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The History Of Satellite Television Systems

By James Darren

Due to the space race between the nations of the world satellite tv was born. The origins began with the launching of the first satellite named “Sputnik” by the Russians in 1957. The first communication satellite was developed and launched by a consortium of business and government entities in 1963. It was known as Syncom II and achieved an orbit at 22,300 miles over the Atlantic. The first satellite communication was between a U.S. Navy ship in the harbor of Lagos, Nigeria and the U.S. Army located at the naval station at Lakehurst, New Jersey on July 26, 1963.

The telephone companies started using satellite communication for communicating as land based distribution methods became over used and ultimately overloaded. Then television companies began using satellites when the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) introduced Public Television Satellite Service in March of 1978. Broadcast networks adopted satellite communication as a distribution method from 1978 through 1984. As the use of satellites for communication and broadcast purposes increased, it became evident that everyone had the potential to receive satellite signals for free.

In the early 1980′s Direct to Home (DTH) satellite receivers were developed so that rural areas gained the capacity to receive television programming that was not capable of being received by standard methods. With the development of television receive only (TVRO), broadcasters began to complain that reception of their signals were being either received illegally or pirated. The position of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was governed by its “open skies’ policy. This policy stated that users had as much right to receive satellite signals as broadcasters had the right to transmit them.

The response from the broadcasting companies was immediate and they began to use develop technologies that allowed them to scramble the signals their satellites were producing. Thus users that had subscribed to receive satellite programming had to buy a decoder from a satellite service provider. This new way of technology gave birth to a new potential and profitable market for satellite television. The FCC, following the World Administrative Radio Conference of 1979, in 1980 established the plans and policy for a new service, direct broadcast satellite or DBS. This service was to consist of a broadcast satellite in orbit, facilities for transmitting signals to the satellite and equipment needed by individuals to access the signals.

There has been many successful attempts to launch satellites for the mass consumer market and were led by Japan and Hong Kong in 1986 and 1990, respectively. The first successful attempt by the United States was made by a group of major cable companies and was named Primestar. Next came Direct TV. Echostar Dish Network entered the market in the Spring of 1996 offering cheaper prices and forcing all of its competitors to do likewise.

As the Satellite Television market grows there needs to be someone to keep track of all packages and services that the Dish Networkand others companies offer and that’s what James Darren does.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Darren, James "The History Of Satellite Television Systems." The History Of Satellite Television Systems. 3 Jul. 2010. 22 Sep 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Darren, J (2010, July 3). The History Of Satellite Television Systems. Retrieved September 22, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Darren, James "The History Of Satellite Television Systems"

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