More than 3.5 billion people will be watching the upcoming Olympics, this Friday, August 5th. The Games of the XXXI Olympiad from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, also known as Rio 2016 will be broadcast live from commercial communications satellites. These satellites play a vital role in the coverage both in the US and abroad.
Commercial satellite operators and Satellite Industry Association members Eutelsat, Intelsat, SES and Telesat, who collectively operate more than 150 geostationary satellites, are providing satellite connectivity to broadcasters and news organizations so they may transmit live video content of the events as they happen to locations around the world. In, 2012, the London 2012 Summer Games were broadcast to an estimated global audience of over 3.6 billion persons in 220 countries and territories.
This enormous task and the logistics involved for NBC Olympics and the TV networks and digital platforms of NBCUniversal (a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation) plan to air an unprecedented 6,755 hours of American programming for the Games. Olympic television viewers can then watch either via direct-to-home satellite TV companies, such as DIRECTV and DISH (with operations provided by EchoStar), or via over the air and cable TV services that receive Olympic coverage from satellite feeds delivered via their terrestrial cable head-end facilities.
Satellites have covered live major worldwide events for more than 50 years such as the moon landings, World Cup and the Olympics. Communications satellites have been transmitting coverage of the Olympic Games since 1964, when the first commercial geostationary satellite, Syncom 3, beamed the first live color television broadcast of the Tokyo Olympic Games Opening Ceremonies back to the US, which was the first time the US audiences viewed an overseas sporting event in real-time. This new procedure replaced the need to physically ship recorded tapes for viewers to watch, often days after the event. http://www.sia.org