Could satellite technology make TV programming truly global?

Networks use satellite communication technology to deliver news and programming.
Networks use satellite communication technology to deliver news and programming.
© Blakeley

When the world awoke on March 11, 2011, many turned on the TV news and saw that Japan had been devastated by an earthquake and tsunami of epic proportions. The pictures and news footage of the devastation were shocking.

As the days wore on, the images of people huddled in shelters, or fighting fires at several nuclear plants where radiation was leaking, were more than gripping. The disaster dominated the world's interest for days as the death toll climbed and as the nuclear crisis intensified. A Pew Research Center poll conducted a week after the tsunami showed that 57 percent of Americans followed the disaster closely -- more than any other story at the time [source: Pew Research Center].

It wasn't that long ago, disasters received attention only on the front page of newspapers or during the nightly news. But that was then. Today, thanks to satellite technology, disasters, wars and other stories of public interest are beamed into our houses -- not to mention our iPhones and iPads -- 24/7.

Although it might seem trite to say, television has indeed made the world a smaller place -- a truly global community. Networks have been able to use satellite communication technology to deliver news and programming as the human drama unfolds [source: Ainsworth]. Satellite TV allows all of us, no matter our address, to share experiences and react as one.

Additionally, satellite technology has helped the world collectively cheer the achievements of athletes during the Olympics, World Cup soccer matches and other sporting events. Just as importantly, satellite TV has allowed many of us to share our culture through TV shows, educational programming and music.

During the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, Vietnam War protesters shouted "the world is watching" as police cracked down on the demonstrators. Satellite TV has made that phrase truer today than it ever has been. Read on to learn more.