The Best Satellite TV Providers
When choosing a satellite TV provider in the US there are two main options to pick from. The top satellite TV providers are currently Dish Network and DirecTV. Each of them is available throughout most of America and has a great selection of channel packages to choose from. The main competition to satellite television service comes from Cable services such as Comcast. These two major companies are constantly offering different promotions to attempt to gain additional customers so it’s important to get the latest information about what pricing and promotional offers are available from each company in your area.
In addition to offering national deals at different times, these satellite TV providers will also offer a local deal specific to a smaller geographic area. This is often done based on market research showing that there are many customers who are interested in changing or upgrading to satellite. It could also occur when one of the satellite companies is just attempting to enter a market so they want to build up their customer base quickly.
Dish Network is the second largest pay TV company in the US with approximately 14.3 million customers. As the second largest of the satellite TV providers in the US, Dish Network owns or leases 14 satellites at this time.
DirecTV comes in as the largest of the satellite providers in America with about 19.2 million subscribers. DirecTV has been growing rapidly throughout its foot print and recently moved into Latin America with their satellite TV services. With 12 satellites currently in operations and a 13th being built they have the capacity to continue to grow for years to come.
What is satellite TV?
Satellite TV can be defined as any television programming which is delivered through a communications satellite and received by an outdoor antenna, often called a satellite dish. Satellite television began in 1962 when a signal was relayed from Europe to a satellite called ‘Telstar’ over North America. It took only about five years from that point until the first national network of satellite television began. The first satellite TV network was called ‘Orbita’ and was created in the Soviet Union but this was not used for public television as we think of it today. The first “Direct-to-Home’ service was launched in 1976 under the name “Ekran” and served the Soviet Union.
Satellite TV has grown and advanced with technology throughout the years. The constant upgrades are a key feature of the major satellite TV providers today. All satellite TV signals start at a transmitting antenna or dish. These ‘uplink dishes’ are much larger than the receiving dishes located at someone’s home. At around 30 to 40 feet in diameter an uplink dish would be quite intrusive at a residential home. Uplink dishes have to be able to transmit large amounts of data (video, audio, digital information) quickly to the satellites which then transmit the signal down to the subscribers. This larger size also allows for a more accurate aiming at the satellite and also a more powerful signal.
Satellite TV today offers its customers dozens of HD channels with crystal clear pictures and very high quality audio. This is in addition to hundreds of standard definition channels, many of which will be converting to HD over the course of the next several years. The higher definition video requires a significant increase in the amount of data transmitted and often requires an upgraded satellite dish or converter.
Satellite TV also offers its customers a wide range of ‘on demand’ options. On demand simply means the program is available for a customer to start and watch at any time they choose rather than being tied down to the time it airs live. In most areas customers can also get a “DVR” (digital video recorder) box to record TV when they are away so they can view it at their leisure.
How to install a satellite TV?
Most satellite dishes are installed by the satellite TV Providers or an authorized third party installer. This is because the dish must be installed at the correct level, pointing to the correct spot to receive an optimum signal. If someone wants to install their own dish there are several things to keep in mind. First, the dish must be pointed in the direction of the satellite. This location can often be located through the satellite TV providers’ web site. Once the dish is installed and pointing in the general vicinity of the satellite the installer can view the signal strength on the receiver and make minor adjustments to the direction the dish is pointed to improve the strength.
To install a dish there are several things needed including the proper bolts depending on where the dish will be. Dishes are typically installed either on the roof or side of a house or on a small wooden poll. If installing on the side of a house that is made of brick there are special ‘brick bolts’ which will be required, otherwise any bolts of the specified size should work. When installing it is the key to ensure there is a clear line of sight from the dish to the satellite. This could require trimming back some tree branches to ensure they are not in the way. If you live in the city it is also important to make sure there are no other houses or buildings in the way so the dish may need to be installed at the highest point of your house.
How to watch satellite TV on computer?
Once the satellite dish is installed and your service is active it is time to enjoy your satellite television service! Most people watch on their actual TV but it is becoming more and more popular to watch television programming from the satellite on your computer. Watching satellite TV on your computer has become very easy in recent years. With just a simple cord running from your satellite receiver to your computer’s TV tuner card, you can be watching TV in no time.
Satellite Providers also have software available to make changing the channel and even watching programs on demand quick and easy on your computer. As more and more people want to watch TV on computer, it can be counted on that more and more features will be added!