Learn Satellite Radio
Broadcasting digital radio via satellite is not something new and concepts of doings this have been with us for a few years. From the early days of satellite radio, companies like Dish Network have offered digital audio channels as part of their programs. The breakthrough in popularity of satellite radio, however, happened just recently, when the technology became more permissive.
Satellite radio is actually composed of two Boeing HS 702 satellites orbiting our atmosphere and aptly named “Rock” and “Roll”. One is located at approximately 85 degrees west longitude and the other at 115 degrees west longitude. Geostationary Earth orbit (GEO) is about 22,223 miles (35,764 km) above Earth, and is the type of orbit most commonly used for communications satellites. The first satellite to up, “Rock,” was placed in orbit on March 18, 2001. “Roll” followed with it’s launch on May 8. Satellite radio has a third HS-702 satellite on the ground ready to be launched in case one of the two orbiting satellites break down or fail.
Satellite radio was very rare on moving locations, such as boats or cars, mostly because there was the need for some expensive equipment – a tracking dish. This was a strong deterrent which kept satellite radio quite unknown by the general public. Today, however, one can receive digital audio satellite broadcasts by using a small, GPS-like antenna. This greatly increased the feasibility of the satellite radio systems and more and more vehicle owners began considering satellite radios as a good source of music and news.
Satellite radio’s station on earth transmits a signal to its two GEO Satellites, which bounce signals back down to the ground. The radio receivers are programmed to receive and unscramble the digital data signal, which contains up to 100 channels of digital audio. In addition to the encoded sound, the signal contains additional information about the broadcast. The artist, song title and category of music are all displayed on the radio. In urban areas, where buildings can block out the satellite’s signal, broadcasting equipment is supplemented by ground transmitters.
Each receiver contains a unique manufacturer’s chipset. Satellite radio began delivering chipsets to its manufacturing partners in late September or early October of 2000. The chipset consists of two custom integrated circuits designed by STMicroelectronics. Satellite has partnered with Pioneer, Alpine, Clarion, Delphi Delco, Sony and Motorola to manufacture satellite capable car radios. Each radio receiver uses a tiny, car-phone-sized antenna to receive the digital signal. GM has invested about 100 million dollars in digital satellite radio, and Honda has also created a contract to use these same radios in its cars. General Motors first began installing satellite radio receivers in specific models in late 2000 and early 2001.
Each of the major satellite radio services uses its own equipment to broadcast the signal to their clients. The competition is tight and customers have to “pick sides” in order to benefit from satellite radio broadcasting. You have to choose your preferred company and purchase adequate receivers for that particular company. Both XM Radio and Sirius Radio provide their clients with different ways of receiving their services. The field where most competition takes place is in the negotiation with the major automobile manufacturers. Both XM Radio and Sirius Radio have deals with the auto industry giants in order to offer their services and equipment as optional on the car models they produce. Other partnerships were created with audio equipment manufacturers, who now offer satellite radio transceivers and matching headsets. The most recent shock in the satellite radio universe was caused by the production of portable MP3 player-like satellite radio receivers.
For approximately twelve dollars per month, subscribers can listen to crystal clear digital sound. For this small price, music aficionados receive up to 100 channels of music, talk and news. They can also listen online via streaming audio service with over 70 channels. Most of the stations received are commercial-free, with none of the channels having more than seven minutes of ads per hour. Satellite advertisers include USA Today, BBC, CNN/Sports Illustrated and The Weather Channel. The service is clean & clear and more of what the surveyed population asked for. Each of the major satellite radio services uses its own equipment to broadcast the signal to their clients. The future of satellite radio is clearly bright.
“This article is brought to you by Gus Woltmann”.