Satellite dish not Working

Digital TV Pixelation Example

I’m having problems with my satellite TV reception – HELP!

If your picture is breaking up, you’re getting pixelation, or some channels can’t be received, it means that your box isn’t getting a decent quality signal. Possible causes:

  • Dish out of alignment: Could the dish have been knocked or blown out of alignment? A satellite installer can help check and fix alignment problems
  • Something blocking the signal: The dish needs a clear line-of-sight to the satellite – trees, scaffolding, buildings, walls blocking the path to the satellite cause interference
  • Weather: Heavy rain is no friend to satellite TV reception. If high winds cause problems, that could indicate that the dish is not securely fixed.
  • Cabling: Check that the cable from the dish to the back of your satellite receiver is undamaged, and the feed is securely connected
  • Problem with the LNB – See below

Examples of digital TV pixelation

Things to check

Signal quality: Most satellite receivers have an on-screen signal strength meter, to allow you to check how much signal your box is getting. Take a look at this, and see what’s being shown. Pay close attention to “Signal Quality” – Below 50%, and you’ll have problems, which points to one of the problems we list above. (On a Sky box, press ‘Services’ > ‘System Setup’ > ‘Signal Test’. On a Sky+HD box, it’s ‘ Services’ > ‘Settings’ > ‘Signal’)

Digital TV Pixelation ExampleCheck connectors: Are the F-Plug connectors at the back of your satellite TV box secure and tight?

Reboot the box: Sometimes restarting a satellite TV box is worth a go. Switch the box off, unplug from the mains, leave for 1 minute, then try again.

Check external cabling: Take a look at the cabling from the dish – Undamaged? Secured at the dish end correctly? No chance that water can leak into the connection at the dish end?

TIP: Take your set-top box to a friend or neighbour’s house. If the problem goes away on a different dish, then you’ve confirmed it’s a problem with your dish, LNB or cabling, and not with your box

Problem with the LNB

The LNB is the part of a satellite TV dish that does the hard work. The LNB typically sits on a short pole pointing in at the centre of the dish – the one pictured to the right.

Sometimes these can develop a fault. Typical symptoms:

  • Unable to get any channels
  • Problems with polarisation. Satellite channels are either transmitted on ‘vertical polarisation’ or ‘horizontal polarisation’, and the LNB switches between the two polarisations as requested. If you lose all of the channels from one polarisation, but not the other, this could point to a problem with the LNB. See Lyngsat for a list of channels with their polarisation.

If you have a problem with your LNB, then it may need to be replaced. If you’re with Sky, call them for advice, and to get someone out to fix it, otherwise you could do it yourself with a replacement LNB available from Maplin.co.uk.


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