Direct Broadcast Satellite Systems (DBS)

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  • Systems that downlink hundreds of channels for a fee. These systems are the biggest competitor to the television and cable industries. In the mid-1970s, the first satellite dishes—with diameters of up to 40 feet— were developed. They received cable channels, and in the following two decades, they sprang up in rural areas, where it would have been too expensive for the cable companies to wire. Many of these rural customers faced legal challenges by satellite broadcasters, and the cable companies started scrambling their channels, forcing consumers to purchase their services. As technology improved and restrictions were relaxed, the systems became a more widespread alternative to standard cable or broadcast signals. Now, dishes can be purchased— some no bigger than a dinner platter—that offer 300 to ...

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