Much of today’s satellite traffic is intended for use by cable companies which distribute programming to their subscribers. Many of the programs are advertiser-supported, while other require the payment of a monthly fee for their reception.
Sports. With one 24-hour sports channel and over a dozen additional channels with regular sporting event coverage, it is now possible to view a dazzling array of athletic competition from around the world. When combined with the transmission of major league baseball, basketball, football, hockey, and soccer by the networks, there are now hundreds of hours of sports coverage every week carried via satellite, more than enough for even the most dedicated fan.
Movies. There are several satellite channels devoted to 24-hour movie services like HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, The Movie Channel, SelecTV, etc. All these services are supported by subscribers; their movie features are unedited for television and are not interrupted by commercials. Most of them also offer special events like concerts, sporting events, or other entertainment. But their main emphasis is on providing first-run movies after they have finished at the box office, film classics, or even their own movie productions.
News Channels. There are a number of cable news channels that offer coverage of major international and national events as well as in-depth reporting on various topics. Financial, sports, weather, and regional news reports from around the country are also available on a continuously updated basis.
Educational Programming. A number of channels are devoted to educational or instructional presentations on specific subjects or directed to specific audiences.
Some of these programs offer college credit course material. Others seek to educate the public in various areas such as health care, consumer information, science, or public affairs issues.
Superstations. Independent television stations from New York, Atlanta, Chicago, and Mexico City are available. These stations depend on advertising for their support and offer a programming menu similar to other large urban TV stations. They offer movies, sporting events, documentaries, sit-coms, and soaps, many of them reruns from older television series that are still popular.
Government Television. Both the US House of Representatives and the Canadian Parliament provide daily coverage of their meetings, including subcommittee reports, hearings, etc. The congressional channel, C-SPAN, currently occupies one transponder on SATCOM IIIR and an additional transponder on Galaxy I starting in 1984. This makes it possible for people to see directly what their representatives in government are doing and saying.
Cultural Programming. There are several satellite transponders providing a selected spectrum of entertainment from the performing arts. These programs include theater, ballet, opera, art cinema, dance, and classical music presentations.
Entertainment Networks. These offer live theater, sporting events, musical concerts, selections from foreign television, opera, and ballet. There are several satellite channels which carry a broad menu of entertainment programming that includes Las Vegas productions and other goodies.
Minority Programming. Educational, cultural, ethnic, and entertainment features produced by and for minorities are available. In today’s melting-pot America, Spanish and French channels supply native-language news and other programming to minority audiences. For others, watching these programs can help improve foreign language skills.
Religious Networks. Provide specific shows directed at church members. Some of these are involved in presenting religious doctrine while others try to provide family entertainment that underlines basic Christian themes.
Adult Entertainment. There are several channels no on the satellites which offer adult entertainment during the later evening hours. Some movie services like SelecTV and Cinemax have several hours of adult-oriented programming on during the evening hours of the week.
Non-Video Programming. In addition to their television transmissions, many satellites offer a selection of radio stations, many in stereo, as well as long distance telephone and news information videotext services.
Article as written by Mark Long and Jeffrey Keating in The World of Satellite Television. Contributed by Connect Your Home. Connect Your Home connects consumers to cable service providers, security, and phone service providers at competitive rates, offering a variety of home entertainment services as well as ID protection, Tech Support, Wireless, and more.
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