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FAQs – Can I Use Satellite Dish Equipment as an OTA Antenna?

SATELLITE DISH EQUIPMENT AS OTA ANTENNA

While most articles related to finding cable alternatives focus on how can users get rid of cable, there are just as many people anxious to ditch their satellite dishes. Folks new to the concept of Over-the-Air TV may wonder if they can reuse their dish for something other than creating a birdbath. This article answers the question on whether you can reuse all or part of your satellite dish equipment as an OTA Antenna.

The Question

Can I reuse all or part of my satellite dish equipment to receive Over-the-Air (OTA) TV signals?

The Answer

Not really. Dishes are designed to capture encrypted digital signals from satellites orbiting the earth, not to receive unencrypted OTA television signals from local broadcast towers. The Tablo DVR’s tuners are also designed for ATSC OTA signals, not cable or satelite signals.

That being said, there are portions of your satellite installation that you may be able to salvage and repurpose as you make the transition away from cable.

Cabling and Masts

Satellite dish mast

When you first subscribed to satellite TV services, the installer likely ran a coaxial cable from the dish location and in to the house. They may have even split that initial coax run into multiple rooms in your house. This wiring can be reused simply by disconnecting the coax connecting to the rear of your satellite dish and connecting it to an Over-the-Air antenna.

Depending on its position, you may also be able to reuse the outdoor mast or mount to attach your new outdoor OTA antenna to your house. Keep in mind that OTA antennas must point in the direction of your local broadcast antennas so the mast may not be in the ideal location. If that’s the case, you may be able to DIY a mast extension like this crafty person.

We’ve got more antenna positioning tips here.

Other Considerations:

If you live in a rural area, you may have chosen to receive TV signals via satellite dish because cable TV wasn’t available in your area. Before making the call to disconnect your satellite service, it’s always best to use a signal locator tool to ensure you can receive Over-the-Air signals. Most broadcast towers are located in or near metro areas so very rural residents may have more trouble obtaining an OTA signal.

Long story short, it’s easy to ditch your satellite dish equipment as OTA antenna and still watch free live Over-the-Air TV. While you may not be able to reuse a lot of your existing infrastructure, after a few easy steps you can start to enjoy the freedom and savings from cable TV.

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How to restart your phone/tablet

Sometimes, just restarting your smartphone or tablet can clear up issues with apps. The links below will provide detailed instructions on how to force close your Tablo app. 

Apple iPhone

Android smartphones 

Most Android smartphones and tablets can be restarted by holding the POWER button and then selecting RESTART or POWER OFF and RESTART from the POWER OPTIONS menu.

NOTE: Newer Samsung devices require you to hold the POWER/SIDE button and VOLUME DOWN to make the POWER OPTIONS menu appear. On the Google Pixel 6, hold the POWER and VOLUME UP buttons.

How to force close your Tablo app?

Sometimes, just restarting the app can fix things. The links below will provide detailed instructions on how to force close your Tablo app. 

Apple iPhone/iPad

Android smartphones/tablets 

Need help with the final steps?

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.  Follow the steps in the video below for a full walkthrough of the remaining parts of the Tablo setup process.

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