Authored by Josh Enojo in Gadgets
Published on 06-05-2009
There are mainly two different types of signals that a satellite dish receives: unencrypted and encrypted. Unencrypted or non-scrambled signals are radio wave frequencies that are fed directly from satellites stationed above the Earth’s atmosphere to a satellite dish and are readily understood by the equipment. This type of signal is referred to as Free-To-Air (FTA) and as what the name suggests, this does not need to be scrambled since it’s free for anyone to use. Most of FTA signals are distributed by local channels providing local updates.
The second type on the other hand is the opposite or the most popular as premium signals. This is where satellite TV descramblers take place and do the dirty work. Encrypted or scrambled signals are secured radio wave frequencies passed along by satellites to a land based satellite dish. Installed satellite dishes receive the scrambled signal and direct it to the awaiting terminal which is most likely a receiver. The receiver then converts this raw signal into one that is applicable for television sets. However, unlike unscrambled transmission signals, direct receivers are not able to convert these signals into audio and video without some tweaks in the encryption through a satellite TV descrambler.
Satellite TV descrambler works by unlocking the encryption in the secured signal making it applicable for conversion into a format applicable for television sets. Once there is a TV descrambler set in place, the signals received by a satellite dish do not immediately go straight to the television set, but passes through the box where the descrambling takes place. What come after the process are raw feeds that can be used by the unit attached next to the descrambler.
The concept behind this is very simple. If received signals are not readily understood by the receiver, they pass it to the TV descrambler for some behind the scene actions. What a satellite TV descrambler does is simply decode the encryption along with the signal. If there is no encryption, then the function of the device is omitted. In addition, FTA signals that pass through installed satellite TV descramblers are not jeopardized and affected, despite how the device is designed to function. Only encrypted signals receive such conversion by the descramblers.
There are few reasons why signals are encrypted before being transmitted to satellite dishes. One major reason why encrypted signals are preferred by many providers is for revenue. In order to take advantage of some important events featured in television, one must subscribe for a premium service and get the box. Special programming like Pay-per-view and Video-On-Demand are mostly offered to the public in a form of scrambled signals. Thus, there is a need to grab some descramblers to enjoy the service.
If you are living in countries like the US and Canada, then most likely the signals you receive on your television sets are FTA. But if you choose to acquire premium cable services similar to those offered by some cable companies, a subscription to these programs and a satellite TV descrambler is all you need.