Sunday, February 8, 2009
Satellite Television at Sea
In order to run efficiently, and conserve as much energy as possible, satellites beaming television signals are only directed towards huge land masses, where people live. Doesn’t it make sense not to beam a costly television transmission to the middle of the Atlantic or Pacific where there is no one to receive it? What does this mean for us on board the ship? We have a 3.5 meter satellite dish situated on Sports Deck that is on a gyro to constantly hold the signal from the satellite, which it is tuned to, no matter the direction and/or movement of the ship. However, there are many variables still involved that sometimes hinder our reception. If we are sailing far from land, as in the middle of the Pacific or Atlantic, we tend to lose the signal. Also, sailing between two continents the signal can be lost as the satellite usually beams in one language for one continent, and then another satellite must be tuned in to acquire the same language in another continent. The position of the satellite dish on the ship, along with the ship’s position also affects the reception. Most satellites are over the equator, thus we must beam our dish towards the south, however, the dish is right behind the smoke stack of the ship, in order to protect it from the wind and elements. TV networks and program providers place many legal restrictions on what programs can be shown where.