Dumb question about dish antennas

I’ve always just had rabbit ears on my TV (I seldom watch TV, and would never pay for cable or anything like that).

A renter moved out and left his dish antenna on my roof, which is OK. He said the next tenant might use it.

So, my question is, are those things usable without a converter box?
I know you need that for the pay channels, but do you also need it to get the local broadcast channels? Or if I got a cable wire and connected it to my TV would that be enough to get something out of it?

Nope, you gotta have a box. In my house we have 4 boxes, 3 of them are hooked to TVs and one on my wifes computer. Kinda funny when you look at her monitor and see ebay on her browser, BB5 on Realplayer and “What not to wear” in the tuner window. :eek:

If the dish is the small one used now it will not be of any use for ordinary broadcast TV as it is much too small for those frequencies.

The dish merely collects electromagnetic energy and focuses it at on place, just like an optical mirror. At that focal point you must have a receiving device which is followed by electronic equipment to process the signal into an image on the TV screen.

As others have pointed out, a dish is useless for local broadcast stations. It’s only good for picking up signals from geostationary satellites.

A little-known fact is that a small dish (the sort used for DirecTV and Dish Network, like what you’re describing) can actually be used to get some free TV. A receiver box is still necessary, but no subscription. There’s some weird and interesting stuff out there. Much of it is stuff like PBS and home shopping channels but it’s not all so mundane. If you’re curious, do a Google search for “free to air satellite.”

Dishnetwork installs a new dish for someone who moves, hoping the new resident will subscribe to their services.

The free to air stuff is interesting. Many foreign channels. www.lyngstat.com lists what is on which satellite. DVB is the free to air stuff.

DirectTV sends my local TV stations over the satellite. It’s an extra 2-3 bucks a month or so.