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How to speak satellite...
Date Modified: 2009-01-09

Tech Tip:

Every profession has its own language and satellite television is no exception. This language can create confusion if you are trying to solve a problem or learn about a satellite television product. Here are a couple of common words and phrases that may help when trying to talk to a satellite guy.

LNB or LNBF: is an acronym for Low Noise Block Converter Feed. The LNB sits in front of the dish and sends the satellite signal down the coax to your receiver.

Dish: The dish is also called a reflector; this is the part of the antenna that “reflects” the satellite signal into the LNB. The either looks like a giant metal potato chip or a giant metal contact lens. Often, the entire antenna will be referred to as “the Dish”

Beam: The beam is just a way to visualize the signal coming from the satellite. When you aim a satellite dish you are looking for the beam. This functions the way like a ceiling light covers a room.

Footprint: The Area covered by a satellite’s beam is called the Footprint.

Spot Beam: This is used for local channels in most areas. Most local channels are only available within a small area around the city from which they originate. This functions like a flashlight.

Azimuth: Azimuth is a fancy way of saying “Degrees away from north.” This is the rotational or left right component for aiming a dish.

Elevation: While all of the satellites that you will deal with for satellite television are at the same height, they can be at different elevations depending on where you are. Elevation deals with how far above the horizon the satellite is. This will change from location to location. This is the up and down component for aiming a dish.

Skew or Tilt: These are the same thing; the difference is who you have for a satellite provider. More and more programming packages require looking at two or more satellites at the same time. In order for one dish to look at more than one satellite at a time, the dish needs to be able to rotate like a steering wheel to get multiple satellites.

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