If you are one of those persons who look forward to just sitting back and watching some TV during weekends, then you’d be a happy beaver indeed if you have access to free to air or FTA channels. You can make this possible by setting up your own satellite system. Just by making a one-time purchase of all satellite equipment needed like a satellite dish, a receiver and some low noise blockers, you will already be able to enjoy a great deal of FTA channels even without cable or satellite subscription and this is 100% legal. However, the article of today focuses on the distinction between various satellite Tv systems that we have.
WHAT ARE THE VARIOUS OPTIONS AVAILABLE TO US WHEN WATCHING TV?
In some cases, we are restricted in the ways we can receive our TV pictures due to where we live and the services that are available to us. We can also be limited by the technology that we need in order to get the right services.
Types of Television Providers
One of the most confusing issues when trying to figure out how we are going to receive our TV shows is understanding the different types of delivery available to us.
Let us break it down, so that it can be easier to see what our options are.
The main types of television available in both the developed and the developing countries of the world can be broadly categorised into five main categories:
- Broadcast Television (Over-the-Air or Terrestrial TV)
- Free to air TV (FTA – or Unencrypted Satellite)
- Cable Television
- Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS – or Satellite TV)
- IPTV and Internet TV
- Broadcast Television
Broadcast television, sometimes known as terrestrial TV, can be viewed as the most traditional type of TV delivery.
This type of TV can be received for free and is traditionally picked up by an antenna (or aerial) in your home – which is then sent down a cable into a tuner integrated to your TV set. For many years this type of TV would have been sent using an analogue signal. However, analogue signals are starting to be replaced by digital signals – which can be known as Digital Terrestrial Television. Many houses in Nigeria is still using this type of tv system up till today.
Digital or analogue, the basic method of transmitting and receiving is very similar.
While the TV tuner is often built into the TV set itself, it may be that an external box is used to receive the signal from the antenna, and this box is then connected by cables to the TV or home entertainment system.
In the US for example, this is how many people would have historically received the major broadcast networks – ABC, Fox, NBC, CBS and The CW. Similarly in Nigeria, we receive channels via digital satellite systems like dstv, mytv and so on and the channels include but not limited to supersports, cnn, waptv, etc.
In the UK, the main broadcast channels are BBC1, BBC2, ITV, Channel 4 and Five.
Free To Air TV
Free-to-air TV is similar in many ways to traditional broadcast TV transmissions – and can be seen as an extension of broadcast TV.
All the main channels available for broadcast TV can also be categorised as free-to-air and will be available using this method. The main difference is that this type of TV is often sent using unencrypted satellite transmissions and can be received for free (or without subscription) by anybody with the right equipment to receive the signals for example if you have a free to air standalone decoder like strong, openbox, dreambox, skybox, gsky and so on, you are eligible to receive these channels. Note; In this context, yet to be encrypted or newly added channels that are on test transmission also qualifies to be called free to air. However, the method of delivery doesn’t have to be restricted to satellite transmissions, and so the boundaries of this type of television and broadcast TV can be somewhat blurred.
Compared to traditional terrestrial TV, there are more channels available to the consumer via free-to-air services. There will also be many radio stations as well as TV channels.
Cable television companies provide TV, radio, phone and internet services by means of a cable network which is connected to your home.
This delivery method usually requires a subscription, but this will provide a far greater choice of TV programming than is available for free-to-air.
You will need a cable box(also known as decoder/ receiver) in the home to transmit the picture and sound to your TV – and you will usually be able to choose between a standard play-only unit and a more advanced digital video recorder (DVR / PVR) which allows scheduled recording to an internal hard disk.
One advantage of cable television is that there is no need to have external equipment like an aerial or dish on the outside of your home. The picture from a cable service will also be unaffected by poor weather and atmospheric conditions, which can sometimes be a problem with a satellite TV service.
Cable networks are also able to offer high bandwidths which are well-suited to transmitting high-definition pictures and supplying fast internet connections.
Digital Satellite TV
Direct broadcast satellite, more commonly just known as satellite TV, is a commercial subscription-based TV service provided to home consumers.
With this type of delivery, the home-user will install a satellite dish on the outside of their home. This dish is then directed at the location of the transmitting satellite in the sky. A cable is then run into the home and into a receiver box, which connects to the TV.
In some cases, these systems can receive a limited number of free-to-air channels which can be viewed without charge. However, for the full range of entertainment, sports and movie channels, the user will need to pay a subscription. Examples are dstv, mytv, consat, startimes, bein, canalsat, skytv and so on.
Internet Protocol Television or IPTV is a technology that allows television services to be delivered over a proprietary broadband packet data network using the internet protocol suite. Internet TV, on the other hand, is a television broadcast service distributed over the internet.
The above will afford us the oppotunity of knowing what to go for when selecting a tv package. Hope you are on standby for my upcoming updates on satellite and others. staytuned.