There are several types of information the 4DTV receiver downloads. These include: The Interactive Program Guide (IPG) data and the Virtual Channel Information (this includes satellite and channel information so the 4DTV receiver knows how to access all the latest available digital and analog channels). The receiver leaves the factory with a set of default information (tables) but the latest information must be downloaded to the IRD. This occurs automatically as soon as the IRD is tuned to any transponder transmitting DigiCipher II signals that include these tables (currently all TVN and HBO digital channels carry these tables and most digital channels will in the near future). It is important to get this information before finishing an installation to ensure all available satellites have been programmed in. To determine when the receiver has completed this download, you can check the system status by selecting turning to a digital channel, such as G0/9, then press OPTION, 6, 5 and look for the box marked "CHANNELS" at the bottom right to stop counting (currently this number stops at over 4300+, but will increase as channels are added). After installation the 4DTV receiver automatically updates this information when watching a DigiCipher II program. Refer to the current Satellite Chart for a list of satellites and their 4DTV Reference Designations.
All programmers send seven days of IPG information to a data collection service. This service receives the information for all the services that want their information in the IPG. Motorola receives this information every day and transmits all seven days of data using one of the C-band satellites. Currently, the IPG data is on a hidden transmitted on G0/9. If the message "Information Not Available" displays when pressing the GUIDE button, the receiver is not authorized. If the message "Processing your request" displays instead, the receiver is authorized for the IPG and is downloading the information (this can take several minutes). For the 4DTV to obtain IPG information your receiver must be authorized and you've provided your zip code to a program provider. The 4DTV can store over 24 hours worth of data. When you look a day or so ahead, the receiver must return to the transponder delivering the full 7 days' worth of information. The receiver will do this automatically when being requested to find information it does not have stored. The 4DTV can automatically update its memory each night by selecting the "Automatic Update" feature in the installation menus. Note: The receiver must be turned off (in Stand-by mode) by . There are two ways to update the IPG: 1. Turn the 4DTV off at night and the IPG will be updated automatically, as long as the "Allow Dish Movement for Updates" setting has been set to "YES". 2. Press the GUIDE button and the screen will display the IPG if the information has been retrieved. If the IPG has not been retrieved, the screen will display, "Guide information is available on G9". Press ENTER to change satellites and retrieve the guide information. To cancel, press GO BACK.
LNB stands for "Low Noise Block Down Converter". It is the part of your Satellite dish that hangs off of the arm and looks like a flashlight. It is what captures the digital signal from the satellite.
There are 32 transponders on the 101 degree satellite (main satellite) that sends channels. They are numbered 1-32. Each transponder sends a group of channels. An LNBF on a satellite dish can look at either odd or even transponders at any given time. It cannot see both at the same time. If you change the channel to one that is on an odd transponder, then the LNB switches to look at the odd...if you change to a channel on an even transponder, then the LNB switches to look at the even.
How does the LNB know which side (even or odd transponders) to look at?
This is done by voltage changes that your DirectTV receiver sends.
What is a Dual LNB?
A Dual LNB is just two LNB's...each connection can operate independently of each other so you can have two receivers each looking at different stations on different transponders. They both look at the same satellite (101 Degree satellite). A single LNB only has one coax connection and cannot be used with more than 1 DirectTV receiver.
The 18" dish usually has a Dual LNB that looks at one satellite. The satellite is positioned at 101 degrees and sends all the main programming that is offered in the DirectTV packages. The 18x24" dish has TWO Dual LNBs and is set up to see two satellites... the 101 degree and the 119. The 119 degree satellite sends additional programming such as the NASA channel, ParaTodos Spanish programming, other foreign language programming and HDTV channels.
You could also use two Round 18" dishes, one pointed at the 101 degree satellite and the other pointed at the 119 satellite to do the same as the Elliptical dish. You would connect the four cables from the two dishes to a multiswitch.
A Sat-C kit is a special adapter available as a kit to receive the 110W and comes with everything to need to hook it up to the oval dish. It goes in between the other LNB's. It's also a special LNB, so you can't use it as a single LNB or regular Dual LNB. Also, a regular single or dual LNB will not work as a Sat-C LNB.
A spot beam is a often used term now, and it affects what local stations you can possibly receive. The normal satellites send out a signal pretty indiscriminately. It simply is a microwave transmitter beaming data across the US. The spot beam is the same thing, but it points at a reflector that has a narrower focus. The upshot of this is that depending on where you are in the country, you won't see the beams pointing away from you. That is, the satellite sends a beam similar to a flashlight beam at one spot of the country. A 100-200 mile wide spot.
Why use spot beams? Because there's only a limited amount of space up there. They can't broadcast anything they want, the FCC would kill them. They only have so much bandwidth/frequency space. To make the most use out of it all, they rebroadcast on the same frequencies in different spots. This is *perfect* for sending local channels. So on frequency "3" they might send locals to Birmingham, Atlanta, and Denver and so forth. All on that same frequency. This reuse can be done because they're not sending Denver's channels to Atlanta (it would be a waste since they can't legally sell them there anyway). Because each spot on the ground only sees what's being sent to them, the other spots using the same frequency doesn't get interfered with by the other spots. Any spot map you look at will have overlapping spots. Any spots that overlap must use two different frequencies, but any spots that don't overlap can use the same frequencies.
A multiswitch takes the input from both of the LNB's (both cables from a dual LNB dish HAVE to be connected to the multiswitch)...it then locks one of the LNB's to always look at the even transponders and the other LNB to always look at the odd transponders. This is why a multiswitch only works with Dual LNBs and not single LNB's. The switch then has multiple outputs to receivers (4,8,etc). When you connect the receiver to the multiswitch, the switch determines which of the two LNB's the receiver needs to look at depending if it needs to view odd or even transponders. When you change the channel, the switch then swaps your connection to the other LNB when needed. With a multiswitch, the LNB's never change which side they are looking at.
The LNB on your satellite dish is capable of tuning to a satellite transponder that is broadcasting in either left-hand or right-hand circular polarity. When you tune to a channel on your receiver, the receiver sends a switching signal back up the coax cable to the LNB in the form of a 14-volt or 18-volt DC voltage level to select the correct polarity for the transponder you have requested. This is why you cannot use a splitter for adding additional DSS receivers. If you do, the LNB gets a conflicting set of commands from the two sat receivers if they both try to access transponders of differing polarity. As a result, you can get a signal on one receiver while not the other if different transponders have been selected by each. You can set up two DSS receivers on a dish with a dual LNB using a dedicated line for each receiver. If you want to set up more than two receivers then you need a multiswitch.
A multiswitch is basically a box that contains splitters and A/B switches. The outputs of each LNB are connected to the A and B inputs of the multiswitch. In this configuration, one LNB is dedicated to left-hand polarity transponders and the other LNB is set up for right-hand polarity. The inputs to the multi-switch from the LNBs are split for either 4 or 8 outputs each (more if a larger multiswitch is desired). These split outputs are paired and connected to a series of A/B switches such that one side of the switch sees input A and the other side sees input B.
The outputs of the multiswitch are routed to each receiver you have in your household. When you tune to a channel, instead of the LNB being switched to the correct polarity, the 14-volt or 18-volt signal selects either transponder A or B by toggling the A/B switch. The LNBs are no longer switched when you change channels. Instead, the switching occurs inside the multiswitch (hence the name) and the correct polarity is selected for the desired channel/transponder.
Note that there are two different types of multiswitches available - passive (unpowered) and active (powered). If you have cable runs longer than 100 feet for any receiver, a powered multi-switch is highly recommended. The long run can degrade the voltage output from the receiver and the multiswitch may not work properly if the voltage drop is too great. A powered multiswitch detects the difference in the voltage levels and compensates for it.
What is the 2x4, 2x8, 3x4, 3x8, 4x4, 4x8, 5x4 & 5x8 designations mean when referring to a multiswitch?
The first number in the number of inputs from the dish (or antenna) the switch has. The second number is the number of outputs the switch has.
A 5x8 multiswitch would handle 4 DTV inputs (Two Dual LNBs looking at the two satellites) and a Cable TV or antenna input if you wanted. It would have 8 outputs that could go to 8 DirectTV receivers, 4 Dual Tuner DirectTivos or any combo in between.
Can I connect two Multiswitches together (cascade one to another) to add more connections?
If you are using an 18" Dual LNB dish, then you could "cascade" two switches together....so you could take a 2x4 switch and have 2 of the outputs feed the inputs of another 2x4 switch to give you a total of 6 outputs. There are many issues that you have to be aware of though....length of cable, quality of multiswitches and whether they are powered or non-powered may affect whether or not this will work. If you have an 18x24" elliptical dish, it is a little more complex, but can be accomplished.
As mentioned above, the receiver will send a 22khz tone to tell the multiswitch that it wants the 119 degree satellite. This tone is only used by the multiswitch and is not sent back up to the LNB's....if you have two 4xn switches connected or a 4xn multiswitch connected to the built in multiswitch on a dish, the "2nd" one will never tell the "1st" one that it needs to see the 119 so the receivers connected to the "2nd" one would ONLY see the 101 satellite.
There are switches designated as "cascadable" that WILL send that 22khz tone upstream, thereby allowing you to connect it in series with another multiswitch (such as a built in one on the dish). These are more expensive than non-cascading models. The other way is to get "tone generators" which go on the two cables designated for the 119 satellite. They go inline between the two multiswitches (or between dish and multiswitch if you have the built in multiswitch on the dish). These tone generators put the 22khz tone on the line so that the 1st multiswitch (or built in one) sees the tone and puts that line over to the 119 satelllite.
How many inputs do I need?
If you have an 18" dual LNB dish, you have 2 outputs from the dish, therefore only need a "2 x n" switch meaning 2 inputs from dish and "n" output (to be determined at next step.
If you have an Elliptical dish (or 2 18" dishes looking at different satellites), you will need a "4 x n" switch meaning 4 inputs (from dish) and "n" outputs.
You will also see switches listed as "3 x n" or "5 x n"...This just means that there is an extra input for Antenna or CableTV. These switches allow you to combine an Antenna/CableTV signal onto the same RG6 cables as your DirectTV signal and split it out at the TV end. This saves you valuable cabling issues since you will only have to run 1 cable to a receiver instead of 2 (or 2 cables instead of 3 in the case of DirectTiVos)
How many outputs do I need?
This all depends on how many DirectTV receivers you have. You need 1 output for each receiver. In the case of the DirectTiVo, you need 2 outputs for each receiver. If you have two DirectTiVos, it would max out a 2x4 or 4x4 switch. Once you max out a switch, you cannot split to any other receiver and must get a new switch if you need to expand.
DIRECWAY - BASIC INFORMATIONDIRECWAY is the world's leading satellite broadband provider. With DIRECWAY, there's no software to load, just a dish and a modem professionally installed, and you'll be able to speed around the Internet faster than ever. Your hours of Internet use are unlimited, so you can surf as often and as long as you'd like, and with an instant connection to the internet, DIRECWAY is ready when you are - no dialing-in, no waiting.
Plus, with the DW6000 modem, you can network* multiple home computers or laptops, so there's no waiting to get on the Internet.
Introducing the next generation of DIRECWAY Equipment: The DIRECWAY DW6000 modem - the easy way to get online instantly! With no software to load, the frustration of dial-up is a thing of the past. DIRECWAY® still gives you a super-fast, always-on connection that is ready when you are, wherever you are in your home-no dialing in, no waiting. The DW6000 makes set-up simple and up-keep an afterthought. If new software for the modem becomes available, the DW6000 will automatically update itself, keeping you cruising through the Internet at top-speeds, all the time!
Got a Mac? We've answered your demand for high-speed access too. The New DW6000 is compatible with Windows and Macintosh based systems, ensuring even more people the opportunity to get high-speed access in their homes.
Let's take a look at the features of the New DW6000:
Compatibility with Windows and Macintosh based systems
Self Hosting/No Software to Load- automatically upgrades software when new versions become available
No Phone Line Needed, uses two-way satellite communication for setup and operation
Ethernet connection - provides easy connection to your computer or home network
Q: What are my PC system requirements? A: The minimum PC requirements for DIRECWAY® are:
Pentium II Class PC or equivalent with at least 333 MHz Processor
Windows 98 SE, Windows ME, Windows 2000, Windows XP, DOES NOT SUPPORT WIN200 Server.
64MB RAM (Windows 98SE and Windows Me); 128MB RAM (Windows 2000 Professional and Windows XP) DIRECWAY DOES NOT SUPPORT WINDOWS 2000 SERVER EDITION.
Hard drive space availability of 100 - 150 MB for optimal browser performance)
ETHERNET Connection – provides easy connection to your computer or home network.
Self Hosting/No Software to Load– automatically upgrades software when new versions become available.
MACINTOSH Systems: 300 Mhz or faster, MAC OS 9.0 - 10.2 (excludes 10.0) 128 MB RAM
No Phone Line Needed, uses two-way satellite communication for setup and operation.
VGA or SVGA display 800 x 600.
Clear line of sight to the southern sky Q: What operating systems are compatible with the new DIRECWAY System? A: Windows 98SE, Windows Me, Windows 2000, and Windows XP, MACINTOSH Computers.
Q: What is DIRECWAY broadband by satellite? A: DIRECWAY is the new solution for everyone who is ready for high-speed Internet access. DIRECWAY satellite technology makes high-speed Internet available to everyone in the continental U.S., as long as you have a clear view of the southern sky.
Q: Is DIRECWAY a one-way or two-way system? A: DIRECWAY uses the DW6000 two-way system. The DIRECWAY DW6000 Two-Way System allows you to send and receive information via satellite (a.k.a. satellite return). There's no need for the expense of a second phone line or hassles with logging in when you want to get onto the Internet.
Q: If I already have DIRECTV service, do I need to get a new dish for DIRECWAY? A: The DIRECWAY system requires a unique dish in order to send and receive information via satellite. You can add the ability to access DIRECTV programming to the DIRECWAY dish by purchasing a simple DIRECTV upgrade kit. It is your decision whether to keep your existing DIRECTV dish on your home, or to utilize the one-dish solution from DIRECWAY.
Q: How fast is the DIRECWAY System? A: The experience with DIRECWAY high-speed Internet is astonishing. When comparing typical activities with a dial-up service, the difference in the amount of time you'll be waiting for what you want is night and day.
You can download software upgrades in just minutes, versus up to an hour. There's no more waiting for Web pages to fully finish loading; they are typically done within a couple of seconds. Getting your favorite song can be done in less than the song's length rather than three times as long.
As you can see this is a huge improvement... and broadband by satellite is the only high-speed Internet technology that's available everywhere in the continental U.S.!
Q: How fast is DIRECWAY compared to other high-speed services? Aren't they faster? A: Everyone's Internet technology is based on shared bandwidth, so sometimes one option will allow you to do things in less time than others. But because everyone uses shared bandwidth there's truly no definitive answer.
Q: Do I still need a dial-up modem and telephone line? A: No Phone Line Needed, uses two-way satellite communication for setup and operation.
Q: What is transmission latency? A: Latency refers to the time it takes for signals to travel to and from the satellite. This typically creates a sub-second lag. For this reason, DIRECWAY may not be ideal for playing some "twitch-games."
Q: Why is there a requirement that the DIRECWAY system be professionally installed? A: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires that trained professionals install any two-way satellite system.
Q: Can I put this system on a boat or in an RV? A: No. The DIRECWAY system is for fixed installs only.
Q: Can I run DIRECWAY on a small network? A: Yes, DIRECWAY comes with an Ethernet connection – provides easy connection to your computer or home network
Q: Is DIRECWAY compatible with my Mac? A: DIRECWAY is compatible with Mac Operating Systems.
Q: Can I run DIRECWAY Professional on a VPN? A: Running a VPN client over a satellite network is not an ideal configuration. Although most VPN clients will work, your speeds will be affected significantly. While average download speeds are slightly better than dial-up, they will be reduced from typical DIRECWAY speeds by as much as 50 to 75 percent. Average upload speeds are comparable to dial-up performance. It is recommended that those accessing secure information over a VPN via DIRECWAY Professional do so on a limited basis. To optimize your performance, simply disable your VPN client while surfing the Internet, and enjoy the full speed of DIRECWAY. When you need to access information from your corporate LAN, you can enable your VPN client, keeping in mind that you will see a reduction in throughput. At this time, HUGHES does not endorse or support any VPN products. Customers that run VPN products do so at their own risk and will not receive any support from HUGHES regarding troubleshooting, configuring, optimizing, or maintaining a VPN connection.
Q: Why does the service slow down when used in conjunction with a VPN? A: Our communication satellite is located over 22,000 miles from Earth. Each data packet must be sent down separately and acknowledged by the remote site. This process is very time-consuming. In order to expedite the delivery of data packets to our end-users, HUGHES has developed a patented technology for aggregating those packets and sending all of them down simultaneously. VPNs encrypt each data packet, which prevents our technology from aggregating the data packets and reduces the throughput significantly.
HDTV (high definition television) is the breakthrough technology that delivers a much better picture and a much richer sensory experience than standard definition television. Watching HDTV, you see the sweat beads on the goalies forehead as he awaits the penalty kick. You hear the sizzling guitar solo ricochet around the room. And you catch every detail in wide screen panorama.
In short, HDTV makes your home entertainment center feel like a theater.
How do you know you’re really watching HDTV? There are four links in the chain: The TV program must be formatted in HDTV, broadcast in HDTV, received in HDTV, and delivered to an HDTV compatible television set.
When you watch TV, you’re really watching dots. These colored dots, or picture elements, combine to create a televised image. With HDTV, you’re watching a lot more of them, up to two million dots, building a remarkably clear image on your screen. That’s nearly seven times as many picture elements as standard definition TV and it’s one reason HDTV looks more like real life.
HDTV brings you a larger field of vision. The standard TV displays images in a dimension of 4:3 (horizontal : vertical). This is also called the aspect ration. HDTV programs play out in 16:9 wide screen aspect ratio, for a more cinematic experience. Movies are no longer “formatted to fit your TV”, so you literally see parts of images and scenes that were missing before.
What makes HDTV more like the movies? It’s not just the wide screen view, it’s HDTV’s capacity for Dolby Digital surround sound, coming at you from every angle. There are 5.1 possible channels in HDTV, 3 in front (left, right and center), 2 in back and one low frequency subwoofer (.1). The result: rich, life like sound in your own personal theater.
Higher resolution is one of high definition's most jaw-dropping features, but understanding the numbers behind the resolution debate can be a mind-boggling ordeal. This month, we'll take a look at HDTV resolution - and what it means to you in terms of picture quality.
What are the standards for high definition broadcasting? There are two high definition broadcast formats: 1080i and 720p. These numbers correspond to the number of horizontal lines in the signal. 1080i creates a picture with 1080 vertical lines, each consisting of 1920 pixels horizontally, for a 1920 x 1080 (16 x 9) aspect ratio. The "i" stands for interlaced, meaning odd and even lines of information are sent to the display in alternating order to create the picture. 720p creates a picture with 720 vertical lines, each consisting of 1280 pixels horizontally, for a 1280 x 720 (16 x 9) aspect ratio. The "p" stands for progressive, meaning lines of information are sent to the display in sequential order to create the picture. As a result, 1080i provides the highest possible resolution, while 720p can provide a more stable rendition of moving images. But that all depends on the resolution of your TV itself.
How does the resolution of my TV affect how the signal is displayed? Good question. Although many TVs claim to be "HDTV compatible," that does not necessarily mean they can accurately display a 1080i or 720p broadcast. This depends on the native resolution of the display itself. For example, you can buy a $3,000 plasma TV that is described as HDTV compatible, but the native resolution of the screen is only 852 x 480. In this case, the HDTV signal will need to be downconverted by the TV in order to be shown on its native resolution, and you will lose a considerable amount of picture detail.
What other factors affect the picture quality besides resolution? There are many aspects of display technology that affect the final product in addition to resolution. Different displays - CRT, LCD, plasma, DLP - have contrasting color qualities and provide different viewing angles that make the room where you will set up your HDTV a factor . There are also different ways that the picture information is filtered and displayed in order to refine the on-screen images. We'll be taking an in-depth look at these issues in future newsletters. In the meantime, the best way to assess what's most important to you is to witness HDTV broadcasts in person. We recommend you visit a retail store in your neighborhood and examine these various technologies with your own eyes. Seeing is believing!
As your home theater expands and becomes more powerful, it becomes more complicated as well. There may be nothing as confounding as the mix of cords and cables that connect it all. This month, we'll take some of the mystery out of these connections, and explain how they affect your viewing experience.
What happened to good old red, white and yellow RCA cables?
While RCA cables still do the job for some applications, they lack the ability to transmit complex video signals. With only one yellow cable for video, less information can be passed to your TV. This results in a lower quality image, and no one wants that. The next step up is an S-Video cable.
How does an S-Video cable work?
An S-Video cable splits the video signal into two components: Chrominance (the color of the image) and Luminance (the brightness of the image). This cable is also referred to at times as a Y/C cable. By separating the chrominance and luminance, a higher quality image is achieved. To step up another level, you'll need a component cable.
What's a component cable?
A Component cable splits the signal into three parts to send picture information: luminance, and a two-part chrominance pair. This connection is also referred to as YPbPr, or YCbCr. These cables are usually colored red, green and blue to facilitate hookup. But here we reach an important distinction in the input/output discussion: standard component inputs versus HD component inputs. These use the same component cables, but the results are very different.
So what's the difference between component inputs and HD component inputs?
Good question. Standard component inputs are limited in the amount of picture information they can receive. They cannot receive progressive-scan DVD information, nor can they receive HDTV information, in a way that will display the 480p progressive scan image or the 720p/1080i HD image. To transmit these higher-level signals, your TV or HDTV monitor must have at least an HD component input capability. When you're shopping for a TV, LOOK CAREFULLY at the type of inputs it has. The TV may claim to be able to show HDTV, but if it only has standard component inputs, it won't display true HDTV and it won't display a progressive-scan DVD image.
Is there another step up from the HD component connection?
Yes. DVI (Digital Video Interface) cables are the next step up. The DVI connection is becoming increasingly common as the standard for HDTV displays. Although the difference from a viewing perspective between the HD component connection and the DVI connection may not be apparent, it is important to point out that component cables are analog and DVI is digital. Ideally, the DVI cable will give you a pure digital-to-digital interface between the source and display.
Keep these different connections in mind as you add new equipment to your home theater, and use this information to get the most out of your current connections!
The whole country is moving to a higher standard of programming: digital local channels. But will buying an HDTV get you digital local channels?
I just bought a new HDTV. Now I'll receive digital versions of all my local channels, right?
It depends on several things. First of all, for your HDTV to receive a digital signal, you'll need the right tuner for the job. Old TV's receive local channels via the NTSC (National Television Standards Committee) tuner that does not support digital. To get digital, you'll need the emerging new standard for digital television: the ATSC (Advanced Television Systems Committee) tuner. Many HDTV-ready sets are in fact HDTV monitors, which means they probably don't come with ATSC tuners, so this is important to keep in mind when purchasing an HDTV. You'll also need a digital off-air antenna to receive the signal.
Okay. Got 'em. Now I'm all set for digital local channels, right?
Not so fast. Not all digital local channels are necessarily available in your location at this time. While ATSC is well on its way to becoming the standard for all local channel broadcasts, some areas do not yet receive digital broadcasts. For a better idea of the digital local channels available in your area, check out an online resource like www.titantv.com. You can find out more about what's available in digital and HD there.
Wait. I have an HDTV now. Does that mean every show on the digital local channels I watch will be in HD?
Only shows that are digitally broadcast in HD, and are available in HD in your area, will be shown on your HDTV in true high definition. You may notice that many shows begin by letting you know that they are "simulcast in HD where available." When they are, it's a wonderful thing to behold! There is an excellent selection of digital programming available in HD, including many prime-time network favorites and major sporting events. An more and more local programming is available in HD: FOX, for example, will be making the transition from enhanced digital wide screen (480p) to true HD this fall.
For more details regarding local programming in HD, check out the Web sites for your favorite networks. And to learn more about over-the-air digital reception, check out this FCC fact sheet for consumers: http://www.fcc.gov/mb/facts/otard.html.
Jump in now? Wait and see? Maybe you've already decided to experience the glories of HDTV — but what you don't know is when to get in. Here are some compelling new reasons to consider making the move now.
Reason #1: Stable Technology Going HD doesn't mean taking chances on soon-to-be obsolete hardware or disappearing providers. Years of vigorous testing by an alliance of corporate, academic and government entities — some pushing analog solutions, others digital — led to the establishment of technical standards in 1996. (Digital won.) In 2000, the FCC re-confirmed the digital standard for HD, which has been adopted industry-wide. Now the FCC is requiring all commercial stations to make digital the dominant mode: eighteen months from now, all stations will have to broadcast all programming digitally, and they'll have to shut off analog signals for good by the end of 2006. The standard is set and federally mandated, providers established, access eased — all signs of a technology that's no longer just promising but real and robust.
Reason #2: The Programming Boom Five years ago, a live HD broadcast of Senator John Glenn's return trip to space made history — in part because regular HD programming was then so limited. Tonight, the networks will be broadcasting prime-time and late-night shows and movies in 1080i (the highest of high def), with many affiliates participating and more jumping in all the time. This football season represented an HD breakthrough: major weekly games were broadcast in HD, and other HD sports (across the network and cable spectrum) now range from hockey to tennis to golf. At least as exciting: the wealth of original programming that providers are developing to take creative advantage of HD's gorgeous clarity and big picture. Special music events, travel-and-architectural tours, real-time auctions and imaginative film programming are only a few of these new programming frontiers. It's no longer news that the programming is there. Coming months will see greater and greater HD program saturation.
Reason #3: Custom Configurations The maturity of HD offers unprecedented flexibility in tailoring your system to personal needs and preferences. To begin with, HD providers offer a broad choice of packages. You can put together a mixture of all-HD original programming, networks, popular cable (in both digital and HD) and music. Add special interests by choosing from premium-cable pay-per-view and movies in HD, or HD sports, or both. The variety of TV technologies for viewing HD is truly staggering. Big-screen rear-projection gives gorgeous clarity and comes in digital, LCD or good old tube-based form. HD also looks great on the thin, flat-screen models that can sit on a stand or get mounted on a wall. Stick with the set's speakers or choose a surround-sound system: all HD broadcasts come in Dolby Digital (which you may know from playing DVDs); many also come in 5.1, the surround-sound standard.
Reason #4: Falling Prices Affordability: the most practical benchmark of a new technology's maturity. In a year-long period ending last September 50% more HDTV sets were sold in the U.S. than in the previous year — and that's three times the number sold the year before. A 26" HD-capable tube-based set can now cost only about half as much as it did just last year; prices for those sexy flat-panel sets dropped steadily through every month of last year. Production for this year is already booming. Up-front and subscription prices are dropping too. One-time flat-fee deals can get you the dish, antenna, receiver and a remote — all professionally installed. Providers are expanding HD programming even while pricing their packages aggressively. Monthly subscription fees now compete with cable services, placing HD well within the affordability range.
DBS, MPEG-2, advanced codecs…confused yet? The world of digital compression is full of new terms and technologies. Let's take a look at how they apply to satellite HDTV.
DBS DBS stands for Direct Broadcast Satellite. In order to send a digital broadcast signal to your home, the satellite service first receives all the programming that will be delivered from various sources. Next, it compresses all the programming into a signal that is sent to a single, powerful satellite. Finally, the signal is rebroadcast to Earth, where it reaches your satellite dish, travels through your receiver and is decompressed to create the image on screen.
Without compression, the bandwidth of the broadcast signal would only fit a handful of HD channels. Fortunately, MPEG-2 compression technology makes room for many more.
MPEG-2 MPEG stands for Moving Picture Experts Group. Since 1988, this group has set the standards for digital compression of audio-visual signals. Ever listened to music saved as MP3 files? MP3 is short for MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3, an early version of MPEG compression. Watched a DVD? DVDs use MPEG-2 compression. When HD programming is compressed and sent to the satellite, it takes up proportionately more room than a standard cable signal, due to the significantly increased audio and visual capabilities of HDTV.
In order to deliver the best HDTV experience, VOOM uses the majority of its bandwidth to properly compress and send its HD lineup by using MPEG-2 compression. Some providers have so many cable channels that they are left with little room for HD programming, and are forced to overcompress the signal in order to send all their channels. The result is decreased picture quality, which kind of defeats the purpose of enjoying HDTV, doesn't it?
Advanced codecs The future of HDTV lies in advanced codec technology. "Codec" is short for "coder-decoder," which explains what compression does to the signal: the codec compresses the signal sent to your HDTV, then decompresses the signal so it can be shown on your HDTV. MPEG-2 is currently the highest quality codec in use for satellite transmission, but the next wave is soon to come. VOOM is currently evaluating the next wave of advanced codecs, such as MPEG-4 and the Microsoft® Windows Media® 9 Series, that will allow the extensive slate of VOOM HD programming to expand even further as more channels go HD. More channels, more HD and top-quality compression…the HDTV experience keeps getting better.
Now you have a better understanding of the role compression plays in the process. Keep an eye out for what's next in satellite technology!
What is the WildBlue service and where is it available? WildBlue is a high-speed Internet access service for homes, home offices and small offices. It is available in virtually every location across the contiguous United States.
Why should I get WildBlue? WildBlue provides access to the Internet at much higher speeds than dial-up access: up to 1.5 Mbps which is more than 30 times faster than dial-up. A whole new world of content will open up to you with your broadband connection. And with WildBlue, you get an "always on" connection which means no dialing-in or other delays to get high-speed access to the Internet.
How hard is it to use? Not hard at all. Once we professionally install your WildBlue system which will take 2 to 3 hours, you are ready to surf the Internet at lightning fast speeds. You can use your same web-browser, go to the same sites, use your email, etc. just like you always have...but a lot faster! And it's always on so no more dialing-in delays, or getting "bumped off."
Who do I call if I have a problem? You just call the friendly customer care agents at WildBlue. We'll have a person you can talk to, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Customer Care: 1-888-278-6858 (toll free)
What equipment is needed to get the WildBlue service? It's easy. All you need is a WildBlue mini dish and a WildBlue modem.
What are my minimum computer system requirements to get WildBlue? Most computers in use today will meet our minimum system requirements. If you don't know if you meet them, please contact us and we can help you figure it out. PC/ Windows: 300 MHz or faster processing speed, minimum 128 MB Random Access Memory (RAM), and Windows 98SE, ME, 2000, XP Home or XP Professional operating system. 100 MB of hard drive space and an ethernet card are required. Macintosh: 300 MHz or faster processing speed, 128MB Random Access Memory (RAM), and OS 10.2 or higher operating system. 100 MB of hard drive space and an ethernet card are required.
Are there any cancellation fees? WildBlue customers are required to sign a 12 month contract when they initiate service. If you disconnect your service before the 12 months expire, there will be a cancellation fee equal to the price of your monthly service multiplied by the remaining number of months in your contract.
What kind of speed can I expect? WildBlue offers packages that provide different speed levels. Our core Value Pak offers up to 512 Kbps download speed and up to 128 Kbps upload speed. Our Select Pak features download speeds up to 1.0 Mbps and upload speeds up to 200 Kbps. Our Pro Pak offers download speeds up to 1.5 Mbps and upload speeds up to 256 Kbps.
What does WildBlue cost? The WildBlue equipment price is $299.99 and professional installation is $179.99 plus taxes. We offer a variety of service packages, including a Value Service at $49.95 per month
What types of email options do I get with my WildBlue account? WildBlue offers an advanced suite of Internet services including the commonly used POP3 (like Outlook or Outlook Express) and web-based email options. WildBlue customers will receive between 5 and 10 email addresses (each with at least 10 MB capacity depending on the package chosen). More email addresses and additional capacity are available for a minimal extra charge
Do I get web space with my WildBlue account? Yes. WildBlue provides customers with between 10 and 20 MB of web space as part of their WildBlue service package. The exact storage space depends on which package you choose to buy.
Do I get dial-up service with my WildBlue account? Yes. WildBlue includes a remote-access dial-up service to its WildBlue Pro Pak customers, allowing customers to access their email when they are not at home or out of the office. If you are a Value or Select Pak customer, dial up service costs $7.95 / month. Instructions for remote access will be included with your installation.
If I have WildBlue, do I need an additional account with an Internet Service Provider (ISP)? No. The WildBlue service includes all key ISP features like email, web space, etc. If you prefer, you can continue to use your current ISP for email and use the WildBlue service for your broadband Internet access. See your current ISP for details as separate ISP charges may apply.
If I sign up for WildBlue service, can I keep my AOL® account? Yes, if you prefer. You can use WildBlue for high-speed broadband Internet access and keep your AOL® service if, for example, you want to retain your current email account. You will need to pay a separate fee directly to AOL® beyond your monthly WildBlue fee. Please contact AOL® directly for more information.
Do you limit heavy bandwidth users? As is standard with other Internet Service Providers, WildBlue ensures that its service operates at optimum speeds for all of its customers. Since WildBlue is a shared network, we have a Fair Access Policy to ensure that extraordinary usage by a few customers doesn't negatively affect the normal usage of other customers. For the vast majority of users, the Fair Access Policy has no effect on their usage. For a few very heavy bandwidth users, the system may restrict their bandwidth and therefore their speed. WildBlue's Fair Access Policy is well-documented and communicated to you before you become a customer.
Do you offer a Satisfaction Guarantee? If you aren't completely satisfied with your new WildBlue Satellite Speed Internet service just call us within 30 days of your installation to receive a refund of your monthly service fee and the cost of your equipment. Once we receive your equipment in good working condition we will provide a refund. You will not be charged a cancellation fee for your 12 month customer agreement. The cost for installation is non-refundable.
Do you offer a limited warranty on the equipment? Yes. You will receive a 90 day labor/12 months parts limited warranty on all equipment at no charge when you become a customer.
Will the service be available in Alaska, Hawaii or Puerto Rico? Not at this time. The WildBlue service will be available only in the 48 contiguous United States due to the reach of our satellite signals. At present, we do not have plans to serve Alaska, Hawaii or Puerto Rico.
Can I get WildBlue service in a mobile vehicle like an RV or boat? Not at this time. WildBlue service was designed for stationary locations like homes and small businesses. We do not offer broadband service for mobile vehicles at this time.
What is the installation process like? Can I install my own dish? WildBlue professional installers quickly and efficiently install equipment and activate WildBlue's broadband service at your chosen location. The satellite mini-dish is about 26 inches x 28 inches and can be easily mounted on a roof, outside wall or in the ground. A cable from the dish connects to a satellite modem (a small box usually placed next to the computer), which connects to your computer via an Ethernet connection. Installation requires an installation professional to make sure that the dish is pointed at the satellite accurately and to verify that all connections are made properly. Self-installation is not offered.
Will my Home Owners Association allow mounting the WildBlue dish? The WildBlue dish is considered under what the FCC calls the "Over-the-Air Reception Devices Rule". This means the WildBlue dish is under the same classification as other residential satellite dishes (such as satellite television) and legally permittable for mounting on your home. As always, please check with your HOA for specific rules and covenants that may alter your rights. For additional information on the FCC ruling and dish classification.
Can I use wireless home networking with WildBlue? Yes. WildBlue is compatible with all major wireless home networking products.
Do customers have to have a phone line in addition to the satellite connection? No. WildBlue offers an efficient 2-way broadband connection that requires no phone lines.
Do I need a southern line of sight to receive a signal from your satellite? Yes. You will need a clear view of the southern sky to receive a signal from the WildBlue satellite.
How fast is this service? How does it compare to cable modems and DSL? WildBlue's always-on broadband Internet connection provides a user experience similar to most DSL and cable modem services. We offer download speeds of up to 1.5 Mbps - more than 30 times faster than today's dial-up speeds. We offer upload speeds up to 256 Kbps. WildBlue's high bandwidth opens up a window to a world of rich content that is largely unavailable through dial-up modems.
What operating systems are compatible with the WildBlue service? Windows/PC: Windows 98SE, ME, 2000 or XP Mac: OS 10.2 or higher
Will WildBlue work with Macintosh computers? Yes. The WildBlue service is compatible with Macintosh computers.
What Web browsers and email clients does WildBlue support?
Internet Explorer 5.5 & 6, Netscape 6 & 7.x, Firefox 1.x
Netscape 7.x, Safari 1.x, Firefox 1.x
WildBlue Webmail, Outlook Express 5 & 6, Outlook XP & 2003, Netscape Mail 6 & 7, Thunderbird
WildBlue Webmail, Outlook Express 5, Outlook 2001, Outlook 2004, Netscape Mail 6 & 7, Apple Mail, Thunderbird
Will I be able to use a virtual private network (VPN) with the WildBlue service? Yes. WildBlue recommends the use of SSL-based VPN’s. They work well on the WildBlue network because they work efficiently over a satellite connection. Users of IP Sec-based VPNs will find that their VPN will work over the WildBlue network, but may be slower due to the effects of latency. WildBlue's customer care representatives can explain more to you about VPN’s.
What is the impact of latency? Can I play real-time Internet games or make Internet phone calls on your service? The WildBlue system is engineered to help offset the impact of latency, which is the delay caused by sending signals from the earth to the satellite and back again. However, there is a delay of about a half second as the signal travels up to the satellite, back down to the gateway, up to the satellite and back down to your modem. For most applications this latency does not affect performance, however, there are some applications like voice over IP (telephone service delivered over the Internet, also known as VoIP), or real-time interactive gaming, where latency will have a noticeable effect on performance over the WildBlue network, as it would on any satellite-delivered service.
Does WildBlue support VoIP? At this time, WildBlue does not support VoIP.
What if my computer did not come with a Network Interface Card (NIC)? What can I do? Many computers can be upgraded with a 10/100 Ethernet Network Interface Card (NIC) - which you can find at almost any consumer electronics store, or at an online store. If you are comfortable with opening your computer and installing hardware, most Ethernet NIC’s can be self-installed. Otherwise you may want to hire a computer professional. Check with your computer manufacturer for more information on the right Ethernet NIC for your system. Also, if you have an available USB port on your computer, you can purchase a USB Ethernet adapter (available at almost any consumer electronics store, or online). This may be easier to install than a PCI card in your computer. For a laptop, you can purchase a standard PCMCIA card that provides an Ethernet connection, or you can purchase a USB Ethernet adapter as well. We recommend that you upgrade your computer to meet all of the requirements listed above to get the most out of your Internet experience.
Is the WildBlue service affected by weather? The WildBlue service is only minimally affected by weather, and only under extreme conditions. The WildBlue service will offer availability equal to that of satellite TV. Like satellite TV services, during a very heavy rainstorm, you may notice slower WildBlue speeds, but this should normally only last a few minutes.