Types of Satellite Dishes


There are a great many types of satellite dishes that are used for different purposes. For the purpose of this article, we will only discuss the types of satellite dishes used for watching television at an individual residence, called either a direct broadcast satellite (DBS) or direct-to-home satellite (DTH).


Before discussing the different types of satellite dishes, you need to know about the Low Noise Converter (LNC), also known as a Low Noise Block converter (LNB). When the radio signals are received by the satellite dish, they are transferred to the LNC for the purpose of converting the signal frequency. The LNC converts the radio signal to a lower frequency and then amplifies the signal while blocking noise.


The simplest type of satellite dish, and the first one available to consumers for home use, is the 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.


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.


The Dual Offset Dish Antenna is an improvement over the normal 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 a 80% efficiency.


There is also a Flat Antenna, which 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.