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June 2000

Q.1 : What is the essential difference between ordinary receivers, digital receivers, and decoders?

Ans: I will try to be as simple as possible and avoid technical terms. Ordinary or analogue receivers are used for receiving the good old fashioned analogue broadcasts like the ones we are used to from Panamsat. Insat or Arabat, or any other satellite you care to mention. These transmissions are very much like the normal domestic TV transmissions. They are just bounced off the great reflector in the sky called a satellite after converting them from one frequency to another. These receivers can receive perfect, good, or lousy pictures as long as they are above a certain noise level. Analogue receivers cannot receive digital channels. Digital receivers can only receive digital signals. Digital transmission, as the term implies, is in digital format. That is, zeros and ones. The picture and sound information is converted to digital format and is encapsulated in start and end information. It comes in layers and the digital receiver memorizes a reference frame on which it builds subsequent frames. That is why you can still have a frozen picture (stored in the receiver memory) displayed on your television even when you are not pointing at the satellite. With digital receivers you can receive superb CD quality pictures or segments of pictures (if you are not pointing exactly at the satellite or you are using a smaller dish than necessary) along with very high pitch disturbing noise or no picture at all if the signal level reaching your digital receiver falls below a certain level. Digital receivers cannot (so far) receive analogue transmissions. New ones capable of receiving both are becoming available now, but wait for a while as some teething problems will definitely crop up. So, to receive both analogue and digital signals you need both types of receivers. Decoders are ‘black boxes’ that are designed to protect the transmission from being received by unauthorized users. You have to pay first or have the correct access code or card before being able to receive certain transmissions. These are in various formats and are used either externally (as a separate box connected to your receiver) or internally (built into the satellite receiver). The most widely used in Europe are Videocryp (for Astral) and Eurocrypt (for MAC formats). If they are integrated into the satellite receiver, they are called integrated receiver decoders (IRDs). Other forms are used by various users. An equivalent to the decoder in digital transmissions is the conditional access module (CAM). You don’t need this if you only want digital free-to-air transmissions.

Q.2 : I want watch Apstar 2-R on 6ft. mesh dish with my winersat receiver 912. Is it possible or impossible?

Ans: You can receive Apstar 2-R on a good solid 6ft. dish.

Q.3 : I have a 6ft. dish with 17K LNB and 912 receiver. Can I receive 21 Plus or not?

Ans: No, you cannot because it requires digital receiver.

Q.4 : Can I receive some channels from Eutelsat Hot Bird 2 such as Dubai, Jam-e-Jum (from Iran) on my 6ft. dish.

Ans: You require a minimum of 10ft. dish to receive the above mentioned channels.


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