Cable television embraced communication satellites as a distribution method as early as 1975. In the ensuing years sweeping changes have altered both mediums, and as with most emerging technology based businesses, many of the changes were revolutionary. The ruling, following a body of cable industry research, which allowed use of small aperture (4.5m) receive antennas is an example of one such revolutionary change.
Today both cable TV and satellite communication are mature industries, and as is characteristic of mature industries, what changes do occur are usually of the more subtle evolutionary nature.
Developments of the last year however, have belied that reasoning, and a considerable degree of radical alteration of our delivery medium is again in the offing.
Consider for example that higher power and solid state transponders are already on orbit.
Several encryption schemes have been developed, some or all of which will be deployed on cable oriented services.
New modulation formats such as multiplexed analogue component (MAC) or video FDMA are under serious consideration by programmers, and satellite delivery is the medium which will no doubt be first to convey extended or high definition television.
Interleaved with these developments comes the use at 'C' band of very small aperture, very low cost receive systems designed to operate at carrier to noise levels reduced well beyond those considered feasable as recently as one year ago.
This paper will review these developments from an observers perspective and attempt some objective evaluations of their performance from a largely imperical point of view.