Satellite television is a system of transmitting, relaying and receiving devices that work in tandem to beam a TV signal from a broadcaster to an orbiting satellite and then from the relay to a specific area of the world. Television satellites maintain geostationary orbits, keeping up with the rotation of the Earth from an altitude of around 22,200 miles.
The use of telecommunications satellites, which generally relay television, telephone and radio signals, sidesteps the problem of broadcasting signals over large distances. The curvature of the Earth prevents a direct line of sight between a broadcasting station and a receiver past a certain distance, and it usually blocks such a signal. The satellite, in a high fixed orbit, has a direct line of sight to both ends of the transmission route.
Satellite TV signals are generally broadcast over a wide region. Customers aim their satellite dishes roughly in the direction of the signal origins to lock on, providing television programming from any area of the world carried by the service provider.
The main advantage of satellite television over cable is that it doesn't require direct physical connection infrastructure to work. This makes satellite TV the cheapest option in rural and remote locations.