How Does Satellite TV Work?

Dish was one of the pioneers in satellite television, so we know all about it. We collect feeds from the programmers at our centers, which we then beam up to our satellites in space. Those satellites collect the feeds and send them directly to your homes.

Satellite television is just like broadcast TV, but instead of sending signals from towers to antennas attached to your television set, signals are sent through space using satellites. The signals originate with the programmers — TV channels — who send their feeds to DISH. DISH collects all of these feeds at a center, called an uplink center, and uses satellites on the ground at the center to beam a single stream of data at 270 Mbps to our satellites in space.

The data sent from our centers is picked up by our satellites that orbit the Earth 23,000 miles above the ground. Those satellites take that single feed of data and use a different band to send the signal to the satellite dishes on your house. A separate band is used for the signal to your home to prevent interference. The dish on your house collects the signal and sends it to a receiver in your house where it is decrypted and converted to audio and video. This all happens at the speed of light.

Is satellite TV as good as cable?

Yes! Satellite TV uses the same signals from the programmers as cable, it just uses a different way of getting the signal into your house. In fact, most cable companies use satellites to get feeds from programmers or to send feeds to centers that broadcast the signals using cable, so all TV is satellite TV to some extent. Satellite TV has the advantage of being available across the entire country and often offers more channels for the money ‐ making satellite TV a better value. Plus, with DISH, you’re able to use the world’s most powerful DVR and other cutting-edge TV technology.

And I can watch satellite TV online?

Absolutely! With DISH Anywhere, you can enjoy our great programming from anywhere – even if you don’t have a portable satellite dish with you. All you need is an internet connection to watch live TV on your mobile device or computer. Or, download your favorite recordings to a HopperGO and watch them wherever you want even if you don’t have an internet connection.

Claims based on Hopper 3 hardware compared to national cable and satellite competitors. Visit dish.com/compare