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Satellite Television FAQs

Q. Can I receive Satellite TV?

A. Almost everyone can receive satellite TV, but if you want to use an 18" or 24" dish, you need to be on the mainland United States (excepting Alaska). In Hawaii, and in some parts of Alaska, you will probably need to use a larger dish.

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Most manufacturers will say that you need a clear line of sight to the southern sky without blocking trees, hills, or buildings. In fact, most reasonably clear lines will be OK, but if you are in a city and there are many buildings, you will have problems. Talk to your local suppliers, they will have some experience of what is possible and what is not.

Q. Do I need permission to install a TV dish?

A. If your TV dish is less than a meter in diameter, then under FCC guidelines you can install it. However, you may have to conform to guidelines regarding proper installation, and there may be some regulations you need to adhere to if you live in a historical property or district. Federal law requires you to make sure that the installation is safe.

Q. If I have more than one TV, will I need more than one TV dish?

A. No, but you may need more than one receiver that is hooked up to the TV dish. If you are happy to watch the same channel on each TV, then you can use one receiver box. If you want a choice, then you need a receiver box for each TV.

Q. Can I receive my local channels on Satellite TV?

A. Some providers do broadcast local TV, but they have a duty to broadcast all local channels, and cannot choose to broadcast simply those they want. For this reason, check specifically when you are contracting for your satellite TV.

Q. Do I have to buy a satellite system, or can I lease it?

A. It is possible to lease a satellite system; look carefully at the terms and make sure that you are not paying more than you otherwise would if you simply bought a satellite system using credit. There may be some benefits regarding maintenance, upgrading etc when you take out a leasing agreement.

Q. Can I have interactive TV using a satellite system?

A. Yes, but check that your satellite system is a two way system - that is it acts both as a receiver and a broadcaster. Most systems that are used for broadband Internet access and telephone are two way satellite systems.

Q. Will bad weather affect my satellite system?

A. Mostly, no, but occasionally rainstorms can be so severe that they may stop reception for the duration of the storm. However, this is a purely temporary situation, and you will find that your signal is restored automatically.
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