Satellite radio

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Satellite radio is defined by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)'s ITU Radio Regulations (RR) as a broadcasting-satellite service . [1] The satellite's signals are broadcast nationwide, across a much wider geographical area than terrestrial radio stations, and the service is primarily intended for the occupants of motor vehicles. [2] [3] It is available by subscription, mostly commercial free, and offers subscribers more stations and a wider variety of programming options than terrestrial radio. [4]

International Telecommunication Union Specialised agency of the United Nations

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), originally the International Telegraph Union, is a specialised agency of the United Nations that is responsible for issues that concern information and communication technologies. It is the oldest International Organization.

The ITU Radio Regulations regulates on law of nations scale radiocommunication services and the utilisation of radio frequencies. It is the supplementation to the Constitution and Convention of the International Telecommunication Union. In line to the ITU Constitution and Convention and the ITU International Telecommunication Regulations (ITR), this ITU Radio Regulations belong to the basic documents of the International Telecommunication Union. The ITU Radio Regulations comprise and regulate the part of the allocated electromagnetic spectrum from 9 kHz to 275 GHz.

Broadcasting-satellite service

Broadcasting-satellite service is – according to Article 1.39 of the International Telecommunication Union's (ITU) Radio Regulations (RR) – defined as «A radiocommunication service in which signals transmitted or retransmitted by space stations are intended for direct reception by the general public. In the broadcasting-satellite service, the term “direct reception” shall encompass both individual reception and community reception

Contents

Satellite radio technology was inducted into the Space Foundation Space Technology Hall of Fame in 2002. [5] Satellite radio uses the 2.3 GHz S band in North America for nationwide digital radio broadcasting. [6] In other parts of the world, satellite radio uses the 1.4 GHz L band allocated for DAB. [7]

Space Foundation is an American nonprofit organization that advocates for all sectors of the global space industry through space awareness activities, educational programs and major industry events. Founded in 1983, the Space Foundation vision is to inspire, educate, connect, and advocate on behalf of the global space community.

The S band is a designation by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) for a part of the microwave band of the electromagnetic spectrum covering frequencies from 2 to 4 gigahertz (GHz). Thus it crosses the conventional boundary between the UHF and SHF bands at 3.0 GHz. The S band is used by airport surveillance radar for air traffic control, weather radar, surface ship radar, and some communications satellites, especially those used by NASA to communicate with the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station. The 10 cm radar short-band ranges roughly from 1.55 to 5.2 GHz. The S band also contains the 2.4–2.483 GHz ISM band, widely used for low power unlicensed microwave devices such as cordless phones, wireless headphones (Bluetooth), wireless networking (WiFi), garage door openers, keyless vehicle locks, baby monitors as well as for medical diathermy machines and microwave ovens. India’s regional satellite navigation network (IRNSS) broadcasts on 2.483778 to 2.500278 GHz.

The L band is the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) designation for the range of frequencies in the radio spectrum from 1 to 2 gigahertz (GHz).

History

The first satellite radio broadcasts occurred in Africa and the Middle East in 1999. The first US broadcasts were in 2001 followed by Japan in 2004 and Canada in 2005.

Africa and Eurasia

WorldSpace was founded by Ethiopia-born lawyer Noah Samara in Washington, D.C., in 1990, [8] with the goal of making satellite radio programming available to the developing world. [9] On June 22, 1991, the FCC gave WorldSpace permission to launch a satellite to provide digital programming to Africa and the Middle East. [2] WorldSpace first began broadcasting satellite radio on October 1, 1999, in Africa. [10] India would ultimately account for over 90% of WorldSpace’s subscriber base. [11] In 2008, WorldSpace announced plans to enter Europe, but those plans were set aside when the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November 2008. [12] In March 2010, the company announced it would be de-commissioning its two satellites (one served Asia, the other served Africa). Liberty Media, which owns 50% of Sirius XM Radio, had considered purchasing WorldSpace’s assets, but talks between the companies collapsed. [9] [13] The satellites are now transmitting educational data and operate under the name of Yazmi USA, LLC.

Washington, D.C. Capital of the United States

Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington or D.C., is the capital of the United States. Founded after the American Revolution as the seat of government of the newly independent country, Washington was named after George Washington, the first president of the United States and a Founding Father. As the seat of the United States federal government and several international organizations, Washington is an important world political capital. The city, located on the Potomac River bordering Maryland and Virginia, is one of the most visited cities in the world, with more than 20 million tourists annually.

Africa The second largest and second most-populous continent, mostly in the Northern and Eastern Hemispheres

Africa is the world's second largest and second most-populous continent, being behind Asia in both categories. At about 30.3 million km2 including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth's total surface area and 20% of its land area. With 1.2 billion people as of 2016, it accounts for about 16% of the world's human population. The continent is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Isthmus of Suez and the Red Sea to the northeast, the Indian Ocean to the southeast and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The continent includes Madagascar and various archipelagos. It contains 54 fully recognised sovereign states (countries), nine territories and two de facto independent states with limited or no recognition. The majority of the continent and its countries are in the Northern Hemisphere, with a substantial portion and number of countries in the Southern Hemisphere.

Middle East region that encompasses Western Asia and Egypt

The Middle East is a transcontinental region centered on Western Asia, Turkey, and Egypt. Saudi Arabia is geographically the largest Middle Eastern nation while Bahrain is the smallest. The corresponding adjective is Middle Eastern and the derived noun is Middle Easterner. The term has come into wider usage as a replacement of the term Near East beginning in the early 20th century.

Ondas Media was a Spanish company which had proposed to launch a subscription-based satellite radio system to serve Spain and much of Western Europe, but failed to acquire licenses throughout Europe.[ citation needed ]

Onde Numérique was a French company which had proposed to launch a subscription-based satellite radio system to serve France and several other countries in Western Europe but has suspended its plans indefinitely, effective December, 2016.[ citation needed ]

United States

Sirius Satellite Radio was founded by Martine Rothblatt, David Margolese and Robert Briskman. [14] [15] In June 1990, Rothblatt's shell company, Satellite CD Radio, Inc., petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to assign new frequencies for satellites to broadcast digital sound to homes and cars. [2] The company identified and argued in favor of the use of the S-band frequencies that the FCC subsequently decided to allocate to digital audio broadcasting. The National Association of Broadcasters contended that satellite radio would harm local radio stations. [3]

Sirius Satellite Radio Satellite radio service owned by Sirius XM

Sirius Satellite Radio was a satellite radio (SDARS) and online radio service operating in North America, owned by Sirius XM Holdings.

Martine Rothblatt American lawyer, writer and businessperson

Martine Aliana Rothblatt is a transgender American lawyer, author, and entrepreneur. Rothblatt graduated from University of California, Los Angeles with a combined law and MBA degree in 1981, then began to work in Washington, D.C., first in the field of communications satellite law, and eventually in life sciences projects like the Human Genome Project. She is the founder and Chairwoman of the Board of United Therapeutics. She was also the CEO of GeoStar and the creator of SiriusXM Satellite Radio. She was the top earning CEO in biopharmaceutical industry in 2018.

David Margolese entrepreneur

David Margolese is an entrepreneur and a founder of Sirius XM Radio, serving as chairman and CEO from 1993 to 2002. Considered "one of the earliest advocates of pay radio," he "effectively created the industry."

In April 1992, Rothblatt resigned as CEO of Satellite CD Radio; [14] former NASA engineer Robert Briskman, who designed the company's satellite technology, was then appointed chairman and CEO. [16] [17] Six months later, Rogers Wireless co-founder David Margolese, who had provided financial backing for the venture, acquired control of the company and succeeded Briskman. Margolese renamed the company CD Radio, and spent the next five years lobbying the FCC to allow satellite radio to be deployed, and the following five years raising $1.6 billion, which was used to build and launch three satellites into elliptical orbit from Kazakhstan in July 2000. [17] [18] [19] [20] In 1997, after Margolese had obtained regulatory clearance and "effectively created the industry," the FCC also sold a license to the American Mobile Radio Corporation, [21] which changed its name to XM Satellite Radio in October 1998. [22] XM was founded by Lon Levin and Gary Parsons, who served as chairman until November 2009. [23] [24]

CD Radio purchased their license for $83.3 million, and American Mobile Radio Corporation bought theirs for $89.9 million. Digital Satellite Broadcasting Corporation and Primosphere were unsuccessful in their bids for licenses. [25] Sky Highway Radio Corporation had also expressed interest in creating a satellite radio network, before being bought out by CD Radio in 1993 for $2 million. [26] In November 1999, Margolese changed the name of CD Radio to Sirius Satellite Radio. [15] In November 2001, Margolese stepped down as CEO, remaining as chairman until November 2003, with Sirius issuing a statement thanking him "for his great vision, leadership and dedication in creating both Sirius and the satellite radio industry." [27]

XM’s first satellite was launched on March 18, 2001 and its second on May 8, 2001. [7] Its first broadcast occurred on September 25, 2001, nearly four months before Sirius. [28] Sirius launched the initial phase of its service in four cities on February 14, 2002, [29] expanding to the rest of the contiguous United States on July 1, 2002. [28] The two companies spent over $3 billion combined to develop satellite radio technology, build and launch the satellites, and for various other business expenses. [5] Stating that it was the only way satellite radio could survive, Sirius and XM announced their merger on February 19, 2007, becoming Sirius XM Satellite Radio. [30] [31] The FCC approved the merger on July 25, 2008, concluding that it was not a monopoly, primarily due to Internet audio-streaming competition. [32]

Japan

MobaHo! was a mobile satellite digital audio/video broadcasting service in Japan whose services began on October 20, 2004, and ended on March 31, 2009. [33]

Canada

XM satellite radio was launched in Canada on November 29, 2005. Sirius followed two days later on December 1, 2005. Sirius Canada and XM Radio Canada announced their merger into SiriusXM Canada on November 24, 2010. [34] It was approved by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission on April 12, 2011. [35]

System design

Satellite radio uses the 2.3 GHz S band in North America for nationwide digital radio broadcasting. [6] MobaHO! operated at 2.6 GHz. In other parts of the world, satellite radio uses part of the 1.4 GHz L band allocated for DAB. [7]

Satellite radio subscribers purchase a receiver and pay a monthly subscription fee to listen to programming. They can listen through built-in or portable receivers in automobiles; in the home and office with a portable or tabletop receiver equipped to connect the receiver to a stereo system; or on the Internet. [36]

Ground stations transmit signals to the satellites which are 35,786 kilometers (22,236 miles) above the Equator in Clarke belt orbits. The satellites send the signals back down to radio receivers in cars and homes. This signal contains scrambled broadcasts, along with meta data about each specific broadcast. The signals are unscrambled by the radio receiver modules, which display the broadcast information. In urban areas, ground repeaters enable signals to be available even if the satellite signal is blocked. The technology allows for nationwide broadcasting, so that, for instance US listeners can hear the same stations anywhere in the country. [7] [37]

Content, availability and market penetration

Satellite radio in the US offers commercial-free music stations, as well as news, sports, and talk, some of which include commercials. [38] In 2004, satellite radio companies in the United States began providing background music to hotels, retail chains, restaurants, airlines and other businesses. [39] [40] On April 30, 2013, Sirius XM CEO Jim Meyer stated that the company would be pursuing opportunities over the next few years to provide in-car services through their existing satellites, including telematics (automated security and safety, such as stolen vehicle tracking and roadside assistance) and entertainment (such as weather and gas prices). [41]

As of Q3 2016, SiriusXM had 31 million subscribers. [42] This was primarily due to the company’s partnerships with automakers and car dealers. Roughly 60% of new cars sold come equipped with Sirius XM, and just under half of those units gain paid subscriptions. The company has long-term deals with General Motors, Ford, Toyota, Kia, Bentley, BMW, Volkswagen, Nissan, Hyundai and Mitsubishi. [43] The presence of Howard Stern, whose show attracts over 12 million listeners per week, has also been a factor in the company’s steady growth. [43] [44] As of 2013, the main competition to satellite radio is streaming Internet services, such as Pandora and Spotify, as well as FM and AM Radio. [41]

Satellite radio vs. other formats

Satellite radio differs from AM, FM radio, and digital television radio (DTR) in the following ways (the table applies primarily to the United States):

Radio formatSatellite radioAM/FM Digital television radio (DTR)
Monthly feesUS$10.99 and upFreeFree for terrestrial. Very low for cable television or satellite—DTR represents a small portion of the total monthly television fee.
PortabilityAvailableProminentNone—a typical set consists of a stereo attached to a television set-top box (the primary function of the set top-box is normally designed for viewing digital television on an analogue set).
Listening availabilityVery high—a satellite signal's footprint covers millions of square kilometres.Low to moderate[ citation needed ] — implementation of FM service requires moderate to high population densities and is thus not practical in rural and/or remote locales; AM travels great distances at night.Very high
Sound qualityVaries [lower-alpha 1] AM: Usually very low
FM: Usually Moderate, but can be very high
Varies [lower-alpha 1]
Variety and depth of programmingHighestVariable—highly dependent upon economic/demographic factorsVariable—dependent on location and the television provider for cable and satellite, dependent on the various packages they provide and on the user's subscription.
Frequency of programming interruptions (by DJs or commercial advertising) [lower-alpha 2] None to high—mostly dependent on the channels, some of which have DJs; most channels are advertisement-free because of the paid subscription model of satellite radio.Highest [lower-alpha 3] None to low—dependent on the provider; however, it is common that some stations will have DJs. Usually no advertisements on subscription services (DirecTV and Dish Network both claim to provide advertisement-free content).
Governmental regulationYes [lower-alpha 4] (minimal)Yes—significant governmental regulations regarding content [lower-alpha 5] Yes for terrestrial. For cable and satellite, low to none [lower-alpha 4]
  1. 1 2 The sound quality with both satellite radio providers and DTR providers varies with each channel. Some channels have near CD-quality audio, and others use low-bandwidth audio suitable only for speech. Since only a certain amount of bandwidth is available within the licenses available, adding more channels means that the quality on some channels must be reduced. Both the frequency response and the dynamic range of satellite channels can be superior to most, but not all AM or FM radio stations, as most AM and FM stations clip the audio peaks to sound louder; even the worst channels are still superior to most AM radios, but a very few AM tuners are equal to or better than the best FM or satellite broadcasts when tuned to a local station, even if not capable of stereo. The use of HD Radio technology can allow AM and FM broadcasts to exceed the quality of satellite. AM does not suffer from multipath distortion or flutter in a moving vehicle like FM, nor does it become silent as you go behind a big hill like satellite radio.
  2. Some satellite radio services and DTR services act as in situ repeaters for local AM/FM stations and thus feature a high frequency of interruption.
  3. Nonprofit stations and public radio networks such as PRI-affiliated stations and the BBC are commercial-free. In the US, all stations are required to have periodic station identifications and public service announcements.
  4. 1 2 In the United States, the FCC regulates technical broadcast spectrum only. Program content is unregulated. However, the FCC has tried in the past to expand its reach to regulate content to satellite radio and cable television, and its options are still open to attempt such in the future. The FCC does issue licenses to SiriusXM, the satellite radio provider, and controls who holds these licenses to broadcast. [45] Many of their channels, including the pop music ones, are self-regulated.
  5. Degree of content regulation varies by country; however, the majority of industrialized nations have regulations regarding obscene and/or objectionable content.

See also

Related Research Articles

Ultra high frequency The range 300-3000 MHz of the electromagnetic spectrum

Ultra high frequency (UHF) is the ITU designation for radio frequencies in the range between 300 megahertz (MHz) and 3 gigahertz (GHz), also known as the decimetre band as the wavelengths range from one meter to one tenth of a meter. Radio waves with frequencies above the UHF band fall into the super-high frequency (SHF) or microwave frequency range. Lower frequency signals fall into the VHF or lower bands. UHF radio waves propagate mainly by line of sight; they are blocked by hills and large buildings although the transmission through building walls is strong enough for indoor reception. They are used for television broadcasting, cell phones, satellite communication including GPS, personal radio services including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, walkie-talkies, cordless phones, and numerous other applications.

XM Satellite Radio company

XM Satellite Radio (XM) was one of the three satellite radio (SDARS) and online radio services in the United States and Canada, operated by Sirius XM Holdings. It provided pay-for-service radio, analogous to cable television. Its service included 73 different music channels, 39 news, sports, talk and entertainment channels, 21 regional traffic and weather channels and 23 play-by-play sports channels. XM channels were identified by Arbitron with the label "XM".

Radio broadcasting transmission by radio waves intended to reach a wide audience

Radio broadcasting is transmission by radio waves intended to reach a wide audience. Stations can be linked in radio networks to broadcast a common radio format, either in broadcast syndication or simulcast or both. The signal types can be either analog audio or digital audio.

In-band on-channel (IBOC) is a hybrid method of transmitting digital radio and analog radio broadcast signals simultaneously on the same frequency.

A subcarrier is a sideband of a radio frequency carrier wave, which is modulated to send additional information. Examples include the provision of colour in a black and white television system or the provision of stereo in a monophonic radio broadcast. There is no physical difference between a carrier and a subcarrier; the "sub" implies that it has been derived from a carrier, which has been amplitude modulated by a steady signal and has a constant frequency relation to it.

Low-power broadcasting Type of broadcasting station

Low-power broadcasting refers to a broadcast station operating at a low electric power to a smaller service area than "full power" stations within the same region, but often distinguished from "micropower broadcasting" and broadcast translators. LPAM, LPFM and LPTV are in various levels of use across the world, varying widely based on the laws and their enforcement.

Digital radio is the use of digital technology to transmit or receive across the radio spectrum. Digital transmission by radio waves includes digital broadcasting, and especially digital audio radio services.

All-Channel Receiver Act

The All-Channel Receiver Act of 1962 (ACRA), commonly known as the All-Channels Act, was passed by the United States Congress in 1961, to allow the Federal Communications Commission to require that all television set manufacturers must include UHF tuners, so that new UHF-band TV stations could be received by the public. This was a problem at the time since the Big Three television networks were well-established on VHF, while many local-only stations on UHF were struggling for survival.

HD Radio (HDR) is a trademarked term for the in-band on-channel (IBOC) digital radio technology used by AM and FM radio stations in the United States, Canada and Mexico to transmit audio and data by using a digital signal embedded "on-frequency" immediately above and below a station's standard analog signal, providing the means to listen to the same program in either HD or as a standard broadcast. The HD format also provides the means for a single radio station to simultaneously broadcast one or more different programs in addition to the program being transmitted on the radio station's analog channel. It was originally developed by iBiquity, which was acquired by DTS in September 2015 bringing the HD Radio technology under the same banner as DTS' eponymous theater surround sound systems. The HD Radio technology and trademarks were subsequently acquired by Xperi in 2016.

MobaHO! (モバHO!) was a mobile satellite digital audio/video subscription based broadcasting service in Japan, whose services began on October 20, 2004 and ended on March 31, 2009 at 3:00 pm Japan time. MobaHO! used the ISDB digital broadcast specification. The satellite, MBSat 1, providing this service is jointly owned by SK Telecom of South Korea and Mobile Broadcasting Corporation (MBCO) of Japan; TU, South Korea's now defunct S-DMB mobile television service under SK Telecom, used to share same satellite.

Radio broadcasting in the United States has been used since the early 1920s to distribute news and entertainment to a national audience. It was the first electronic "mass medium" technology, and its introduction, along with the subsequent development of sound movies, ended the print monopoly of mass media. During radio's "Golden Age" it had a major cultural and financial impact on the country. However, the rise of television broadcasting in the 1950s relegated radio to a secondary status, as much of its programming and audience shifted to the new "sight joined with sound" service.

FM broadcasting Transmission of audio through frequency modulation

FM broadcasting is a method of radio broadcasting using frequency modulation (FM) technology. Invented in 1933 by American engineer Edwin Armstrong, wide-band FM is used worldwide to provide high-fidelity sound over broadcast radio. FM broadcasting is capable of better sound quality than DAB/+ radio, and AM broadcasting under normal listening conditions, so it is used for most music broadcasts. Theoretically wideband AM can offer equally good sound quality, provided the reception conditions are ideal. FM radio stations use the VHF frequencies. The term "FM band" describes the frequency band in a given country which is dedicated to FM broadcasting.

Digital-television radio, DTV radio, or DTR describes the audio channels that are provided with a digital television service. These channels are delivered by cable television, direct-broadcast satellite or digital terrestrial television. In terms of variety, DTR falls somewhere between regular AM or FM radio, and satellite radio. However, because it is delivered through a digital signal, the actual sound quality can be equal to or greater than satellite radio.

Sirius XM Holdings, Inc., doing business as Sirius XM Satellite Radio, is an American broadcasting company headquartered in Midtown Manhattan, New York City that provides satellite radio and online radio services operating in the United States. The companies Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Satellite Radio are now merged into Sirius XM Radio. The company also has a minor interest in SiriusXM Canada, an affiliate company that provides Sirius and XM service in Canada. At the end of 2013, Sirius XM reorganized their corporate structure, which made Sirius XM Radio Inc. a direct, wholly owned subsidiary of Sirius XM Holdings, Inc.

Primosphere Limited Partnership was one of four companies bidding for Satellite Digital Audio Radio Service, or SDARS, licenses in the United States. The service would have been an advertisement-supported digital audio service with an emphasis on serving music genres that had lost exposure in the terrestrial radio market during that period, such as classic jazz, "beautiful music," "pop standards," and swing music. Two dedicated public radio talk channels were also proposed along with traditional talk radio channels.

Broadcast relay station broadcast transmitter which repeats the signal of a radio or television station to an area not covered by the originating station

A broadcast relay station, also known as a satellite station, relay transmitter, broadcast translator (U.S.), re-broadcaster (Canada), repeater or complementary station (Mexico), is a broadcast transmitter which repeats the signal of a radio or television station to an area not covered by the originating station. It expands the broadcast range of a television or radio station beyond the primary signal's original coverage or improves service in the original coverage area. The stations may be used to create a single-frequency network. They may also be used by an FM or AM radio station to establish a presence on the other band.

Robert Briskman American radio executive

Robert D. Briskman is Technical Executive of Sirius XM Radio.

Digital audio radio service (DARS) refers to any type of digital radio program service. In the United States it is the official FCC term for digital radio services.

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Further reading