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Wise Satellite Receivers
Trends in Technology, Nov 2009
Now, it's possible to pre-program channel changes on a schedule so all of the programs come out of the same audio card on the receiver (provided the shows don't run concurrently). All of the programming uses only one audio card, which makes station engineers happy because they only need one input to their equipment for multiple programs from the same network. Engineers are also happy that they can automate this and not depend on human interaction to make the switches. As a result of this efficiency, manufacturers were able to design the receivers with fewer audio cards. Most networks have either two or four audio cards available on their receivers. Some networks provide direct control of this function while others provide this as a service through the network uplink.
Also gone from most networks is the old left-channel/right-channel audio split to carry two mono programs on a single stereo feed. A program is now on its own channel, no longer sharing one half of a stereo pair.
The new receiver platforms, being software based allow the use of higher reduction audio algorithms such as MP3, AAC and others. In any case, engineers have noticed and reported improvement in quality when swapping from the legacy systems to the newer ones.
The latest generation of satellite receivers are clearly the most advanced that we've seen so far. The fact that there are competing systems is probably a benefit for the stations since competition will drive company research and development, leading to new features.
Trautmann is the EVP Technology, Dial Global, New York City.
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