Hi Lifehacker, We recently purchased a house that came with a dish antenna on the roof. What are my options with this antenna? If I buy a receiver, is it illegal to access a network without payment? My parents love watching some overseas shows, is it possible to somehow access those channels? Thanks, Satellite Star
There are three likely reasons for the satellite dish. It might have been used for receiving "conventional" pay TV services from Foxtel/Austar in an area where there was no cable available. It might have been installed to access an international pay TV service, though the two most visible providers of those in Australia (SelecTV and Ubi World TV) are no longer functioning. Or it might have been installed to try and access free channels available off global TV satellites.
The easiest way to check is to look at the model number on the satellite dish (grab that ladder!) and then Google it. If it's a Foxtel receiver, you'll need to pony up. If it's a general purpose satellite, you may be able to use it to grab overseas channels from satellite receivers, though availability varies widely. (It's hard to offer more specific advice without knowing exactly what's installed and where you live.)
Finally, it's illegal to access a pay satellite TV network (Foxtel or otherwise) without payment. I'm not saying it's impossible, but it's a clear and unequivocal case of breaking the law. You want those extra specific channels with a certain guarantee of quality, you have to pay for them. They're not being produced for nothing.
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