How Satellite TV Works

Gone are the days where you could spot a satellite dish six blocks away. Today’s dish is drastically smaller, much more reliable and considerably less expensive than its enormous ancestor. So, just how does Satellite TV work? First, you need to understand how the antenna broadcasting system works. Traditional television broadcasting antennas use radio waves to transmit their programming. Each broadcasting station operates at a unique frequency that identifies the station to the FCC and allows your receiver to select a particular “channel”. These radio waves are carried from the station’s antenna to yours which, when tuned to the specific frequency picks up the waves for your television to interpret and project. Unfortunately, radio waves can only travel so far …

How a Satellite Dish Works

A satellite dish is an antenna designed to focus on a specific broadcast source. The standard dish consists of a parabolic (bowl-shaped) surface and a central feed horn. A controller sends it through the horn, and the dish focuses the signal into a relatively narrow beam. A narrow beam is generated as the dish reflects energy from the feed horn. The dish on the receiving end can only receive information; it cannot transmit information. The receiving dish works in the exact opposite way of the transmitter. When a beam hits the curved dish, the parabola shape reflects the radio signal inward onto a particular point, just like a concave mirror focuses light onto a particular point. The curved dish focuses …