Satellite Dishes Have Expanded Your World

Up until fairly recently, only the antennas jutting from the roofs of homes and apartments were able to bring in television signals.  Depending on where you lived, this would limit the availability of programming.  Those who lived near major cities would usually have a fairly good range of stations to choose from, but if you lived in an out-of-the-way area, you would probably be stuck with whatever was available from small local stations.  The broadcasting towers situated in cities could only get out the signal so far, and once the curvature of the earth entered the equation, most signals would be unable to reach you.  Satellite dishes have changed all that. 

How Satellite Dishes Work

The satellite circling far above the earth is the secret to providing wider internet, radio, and television access.  Communications satellites are put into orbit specifically to receive and send microwave signals from the earth based station.  Once the signal has been sent up to the satellite it is then redirected down to hit specific targets, the satellite dishes, that have been set up to receive the signal.  Cable television relies on communications satellites to broadcast hundreds of different stations back to earth from their orbits. 

Besides television programming, satellite dishes have made it possible for people in nearly every part of the globe to receive radio and internet.   Information originating in the United States can be picked up by a satellite dish in the Far East now without any problem, and satellite technology has made possible distance learning as well as internet ‘telephones’ that allow you to speak through a headset to someone thousands of miles away, generally at no cost.

Kinds Of Satellite Dishes

Early satellite dishes were often enormous, and we still see some of these on people’s lawns.  At that point, the larger the dish, the more receptive power.  As both the communications satellites and the dishes have evolved, such huge dishes are no longer necessary.  Some dishes depend on a motor to keep them aligned with their satellite, and this is generally done by the owner to make sure the signal stays clear.

Another kind of satellite dish will be able to receive information from a number of communications satellites without having to move in order to receive a clear signal.  The manner in which these dishes are formed, sometimes comprising several parts, means that they will be able to access multiple satellites to bring you uninterrupted service regardless of the position of your dish to any particular communications satellite.


While some cable companies will offer a free installation of a dish, others may not and you will have to hire a technician to install the satellite dish for you.  This will often cost several hundred dollars.  However, it is quite possible to install your dish yourself, and manuals are available online, or will come with the dish you purchase to tell you how to do this.  If you do decide to install your dish yourself, you will have to choose a point where there will be nothing to block the signal from the satellite.  Buildings and trees can interfere with getting a clear signal.  The dish must also be pointed in the right direction, and it must also be grounded.