Satellite Dish Glossary


Direct broadcast satellite (DBS): Direct broadcast satellite refers to satellite television broadcasts intended for home reception. These are also called direct to home satellites.

Direct broadcasting satellite provider: A direct broadcasting satellite provider is a company that transmits a variety of channels to subscribers via satellite dish. Like cable companies, they offer a set package of channels at a variety of prices. In the United States, the providers are DirecTV and DISH Network.

Direct to home satellite (DHS): See direct broadcast satellite.

Dual offset dish antenna: This type of satellite dish has two dishes, a larger receiving dish and a small dish facing the opposite direction that takes the signal and transfers it to the LNC. The dual offset dish antenna has an 80% efficiency.
Free to air satellite system (FTA): An FTA satellite system refers to a satellite receiver that is configured to receive encrypted FTA satellite transmissions. FTA broadcasts are public domain and you do not have to pay for a subscription to any type of satellite provider to receive them.

Flat antenna: A flat antenna is the most compact type of satellite dish. This type of antenna does not have an exterior LNC. It is located within the dish. These types of satellite dishes are best for homes near the center of the satellite footprint area.

Geosynchronous orbit: Geosynchronous orbit in an orbital path matching the Earth's rotation period. Since the object, such as a satellite, is moving at the same speed and direction as the Earth, its location in relation to the Earth does not change, making it seem like it stays in the same place.

High definition (HD) video: High definition video refers to any video of a higher resolution than standard definition video. It normally has a resolution of 720p or 1080i/1080p. It is a higher quality picture than standard definition video that is comparable to DVD quality.

Line of sight: The line of sight is a straight line between your satellite dish antenna and the satellite. The line between the two needs to be clear, as anything blocking the path will result in a signal disruption and thus, a less than optimum picture.

Low noise block converter (LNB): See low noise converter.

Low noise converter (LNC): A low noise converter is located at the focal point of the antenna of a parabolic satellite dish. It converts the incoming signal to a lower frequency and amplifies the signal before sending it to the satellite tuner. It also reduces noise during the amplification process.

MPEG: MPEG is a type of compressed video created by the Moving Picture Experts Group.

Noise: Noise is a disturbance that obscures or reduces the clarity of a signal.

Offset dish antenna: The offset dish antenna has the LNC located to the side of the dish. This way, the LNC does not interfere with the signal path, which can reach the dish unobstructed. Because this offers better performance, these dishes can be much smaller than the prime feed focus dishes.

Prime feed focus dish: This is a large parabolic dish, with a diameter over 1.4 meters, with the LNC mounted centrally in the dish facing outward. Because it is located in the center of the dish, the LNC blocks a lot of the incoming signals. For that reason, this type of satellite is only 50% effective in receiving radio signals.

Radio waves: Radio waves are an invisible form of electromagnetic radiation that varies in wavelength from one millimeter to 100,000 km. Satellites send your television signal via radio waves to your satellite dish antenna.

Satellite dish: Seriously? If you have been reading about satellite dishes on here this whole time, you had better know what it is!

Satellite footprint: The footprint of a satellite is the ground area where its transponders offer coverage. Basically, every satellite has a geographic area where its signal can be received.

Signal meter: A signal meter is used to determine the strength of a satellite signal for the purpose of properly aligning a satellite dish.