How to choose your satellite TV equipment

There is no single system that is perfect for receiving all channels from all satellites. Much depends on your individual circumstances, what you want to receive and how much you are willing to spend.

The main specific factors or criteria include:

  • where you are in the world - you can only receive satellites with a 'footprint' in your region;
  • which satellite/s you want to receive from - you may want one or more groups;
  • whether you want to receive just free-to-air (FTA or 'clear') channels or encrypted 'subscription' channels - you need to choose a compatible receiver.

The main components of a domestic satellite TV system are:

  • The dish aligned to the satellite/s you want to receive from
  • An LNB attached to the arm on the dish.
  • The receiver or set-top box with its own remote control.
  • Suitable cable and plugs

The scenarios and example set-ups given below are suitable for UK locations and assume you want to receive FTA channels in a range of languages. They start from simplest and go on to more complex. Advice about satellite dish installation is also available.

Scenario 1 - You want to receive FTA channels from the Astra satellites at 19.2°East.

You could use a basic FTA digital satellite receiver, 60cm dish and a single LNB.

Scenario 2 - You want to receive FTA channnels from the Eutelsat Hot Bird satellites at 13°East.

You could use a basic FTA digital satellite receiver, 80cm dish and a single LNB.

Scenario 3 - You want to receive FTA channels from both Astra 19.2°East and Hot Bird 13°East satellites.

You could use a basic FTA digital satellite receiver, 80cm dish and a dual LNB with integrated automatic switchover from one satellite to the other.

Tailor-made installations

If you have special requirements, such as motorised dishes, access to other satellites, or to subscription channels, or remote geographical location, you are advised to contact an approved professional satellite dish installer locally before buying any equipment.

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