News channel delay

Why is there usually a delay of a second or two when 2 news people from different locations are talking to each other via satellite? Isnt transmission done at the speed of light (practically)? And sometimes theres no delay at all, why is that? Even when the anchors are located in different parts of a city, as opposed to the earth, sometimes theres still a delay. It doesnt make any sense that there would be any delay at all, especially considering that you could call someone on the phone across the world and talk in real-time

Unless something’s broken, the delay is typically due to the satellite connection between the two reporters. The signal can’t move any faster than the speed of light, which can take a few seconds to travel from, say, New York to the satellite orbiting the Earth above New York, then to the satellites connecting to the one over the Middle East, then down to the second reporter in Iraq.

Also, if you’re on the phone with someone on the other side of the world, there will be a very noticeable delay. It may be shorter if no satellites are involved, and probably not noticeable at all on a phone connection between, say, New York and Los Angeles because the connections stay on the ground instead of getting beamed into outer space.


Quarter second up: quarter second down.

A half second doesn’t seem like much, but it’s enough to throw off the normal cadence of a conversation.

No, I’ve noticed delays of several seconds and wondered the same thing. The reporter is standing there with a glassy expression, then finally responds to the question.

I’m in Japan and talk to my family in Arkansas all the time. No delay at all.

It takes that long to cue the telepromper.

Few remote reporters have prompters.
Transmission delay is part of it, but not the whole story.

Having been out of the business for nine years now, I can’t say for certain what the problem is, but it probably comes from running the signal through multiple digital devices, which slows down the video considerably (and if the audio isn’t delayed by a similar amount, you wind up with the “lip flap” you sometimes see on cable news operations).

You know, I was joking. I honestly thought no remote reporters had prompters because it would be utterly contrary to the purpose of a reporter on the scene. And people wonder why I’m so cynical.

Also, even if the remote is only across town they will often relay the signal via a satellite. Sounds like overkill but its been affordable for some time now, and in most cases its just required (line-of-sight doesn’t work very far).

Telephone calls rarely use satellites because even a small delay is intolerable and nowadays most of the Earth is ‘wired’ with landlines. Kind of the reason Iridium failed to be profitable.

I always remembered that. It’s 186,000 miles per “second”. But what I don’t understand is, if Star Trek is 100 light years from one spot, that means it should take them a long time to get there. (I know it’s not real, Star Trek)

So does that mean the Enterprise travels “travels” faster than the speed of light?

Daniel … Toronto

[<a href=“” target="_blank"><img src=“” border=“0” alt=“Bill Shatner”></a>](<a href=“” target="_blank"><img src=“” border=“0” alt=“Bill Shatner”></a>)

I kinda figured you were. (Lemme guess: you used to work in television production, too.)

No, this has nothing to do with Iridium “failing” to be profitable (which it’s not now, btw, they make some good coin). Iridium failed because of gross mismanagement. As one would expects, the feds are the biggest customer, and have their own gateway to the system in Hawaii.

No, not in the slightest. I just have a very low opinion of the kinds of blow-dried yahoos I see on my screen every so often.

Yes, according the the “warp” factor cheating in the scripts. What really gets me is that apparently their radio signals are also warping, because they can converse normally with ships in other star systems. I mean, really…

As you might guess, so do a lot of us button-pushers. (More than once, when some anchorbimbo [the term is genderless] whined “We need a backup system for the prompter”, you could count on the director muttering under his breath, “You have a backup - the script in front of you!”)

Hijacking my own topic! But yes, the “Warp” speeds in Star Trek allows them to travel faster than light. The science has something to do with creating a warp bubble and moving that through normal space in order to breach the absolute speed limit of the universe

I read in one of the older short story novels that communication is done with regular radio wave each encapsulated into it’s own microscopic warp field and aimed at a target. This allows for “instant” (real time/face to face) conversations over long distances. Since the particles are almost massless (compared to a ship), they don’t have the same upper speed limit that a ship will.

You’re almost certainly on a submarine fiber, rather than a satellite link. The difference in length is significant - only about 15,000 miles from Japan to Arkansas (.07 seconds), vs a minimum of 44,000 miles per satellite hop, and I think at least two hops - something like Arkansas to Hawaii, then Hawaii to Japan - would be required for that distance around the world. The two hops would give a delay of one second