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October 7, 2015

Things I Hate About TV: Satellite delay

by Bob Sassone, posted Feb 16th 2006 10:45AM

You know what I mean: you're watching a newsanchor interview someone who is in another part of the world, via satellite, with a little earpiece shoved in their ear, and there's a 2 second delay in the words getting to that person. I don't really get that, but the thing that bugs me is the fact that the interviewee (and often the experienced interviewer him/herself) always manages to forget to wait a beat and answer only after they are sure that the other person is finished talking. They always seem to start talking, only to be interrupted by the interviewer finishing the question, and then they have to stop, and they stutter, and it just makes for really awkward television. It's happening this week on NBC as they cover the Olympics in Italy.

I don't really know the technology involved, but it seems odd to me that I can sit at home in front of my TV and watch both people talking, and I can hear them both in real time no problem. Isn't there something they can do so they experience their conversation the same way that us viewers do, so there is no awkward delay?

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Akbar Fazil

with all this delay that is ALLREADY in place by the technology, really makes me wonder how that "wardrobe malfunction" got through.

Oh thats right, they let it go through on purpose to create "talked about" situation. Too bad it backfired on them.

February 16 2006 at 12:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Doug Stewart

It's all smoke, mirrors and magic boxes. At Live Aid in 1985 they wanted to have a trans atlantic duet but couldn't overcome the delay issues.

real life>camera>microwave/cable>on site control>satellite>network operations>network control>satellite>affiliate (in the case of NBC most "local" master controls are hubbed a long distance away)>microwave to transmitter/link to cable or satellite provider>processed by their head end>up to satellite or sent out to home>if satellite, resent back to Earth>you see it on your TV.

It's amasing that it doesn't end up arriving the following week.

February 16 2006 at 11:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You are seeing it delayed....

The remote interview's satellite signla is received at the broascast facility, however, the interviewee is hearing the reporter in his ear over the phone...

The remote signal is received by the broadcaster and then re-upped to however you're watching it.

By the time the "live" image gets to you...it's got 4-5 seconds of delay....

February 16 2006 at 11:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

So, the reason for the delay is that the satellite is orbiting 22,000 miles above the earth, and radio signals travel at the speed of light, and it just takes 2 seconds to get up there and get back. Satellites orbit that high because it's the only stable places for them (they have to stay in the same place, they can't orbit otherwise your dish would have to track them.

February 16 2006 at 11:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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