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Building Your Own Satellite TV System

Building Your Own Satellite TV System

Many people think that establishing your own satellite TV system and service is well outside of their sphere of expertise, but building one is not actually that difficult with the right tools and the right instructions. The advantage of satellite TV is that one can legally watch free to air TV, and add a plethora of new channels to your existing paid subscription service.

Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of a satellite system is that it can be made to be ultra-portable. This is a real boon for campers, or people who regularly travel in motor homes or caravans, because it means that they can watch free to air satellite TV wherever they can receive a satellite signal.

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What Equipment Will You Need?

Some people like to try their hand at building their very own satellite dish, but there are many affordable dishes of all sizes available from a variety of specialist vendors. If you’re in the market for a satellite TV solution, here’s what you’ll need:

  • A satellite dish that is of the appropriate size,
  • A Free to air (FTA) receiver,
  • Good instructions for assembling your satellite system!
  • A TV card for PC, if you plan to watch TV on your computer,
  • One of many available satellite LNBs (low noise blockers)

The Importance of the LNB

It would be fair to say that without a good quality Low Noise Block, your satellite system will not function at all! The LNB is a small device that sits on the front of the satellite dish. It is able to receive the microwave frequencies that are being beamed from the satellite, and then converts them to a lower block of signals so that it can be passed to the satellite receiver. This conversion of the microwave signals is important because it serves to amplify the satellite signal and also means that it can be carried by the much cheaper coaxial cables that most people use.

The quality of your LNB is important, and this is normally expressed as the noise figure, or noise temperature, of the device. When the microwave signals from the satellite is converted, the LNB introduces some degree of noise into the signal during the down-conversion. The lower the noise temperature of the LNB, the less noise it will introduce to the converted signal, meaning that the signal received by the satellite receiver is cleaner. A cleaner signal means a better and clearer TV signal for viewing!

Of course, the ideal LNB would have a noise temperature of zero, but this is not actually possible as every LNB introduces some amount of noise during the down-conversion phase. On the upside, very clever design, engineering, and additional components will minimise the introduction of noise, even if a zero noise temperature is not theoretically possible.

If you have decided to invest in a satellite system of your own, it is important to get the right tools and components for the job. The quality of your LNB is crucial to your TV viewing experience, and it is worthwhile spending a little more on a better quality unit.

Written by Alice Walker