Thursday, November 10, 2005
Digital compression made it possible for the first time for several digital television channels to be squeezed onto a single satellite transponder. Previous to this, only one channel could be carried per each transponder, which meant a maximum channel barrier of 24-32 channels per satellite. Clearly this was not a feasible option for a service that was to compete head on with long established cable vision companies.
In December, 1993, a long realized dream came to realization with the successful launch of the United States first DBS class commercial satellite. This satellite, would be known as DBS-1 was located at Directv's allocated orbital slot of 101 degrees W.L. This satellite was a high powered commercial satellite carrying a payload of 16 circularly polarized DBS Ku band transponders, each broadcasting at 120 watts per transponder. The summer of 1994 brought the introduction of the digital DirecTV system, the first of its kind, an all digital, direct to home satellite service, delivering crystal clear digital channels on a small 18" satellite dish and set top receiver. The Direct system was actually comprised of 2 distinct satellite services, DirecTV, which delivered most of the cable vision favorite channels and network feeds, and also USSB (United States Satellite Broadcasting Co.), which delivered premium services such as premium movie channels (HBO, Showtime) as well as pay per view sporting events, such as boxing and wrestling
The DirecTV/USSB partnership came in 1991, as Directv's parent company, Hughes Electronics was attempting to raise financing for the DirecTV venture. USSB, which had previously been part of a failed DBS project in the 1980's, saw an opportunity to finally capitalize on their dream of launching a successful DBS service to the American marketplace. USSB agreed to purchase 5 transponders aboard the future DBS-1 satellite, which they would use to broadcast their premium movie and pay per view offerings.
The new DirecTV system quickly became one of the hottest selling consumer electronics products of the year in 1994. At the time, the complete 8 bit RCA DSS system was selling for $699, not including installation. RCA also released an advanced DSS system, offering more features, universal remote control and re-in forced satellite dish for $899. The fall of 1994, brought another significant milestone as the second DirecTV satellite, DBS-2 launched and began operations in September of 1994. This offered DirecTV a further 16 high powered transponders, which allowed them to expand their programming offerings to nearly 150 channels. In comparison to cable vision systems of the day, which offered an average of 30 analog channels, this brought serious heat to the broadcasting industry.
The core Directv operations center is located in Castle Rock, Colorado and consists of a 55 00 square foot facility and broadcasting center. A second center was constructed later and is located in Los Angeles, California. Together, they receive, process, and re-broadcast over 200 digital channels to their current 8 satellites, orbiting 22 300 miles above the Earth is various core orbital slots, including 101, 110 and 119 degrees.
Directv currently has a total of 8 of their own DBS class satellites in various orbital locations:
て｢ 72.5ｬ? W.L. - Directv 5 (Locals)
て｢ 91ｬ? W.L. - Directv 3/Nimiq 3(Standby)
て｢ 101ｬ? W.L. - Directv 2, 8, 4-S, 1-R (Core programming, Locals)
て｢ 110ｬ? W.L. - Directv 1, 6 (Core programming, Locals, HDTV)
て｢ 119ｬ? W.L. - Directv 7-S (Locals, HDTV)
DIRECTV is continuing to redefine the world of television entertainment. Advances in technology are enabling viewers to have greater control over their viewing and experience new services on their television, such as digital video recording (DVR), high-definition TV, expanded multicultural programming, interactive programming and more.