Media for Satellite Communication.

by Rudy Bretz

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Satellites provide a powerful new means for distributing the communication media we have. Today at least 30 distinguishable media and multimedia combinations can be transmitted via satellite--where "medium" means a method of originating, encoding, transmitting, decoding, and displaying messages to their receivers. A live medium does all this in apparent simultaneity. Media may be grouped into eight classes: (1) the glamorous, expensive audio-motion-visual; (2) audio-still-visual; (3) audio-semimotion, such as telewriting; (4) motion-visual (silent film); (5) still-visual, including the printed page; (6) semimotion, such as Telautograph and computer graphics; (7) alphameric; and (8) audio. Each class contains both telemedia (live) and recording media (canned). Except for two-way interaction, telemedia are used mainly merely to transmit prerecorded materials. Most instructional purposes need only semimotion or audio-still-visual transmission, at far less cost than film or regular TV, with narrow bandwidth making possible many simultaneous programs for individualized instruction (see P-5376). (A chapter for Kenneth A. Polcyn (ed.), [The Educational Uses of Broadcast Satellites].)

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