developing the Cable Act. After much trouble from satellite theft and a drastic drop in subscribers, the digital satellite industry began to pick up again in the mid 1990’s. In the early 1990’s, four large cable companies launched a Direct Broadcast Satellite system called Primestar. In 1994, the Hughes DIRECTV Satellite System was launched.

Satellite television today is much brighter and has an extremely clear picture. With over 18 million subscribers of digital satellite television, it has become one of the fastest growing consumer electronic products of all time.


About the Author: Richard Banks is the owner of Aardvark Electronics http://www.aardvarkelectronics.com.au and the developer of the Vansat Portable Satellite TV System http://www.vansat.com.au




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