Television receive-only (TVRO) is a term used chiefly in North America to refer to the reception of satellite television from FSS-type satellites, generally on C-band analog; free-to-air and unconnected to a commercial DBS provider. TVRO was the main means of consumer satellite reception in the United States and Canada until the mid-1990s with the arrival of direct-broadcast satellite television services such as PrimeStar, USSB, Bell TV, DirecTV, Dish Network, Sky TV which transmit Ku signals. While these services are at least theoretically based on open standards (DVB-S, MPEG-2, MPEG-4), the majority of services are encrypted and require proprietary decoder hardware. TVRO systems relied on feeds being transmitted unencrypted and using open-standards, which heavily contrasts to DBS systems in the region.
The term is also used to refer to receiving digital television "backhaul" feeds from FSS-type satellites. Reception of free-to-air satellite signals, generally Ku band Digital Video Broadcasting, for home viewing is still common in Europe, India and Australia, although the TVRO nomenclature was never used there. Free-to-air satellite signals are also very common in the People's Republic of China, as many rural locations cannot receive cable television and solely rely on satellites to deliver television signals to individual homes