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DISH Installation: So What Is Involved?

Once upon a time it was possible to order DISH Network and install the system yourself. I know this is true because I did it myself back in 1998 when I first signed up. At that time it was a lot easier to set up your own system because the dish was smaller, less complicated and only had to receive signals from one satellite. I actually found it pretty easy to set it up and get it all working and I used the system for about eight years with no real problems. In 2007 I upgraded to an HDTV system and had to have a technician come out to install a new dish antenna and receivers. Since the newer systems are capable of receiving signals from more than one satellite at a time, it is more difficult to install a system and DISH no longer allows customers to install it themselves, at least not that I am aware of.

So what’s involved in getting a DISH Network satellite television system installed? The very first thing that has to be determined is if there is a location to mount the satellite dish where it will have a clear, unobstructed view of the sky where the satellites are located. Since systems today are capable of receiving signals from three or four satellites at the same time, DISH has managed to launch satellites that are in close proximity to one another in the sky. A technician sent to install a new system at your house is most likely going to use special equipment to “look” up into the sky and see if a good signal can be received from the satellites. If there are no trees, buildings, hills, mountains or other objects blocking the satellites, the next step will probably be installing the dish antenna installed

In many cases, the dish can be installed on a pole which the technician can place in the ground near your home. Usually a bit of cement or concrete will be poured into the bottom of the hole that the pole is placed in to ensure maximum stability. The satellite dish antenna will then be mounted on the pole and aligned using special equipment that is connected to the dish and tells the technician when it is aligned perfectly and able to receive a good signal from the satellites. In many instances the satellite dish can be mounted on the side of a building but a lot of installers shy away from performing installations that involve going on the roof these days due to safety concerns.

After the dish antenna is installed the technician must use coaxial cable (usually type RG-6) to connect the dish antenna to the receiver or DVR in the home or business. Coaxial cable can be safely buried in the ground so you normally do not have to worry about unsightly cables being draped across your property. It is also common for the technician to have to drill a hole in the side of your home or business so that the coaxial cable can be routed in from outside and attached to the receiver or DVR.

Once the cable has been routed into the building the receiver or DVR is usually unpacked, attached to the coaxial cable and television and then powered on. If everything has been set up correctly, it should be possible to start receiving television broadcasts right away. The technician may have to make a few adjustments to get things working properly and may also have to program remote controls and connect the receiver or DVR to the internet, a telephone line or both. Attaching it to the internet is required for many on-demand programs which must be downloaded before they can be viewed.

It’s important to understand that installations have limitations so even though you may believe you live in a location where you can receive satellite TV, you really won’t know for sure until the technician comes out to check things out. The location of the dish antenna is somewhat limited due to the strength of the signals that get passed along via the coaxial cable, so the dish really has to be mounted fairly close to the structure where the receiver or DVR is installed. For example, if you have a home that is surrounded by trees and the only clearing where the dish antenna can receive a signal is 500 feet away from the house, it may not be possible to install a properly-working system.

Systems vary quite a bit in complexity so how long it takes and how much work the technician has to do will differ quite a bit from once case to another. For example, a simple installation with one receiver might take an hour or less while another installation with a “Hopper” DVR and three “Joey” remote units in different areas of the house could take a couple of hours or more depending on how smoothly it all goes. No two installations are exactly alike and technicians must adapt to a wide variety of environments and determine the best way to complete an installation and get everything working just the way it is supposed to.

In most cases the technician will not require much help from the homeowner and will probably be content to go about their business and complete their installation as quickly as possible. They may ask questions about where you would prefer to have the dish antenna mounted or whether you want a small hole drilled in a particular area of your house or another. It’s always best to make the area around your TV or entertainment center as accessible as possible by removing as many things as you can. Wires will likely have to be routed around the rear of the television and a receiver and DVR will need to find a permanent home somewhere. The last thing a technician wants to do is break one of your knickknacks or tip over a drink, so please declutter the area they will be working in as completely as you can before they arrive to do the installation.

If all goes well, you should be watching DISH Network programming before the technician leaves your home. It is likely that your system will function fine for a number of years with little or no attention from you or anyone else. Any problems you might encounter with the system can be addressed by contacting DISH customer service and if it is necessary, a technician can be dispatched to diagnose and correct the problem.