Satellite radio technology is the equivalent of cable or satellite television and it is certainly here to stay. There are several reasons for this: the quality of the broadcasts is higher, the quality of the apparatus’s reception is higher and the general coverage of the station, that is to say the so-called satellite’s footprint is far greater too.
This means that if you drive long distances, you will be able to stick with the same station without having to look for a new one every forty or fifty miles as you need to do with AM or FM radio channels.
In order to reach this quality, the recording and playback speed has to be around the 384 kbps level. The music tracks are catalogued in a comparable way to the MP3 system, which uses names called ID3 tags.
Each station on satellite radio attempts to establish its own identity. A music station may try this by playing music only of one type or from only one period or decade. This means that you may get a satellite radio station called 1970′s Punk music or Twentieth Century Classical Music.
On some stations, the music controller or disc jockey will choose, say, fifty minutes worth of music, will listen to it in order to ascertain that the quality and the order are correct and then let the computer play it over the airwaves. This allows ten minutes every hour for the news and then the programme can be repeated automatically.
Satellite broadcasting uses digital recordings and each channel is encoded on a different frequency. Similarly, each decoder, say, in your car or your home needs to recognize and decode each channel separately as well. This coding and decoding is done very quickly, in fact in what is called ‘real time’.
The resulting binary or digital code is then translated into analogue signals so that your speakers can reproduce it. This process creates sound which is just about of CD quality.
The transmitting satellites are in a geo-stationary orbit at 23,000 miles above the Earth and have a large footprint which is the name given to the area of ground that is capable of receiving their transmissions.
In America, for example, the two fields concentrated on at first were the densely populated east and west coasts in order to maximize possible income. One satellite would be incapable of covering the entirety of the United States in that orbit.
In order to receive satellite transmissions, you will have to use a special antenna on your decoder. This antenna must be capable of picking up L-band broadcasts for it to be effective.
These new antennas are a huge improvement on the satellite dishes (comparable to those used for satellite TV) that one used to have to have in order to take advantage of satellite radio technology
Owen Jones, the writer of this piece, writes on a range of subjects, but is currently involved with Bose radio alarm clocks. If you would like to kcurrently more, please visit our web site at Bose Digital Radio.