It may surprise you to know that the world's best cable system is not even a cable system at all - it is digital broadcast satellite, or DBS for short. Featuring scores of movie, sports, and special channels, DBS has something for everyone. Whether it is the DIRECTV/USSB-born DIRECTV System or the EchoStar DISH Network, you'll find all your favorite shows and channels.
This booklet will tell you all you need to know in order to make an informed and appropriate decision on whether or not DBS is right for you. We think the decision will be simple and easy.
So, browse through these pages and see why DBS -- either DIRECTV System or DISH -- is a great choice for the ultimate in family entertainment.
Welcome to DIRECTV System - DIRECTV System is the most exciting technology for delivering television programming directly from the broadcaster to the consumer. There are over 3.5 million DIRECTV System subscribers already connected to this great service and that number is growing by over 50,000 each month! And there will never be a better time for you to jump on this new wave of television technology.
DIRECTV System is movies -- hundreds of blockbusters every month!
What is DIRECTV System? - The acronym, DIRECTV System, is derived from one of two terms: digital satellite system and direct satellite system. DIRECTV System has been developed by GM Hughes Electronics' DIRECTV and Thomson Consumer Electronics. Hughes Communications has a long history of satellite manufacturing, launching, and servicing with an excellent track record. Thomson Consumer Electronics is best known as the manufacturer of RCA, General Electric, and ProScan brand products. The acronym, DIRECTV System, is derived from one of two terms: digital satellite system and direct satellite system. DIRECTV System has been developed by GM Hughes Electronics' DIRECTV and Thomson Consumer Electronics. Hughes Communications has a long history of satellite manufacturing, launching, and servicing with an excellent track record. Thomson Consumer Electronics is best known as the manufacturer of RCA, General Electric, and ProScan brand products.
DIRECTV System delivers many channels of programming directly to your house, bypassing any hard wiring from local cable companies. This is done with the aid of a small 18-inch satellite dish that gathers the signals from the DIRECTV System satellites orbiting over the equator. The gathered signal is sent down a wire from the satellite dish, which can be conveniently located almost anywhere on your premises, to the DIRECTV System receiver, which is about the size of an average VCR. Once properly installed, the dish can be forgotten and the programming can be enjoyed.
DIRECTV System is digital programming. It takes the original programming, converts it to digital "ones and zeros," sends it on its extraterrestrial journey, and decodes those ones and zeros right there inside the receiver next to your television. The pictures are crystal clear and the sound is the best you've ever heard out of TV. Most of the movies and music can be viewed and heard on state-of-the-art home theater systems that will reproduce the Dolby Surround information just as if you were in a modern movie theater. The sound can also be fed to your stereo for enhanced stereo listening.
The variety of programming available on DIRECTV System is better than most current cable systems. There are multiple HBO, Showtime, and other premium channels; there are superstations like Superstation TBS and WGN; there are news channels; major networks; 30 channels of CD quality music from Music Choice; and dozens of pay-per-view channels where users can watch the latest blockbuster hits, premium sporting events, and live concerts.
What is DISH Network? - The acronym, DISH, stands for digital information sky highway. DISH has been developed by EchoStar Communications, Inc. It is an alternative to DIRECTV System, providing many of the same services but packages them in different ways. The DISH Network is also digital programming and uses an 18-inch dish. There are 31 channels of CD-quality music called DISH CD. The acronym, DISH, stands for digital information sky highway. DISH has been developed by EchoStar Communications, Inc. It is an alternative to DIRECTV System, providing many of the same services but packages them in different ways. The DISH Network is also digital programming and uses an 18-inch dish. There are 31 channels of CD-quality music called DISH CD.
Nearly all of the desirable features of DIRECTV System can be found on DISH. And with an alliance formed with JVC, There is now a DISH receiver with a built-in VCR that will digitally record programming and reproduce the high grade pictures and sound faithfully using standard videocassettes.
Where does the programming come from? - There are three different program providers for DBS programming -- DIRECTV System side of the equation and DISH comprises the other. Each offers a unique blend of popular programming and each contributes to a solid line-up of family fare.
DIRECTV is the Los Angeles-based subsidiary of GM Hughes Electronics that made DIRECTV System happen. Under concepts created by DIRECTV, a number of manufacturers are delivering the product to make it a reality. DIRECTV also offers programming for sale to DIRECTV System owners. Its line-up consists of the most popular cable channels -- Superstation TBS, CNN, USA, Weather Channel, A&E, Sci-Fi, Cartoon Network, HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, and the Movie Channel. In addition to those premiums. DIRECTV also offers the networks for DIRECTV System owners who do not have good reception of ABC, CBS, and NBC signals. DIRECTV also offers Playboy TV. DIRECTV can be reached at (800) DIRECTV.
What can you see? - There are over 60 channels of popular programming on DBS. They range from CNN's 24-hour news channel to the major networks to the Canadian MuchMusic channel. The assortment is very diverse, and it is likely that even the most discriminating viewers can find something to their taste. Some of the favorites include but are not limited to: seven channels of HBO; four channels of Showtime; three channels of Cinemax; two Movie Channels; seven Encore channels featuring categorized movies such as love stories, westerns, mystery, action, etc.; five news channels, four music television channels; five networks; 10 variety channels such as A&E and the Sci-Fi Channel; and over 20 sports channels including many regional networks providing coverage of professional baseball, basketball, football, and hockey as well as regional collegiate games.
What can you hear? - In addition to the music video channels that you can receive via DBS, there are many channels of music only that can be played through your stereo system or even through your TV. Popular music such as classical, rock, jazz, country, new age, reggae, and even rap are featured on all-digital, music-only channels.
What about Pay-Per-View? - Pay-per-view is an amazing feature of DBS. With a keystroke, you can have the latest blockbuster delivered right to your TV screen. In one week, there can be from 80 to 100 different movies, from brand new thrillers to heartwarming children's movies. Not only can you get the latest movies, you can see live concerts from your favorite artists and world-class sporting events that are not carried by regular television channels. Many of these events are only available via pay-per-view. Many of the latest hits start as frequently as every half hour so that there is minimal waiting time for the start of a good movie.
offers a pay-per-view program called Direct Ticket featuring
DISH offers its own decaplex of pay-per-view channels called DISH-On-Demand. Prices are competitive on both the latest hit movies and special premium events.
Pay-per-view is made possible via a connection to your telephone. The phone serves as the two-way interactive part of pay-per-view, letting the programmer know that you have ordered a pay event.
The remote - The remote control is your control center for DBS. With remote in hand, you can directly dial in the channel you want to see. You can check mail sent to you by the programmers. You can turn the volume up and down. You can even mute the sound, return instantly to the previous channel, and even set up favorite programs that can be called with a keystroke. With the advanced remote, you can even operate your TV, VCR, and one other unit such as an audio/video receiver. One of the most useful features of the remote, besides preventing you from making countless trips across the viewing room for channel changes, is access to the on-screen programming guide.
The On-Screen Guide - DBS comes with a built-in, on-screen programming guide that will come on with the stroke of a button on the remote control. It is most handy for finding out what is on when you turn the guide on. It can be set to show what is coming on in five hours, 23 hours, or 40 hours. From those jumping off points, you can navigate to the time in which you are interested. We think there's a better way and publish the only weekly programming guide for DBS - TV Plus. It is more accurate than any other programming guide available and is chock-full of informative articles.
Integrating DBS with your home system - DBS is compatible with all televisions currently used in the United States. All that is required is a physical connection from the DBS receiver to the TV set. DBS is also compatible with all VCRs currently in use. There are many different models of DIRECTV Systems with brands from RCA, Sony, and Hitachi leading the way. DISH is made by EchoStar and JVC.
Connection is simple. A wire from the 18-inch dish goes to the receiver. Another wire goes from the receiver to the TV. The system is then ready to operate. And there are several alternatives. If you wish to send the audio portion of the signal to a stereo receiver or processor, simple RCA jack cables can do the trick. DBS even includes these cables for just such use. If you wish to send the audio and video to an audio/video receiver, such as is found in most home theaters, there are RCA jacks for that too. Finally, if your television has S-video capabilities, there is an S-video connection and cable included in the advanced model receiver.
In the event that you can receive local channels with a small antenna, that too, is compatible with DBS. Local signals are the best source for local news and weather. Should local TV be unmatchable or unavailable, DBS offers network signals that bring popular national programming, but not the local news, weather, and sports.
Do it yourself ... or not? - DBS can be installed by the consumer if he or she so desires. We don't recommend the self-install approach except for highly technical or very handy individuals. We recommend that a certified installer be engaged to perform the operation. That will ensure that the DBS system will operate trouble-free for years to come.
Okay, I'm sold. But what's the cost? - The cost of DBS programming is similar to what can be found on a good to excellent cable system. Prices for packages range from $29.95 to $44.95 per month. Some a la carte programming costs range from $3 to $10.95 per month. In order to qualify for some a la carte purchases, DBS owners must subscribe to at least one package.
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