big ugly dishSome readers will remember the days when you needed a large big ugly dish, 8 foot wide satellite dish placed in your backyard or in some cases even in your front yard so that you could receive TV programs via Satellite.  Thank goodness that the days of the big ugly dish are long gone and now we only need to deal with the smaller dishes that are approximately 2 feet across.

The picture on the left shows the kind of satellite dish many early adopters were willing to put up with in their back yards or even in their front lawns to enable them to receive a strong signal. Many municipalities even passed bylaws preventing these dishes from being erected in what we’re considered public spaces even thought they were on private land.

Although some people might see the new dishes as still falling in the category of the big ugly dish they are much smaller and compact than anything we had before and they deliver many more channels compared to even the large dishes.

New Style vs. Big Ugly Dish

The new style of satellite dishes are much smaller and can be mounted on top of a pole, on the side of your home or even on the roof. As long as the installer does a good job of installing these small dishes, you will not need to worry about water damage or wind damage. The key really is to make sure that all penetrations of the wall or roof are properly sealed to ensure that there is no chance of water penetrating through these holes and getting inside the walls. We will discuss this a little bit more later in this post.

From the picture you will note that there are multiple set top boxes which enable satellite TV viewing to be shown on multiple TVs with different channels at the same time. Basically when you are using satellite TV reception you must have one set top box for each TV otherwise you cannot use your TV without a set top box.

Small Dish Installation

This is an example of a small dish mounted on the peak of a roof of a home. When you are installing these dishes, the main issue is to be able to have an unobstructed view of the satellite or line of sight . If there are buildings or trees with lots of leaves in the way you are going to be unsuccessful in receiving a strong signal from the satellite.  Many people make the mistake of installing a new dish with line of sight in the fall or winter when there are no leaves on trees and receive an excellent signal.

When the spring rolls around and the leaves come out on the trees, the leaves block the signal and their satellite TV reception fails. Now they have to move their dish to another location.  You may be able to get a good line of sight from the side of your home, however some people will need to mount them on the roof of their home to avoid conflict with other homes impeding the line of sight view with the location of the satellite.

Installation on the Side of a Home

This is an example of a small dish being installed on the side of a wall of a home with no siding or wall covering. The cable from the dish runs down the wall and enters the home through the basement  somewhere and then is distributed to the right location within the home.  The installer was able to find sufficient height this way to gain line of sight with the satellite for this home owner. Once the home owner decides to cover the walls of his home with brick or siding he will need to remove the dish and reinstall it on top of the siding, which will cause holes to penetrate his new siding. As long as they are sealed properly he will have no problems with leakage.

The picture on the left shows what the installation would look like with the siding installed and the dish installed on top of the siding. In this case the wire goes inside the home at the dish location and they do not have an unsightly wire running down the side of the home. If you plan to get a satellite service as an experiment to compare to standard cable , remember you can return the dish and set top boxes, however the holes in your roof or wall are permanent and must be sealed properly to prevent moisture and insects from entering your walls and causing further damage.

Apartment Buildings

Many people in apartment buildings will install satellite dishes to improve their reception. Note that you usually must get permission from the building owner or condominium board prior to installation to ensure that they are allowed in your building. Many building owners refuse to approve them due to the damage they cause and the unsightly look of so many dishes.

I have seen apartment buildings with almost every apartment having a dish hanging off the balcony. It does not look very attractive to any one considering living in the building. Also you can only install these dishes on the side of the building that faces the satellite you are trying to receive a signal from. S o before you buy check to make sure you actually face the direction you need to get a strong signal.

The big ugly dish has shrunk in size , however when you add them together at an apartment building, they truly are the big ugly dishes!

Feel free to add your comments and thoughts about these satellite dishes appearing everywhere and ruining your view! For more satellite dish info, click here.

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