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Satellite TV Glossary

Additional Outlet (A/O):
Receivers other than the primary one can be connected to the dish allowing other televisions in the house to be on different programs than the one connected to the primary receiver. An A/O also refers to a convenience outlet where there is not another receiver and the television will show the same programs as the television connected to receiver.

Audio/Video Jacks: There are three jacks: one for the video, one for the right channel sound and one for the left channel sound. The audio jacks are necessary for the sound to be in stereo. R/F connectors (coaxial cable) will not provide stereo from the satellite receiver.

Azimuth: The horizontal direction of a satellite. It would have a different azimuth in Los Angeles than in Chicago. Since the satellite is over the equator, wherever you live it will be in the southern sky.

Bandwidth: Range of frequencies occupied by a signal or allowed by receiving equipment (basically, what a receiver is capable of receiving).

Baseband: The raw satellite TV signal before it is re-modulated to become a signal that is suitable for a TV.

Beam: A satellite transmission pattern. It may be wide, narrow or spot. This affects the satellites footprint.

Bird: An alternative name for a satellite.

Blackouts: A particular programming service may not be available in certain areas of the country. Usually because of contractual agreements.

Castle Rock Broadcast Center: The facility which provides all DirecTV television reception, tape playback, encoding, and uplinking.

C-band: Signal frequency range (3.70-4.20ghz).

Clarke Belt: Named after its founder Arthur C. Clarke, the Clarke Belt is an orbit used by satellites at a height of 22,250 miles, in which satellites make an orbit in 24 hours, yet remain in a fixed position relative to the earth’s surface.

DBS: Digital broadcast satellite. This high-powered satellite uses a Ku-band frequency (12.2 to 12.7 GHz) to deliver programming signals directly to small (18-inch) dishes installed at viewers' homes.

Digital Audio Broadcasting: Standard which describes the method of transmitting digital audio.

Digital Compression: A process of translating video images into a digital code which takes up less transmission space than the original signal would have. This allows more channels per satellite transponder: from four-to-one for live video to eight-to-one for film.

Dolby Digital / AC-3 Compatible: Dolby Digital provides 6 independent sound track channels through the optical output jack. When connected to your AC3 compatible home theatre audio set-up, this connection provides Dolby Digital Surround Sound (when Dolby Digital is part of the programming being viewed).

Dolby Pro Logic: Dolby Pro Logic (known as Dolby Surround in the theatres) is based on the use of an amplitude-phase matrix. This is a method of encoding four channels of information into two tracks of stereo media and then decoding them back into four channels for playback.

Downlink: A signal’s path from satellite to antenna.

DTH: Direct to home. Official term used by the Federal Communications Commission industry to refer to the satellite television and broadcasting industries.

DVB: Broadcast standard for digital radio and television, using MPEG II compression. DVB is being supported by all European manufacturers and broadcasters.

Elevation: How high a satellite is from the horizon.

Feed Horn: A device which collects the signals at the focus of the satellite dish and channels them to the LNB.

Fixed Dish System: Satellite system in which the dish does not have to be moved. DirecTV and Dish Network are fixed dish systems.

Footprint: An area of the earth that is able to receive a particular satellite’s signals. This depends on the satellites beam.

Geostationary: Satellites orbit the Earth 22,300 miles above the Equator and rotate at the same relative speed and direction as the Earth's surface. Therefore, the satellites appear stationary. There are nearly 40 satellites currently in this type of orbit over North America, and well over 100 around the globe.

Impulse Pay per View: The ability to buy a particular program on a last-minute decision. Pushing the "buy" button on the remote control instead of having to make a phone call.

Interactive TV: An interactive television service that lets you use the enclosed remote control to access up-to-the-minute news, sports, financial information, weather, get program trivia, respond to free offers and shop, all while you watch TV.

IRD (Integrated Receiver Decoder): A satellite receiver with a built-in decoder for unscrambling subscription channels. It is usually called the receiver.

KU-band: Signal frequency range between 11 and 14 GHz. that is often used with communications satellites.

LNB (Low Noise Block down-converter): Amplifies received signals and converts them from microwaves to lower frequency signals which are then sent along a cable to the satellite receiver. An LNB can be either single or double. A double LNB is required when more than one receiver is used allowing the viewing of different channels on other televisions.

Locks & Limits (Parental Controls): Allows you to restrict viewing of rated movies (based on the motion picture rating system) or to lock out entire channels.

Moving Pictures Experts Group (MPEG): The organization which defined the standards for moving pictures, like movies.

MPEG I/II Compression: Method to compress digital signals. Thanks to compression it is possible to combine several programs into one satellite transponder.

Noise Figure: A measure of the performance (noise contribution) of an LNB in decibels. The lower the better.

Offset: Type of dish with the focus and feed horn below the center of the dish.

Pay Per View (PPV): Conditional access service where the user is able to buy one particular program.

Rain fade: The loss of signal from the satellite during a heavy rain. This happens more or less to all DBS systems.

Receiver: The IRD. Unit which takes signals from a satellite dish and converts them so that they can appear on TV.

R/F connectors: Output for coaxial cable (the stuff cable companies use). R/F connectors will not provide stereo from the satellite receiver.

RG59: The coaxial cable that is commonly used for cable TV. If a home already has coaxial cable, it probably is RG59. It is a smaller gauge than RG6.

RG6: The coaxial cable recommended by DBS manufacturers. It is a larger gauge than RG6.

Satellite Home Viewer Act: (SHVA)

S-Video Jack: Some televisions have an input for a S-Video cable. This is better than audio/video jacks or R/F connectors. It is for the video, not the sound. All DirecTV and Dish Network receivers have s-video output.

Threshold: the measure of sensitivity of a satellite receiver measured in decibels (dB).

Transponder: Equipment inside a satellite, responsible for receiving a single uplinked channel and re-broadcasting it back to earth.

UHF Remote: Ultra High Frequency remote control that can operate the receiver from another room. The IR (Infra Red) remote needs to be pointed at the receiver.

Uplink: A signal’s path from the earth to a satellite. DirecTV's uplink facility is located in Castle Rock, Colorado.

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