If you’re wondering how to get free TV with a satellite dish, then this is the guide for you!
You’ve probably heard about the free, over-the-air (OTA) channels where the system is typically referred to as FTA (Free to Air) systems.
In this guide, we’ll unwrap all steps into getting a free TV by using a satellite dish as well as provide you with the accurate steps and necessities.
To get free TV by using a satellite dish you first need to mount the dish according to the satellite’s Elevation and Azimuth.
Next comes the tuner, which helps with the alignment of the dish, and finally, the coaxial cable from the dish connects to the digital receiver.
The setup is extremely easy when you’re prepared so let’s jump in!
What Do You Need | Preparation | Requirements?
Getting free TV using a satellite dish might be challenging for some users and extremely easy for others, based on the current setup, dish, and TV.
There are some requirements, which could prevent you from getting channels, especially if you don’t have the necessary equipment.
Things You Need to Know!
First, you need to ensure that you’ve got the necessary hardware for the FTA system:
- A satellite dish – 35-inch (KU-band) or an 8-foot for C-band channel.
- Satellite tuner – the tuner translates the signals into a TV channel.
- Satellite receiver – necessary if your TV does not have an inbuilt receiver.
- An HDMI TV – the television must include an HDMI input port on the back.
- Coaxial cable – long enough coaxial cable, based on the dish’s position.
Important: TV Compatibility?
Only TVs with satellite demodulation support can be connected directly to the dish via Coax and be able to scan and discover FTA channels.
This information can be found in the TV’s user manual or by searching the specific TV model online and reviewing the device’s specifications.
How to Get Free TV with a Satellite Dish in Easy Steps?
1. Preparation – Satellite Identification
Assuming that you have a satellite dish, and you’re wondering how to begin the FTA system setup, well you need to start with the satellite identification.
To clarify why that’s important we would only mention that you need to verify whether the setup would work before you begin.
First, you need to know which satellite your dish would be receiving a signal from. Check the American Digital Satellites, and determine which one your dish would work with from your current location.
You need to acquire the exact name of the satellite that you’ll be using!
Virtual Satellite Dish Test:
When knowing which exact satellite you’ll be using, you can perform a virtual test to check if the setup would theoretically work.
Simply go to dishpointer.com and follow the steps below:
- In the field on the left, type in your city, state, or residence.
- Select the exact name of the satellite that you’ve identified.
- Next, click on the “Search” button to carry out the test.
- Note the “Azimuth” and “Elevation” degrees for orientation.
Results: The website would determine whether the line of sight of your dish at this location will be clear.
The results will be indicated with a green or red light, respectively, working or not.
2. Satellite Dish Installation Process
The installation process of the dish is not the hard part. The hard part is pointing the dish exactly toward the satellite.
This is why, earlier we noted down the Azimuth (true), Azimuth (magn.), and the correct “Elevation”, which is everything you need to align the satellite dish properly.
The steps below, explain how to mount and position the satellite dish correctly:
- First, select a good position for your satellite dish.
- The dish must be on a roof, balcony, or elevated place.
- It’s important to secure the dish as tightly as possible.
- The Azimuth, tells you the correct direction of the dish.
- The Elevation tells you how high the dish should be.
- Tip: You can use a compass, which is super helpful.
- Once aligned, tighten the control screen to fix the angle.
- Also, tighten the vertical axis using the dedicated screw.
How to Use the Tuner?
The tuner is optional but helps a lot when aligning the horizontal axis of the satellite dish.
You simply need to connect the coaxial cable of the dish to the input port on the tuner and input the exact satellite name. Then the tuner will let you know whether you need to rotate the dish or not.
Note: Rotate the dish, until the time between the beeps of the tuner increases!
3. Connecting Dish to the Receiver
Everything from here is now easy. If your dish is aligned properly, then nothing could go wrong as long as you have a working satellite receiver.
The satellite receiver, in some countries, called a “decoder”, connects to your satellite dish via the coaxial cable, which has to be long enough.
Your satellite receiver should have at least one coaxial input on the back of the device, which allows for connecting a dish.
However, one of the challenging parts would be leading the cable throughout your home, and attaching the coax to the wall, which sometimes requires drilling.
Tip: The most-optimal way to lead the cable would be by using a simple staple gun!
4. Set Up the Satellite Dish Receiver
Setting up the receiver is perhaps the easiest step so far. You only need to plug the receiver into the power, and then into one of the HDMI ports on your TV.
In case something is unclear, the receiver plugs into the power and into your TV for the converted video transfer from the dish.
Then, on the back of the receiver (not always), there is a power switch:
- “|” = power
- “0” = no power
Flip the switch to the “power” position and turn on the receiver. Then simply press the “Input” or “Sources” button on your TV remote control to select the correct HDMI input.
In case the remote does not have such a button, the TV sources menu is surely somewhere in the TV settings!
5. Scan & Get Free Satellite Channels!
We can’t be specific here, since different brand receivers work differently and the menu options and labels are not the same.
Essentially, you’re looking for an option called “LNB”, “Satellite”,“Channel Scan” or “Antenna”.
Then there are two different possibilities:
- If you’re asked for an “LNB” number – provide 10750
- If you’re asked for a C-band network – provide 5150
When all of the requirement prompts end, you will be ready to press the “Scan” button after which the free (over-the-air) channels will start adding up.
You will see a progress bar as well as how many channels are already discovered, with the number increasing as per your location.
Note: When the channels are added, they will appear in the receiver’s guide!
TV Says “NO SIGNAL” – 0 Channels Discovered
Now you know how to get free Satellite TV with a dish, and if you’re seeing “No Signal” or no channels were discovered, we’re here to help.
You’re not alone and many people also couldn’t establish the setup from the first attempt.
Well, here are some useful tips and tricks to attempt:
- Reconnect the coaxial cable tightly into the port.
- Inspect the coaxial cable for damage or faults.
- Re-mount the dish, and double-check the alignment.
- Power cycle your TV and satellite dish receiver.
Yes, bad weather interferes with the signal.
So if you weren’t able to discover all channels or no channels at all while outside is windy, rainy, or thundering, well, you don’t need to worry at all.
Note: Some channels are available in certain regions, whereby the same channels might not be available in other regions.
Do You Need a Service to Get Satellite Channels?
As the steps above clearly show, you don’t need to be hooked to subscription-based services as long as you’ve got the necessary equipment.
However, not having a receiver requires a TV with supported demodulation, which are typically newer (smart) TVs.
Well, in those cases, getting free channels loses its meaning considering that smart TVs can simply connect to the internet and stream many channels for free.
Here we’ve learned how to get free TV with a satellite dish by learning how to mount the dish correctly and how to connect the dish to the receiver.
Then you only need an HDMI TV, which you should connect to the receiver and start discovering free TV channels.
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