Direct broadcasting by satellite, by which television pictures are transmitted directly by satellite into people’s homes, has been available throughout Britain since 1989. The signals from satellite broadcasting are receivable using specially designed aerials or “dishes” and associated reception equipment. Several British – based satellite television channels have been set up supply programmes to cable operators on Britain and, in many cases, throughout Europe. British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) carries channels devoted to light entertainment, news, feature films and sport, transmitted from the Astra and Marcopolo satellites. Each Astra satellite can transmit 16 channels, simultaneously. Two satellites are operational so far, with more planned, and provide about 18 channels in England. Other channels broadcast sport, general entertainment for women, and a service for children. MTV is a pop video channel. The Marcopolo satellite carries BskyB broadcasts made under contract to the ITC in the five DBS channels allocated to Britain under international agreement.

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