TV Satellite Dishes
In a country as vast as Australia, it's no surprise that satellite TV has become very popular. Distance often makes cable uneconomical, especially in rural areas. Satellite is easy enough to use anywhere you have a good view of the sky, and while Australia is a very large country it's not so large that it's difficult to provide satellite coverage all over. Add in the natural Australian sense of self-reliance and it's no surprise that satellite dishes dot the landscape. Many people even buy portable units for their caravans.
Satellite Dishes vs. TV Antennas
In principle TV antennas and satellite dishes are essentially the same basic kind of device. They both receive television signals broadcast over the air and direct them to your TV. Satellite signals may be encrypted or just differently encoded but the principle is the same. The difference is that a dish is a much more sensitive directional antenna.
How TV Satellite Dishes Work
Your TV satellite dish is a natural amplifier. The dish reflects the signal onto the LNB, or Low Noise Block, mounted on the arm in front of the dish. The LNB then takes that signal and sends it along to the decoder and from there to your TV. As long as your dish points at the right satellite it works perfectly. The real trick is in the decoder. Home satellite TV receivers have to do a fair bit to turn that signal into one your TV can recognise.
One disadvantage of a country the size of Australia is that there are regions where neither cable nor broadcast TV are really practical. Viewer Access Satellite Television, or VAST, allows people all over the country to reap the benefits of free over the air TV through a satellite program. You do need a decoder card, but for many Australians VAST is an entertainment life-saver.
For many Australians, the easiest way to get a TV fix is by connecting to paid satellite services such as Foxtel. You do need to pay for the service, but the decoder box often offers a wide range of additional features including DVR.