"What television does is rent us friends and relatives who are quite satisfactory. This is quite something, to rent artificial friends and relatives right inside the house."
In the world of Altered Carbon, it is possible to completely record the unique electrical pattern of your mental self, store it and then download it into a suitable body.
The radio and television transmissions we are used to are literally "broadcast" in all directions. It takes a lot of energy to send a usable signal in all directions. If you wanted to send a transmission to a specific distant planet, the most energy efficient way would be to transmit in a single, specific direction - a "needlecast", a very slender beam.
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