How Does Satellite Radio Work?

By: Jim Johnson

You have probably been hearing a lot about satellite radio lately, and there is no doubt that you will be hearing even more about it soon. If you haven't adopted this new technology into your entertainment and information mix, then you may not understand it very well. So let's help you get the facts on how this new technology works.

You have probably guessed that satellites are involved due to the name satellite radio, and you would be right. But first the programming is recorded in studios digitally so that the signal contains much more and higher quality sound than is possible with standard radio. That recording is converted into a signal that is beamed up to satellites that orbit earth more than 20,000 miles up into the atmosphere. There the signal is encoded and sent down to a receiver that decodes the signal and plays the sound for you.

It all takes place very quickly, easily, and reliably due to advanced technology. All that you need to have to be able to take advantage of this technology is three things: a subscription to a satellite radio provider's service, a receiver, and an antenna.

There are currently three major satellite radio provider's, but only two, Sirius and XM are available in the US. The third is a company called WorldSpace that takes a more global view of the potential that satellite radio has and is available in Asia, Africa, Europe, and South America. All you have to do is choose the company whose programming seems to best fit what you are interested in listening to and your first step is done.

Now that you have the programming available, you wuill need the equipment to receive the special signals since normal radios cannmot decode the satellite radio signal unless they already have that capability and are are equipped to do so. There are lost of places though where you can get satellite radio equipment and even have them installed in your boat, car and RV. You can usually get very good deals on radio receiving equipment that you can either install yourself or have installed locally. Quite often you can even buy equipment that will let you use a satellite radio receiver in multiple places including your home, car, RV, etc. You just take the receiver with you as you go.

More and more new car companies are even installing satellite radio as standard equipment in their vehicles, so expect this technology to grow, improve and become more accepted as time goes on. We think that if you just take some time to listen to a satellite radio broadcast for a while, you will begin to understand and appreciate what a pleasure it is to have.

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