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Digital Radio Via Satellite

With the advent of digital technology radio is moving to new platforms to reach its audiences. Satellite provides far better bit rates than DAB thus giving the listener better audio quality. The majority of stations on DAB are running at 128kbps where as on satellite they are using 192kbps. Both DAB and Digital Satellite are encoded in MP2 so the satellite streams are of a higher quality. DAB is currently suffering from low bit rates due to the lack of bandwidth which is much higher on satellite. DAB stations broadcast on the VHF band and the bandwidth is kept low to fit all the stations into the space available.

To receive satellite radio all you need is a digibox and a minidish which goes on the wall outside your house. The audio from the digibox can be wired up to your home hi-fi system or through the speakers of your TV. On the Sky satellite network there’s a choice of free-to-air stations which means that you don't need a card to receive them you just require a suitable digital satellite receiver and a dish pointing at the Astra satellites which carries the Sky signals.

Difference Between Europe And US Satellite Stations

In Europe, FM radio is used by many stations that use a network of several local FM repeaters to broadcast a single programme to a large area, usually a whole nation. Many of those have an additional satellite signal that can be heard in many parts of the continent. In contrast, US terrestrial stations are always local and each of them has a unique programme, albeit they are sometimes interconnected for syndicated content; but each local station still carries its own commercials and news breaks. This means that a national distribution of the contents of original terrestrial stations via satellite makes no real sense in the US, therefore satellite radio is used in a different way there. Satellite radio in the US began on January 5, 2001 at 11:17AM Eastern, Tim McGraw was the first artist ever played on satellite radio. He gave a special welcome introduction which segued into his song "Things Change" on Sirius!

Portable Satellite Radio

Portable satellite radios let you listen to satellite radio just about anywhere you go. They are very similar to standard portable music players, designed for music on the go. These however, feature built-in antennas that receive the satellite signal, and come with rechargeable batteries. In fact, all you have to do is plug in headphones, and you can easily listen to and carry them around with you. Reception can be tricky however, being blocked by buildings and tall trees, and sometimes by your own body depending on the way you are facing and how you are carrying it. However, the best reception will be received outdoors in the open.Car manufacturers are now starting to install satellite radio receivers into new models.

In February 2007, XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio in the US announced their plans to merge into a single company. XM and Sirius were both in debt, and believed a merger would quickly solve that problem. The FCC begrudgingly allowed the merger to go forward in July 2008 and the new company goes by the name Sirius XM Radio. Even though XM and Sirius had financial trouble, satellite radio still has a fairly strong fan base. The new Sirius XM company has more than 18 million subscribers.



Mobile services, such as Sirius XM allow listeners to roam across the entire continent, listening to the same audio programming anywhere they go. Other services, such as Music Choice or Muzak’s satellite-delivered content, require a fixed-location receiver and a dish antenna.

Satellite radio's chief asset is the fact that it is not localized: drivers can receive the same programming anywhere in the footprint of the service. A stop at any truck stop in the US will demonstrate the popularity of Sirius XM among long-haul drivers. In addition, Sirius XM carries programming that is simply not feasible on commercial radio stations. Specialty stations cover things such as family talk, radio drama, classical music, and live events.

The footprint of Sirius XM only covers the United States (not including Alaska), Canada, and the upper third of Mexico and does not cover Hawaii.

In areas with a relatively high population density, it is easier and less expensive to reach the bulk of the population with terrestrial broadcasts. Thus in the UK and other countries, the contemporary evolution of radio services is focused on Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) services or HD Radio, rather than satellite radio. Satellite radio, particularly in the United States, has become a major provider of background music to businesses such as hotels, retail chains, and restaurants.