When you think of the word “radio”, what do you think?
Perhaps you think of a device from which voices and music emanate, sounds that also reach everybody else around you. But it is so much more because the radio can still function as a significant entertainment and news source, as it was in the past.
For some of us, it may be an outdated entertainment source, losing out to video streaming services or the vast number of options offered by the Internet. But for those who use personal cars for their daily commutes, the radio is a day-to-day companion. This is because of a phenomenon known as satellite radio.
So, what is satellite radio, and what sets it apart from regular local FM radio?
Are there any marked differences, and should you choose it over other options? Maybe once you hear about the benefits of using satellite radio, you’ll be able to form a stronger opinion about its relevance and importance.
What Is Satellite Radio?
Satellite radio refers to a radio service which utilizes signals that are transmitted by a communications satellite. What makes satellite radio different is that it does not use the radio frequency of electromagnetic waves, the way local FM radio does.
Rather, as the name suggests, they use a satellite. This has many important benefits, which will be discussed below.
How Does Satellite Radio Work?
Satellite radio technology is super-fast despite its complexity. It depends entirely on the satellites orbiting the earth for its uninterrupted smoothness.
There are three main components of a satellite radio system:
- 2Ground repeaters
- 3Radio receivers
Things are set in motion when a signal is first transmitted from a ground-based station to the satellites orbiting the Earth. If you have heard of satellite TV, this system might sound familiar.
Next, the satellite outside our planet bounces the signal to the receivers on the ground. These receivers are normally found inside private vehicles or in-home entertainment systems.
The receivers are programmed to rearrange scrambled incoming signals, which carry an upward of 170 channels of digital audio. Moreover, the signal contains not only the encoded sound but also information about the broadcast. This is how the title, artist and other related information comes to be displayed on the radio.
Technology is truly amazing, is it not?
Sometimes there are buildings which can block out the satellite signal. This problem is solved by using ground transmitters in conjunction with the existing equipment. In this manner, satellite radio is operated to provide uninterrupted entertainment to listeners.
What Are the Differences Between Local Radio and Satellite Radio?
To answer this question, let’s start with the main and defining difference. Satellite radios use satellites that are able to broadcast their signals throughout an entire nation. This is a much larger area than a local radio station can cover.
The defining feature of satellite radio is that it can be everywhere as radio wave frequencies are able to travel across a massive expanse of space. That’s why, local radios tend to be available to users free of cost, whereas satellite radios are usually made available via a small subscription fee.
For this reason, satellite radios are able to keep the number of advertisements to a minimum.
Satellite radio also offers subscribers a larger number of stations to choose from. Furthermore, the sound quality of songs that are played on satellite radio is said to resemble CD quality.
In contrast, for FM radio, the quality of the sound is determined by the distance of the listener from the nearest radio station.
What Are the Benefits of Using Satellite Radio?
If you’re smart, you’ve figured out satellite radio’s biggest selling point. Satellite radio lets us enjoy content such as music, news, talk shows, or game shows on the radio with much more consistency and clarity than FM radio.
First of all, because satellite radios are able to cover a larger expanse of space, it gives users on the move the advantage of uninterrupted listening. FM radio depends on distance to be able to operate properly. If you drive too far away from a radio station, you will have to stop listening, and change the channel. So much work.
The subscription fee might seem like an extra cost to bear, but you can’t buy gold with a nickel! It’s the reason why owners of satellite radio stations can offer customers the luxury of fewer ads. We can all agree that there are far too many annoying advertisements being played on the radio.
Furthermore, satellite radio offers users much better-quality content, with more variety. A satellite radio user has access to a much larger number of programming options than FM radio.
By now, you should have a good idea about the satellite radio and how they function.
But, if you still have any further queries about satellite radio, please leave them in the comments section. I’d be happy to answer them.