Satellite Imagery Resources

I've gotten to the point where I would like to have access to higher quality satellite imagery. This is the current link I use:

In that nasty mess, I change values to get it to spit out other things, like different latitude/longitudes, IR, with or without lines, and so-on. But at the end of the day, they're still highly-compressed .jpegs that I can't really do a whole lot with. Seeing as how the pictures from that link must be built from some source, I'd like to know if outsiders have access to that data, and what it might take to read it. I stumbled upon some really large .tif files on that site a long time ago. Can't remember where now; d'oh! They needed treatment, but they were definitely a step in the right direction. If I know where to get those source images, I may be able to throw together a viewing client. I suspect I'm not the only one here who's looked into this, so I welcome your comments.
You can get 1km VIS imagery and 4km IR/WV imagery in raw form from the NCEP FTPPRD server, but the only software I know that reads it is GEMPAK.
I did find the place with the .tiff files. It is here:

So I have something to get started with.

They've got raw files there too, and it came as no surprise how big they are. Around 55 megs on average every 6-8 minutes requires quite a bit of bandwidth to keep up with! And then every 4th or 5th file is a whopping 110-360 megs. Frickin' huge. I guess the next step in this is to try to figure out if there's a spec for those raw files floating around somewhere. That still seems easier than learning GEMPAK.

I've read some about GEMPAK; at least enough to know what it does. I have a lot more reading to do if I ever want to even consider trying it out.
As someone based in the UK who is mainly using this forum to learn so that when I can eventually come to the States to chase,I will be much better equiped both with ideas of what I will need to use and broaden my weather skills,I can say that for basic weather images there is only one way that I find successfull.
I own a home built WX receiver on 137 Mhz which is tuned to the five main Orbital satellite Frequencies and a Turnstile antenna. This means that I can set up the PC using a software package to automaticly decode and save the images to my hard disc. Not the most portable system but a very effective way of viewing the satellite images. Total cost was about GBP 150 without the computer. I know of systems that will decode the other sat's up there but most need a dish and are more expensive.