When satellite television first hit the market, home dishes were expensive metal units that took up a huge chunk of yard space. In these early years, only the most die-hard TV fans would go through all the hassle and expense of putting in their own dish. Satellite TV was a lot more difficult than broadcast and cable TV.

Today, you see compact satellite dishes perched on rooftops all over the United States. Drive through rural areas beyond the reach of the cable companies and you'll find dishes on just about every house. The major satellite television companies are bringing in more customers every day with the lure of movies, sporting events and news from around the world.

In this edition of HowStuffWorks, we'll find out what satellite television is all about, from TV station to TV set.