Definition

satellite news gathering (SNG)

Contributor(s): Adrian Bull

Satellite news gathering (SNG) is the use of mobile communications equipment for the purpose of worldwide newscasting. Mobile units are usually vans equipped with advanced, two-way audio and video transmitters and receivers, using dish antennas that can be aimed at geostationary satellites.

The earliest SNG equipment used analog modulation, similar to conventional television and radio. The technology first demonstrated its capability during the war between England and Argentina over the Falkland Islands in 1982. Analog SNG was used extensively during the Desert Shield and Desert Storm operations in the Persian Gulf. During the 1990s, digital modulation supplanted analog modulation, giving rise to the newer technology of digital satellite news gathering (DSNG).

A modern DSNG van is a sophisticated affair, capable of deployment practically anywhere in the civilized world. Signals are beamed between a geostationary satellite and the van, and between the satellite and a control room run by a broadcast station or network. In the most advanced systems, Internet Protocol (IP) is used. Broadcast engineers are currently working on designs for remotely controlled, robotic DSNG vehicles that can be teleoperated in hostile environments such as battle zones, deep space missions, and undersea explorations without endangering the lives of human operators.

This was last updated in September 2005

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