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Have Satellite Dish, Will Watch TV
July 23, 2009 5:57 PM   Subscribe

The house I'm renting has a satellite dish up on the roof, and I'm pretty sure I know where the wall-plug for it is indoors. What kind of equipment and cables would I need to do/buy to easily (and importantly, cheaply) access satellite TV and watch it on my television set? I'm in Australia, if that matters.
posted by Effigy2000 to Technology (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I'm in the US, but I assume the system is similar..

In order to receive satellite tv, you'll need a receiver... the receiver will have a card tied to an account that you pay for.

Having the dish is not of any real value to you... I could have a dish installed and get the receiver for free for signing up for a service account...
posted by HuronBob at 6:29 PM on July 23, 2009


Seconding not worth much as is. Even if you did decide to spring for the receiver and service account (can't be hacked, that's soooo 1990's), it's likely that the old antenna isn't compatible with the new receiver you'd get. In particular, a lot of the providers now have more than one satellite up in the sky, requiring a funny-looking oblong dish with a wide feed.

http://www.google.com/search?q=satellite+tv+australia

You might also go to a forum that specializes in Australian satellite TV, like this one. Poke around and read before posting there ... You might find there's a way to get some free/cheap use out of it after all.
posted by intermod at 7:41 PM on July 23, 2009


If the dish is pointing in the same direction as all the other dishes nearby, it's probably pointing at Optus C-1, and there are some free-to-air services on it. Maybe borrow someone's receiver and find out before splashing out on one of your own?
posted by genghis at 7:43 PM on July 23, 2009


Are you sure it's a satellite reciever? The digital TV antenna they put on the roof of our townhouses looks exactly like that.

Not in Sydney's inner west by any chance are you?
posted by trialex at 8:04 PM on July 23, 2009


If the dish is pointing in the same direction as all the other dishes nearby, it's probably pointing at Optus C-1, and there are some free-to-air services on it. Maybe borrow someone's receiver and find out before splashing out on one of your own?

Seconding. That antenna looks large enough to be C-band, and my understanding is that Australia does have some free programming on C-band satellites. Intermod's suggestion of looking at Australia-specific forums is a good one.
posted by musicinmybrain at 8:42 PM on July 23, 2009


(can't be hacked, that's soooo 1990's)

I'm pretty sure that satellite TV can still be hacked quite easily. I don't know the field at all, but.. Well, for example, some random googling leads to this company. When they say "Internet ready satellite receivers which automatically update their firmware via the Internet. So you're always up to date." that must be referring to hacks. Just to ram the point home, the next two lines say "Now With Support For Anonymous Proxy Server! Run your nFusion Anonymously!"
posted by Chuckles at 8:50 PM on July 23, 2009


I had a friend who used to date a guy who sold these fantastic Linux-based Satellite STBs that accepted Foxtel/Aurora access cards, and could stream TV over a wired or wireless network, but I can't find his website any more. Will continue to look.

In the mean time, there are bunch of Aussie on-line stores that sell basic satellite receivers which can get the free-to-air signals, and if you have a Foxtel access card, are meant to be able to get Foxtel too (but I've never tried one).

Quick Googling turned up these:
http://www.satcom.com.au/product_info.php?products_id=183
http://www.sciteq.com.au/store/index.php?cPath=26_24

Oh, wait, what's this? Whilst I couldn't find the friend's boyfriend's site, I did remember the name! It's the Dreambox - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dreambox
posted by threeze at 9:39 PM on July 23, 2009


Looks like a dish for Austar to me. I haven't looked into it for a while, but I seem to remember they were a bit small to use for the free stuff on the Optus Sat.
I think to make use of it you would need an Austar or SelectTV subscription, plus the receiver hardware.
My suggestion is to ask some questions of the SelectTV folks, as their business model includes reusing hardware left over from Foxtel and Austar installations.
I have vague intentions of one day setting up a dish to get BBC world and CNN from the free transmission on the Optus sat, but I think it requires a 1m+ sized dish, that looks like a smaller 60cm size one.
posted by bystander at 4:54 AM on July 24, 2009


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