Digital TV has given us so much in terms of variety, and if you wish to receive a digital feed, you will need a satellite dish. With so many different types, made from a range of materials, one could be forgiven for feeling a little confused. The range of services include free or paid viewing, and even if one is watching free channels, the equipment must be configured correctly in order to pick up the signal. If you are about to join the millions of other Brits who are currently enjoying hundreds of free channels, here are some helpful hints on buying the right dish.
When thinking of satellite dishes, size and appearance should be taken into account. Local councils may have size limitations, and you don’t want to upset the neighbours with a huge monstrosity that looks like it came from NASA. Other than the appearance and siting, you have to estimate the equipment you will need. Aside from the dish, you will require cable and at least one LNB (Loud noise blocker), not forgetting the clips that will fix the cable to the side of the property. If you underestimate, it could turn into a frustrating exercise that takes a few days to sort out, so make sure you purchase enough of everything.
Types of dishes
Satellite dishes are made from a variety of materials, some of which are designed to blend in with the surroundings, such as a clear plastic dish. Another idea is to paint the dish the same colour as the wall it is attached to, making it almost invisible. Painting the dish also helps prevent rust and corrosion, which will extend the life of the device.
The right size
For Zone 1, which covers as far north as Lancashire, a 53 cm mini dish is adequate to receive signals from Sky and Freesat, while Zone 2, which stretches up to Perthshire in Scotland, requires a wider dish to account for rain fade, or the weakened signal caused by precipitation. The further north one moves, the lower the angle of the dish, and the size of the dish should be increased accordingly.
Steel or aluminium dishes
These are the least expensive and are prone to rust, but a coat or two of the right paint will remedy that. Steel dishes are popular because they have good reflective properties. Aluminium dishes are a little more expensive than steel, but are not as corrosive, which is ideal for the salty atmosphere in coastal areas.
These are ideal for very windy locations, as the entire surface area is a fine mesh, which still allows for efficient signal reception, yet offer much less wind resistance. Solid dishes are more common that the mesh versions, mainly because they are cheaper and just as effective. High winds can move a solid dish, and that would affect the signal quality, so a mesh dish is the answer if you live in a high wind location.
Satellite TV offers the viewer so much more, and with a crystal clear signal that is unaffected by bad weather, the picture quality is always first class.