Satellite TV Glossary

Before you buy a new system or make a call to a retailer, it's always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the satellite TV terminology.
Additional Outlet (A/O)
Refers to receivers that are not primary (the one that is typically connected to your satellite dish).

Audio/Video Jacks
In most setups there are three jacks...
1) The video
2) The right speaker
3) The left speaker.

The audio jacks are necessary for sound to be transmitted in stereo.

Azimuth
Refers to the horizontal direction of a satellite. There's a different azimuth in Washington compared to Texas.

Bandwidth
Reference to the range of frequencies that are occupied by a particular signal (over time).

Baseband
This refers to raw satellite TV signal before it is remodulated to become a signal that is suitable for TV.

Beam
The "beam" refers to a satellite transmission pattern. This pattern may be wide, narrow, or spot.

Blackouts
Due to contractual agreements, some broadcasts may not be available in local markets (pertains particularly to sporting events).

C-band
Commonly known as a signal frequency range (eg, 4.02 - 4.25 Ghz).

Clarke Belt
Named after Arthur C. Clarke (famed science fiction writer), the Clarke Belt is an orbit that is used by satellites at a height of approximately 22,250 miles. At this orbit, satellites make an orbit in 24 hours and remain in a fixed position relative to the Earth's terrain.

DBS
Stands for: Digital broadcast satellite - high-powered satellite that uses the Ku-band frequency (12.2 to 12.7 GHz) to deliver programming signals directly to a relatively small (18-in) dish.

Digital Audio Broadcasting
This is a standard for transmitting digital audio.

Digital Compression
Process that translates video images into a digital code which takes up less transmission space than the original signal would have.

Dolby Digital (AC-3 Compatible)
Dolby Digital gives six independent sound track channels via an optical output jack; when connected to an AC3 compatible home theater audio set-up, it offers Dolby Digital Surround Sound.

Dolby Pro Logic
Also known as surround sound, it is predicated on the use of an amplitude-phase matrix. It allows for the encoding of four channels of information into two tracks of stereo media and then the decoding of them back into four channels.

Downlink
Path that a signal is transmitted through from satellite to antenna.

DTH
Acronym for "Direct To Home" and the official term that is used by the Federal Communications Commission (FTC) when they refer to satellite TV and broadcasting industries.

DVB
Broadcast standard for digital radio and television (uses MPEG II compression technology).

Feed Horn
A device that collects the signals at the foci of the satellite dish and then directs them to the LNB.

Fixed Dish System
With a fixed system, the dish does not have to be moved. Direct tv and DISH use fixed dish systems.

Footprint
A section of land that is ready/able to receive a particular satellite's signals.

Geostationary
Refers to the fact that satellites orbit the Earth 22,300 mi. above the equator and rotate at the same relative speed and direction as the Earth's surface.

HDTV (high definition television)
HDTV generally uses a digital transmission rather than analog. In 2009, all broadcasting will be in digital format, with analog being officially phased out.

IRD (Integrated Receiver Decoder)
Satellite receiver that carries a built-in decoder used for unscrambling subscription channels.

KU-band
The signal frequency range between 11 and 14 GHz (it is often used with respect to communications satellites).

LNB (Low Noise Block down-converter)
An LNB amplifies received signals and converts them from microwaves to lower frequency signals. Those are then sent along a cable, eventually to the satellite receiver.

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

Moving Pictures Experts Group (MPEG)
The original group which defined the standards for movies.

MPEG I/II Compression
The modern method for compressing a variety of digital signals.

Offset
The type of dish with the foci and feed horn below the center of the dish.

Pay Per View (PPV)
A one-time payment for access to a special event or movie (usually for a particular block of time).

R/F connectors
Output for the coaxial cable - they will not result in stereo sound from the satellite receiver.

RG59
Type of coaxial cable that is commonly used for cable television.

Satellite Home Viewer Act: (SHVA)
This act made it illegal for homeowners associations and other organizations to prevent home viewers from utilizing a satellite dish.

Transponder
The equipment inside a satellite dish that is responsible for receiving a single uplinked channel and subsequently re-broadcasting it back to Earth.

UHF Remote
Ultra High Frequency remote control that can operate the receiver(s) from another room or location in the home. The IR (InfraRed) remote must be pointed directly at the receiver.

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