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Satellite TV

Digital Satellite TV TV Glossary VCR Glossary VIDEO GLOSSARY Satellit TV Receivers Glossary

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Satellite TV Glossary

See also
TV Glossary  VCR Glossary  Video Glossary


Buying a new satellite TV system can be a new and confusing experience. We put together this glossary to hopefully reduce the confusion of buying a satelite tv system. Even making it more confusing is all the misspellings for satellite TV such as satelite TV, satellite TV, satellitte TV, satelitte TV, and many more.



  • Access Control System - The mechanism which takes care of the conditional access.

  • Actuator - A motor system that drives a motorized multi-satellite dish antenna.

  • Antenna - Device which picks up and delivers satellite signals to a receiver; most commonly a dish antenna.

  • Apogee - The point in a satellite’s orbit when it is at its furthest distance from the Earth.


  • Bandwidth - Range of frequencies occupied by a signal or allowed by receiving equipment (basically, what a receiver is capable of receiving).

  • Base band - The raw satellite TV signal before it is demodulated to become a signal that is suitable for a TV.

  • Beam - A satellite transmission pattern. It may be wide, narrow or spot.

  • Bird - An alternate name for a satellite.


  • C-band - Signal frequency range (3.70-4.20ghz) used for satellite TV in America and Africa.

  • Clarke Belt - Named after its founder Arthur C. Clarke, the Clarke Belt is an orbit used by satellites at a height of 22,250 miles, in which satellites make an orbit in 24 hours, yet remain in a fixed position relative to the Earth’s surface.

  • Conditional Access - A method which ensures the program provider gets paid for its services by the user.

  • Conditional Access Module - The (detachable) conditional access interface.


  • DBS Direct Broadcast Satellite
  • DBS band - Signal frequency range (11.70-12.40ghz) intended for direct TV broadcast by satellite channels. Not all TV satellites use this band.

  • Decoder - Unit that is connected to a satellite receiver in order to unscramble a picture that is protected by encryption.

  • Digital Audio Broadcasting - Standard which describes the method of transmitting digital audio.

  • DSS Specific reference to the DBS system offered by DIRECTV/USSB

  • DTH Broadcast Satellite Direct-to-Home Broadcast Satellite. DirecTV and USSB's satellites are manufactured by Hughes. Echostars' satellite are manufactured by Lockheed Martin. These satellites are in a geostationary orbit about 22,800 miles above the earth in various orbital slots within the Clarke Belt.

  • Downlink - A signal’s path from satellite to dish antenna.

  • DVB - Broadcast standard for digital radio and television, using MPEG-2 compression. DVB is being supported by all European manufacturers and broadcasters.


  • Electronics Program Guide (EPG) - Part of the transport stream which contains the database and/or user interface for the electronic TV guide.


  • Feedhorn - A device which collects the signals at the focus of the satellite dish antenna and channels them to the LNBF.

  • Fixed Dish System - Satellite TV system in which the dish antenna is targeted at one particular satellite.

  • Footprint - An area of the Earth that is able to receive a particular satellite’s signals.

  • FSS Band - Portion of the KU-band (10.95-11.70ghz) which is the main satellite TV band.


  • HTDV - High Definition Television is a digital television format, which combines high-resolution video and theater like sound to create a movie theater quality TV viewing experience.


  • Impulse Pay-Per-View - Conditional access service where the user is able to buy a particular program on a last-minute decision.

  • IRD (Integrated Receiver Decoder) - A satellite receiver with a built-in decoder for unscrambling subscription channels.

  • Infrared Universal Remote Control Line-of-sight remote which will control the satellite receiver and two to four other infrared units such as TVs, VCRs, DVDs or stereo amplifiers.


  • KU-band - Signal frequency range (10.70-18.00ghz) used for most European TV satellites.


  • LNBF The Low Noise Blockdown Feedhorn amplifies the signal collected on the parabolic antenna(dish). It works on 13V of power which is supplied by the satellite receiver. A single LNBF will feed one receiver, and a dual LNBF will feed two or more receivers.
  • LNB The Low Noise Blockdown amplifier performs the same functions as the LNBF.


  • Magnetic Polarizer - Polarizer controlled by an electrical current from a satellite receiver.

  • Mechanical Polarizer - A polarizer that is controlled by electrical pulses from the receiver.

  • Moving Pictures Experts Group (MPEG) - The organization which defined the standards for moving pictures, like movies.

  • MPEG-1/-2 Compression - Method to compress digital signals. This way, the volume of information that has to be sent decreases. MPEG is not a broadcast standard, but a compression method, which is also used for CD-I and Multi Media CD. Thanks to this compression, it is possible to combine several programs into one satellite transponder.

  • MPEG-1 Specific data transmission protocol (format) developed by the Moving Pictures Experts Group (MPEG). MPEG-1 protocol is not as advanced as MPEG-2 protocol.

    MPEG-2 Latest specific data transmission protocol (format) developed by the Moving Pictures Experts Group (MPEG). It is a more advanced protocol than MPEG-1 due primarily its all-digital transmission of data at between 4 and 9 megabits/second (Mbit/sec). Several other enhancements over MPEG-1 are also realized. MPEG formating is the specific formating in which data is transmitted to satellites, transmitted back to earth, and interpreted by set-top units.

  • Multi-Satellite System (Motorized System) - System in which a specialized receiver, in conjunction with a motorized dish antenna, receives signals from the series of satellites in the Clarke Belt.


  • Near Video-On-Demand - Multichannel system broadcasting many copies of a film with staggered start times so a complete film is always available to a viewer with a short waiting period.

  • Noise Figure - A measure of the performance (noise contribution) of an LNBF in decibels. The lower this figure, the better.


  • Offset - Type of dish antenna with the focus and feedhorn below the center of the dish antenna.

  • On-screen Program Guide This interactive feature allows the user to access and scroll through complete program listings right on his/her television screen, in most cases up to a week in advance.

  • Open TV - Makes a receiver compatible for all kinds of future multimedia applications.

  • Orbit - The path a satellite takes around the Earth.


  • Pay-Per-Channel - With this form of pay TV, the viewer has to pay a certain price per month (or other period) to receive all programs of a certain channel.

  • Pay-Per-View (PPV) - Conditional access service where the user is able to buy one particular program.

  • Pay TV - With Pay TV, the consumer has to pay for the available programs or services, when used.

  • Polarmount - Multi-satellite dish antenna mount which enables a satellite dish antenna to track the whole of the Clarke Belt.

  • Positioner - Unit which either accompanies a multi-satellite receiver or is built-in and controls the movement of motorized dish antennas.

  • Program Browsing Allows user to scroll through program guide while still watching current channel.

  • Parental Lockout Control Allows user to set a password to control access to programming based on channel, rating or content.


  • Receiver - Unit which takes signals from a satellite dish antenna and converts them so they can appear on TV.

  • RF/UHF Universal Remote Control Controls satellite receiver from distances up to 100 feet, through walls and other obstructions. Also offers infrared control of other A/V components.


  • Smart Card - A card used to descramble encrypted broadcasts when placed in a decoder or receiver with a built-in decoder.

  • Satellite Equipment in orbit that can transmit signals between station and distributor) or (distributor and homeowner); the signals can be analog or digital; each satellite usually has the capacity to transmit a number of different signals simultaneously.
  • Satellite Dish Receives the transmissions being sent from satellites; Distributors have dishes to receive the transmissions from the broadcast stations; Howeowners have dishes to receive transmissions that have been retransmitted by the distributors.
  • See-through Menu/Guide Displays Program guide and/or menus can be accessed without the loss of audio or video.
  • Set-Top Unit Device that converts the digital signal received by the dish to whatever signals are required by the TV set; the name set-top implies that the device sits atop the television.
  • Smart Card The Smart Card identifies the receiver to the network. It authorizes descrambling of the satellite signal, and authorizes purchases using the receiver."


  • Threshold - The measure of sensitivity of a satellite receiver measured in decibels (dB).

  • Transponder - Equipment inside a satellite responsible for receiving a single uplinked channel and rebroadcasting it back to Earth.


  • Uplink - A signal’s path from the Earth to a satellite.


  • Videocrypt - Encryption system which requires a decoder and Smart Card to be descrambled. Used by Sky and several other UK channels.

  • Video-On-Demand (VOD) - Multichannel system allowing a film to be broadcasted immediately if it is requested by an individual viewer.



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