- or simply dish - is a popular name for round or oval receivers used to
collect signals emitted by TV satellites (according to the
FCC fact sheet,
satellite dish in the continental US is considered "small"
if bellow 40" in diameter).
Depending on the purpose,
satellite dish antennas vary somewhat in size, as well as
in the number and arrangement of LNB (low-noise block down-converter) units, which process and
intensify received signals. An LNB unit is needed for each satellite feed
(actual antenna in the focus of the dish surface) receiving signals from a particular TV satellite location, so that
more LNBs means more
satellite coverage - and more programming.
In the past
DirecTV had several dish
models. The simplest was
Phase I dish, 18" in diameter with dual LNB (low-noise block converter). This allowed up to two single tuner
receivers connected, or a single dual tuner receiver, such as
TiVo. It was intended to work with the 101, DirecTV's core satellite, in their own
words, "the premier destination of new exclusive programming...". The
"101" comes from satellites orbital latitude, which is in this case 101
Phase II DirecTV
dish featured two dual LNBs with four outputs. It is slightly larger, at
20"x18" oval, working with 101 and 109 DirecTV satellites.
Phase III DirecTV dish
was also 20"x18",
also four outputs, but comes with three LNBs, working with 101, 110 and
119 DirecTV satellites. For some time, it was the most popular DirecTV dish.
Then came the 5-LNB 4-outputs
MPEG-4 Ku/Ka dish. It
was specifically intended to work with new 99 and
103 satellites, with advanced MPEG-4 compression technology in
(30 GHz), for delivering high-definition programming. It is a part of
DirecTV's move to deliver local HD channels to a number of largest US
cities. The dish was also covering "conventional"
Ku-band satellites, 101, 110
and 119, working with less efficient - but appropriate to then standard
digital requirements - MPEG-2 compression. At 26"x30" the MPEG-4 Ku/Ka
dish is larger in size than previous models. Also, it requires DirecTV's
MPEG-4/Ku receiver, H20.
There were also a
"specialty" dishes, like
Hot Shot. The former
was a large 35"x26" dish antenna with a dual+single LNB and four outputs. It
was also covering 101, 110 and 119 satellites, but with 65% gain
in signal strength over the Phase III dish. This made
it less prone to rain fade effects, as well as better choice for regions
at the periphery of satellite "footprint".
had two linear, or a single dual LNB and two outputs, for
international programming from 95 and 101 satellites. The 18"
Hot Shot, intended for
cold regions - had built in heating element with automatic thermal
control, preventing ice formation.
Last generation of DirecTV antennas are the
There are other dish
brands that can be bought and used for reception of DirecTV programming. If buying on
your own, keep in mind that dish and receiver need to be
compatible. Best approach is to figure out the entire system, including
connectors, wiring and TV set(s) beforehand, making sure it will all
work well when put together.
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