Starting a New Satellite Broadcast Channel

Satellite Channel Basics

Pittsburgh International Telecommunications (PIT) offers direct-to-home satellite TV and radio to North America, Central America and the Caribbean via the Galaxy 19 satellite. The service is available to home viewers at no cost and requires only an inexpensive satellite antenna and receiver in order to watch or listen to free over the air broadcasts. Fiber and internet connectivity to European, Middle Eastern and Asian gateways allows PIT to distribute programming worldwide.

Broadcasters wishing to establish a satellite TV channel must first purchase capacity on one of our transponders which are basically satellite television channels that are subdivided into unique frequencies.  Purchase price is based upon Megabits Per Second (Mbps) and generally, higher Mbps equates to better picture quality.  A typical, standard definition channel has an average bandwidth of between 1.50 Mbps and 3.0 Mbps.


After determining the total satellite bandwidth required, the broadcast signal must then be delivered from the television studio to PIT’s teleport in order to be transmitted to the satellite. This type of signal delivery is known as “backhaul” and is usually accomplished through either fiber or internet connections.  Generally, fiber has been the preferred method for broadcasters needing reliable, 24x7service but delivery of live, real-time signals via internet is becoming an accepted practice as technology improves.  Customers are responsible for all costs associated with establishing the backhaul connection but PIT will work with you to determine the most cost-effective solution for your needs.


The next step in the transmission chain requires encoding the broadcast signal.  The encoding process takes the audio and video broadcast signal and compresses it into an MPEG file format that is necessary in order to deliver a backhaul signal regardless of whether fiber or internet connections are used.  A new satellite channel will require purchase of both an encoder to send the signal from the broadcast facility and a decoder to receive the signal at the teleport.  PIT staff is always ready to assist with equipment recommendations and technical support to make the encoding process as simple as possible.


With the backhaul connection in place and the encoding process complete, the broadcast signal is then ready to be transmitted or “uplinked” from PIT’s earth station to the satellite. All of PIT’s uplinks are delivered at Constant Bit Rate as compared to many other satellite operators offering only Variable Bit Rate.  Simply put, Constant Bit Rate produces constant output data to the satellite with no variance in bit rate allocation resulting in optimum picture quality.  To maintain quality, the program is monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from our Technical Operations Center.