So you want to join the ever growing number of people watching free to air satellite TV, then this is exactly what you will need in terms of equipment. It is pretty obvious that you already own a TV right now; but if you own a HDTV, then its much better because you will get to enjoy quality pictures watching some HD channels already available. There are many channels you will watch on free to air satellite like Movies, International News, Documentaries and so on. I will also suggest that you read wrong assumptions about free to air satellite before you expect a mountain out of an ant hill.
First a Free to Air satellite decoder
You just do not need any satellite decoder but a decoder that is an MPEG4, HD receiver. There are quite a number of satellite decoder’s brands in the market like the Technosat, Eurostar, Astrovox, Wiztech, Strong and some others. I will advise you to get an MPEG 4 decoder because most satellite channels are popping up as MPEG 4 and not MPEG 2. An MPEG 4 decoder will receive all MPEG 4 channels as well as MPEG 2 channels but will not show any HD channels. So the best decoder to buy is a HD MPEG4 satellite receiver that will get everything. Examples of such decoders are Astrovox VSR-8900, Strong SRT 4922 and the more recent Strong SRT4950H. These decoders also come with other amazing features like PVR, IPTV and DiSEqC 1.2 (ability to connect multiple satellite dishes). The price range of these decoders is around Ksh7000.
Like I mentioned in my other article Satellite beams and dish sizes, the bigger the dish the better. Do you now know the difference between an offset and a prime focus dish? A typical 90cm offset dish costs Ksh2000 in Nairobi’s Luthuli Avenue. If you have a means to carry a bigger 120cm dish then buy it, it costs around Ksh5500 to Ksh6000. These satellite dishes are available in most shops that sell Dstv along Luthuli Avenue, Nairobi but I understand that they are cheaper in Mombasa.
LNB and F connectors
In lay mans words, the LNB is known as “Jicho”. It’s the thing placed in front of the dish where the cable comes from. You can read tips to buying a Good LNB here. F connectors are used to connect the coaxial cable to the decoder on one end and the LNB on the other rend. So you need two of them. F connectors usually cost Ksh5 but if you buy the complete kit, the vendor is supposed to offer them free of charge.
Some LNBs will wear out more than others like I found out recently.
A good length coaxial cable is also required. It is safer to buy a longer than required cable than a short one because joints in these cables usually cause signal quality problems. Buy a black cable that will withstand all the weather elements without deteriorating. Ask for the Astel or Jacobs brand of Coaxial cable commonly sold at Ksh20 per metre.
That’s all that you need if it will be installed by a professional installer but if you want to install it yourself then you need a satellite finder. Read more about the Stargold SG-20SF satellite finder.