Is a Satellite Dish an Antenna?

Is a satellite dish an antenna? Yes. And you need both if you want the ultimate in home viewing entertainment.

A satellite dish is a type of antenna. The idea to use these communications devices to watch TV came about in 1976. At the time, the dish was used to receive signal broadcast from local TV station transmitters. Shortly thereafter, satellite dishes were used to receive TV signal beamed down from satellites that orbit the earth. Since TV antennas receive local TV stations and satellite TV delivers national programming and sports, it’s best to have both when you decided to cut the cord on cable TV.

A “Parabolic” Antenna
A satellite dish is a parabolic antenna. But what exactly does that mean? Well, a parabola is a fancy term used to describe another fancy term: a two-dimensional, mirror-symmetrical curve. To put it simply, a parabola is a curved surface. In the case of a parabolic antenna, this curved surface enables it to receive and direct radio waves. Those who own a satellite dish know that these parabolas do a great job of receiving TV signal transmissions sent from satellites high about the earth.

The Evolution of Satellite TV
What we know today as satellite TV has a long and interesting evolution. First came the parabolic antenna, which was invented by scientist Heinrich Hertz in 1888. Seventy-five years later, the first TV communications satellite was created by AT&T and launched by NASA on July 10, 1962. About 14 years later, someone had the idea to use an old military satellite dish to receive broadcast TV signal in a home. That person was scientist and radio engineer Taylor Howard, whose actions, along with Hertz and the others, aided in the development of what would become the satellite TV industry.

Satellite dishes, or parabolic antennas, have evolved into three types currently in use:

  • Motor-Driven Dish: This is a dish that’s mounted upon a pole and driver by a motor that’s controlled and rotated to face satellite positions in the sky.
  • Multi-Satellite: These allow users to get simultaneous reception for multiple satellite positions without having to re-position the dish.
  • Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT): This type of dish provides two-way satellite internet communications for consumers and private networks.

Satellite Dish and TV Antenna
A satellite dish is an antenna, but the programming it delivers is different than a TV antenna. Your TV antenna is great for receiving all the free HDTV that’s broadcast by your local TV stations. Satellite TV brings you national stations and a variety of professional sports viewing packages. It’s the perfect combination for anyone’s home entertainment system. Solid Signal is your TV antenna expert and we’re also a DIRECTV Authorized Dealer. Call us at 877.312.4547 when you’re ready to cut the cord.

About the Author

Jake Buckler
Jake Buckler is a cord-cutter, consumer electronics geek, and Celtic folk music fan. Those qualities, and his writing experience, helped him land a copywriting gig at Signal Group, LLC. He also contributes to The Solid Signal Blog.