Satellite Teleconferencing

The Texas State Library contracts with satellite teleconference providers in order to purchase downlink licenses for programs of interest and benefit to library and information staff in Texas. Texas State Library-sponsored teleconferences are made available for viewing at volunteer host sites throughout the state. This page will provide you with answers to our most frequently asked questions about this technology.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is satellite teleconferencing?


How does satellite teleconferencing work?


How does the Texas State Library utilize satellite teleconferencing?


What satellite teleconferences does the State Library offer?


Where can I find a list of general satellite teleconference program providers?


Where can I find a list of library and information science-related satellite teleconference program providers?


What do I need to know in order to purchase satellite teleconference programs?


Where can I find a list of entities in Texas with satellite downlink equipment?


Should I buy my own satellite downlink equipment?


I've read the response to the previous question and I would still like to purchase my own satellite downlink equipment -- how do I proceed?


Where can I find a glossary of satellite teleconferencing terms?


Where can I go for more information on satellite teleconferencing?


Where can I find information on libraries/librarianship and satellite teleconferencing?


Who can I contact for more information at the Texas State Library?


What is satellite teleconferencing?

Satellite teleconferencing is technology used to send a one-way video broadcast from one site to many sites through the use of satellite equipment. This one-way video broadcast is made interactive through the use of telephones and fax machines. Satellite teleconferencing is a one-way video, two-way audio (1V-2A) experience where participants can see and hear the presenter, but cannot be seen by the presenter and can interact with the presenter only through the use of other audio media such as telephone or fax. Satellite teleconferencing should not be confused with "videoconferencing" which is a two-way video, two-way audio (2V-2A) technology in which all parties are able to see and hear each other in realtime.

How does satellite teleconferencing work?

The producer of the teleconference leases satellite time from a satellite owner and uplinks its program to the satellite at the time of the broadcast. The broadcast can then be downlinked by sites with appropriate satellite equipment – these sites simply need to be given the satellite downlink coordinates in order to do so.


Once the program is downlinked to a particular site, participants at that site can view the broadcast and there is usually time allotted during the broadcast for phone/fax questions from participants to the program presenters.

How does the Texas State Library utilize satellite teleconferencing?

The Texas State Library identifies teleconference programming which may be beneficial to library/information staff in Texas and typically purchases a batch of downlink licenses from teleconference providers. Sites with satellite downlink equipment in Texas are asked to serve as volunteer host sites so that the teleconferences are accessible free of charge to library and information staff in their community. The Texas State Library makes every effort to provide access to these teleconferences statewide.

What satellite teleconferences does the Texas State Library offer?

Click on the links below for information about satellite teleconference opportunities:


Teleconferences for Texas library staff offered by the Library Development Division

Where can I find a list of general satellite teleconference program providers?

There are many providers of general satellite programming – many programs are fee-based but free programs are occasionally available.

Some well-known fee-based program providers are:

Some well-known free program providers are:

Where can I find a list of library and information science-related satellite teleconference program providers?

The Texas State Library's "Distance Learning in Libraries" publication contains a section of satellite teleconference program providers of library-related topics.

What do I need to know in order to purchase a license for a satellite teleconference program?

If you are considering purchasing a license for a satellite teleconference program, you should know the following:

  • whether the program is available through conventional analog (steerable) satellite equipment or digital satellite service (most, although not all, educational program providers require conventional analog equipment)
  • for analog satellite programs, you need to know which satellite band your equipment is capable of receiving and what band will be used for the program (C-band or Ku-band)(sometimes programs are offered on both bands and then you do not have to worry about this factor)
  • what the capabilities and limitations are for your program license -- can you make a videotape of the program? are you allowed to duplicate the videotape? can you share the program downlink license among all sites on your campus or if you have branches, among all branch locations?

Where can I find a list of entities in Texas with satellite downlink equipment?

The Texas State Library's “Master List of teleconference host sites in Texas” is a list of Texas entities who have been known to serve as volunteer host sites for teleconference events for library staff. An effort has been made to keep this list updated but please expect some expired information, especially if it has been awhile since a site has hosted a teleconference event for us.

Should I buy my own satellite downlink equipment?

This is a difficult question to answer. Many providers of educational teleconference programming currently use conventional analog satellite technology (as opposed to digital satellite technology). Having said that, it is widely believed that analog satellite use is being phased out within the next 5 years and that it will be replaced by other transmission media – digital satellite, videoconferencing, Webcasting, etcetera. If you are able to obtain analog satellite equipment cheaply and if you can spare the staff time required to host satellite programs at your institution/library, then purchasing this type of equipment may be right for you. However, if you are limited in funds and/or cannot spare the staff required to become a satellite downlink site for such programs, then perhaps you should form a partnership with a local entity who possesses such equipment and make arrangements to have them host teleconferences for you, your staff and/or community.

I've read the response to the previous question and I would still like to purchase my own satellite downlink equipment -- how do I proceed?

As mentioned in the previous question, most non-commercial, educational and informational programs require analog satellite equipment. It is a good rule of thumb, however, to survey the major program providers you plan to use and confirm what type of satellite technology (digital vs analog) they use and if they are using analog, what satellite band they use (C or Ku band or both). It may also be helpful to inquire about their long-term technical plan – if they are still analog users, be sure to ask if they have plans to migrate to other transmission modes in the future. Obtaining answers to these questions will help you determine your needs prior to contacting a satellite vendor. If you would like to read more about the difference between digital and analog satellite technology, and if you would like to brush up on satellite terminology prior to contacting a vendor, there is an excellent satellite training section at the American Distance Education Consortium Website.

Where can I find a glossary of satellite teleconferencing terms?

While this is not a glossary in the traditional sense, the American Distance Education Consortium (ADEC) Website has a section called Satellingo, or: How to "Talk Satellite". Also part of the ADEC Website, here is a Glossary of Satellite and Computer Technology.

Where can I go for more information on satellite teleconferencing?

Where can I find information on libraries/librarianship and satellite teleconferencing?

The Texas State Library online resource "Distance learning in libraries" contains general information about distance learning and libraries as well as specific information about satellite teleconferencing and how it relates to the library field.

Who can I contact for more information at the Texas State Library?

Please direct satellite teleconferencing questions to:

Naomi DiTullio, Distance Learning Consultant, Library Development Division


512-936-2586 or naomi.ditullio@tsl.texas.gov.

Page last modified: January 25, 2011