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December 2009
Hooking TV

Q.1 : I want to hook up more than one TV. What's the best way to do it? (Zafar Hakeem, Karachi)

Ans: Here are two ways to do a multiple-TV system: Multiple TVs using a single satellite receiver: Even with a basic single-receiver system, you can hook up more than one television — although you will be limited to watching the same satellite channel on each TV. Simply connect the satellite receiver's antenna-style "RF" output to the input of your second TV (for this connection, RG-6 or RG-59 cable is fine). Some satellite receivers include two tuners, letting you watch two different programs on two different TVs using a single receiver. These receivers give you two sets of audio/video outputs as well as two remotes (one remote operates via radio frequencies, so you can control the receiver from the second room). Multiple TVs using multiple satellite receivers: Some dishes now allow you to connect up to four receivers — that means you can watch up to four different channels in separate rooms. If you want to hook up more receivers than your dish can accommodate, you can use a multiswitch to split the satellite feed without compromising signal quality. And since you're running independent coaxial cables from the dish, the TVs can be located anywhere in your home.

HDTV satellite programming

Q.2 : What equipment do I need to receive HDTV satellite programming? (Imtiaz Ahmed, Dubai)

Ans: To receive DIRECTV's HD offerings, you will need a newer, DIRECTV Slimeline Dish, an HDTV-capable satellite receiver, and a compatible HDTV-ready TV. For DISH Network, you will need at least a triple LNB multi-satellite dish, plus an HDTV-capable satellite receiver and TV.

Live TV

Q.3 : Can I get digital satellite TV where I live? (Farman Alam, USA)

Ans: To receive the satellite signal using the standard 18" or 18" x 20" dish, you must live in the continental US (lower 48 states). If you're in Hawaii or Alaska, you'll need a larger dish to receive all channels. To receive the satellite signal, your site must have a clear view of the southern sky, free of signal-blocking trees, buildings, hillsides, etc. Most people prefer to have trained professionals perform their installation to ensure that the dish is properly mounted and aimed directly at the satellite. However, if you are interested in finding out more about what the installation involves before you decide, see either DIRECTV's or DISH Network's installation page.

TV signals

Q.4 : Can I use my existing wiring to carry signals from the dish to the satellite receiver? (Aftab Iqbal, Islamabad)

Ans: If the cable in your house is RG-6 coax cable, it's fine to use with a satellite system. If your cable is not RG-6 coax (RG-59 is more typical), you will need to run new cable. It is important that you use RG-6 cable due to the high frequency of the digital satellite signals. If you need to run wire underground — for example, from a satellite dish in your yard to your home — you'll need to make sure that the wire is protected from moisture and temperature extremes. There are two ways to do this: (1) Use normal wire enclosed in PVC conduit; or (2) Use cable rated for direct burial. Using conduit has the advantage that the wire is protected from damage by gardening tools. However, it is certainly more work to install. Direct-burial cable is rated to survive moisture and temperature extremes found outdoors, underground. However, it's not armored to withstand a shovel. Either way, you have to bury the wire in a trench that's a minimum of 24 inches deep.

Satellite reception

Q.5 : Can weather affect my satellite reception? (Tahir Jamali, Hyderabad)

Ans: On rare occasions in some parts of the country, severe rainstorms may interrupt your reception for brief periods of time. If that should ever happen, your picture will return automatically.

TV channels

Q.6 : I like the idea of having so many channels, but how will I know what's playing when, and how will I find it? (Jamal Nasir, Peshawar)

Ans: All satellite systems feature an intuitive on-screen program guide that can display two or three days' worth of programming. Some DVRs provide two weeks of listings, as well as keyword searching to help you find what you want to watch and record.

Parental control

Q.7 : I have young children. Can I control what they watch? (Javed Akhtar, Karachi)

Ans: Absolutely. These systems have built-in lockout features that allow you to prevent pay-per-view program viewing, or restrict it by cost or rating (based on the motion picture rating system — PG, R, etc.). You can also lock out other entire channels if you choose. Your own personal identification number protects lockout settings.

TV problems

Q.8 : Are there any functional problems with satellite TV, as opposed to regular cable? (Waqas Tanveer, via e-mail)

Ans: Satellite television is most susceptible to interruptions caused by severe weather. We had satellite service installed about 20 months ago and have experienced a handful of short-term interruptions during this period. With one exception, where the outage lasted about 10 minutes, all of the service interruptions were only a couple of minutes in length. Although one would expect these to be more frequent and more severe in the winter, when snow and ice can accumulate on the dish. All of the interruptions occurred during severe summer weather: short-duration, intense squalls and thunderstorms. Satellite service is also susceptible to cable failure, between the dish and the house, and receiver failures.

Satellite TV advantages

Q.9 : What are the advantages of satellite TV? (Asad Kamran, Dubai)

Ans: Satellite TV offers a very wide variety of programming to the avid viewer. If you have one of the large satellite dishes, the ones that are mounted in the ground in your yard, then you have access to pretty well anything you want to watch. You can see a lot of programming without commercials. You can see foreign programs. You can watch all the sports you’ll ever want. You can see raw news footage, without the reporters. You can listen to all the music you want, in top quality, no matter what your preference. And the quality in the picture and sound is second-to-none.


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