Digital Television

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Digital Satellite Broadcasting (Multi-Channel Television)
In this essay by using critical writings and research along with relevant examples I will be talking about the importance of satellite and Multi-Channel Television as part of televisions history. This essay will cover topics like; the birth and history of satellite and multi-channel television, how the introduction of these new technologies changed the way TV was watched and accessed, the evolution of both satellite and multi-channel television, the impact satellite and multi-channel had on TV content and discussing the advantages and disadvantages of these new technologies. Television before Multi-Channel and the Digital Age

Before the introduction of digital terrestrial television audience’s accessed television from a variety of sources including analogue terrestrial or via cable television. Before the launch of digital terrestrial television viewer’s had a limited amount of television channels and programmes to choose from, with the BBC being the biggest of the initial five analogue terrestrial channels having two dedicated channels (BBC 1 and BBC2) along with the other three channels, ITV, Channel 4 and eventually Channel 5 after launching in 1997. This meant that all five channels each had a much easier time gaining a larger share of the audience due to the lack of competition. Although advertisements were still played on these channels apart from BB1 and BBC2, the branding of these channels was very much based on the type and quality of its content rather than being based on advertisers and sponsors .In an online article Kirk Northrop states that ‘There appeared to be a lot of pride in the channels, particularly with the front caps, which were essentially telling the viewers who had made the excellent programme in front of them and that the company concerned was very proud of it’. (Kirk Northrop - transdiffusion.org) Kirk informs us that channels used to build reputation and an audience by producing high quality programmes and using Idents to help the audience identify what channel it was being showed on. This is different from television now as channels now use sponsors and advertisers of shows on the channel to build an image with the audience rather than the actual programmes. New Technology in Television

Slowly as technologies developed and the demand for a bigger variety of programming grew more and more, services started being introduced through technical advances. For example in the late 80’s analogue satellite provided by Sky offered a subscription and pay-per view service, and analogue cable also introduced in the late 80’s by an issue of franchises to local cable operators, which would eventually merge to become companies like Virgin Media. Despite these early advances, they didn’t have nearly as much of an impact on Television as a whole, than the introduction of digital satellite broadcasting. In 1990 two smaller subscription based satellite broadcasters, Sky and BSB (British Satellite Broadcasting) merged to form British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB). Writer Hayden Walker claims that ‘It was inevitable, just like the VHS vs Betmax wars, everyone had come to the conclusion that 2 satellite networks using completely different systems just couldn't survive. One had to go and with Sky having launched a year before, BSB was the victim. (Hayden Walker - tv-ark.org). This quote tells us that because of BSB’s late launch Sky had the upper hand in the battle over satellite television and eventually took over and merged with BSB. In 1998 BSkyB launched the UK’s first digital satellite service with over 140 channels, and other feature’s that were previously unavailable with analogue services like interactive TV, and its own digital programme guide. The Importance and Impact of Digital Satellite and Multi-Channel The launch of digital satellite broadcasting was a huge step forward for television in the UK; never before had viewers had access such a wide...
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