The Setup Page 2

All of the satellites used for today's small-dish TV systems are located above the equator in a geostationary orbit - which means they orbit at the same speed as the Earth's rotation and thus remain fixed at the same position in the sky. This enables a dish to be permanently pointed at the satellite. The primary satellites for both Dish Network and DirecTV are located south of the middle of the country, so you'll need to aim your dish southwest if you live on the East Coast, southeast on the West Coast, and due south in the Midwest.

Allow about 20° to 60° of leeway for point ing the dish up and down. Since the satellites are located over the equator, you'll be using a shallow angle (about 30° above the horizon) if you live in the north and a steeper angle the farther south you go. If you've examined the possible locations and still aren't sure you have a suitable spot, consult a professional installer or dealer.

Connect the receiver to the TV so you can see the antenna coordinates on the onscreen menu.

Get Coordinated Once you've purchased a system, you'll need to access the satellite receiver's onscreen menus to get the coordinates for aim ing the dish. Connect the receiver - properly known as an integrated receiver/ decoder, or IRD - to your TV using standard A/V cables or by running an RF co axial cable from the receiver's "out to TV" jack to the TV's "antenna in" jack. The receiver's menu will ask for your Zip code or other information to determine your location and give coordinates, in degrees, for:

  • elevation - the up/down angle at which the dish is pointed to the sky;
  • azimuth - the side-to-side angle of the the dish relative to due north ("0" on a compass);
  • tilt - the angle at which the dish is skewed from its upright position along its vertical axis (necessary when it needs to be aimed at more than one satellite).