C Band Frequently Asked Questions

What is C-Band ?

C-Band is a range of satellite transmission frequencies (3700-4200 MHz) that TV and radio channels use to transmit to larger satellite dishes.

How many channels can be received with a C-Band satellite system ?

C-Band satellite systems provide more viewing choices than any other TV delivery system, including cable TV and the smaller dishes. More than 750 channels transmit on a regular basis and another 250 transmit on an occasional basis. The "1000 channel universe" is a reality with a full-size dish.

How big does the dish have to be to receive C-Band signals ?

The size of the satellite dish you should buy depends on where you live in the United States or Canada. In the Central United States, you can use a dish that has a minimum diameter of between six and eight feet for analog C-Band reception. On either coast, an eight to ten-foot dish is recommended for analog C-Band. For digital C-Band reception a ten-foot dish is recommended.

How much do C-Band satellite systems cost, and where can I buy one ?

C-Band satellite systems range in price, depending on if you purchase a new or used system. The average cost is $1,000 for a new system.

What brands of used C-Band satellite receivers should I look for ?

Used satellite receiver brands to look for are Uniden, Chaparral, Toshiba, General Instrument and Motorola.

What is a transponder ?

Satellite TV and radio channels are transmitted back to earth via a transponder on a satellite. C-Band satellites have 24 transponders.

Do all satellite TV channels require a subscription fee ?

No. More than 100 channels broadcast programming on a regular basis, and another 150 or more channels transmit wild feeds. Only C-Band satellite TV provides hundreds of free channels and wild feeds.

What are wild feeds ?

Wild feeds are unannounced, free (not scrambled, no subscription required) satellite transmissions of sporting events, news and hundreds of syndicated shows such as Seinfeld. Satellite ORBIT magazine "tracks" wild feeds and provides an extensive listing of them every month. See the "Wild Feeds" section of this magazine for an abbreviated listing of the most recent wild feeds. Satellite ORBIT publishes a complete listing each month.

What is VideoCipher II RS and DigiCipher II ?

VideoCipher II RS (or VCRS) is the scrambling system that nearly all subscription analog C-Band satellite TV channels use, while DigiCipher II is the scrambling system that most subscription digital C-Band satellite channels use. To receive VCII RS pay channels, a VCII RS descrambler module is needed inside of your analog satellite receiver. In order to receive digital C-Band programming, either a 4DTV satellite receiver or a Sidecar satellite receiver is needed.

How much do pay channels cost ?

Pay channels range in price. Multi-channel premium movie channels like HBO, Showtime, and Starz range from $10 to $17 a month, and basic channels like ESPN and CNN can be purchased for $1 to $4 each per month. One of the greatest things about C-Band is that you can select just the channels that you are interested in subscribing to and only pay for those channels. This can save you a lot of money.

How do I order pay channels ?

Local satellite dealers can order programming for you, or you can call the programming companies directly.

What is the future of C-band ?

The future of C-Band is digital. 4DTV is a new type of receiver which can tune in four types of satellite transmissions:

1) Free, unscrambled analog channels and wild feeds
2) VideoCipher II RS subscription services
3) Free DigiCipher II services
4) Subscription DigiCipher II channels. DigiCipher transmissions are digital (not analog) and take up less transponder space, allowing for much more programming to be transmitted on each satellite.

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