Other meaningsCommonly, the term "television channel" is used to mean a television station or its pay television counterpart (both outlined below). Sometimes, especially outside the U.S. and in the context of pay television, it is used instead of the term television network, which otherwise (in its technical use above) describes a group of geographically-distributed television stations that share network affiliate, affiliation/O&O, ownership and some or all of their programming with one another. This terminology may be muddled somewhat in other jurisdictions, for instance Europe, where terrestrial channels are commonly mapped from physical channels to common numerical positions (i.e. BBC One does not broadcast on any particular "channel 1" but is nonetheless Analogue terrestrial television in the United Kingdom#625 lined system, mapped to the "1" input on most British television sets). On digital platforms, such (location) channels are usually arbitrary and changeable, due to virtual channels.
Television stationA television station is a type of terrestrial station that Broadcasting, broadcasts both Soundframe, audio ''and'' video to television receiver (radio), receivers in a particular area. Traditionally, TV stations made their broadcasts by sending specially-encoded radio signals over the air, called terrestrial television. Individual television stations are usually granted licenses by a government agency to use a particular section of the radio spectrum (a Communication channel, channel) through which they send their signals. Some stations use LPTV broadcast translators to repeater, retransmit to further areas. Many television stations are now in the process of converting from analog (signal), analogue terrestrial ( NTSC, PAL or SECAM) broadcast, to digital terrestrial television, digital terrestrial (ATSC broadcast, Digital Video Broadcasting, DVB or Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting, ISDB).
Non-terrestrial television channelsBecause some regions have had difficulty picking up terrestrial television signals (particularly in mountainous areas), alternative means of distribution such as direct-to-home satellite and cable television have been introduced. Television channels specifically built to run on cable or satellite blur the line between TV station and TV network. That fact led some early cable channels to call themselves superstations. Satellite and cable have created changes. Local programming TV stations in an area can retransmission consent, sign-up or even must-carry, be required to be carried on cable, but content providers like TLC (TV channel), TLC cannot. They are not licensed to run broadcast equipment like a station, and they do not regularly provide content to licensed broadcasters either. Furthermore, a distributor like Turner Network Television, TNT may start producing its own programming, and shows presented exclusively on pay-TV by one distributor may be television syndication, syndicated to terrestrial stations. The cost of creating a nationwide channel has been reduced and there has been a huge increase in the number of such channels, with most catering to a small group. See also: Significantly viewed out of market TV stations in the United States, significantly viewed. From the definitions above, use of the terms "network" or "station" in reference to nationwide cable or satellite channels is technically inaccurate. However, this is an arbitrary, inconsequential distinction, and varies from company to company. Indeed, the term "cable network" has entered into common usage in the United States in reference to such channels, even with the existence of Satellite television#Direct broadcast via satellite, direct broadcast satellite. There is even some geographical separation among "national" pay television channels in the U.S., be it programming (e.g., the Fox Sports (United States), Fox Sports group of regional sports channels, which share several programs), or simply regionalized advertising inserted by the local cable company. Should a legal distinction be necessary between a (location) channel as defined above and a television channel in this sense, the terms "programming service" (e.g.) or "programming undertaking" (for instance,) may be used instead of the latter definition.
See also*Barker channel *Lists of television channels *Television channel frequencies