Satellite dish: How to choose the optimal size

You want to buy a satellite system and are wondering how big the satellite dish should be? UPDATED explains how to choose the right size for your satellite dish and what you need to know to get good reception.

What sizes are there for satellite dishes?

The standard size of satellite dishes is between 40 and 120 centimeters in diameter. Most commonly, satellite dishes with a diameter of 60, 80, 85 or 100 centimeters used. From 60 centimeters, reception is usually considered reliable. However, the individual case is always decisive when choosing the size.

Astra 19.2 ° East satellite

“Astra” is the name of the satellite, “19.2 ° East” describes its position. The satellite operated by the Luxembourg company SES transmits around 400 German-language programs in Europe, of which around 250 are unencrypted. The best-known German TV stations and radio programs are broadcast on Astra 19.2 ° East. Astra is therefore the most relevant satellite for German-speaking channels. In addition to Astra, the Hotbird satellite system is used in Germany. It broadcasts significantly fewer German channels, but a large number of international channels.

How do I determine the right size for my satellite dish?

It is said that the larger the diameter of the satellite dish, the better the reception. In principle, that’s also true, but it’s not just the size that determines the quality of the reception. In addition, when choosing the size, you must also take into account where you want to attach the satellite dish and how many receivers you want to supply with it. You should consider the following factors.

Choice of the satellite

The ideal diameter of the satellite dish depends, among other things, on the targeted satellite. In good conditions, small models with a diameter of 45 or 50 centimeters can be sufficient for Astra 19.2 ° East. Larger satellite dishes are required for other satellites.

Weather conditions

What is “good conditions”? The weather can have a major impact on satellite reception. With smaller satellite dishes, the signal tends to break off more frequently in the rain, hail or snow. If you want to make sure that you have good reception even in bad weather, you should choose a satellite dish with a diameter of at least 60 centimeters.

Location

The location also plays a role in the selection of the satellite dish. In some areas, reception is weak from the ground up for certain satellites – in this case too, you should choose a larger model. The best way to find out whether this aspect is important in your case is to contact a specialist dealer on site.

If you have your own house , you can basically choose the size of the satellite dish as long as you have the option to securely attach the corresponding model. A diameter of 60 to 80 centimeters is a good choice here.

Do you live in a rented apartment , you first have to clarify with the landlord if you must install a satellite dish on the house wall. It is not permitted to drill the facade without permission. If the landlord prohibits a fixed installation, you can usually switch to a small satellite dish, which you can attach to the balcony railing, for example. However, this also has to be approved if there is already a cable or satellite connection in the house.

Note: Even if you own an apartment, you need permission to install a satellite dish – in this case, from the community of owners.

Number of recipients

The more users are to be supplied, the larger the diameter of the satellite dish should be. If there are more than four satellite receivers, the diameter should be at least 80 centimeters.

Be careful with large satellite dishes

If a satellite dish has a particularly large diameter, this can also have disadvantages. In extreme weather conditions, a large bowl of 100 to 120 centimeters offers a target for strong winds. Such models should be fixed and installed by a specialist in any case.

If you live in an apartment building, you should make sure that your neighbors’ quality of life is not restricted, because the size of the satellite dish, for example, disturbs the view of other house residents or casts an unfavorable shadow. A landlord can also prohibit the use of a very large satellite dish for aesthetic reasons.

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Other requirements for good reception

The size of the satellite dish is only a factor when it comes to good transmission quality. Therefore, also consider the following criteria.

Undisturbed reception

The satellite dish must face south – this is the standard for receiving German channels. A clear reception area is also important: trees, walls or other obstacles can impair the reception quality. Houses facing south can also interfere with reception.

Tip: You can use a calculation to check whether the reception of neighboring houses could deteriorate: Measure the distance between your satellite dish and the nearest house. Divide the distance by two. The result corresponds to the maximum height that the other house should have. An example: If the house is 20 meters from the south-facing satellite dish, it should not exceed a height of ten meters.

What is LNB?

The abbreviation LNB stands for “Low Noise Block” or “Low Noise Block Converter” (low-noise signal converter). The LNB picks up the satellite signals and transfers them to an intermediate frequency. This is usually ensured by a metal cone that is tuned to the reception frequency (technical component in the form of a cone). The intermediate frequency is important in order to transmit the signal to the satellite receiver without loss using a coaxial cable. The LNB also depends on how many receivers can be supplied.

Signal amplification by LNB

The LNB plays an important role in the quality of the reception, because performance losses can be compensated for by a good LNB. It is generally recommended that an LNB should have a noise figure of less than 1 dB and an amplifier up to 50 or 60 dB.

Coaxial cable and connector

Coaxial cables consist of several layers. The higher the quality of the materials used, the better the performance of the cable. For example, an inner conductor made of pure copper is of higher quality than an inner conductor made of steel copper. The connectors are even more important for satellite reception, because poorly installed connections have an impact on the signal strength. You can use the classic F-connector for satellite reception. If you want to achieve a higher quality, so-called compression plugs are recommended.

Material and processing

Because satellite dishes are placed outside, they are exposed to all weather conditions throughout. The material and processing should therefore be of a sufficiently high quality. Aluminum satellite dishes are particularly recommended. Steel versions are often cheaper, but they are more susceptible to rust. Aluminum is significantly less susceptible to corrosion than stainless steel. That being said, cheaper satellite dishes made from a comparatively inferior material can pose a higher security risk – especially when it comes to the fastening materials.

Alternative to the large satellite dish

You have an older model of a satellite dish and want to improve the reception quality without buying a new or larger satellite dish? Replacing the LNB can help to improve the signal quality, and thus the image quality. If necessary, you can also optimize the image quality with a new receiver.

Please note in principle: If conditions such as the optimal placement, high-quality material, quality of the cable and connector and LNB performance are met, this can have a greater impact on the reception quality than the size of the satellite dish.

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Quality doesn’t necessarily depend on size

As a rule of thumb, larger satellite dishes ensure better reception quality. However, this does not end the topic. Large satellite dishes also have disadvantages: for example, they are more susceptible to strong winds. It also depends on your living situation whether you can install a large model. Fortunately, you have other ways to improve signal strength. For example, make sure you have a good LNB, invest in the material quality of the satellite system, cables and plugs, and the receiver, and place the satellite dish so that there are no obstacles in your way.

DISCLAIMER OTTO (GmbH & Co KG) does not guarantee the accuracy, timeliness, completeness, effectiveness and safety of the information and recommendations provided on updated.de. It is expressly pointed out that the official manufacturer’s specifications have priority over all other information and recommendations and that only these can ensure the safe and proper use of the respective items purchased.

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