Television has been called the most important means of distributing information on a global basis. Over one billion homes on our planet have television and these homes collectively receive over 25,000 TV channels by satellite.
Today's high powered satellites have inherent operational and cost advantages that make them superior to other technologies when it comes to video distribution. A single GEO satellite can easily cover an entire continent, such as Telesat's Anik F3 over North America.
Video channels broadcast by satellite are received by:
- Cable Networks around the world that redistribute satellite-delivered content to subscribers via their terrestrial cable facilities;
- Broadcast Networks around the world that use satellite to distribute programming to their affiliates across a country or region who then redistribute this content; and
- Direct-to-Home (DTH) companies like Bell TV, Shaw Direct, and EchoStar/DISH Network that use Telesat satellites to directly deliver TV channels to homes of their subscribers.
Satellite also has a key role in transporting video content from live events, such as the World Cup and the Olympics, to the point from which the final broadcast originates. Major sports and news event coverage around the world is transmitted by satellite to TV networks for re-transmission.