Satellite TV is widely used throughout the world now, with millions of users all over. Many people are familiar with the way it works: the dish properly aimed at the satellites in space, the receiver connected to the dish, and the television connected to the receiver.  Simple, and very legal. For many years now satellite TV has been available to the public, but only a small percentage of viewers actually install a Free to Air  (FTA) system. Most people feel those systems are beyond their knowledge and don’t even try to understand their operation. They prefer to keep it easy and pay a monthly fee to satellite TV service providers.


All this started out with the B.U.D.S (big ugly dishes) from years ago. The first satellite TV signal was uplinked from the Andover Earth Station in Maine on July 11, 1962 to the first Telstar bird that had been launched into orbit from Cape Cañaveral, Florida on July 10, 1962. This signal was then successfully relayed to another earth station in Pleumeur-Bodou, France. Then, on July 23, 1962 Telstar relayed its first publicly available live transatlantic television signal (Wikipedia). And so much happened in the next forty years!!


FTA TV works the same way that regular satellite TV does. You still need the main components: a receiver, a dish, and a TV. The equipment is usually purchased online, or from a computer or satellite store, and prices can start at around $100 and go up from there depending on what you want. Free to Air means exactly that, TV programming you can pluck from the air for free.  All you need is the proper equipment to get started.   Once you buy the proper equipment, you will then have to start by setting up your satellite dish by attaching it somewhere – your roof, an antenna mast, a tripod – anywhere you consider it to be solid, secure, and correctly positioned to receive the signals you are targeting. If you want a dish capable of being controlled from the receiver, you need a motor between your stand and your dish. A motor capable of interpreting commands from the receiver through a control interface, or a DiSEqC (Digital Satellite Equipment Control) protocol.


Next you will need to choose the instrument that picks up the electromagnetic or radio wave signals from the parabola of the dish. This is a two-part unit: (a) feedhorn, gathers the signal at the focal point of the parabola and directs it to( b) LNB (Low Noise Block) which is a transducer that converts particular waves into electrical signals that can then be processed by a receiver. So when you have assembled your LNB to your dish, and attached it fixed or motorized to your stand or tripod, you need to connect the output of the LNB to the input of a receiver by means of a video cable.


Choosing a receiver can become a little involved, so it can be useful to create a list of expectations before buying. Do you want standard definition or high definition? That choice depends mostly on your TV. If you have an HD TV, why get an SD receiver? Do you want it to incorporate a DVR (DTR, PVR same thing)? Do you want to be able to connect your laptop to it? Do you want it to be able to connect to the internet? How much memory do you want it to have? Do you want it WiFi capable? Bluetooth capable? There are of course many questions, considerations, and choices, so starting a little research is always to your advantage.


Once that LNB cable is connected to the input of your receiver you can literally access a world of free video in hundreds of different languages. What you decide to do with the output of the receiver only depends on your A/V desires and expectations, knowledge, and creativity. The world of free video footage is coming out of that cable, with only you and the world of processing equipment between it and the world of visual and auditory beauty. Go crazy!!!


Andy Mercado is an Audio and Video systems integrator and installer living in and servicing the Dade and Broward counties of South Florida. Contact him here or here to find out more about FTA systems, or any audio or video installation you need done. Follow ConnTech’s network marketing efforts here.