You Can’t Stop The Dish

When I visited Ukraine a few years ago, I was amazed at how the satellite reception infrastructure operated.

I knew it was different in Europe than in the U.S., where you could walk in to an electronics shop, buy a box and antenna, then install it yourself. You’d have 70+ advertising-supported channels to choose from with no monthly fee. In the U.S., the satellite TV market is based on the cable TV model: you pay a monthly fee regardless. If you try unscrambling the signal, your cable box may get a “silver bullet” sent to it and fry it. Better encryption technology (e.g. NDS) helps keep content secure.

So how is that people in Eastern Europe can buy a “special box” for $200-$300 and be able to receive everything — standard, pay-tv, premium, porn, sports, etc. — without paying a montly fee? It’s not system-specific, so with a motorized antenna mount you can go from Eutelsat to Astra birds and watch whatever you want. And the “special box” could also record movies, sportsinmodica. That’s a pretty good deal.

One of the world’s most beneficial technological marvels, satellite TV signals get upload only once — using a specific amount of RF bandwidth — and downloaded an infinite number of times within the satellite’s coverage footprint. Infinite.

With this technology, how can oppressive governments pretend to ban or limit satellite TV reception? Iran’s learning this now, as reported by the National Council of Resistance of Iran:

The Iranian regime has failed in its bid to ban people from watching satellite TV channels, a regime official has admitted.

Despite a 1994 law making satellite dishes illegal, up to 70 per cent of families have them and their use is increasing, state-run TV network official Fardin Ali-Khah said.

He told the state-run Rasanews on July 4: “At first only upper-class people used satellite dishes. However this has now become common across all sectors of society.

With 120 or so channels of Persian/Farsi TV coming in from the diaspora, they don’t stand a chance.

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