How to Turn a Satellite Dish Into a TV Antenna

Many people are inquiring how to turn a satellite dish into a TV antenna. Generally, they want to know whether it is possible, the steps to take and whether it’s a viable option in the long run. 

Well, satellite dishes are costlier than TV antennas since they rely on signals from satellites orbiting the Earth. 

Moreover, their signal is better for areas with multiple obstacles blocking a direct line of sight to TV towers. 

But does it mean that TV antennas are weaker? Not really. TV antennas work best in areas with reliable TV towers. 

You are in the right place if you live in such an area and would like to turn your satellite dish into a TV antenna. 

Today’s article looks at all you need to do to ensure success. Read on.

Table of Contents

What Is the Difference Between a Satellite Dish and a TV Antenna?

A satellite dish beside a TV antenna

(A satellite dish beside a TV antenna)

Before understanding the difference between a satellite dish and a TV antenna, we should know what they are. 

To begin, a satellite dish is a parabolic-shaped dish that transmits and receives signals from satellites orbiting the Earth’s sky. 

Additionally, the disk collects video and data signals from other satellites before focusing them onto the horn (low-noise block downconverter) for processing. 

Afterward, the data and video go through amplification before transferring to a satellite receiver. 

On the other hand, a TV antenna is an accessory for your home television to receive over-the-air electromagnetic signals from transmitting broadcasting stations. 

Generally, the transmitting stations convert sound and video information into electromagnetic waves before conveying them over a given frequency. 

Afterward, the TV antennas intercept the signals before converting them to a form you can interpret, like sound or video.  

Can a Satellite Dish Be Used As a TV Antenna?

Coaxial cables to connect your satellite dish/ TV antenna and television

(Coaxial cables to connect your satellite dish/ TV antenna and television)

A question often in people’s minds is whether we can use a satellite dish as an antenna, and the answer is no. 

By design, a TV antenna operates at a lower frequency range than a satellite dish. 

As much as people often use satellite dishes as a part of their TV antennas, they don’t use the dish for signal reception. 

Rather, they repurpose it by removing the low-noise block downconverter (LNB) and replacing it with a clip-on aerial. 

Additionally, the coaxial cable from the TV will attach to the aerial, not the dish itself. 

Generally, TV antennas and satellite dishes work differently as antennas receive free analog and digital signals. 

On the other hand, satellite dishes receive digital signals, usually needing a subscription to a satellite television service. 

In other words, you can listen to most free over-the-air signals when using a TV antenna. 

Nevertheless, the downside is you won’t access some subscription channels you can receive using a satellite dish. 

However, you can try to convert your satellite dish into an aerial by purchasing a converter that, by design, converts satellite signals to TV signals. 

Moreover, you would need to realign the satellite dish to face the correct TV broadcast mast. 

On the downside, such a process is inappropriate as you won’t enjoy a high-quality TV experience. 

Even with good signal strength and proper alignment, a repurposed satellite dish will still be poorer than a TV antenna.

Simple Steps to Turn a Satellite Dish Into a TV Antenna

A technician installs a satellite dish on top of a roof

(A technician installs a satellite dish on top of a roof)

Generally, turning your satellite dish into a TV antenna isn’t appropriate as the dish’s shape isn’t optimal for capturing UHF and VHF broadcast signals.

 Regardless, you can repurpose it by introducing some antenna parts to replace the LNB and parts that work on satellite signals. 

Here are the simple steps to follow when turning a satellite dish into a TV antenna.

Locate Your Local TV Masts

Before dismantling your satellite dish, the first step is to check the location of all nearby TV towers. 

The reason is that you must access more TV towers to get more free channels on your TV. 

Generally, you must know the distance between your home and the farthest distance to guide you on the antenna to purchase.  

Moreover, if you can’t determine physically, you can use a TV station locator tool to identify UHF and VHF bands within your locality.

Buy Your Antenna

Once you know the location of all nearby towers, buy a TV antenna whose range exceeds the distance between your TV’s location and the farthest antenna. 

Moreover, know whether it’s omnidirectional, multidirectional, or unidirectional. 

Dismantle the Satellite Dish

A quick study of your satellite dish shows it comprises a dish assembly and a tower or mast.

Start by removing the LNB cap from the dish’s arm to expose the coax cable. 

Unscrew it from the dish’s arm. When disassembling the setup, leave the mast intact, as that’s where you will reinstall your repurposed satellite dish. 

Moreover, keep the coaxial cable connecting your TV and the satellite dish so you don’t have to run a new cable.  

Remove the Dish and Attach Clip-On Antenna

Afterward, use a wrench to remove the dish from its mounting footplate, as you no longer need it.

 Alternatively, you can retain the dish but add a clip-on antenna to the location that housed the LNB. 

Attach the Coaxial Cable and Test

Afterward, attach the coaxial cable from the TV to your new antenna set-up and enjoy the digital broadcast. Moreover, remember to point the antenna toward your local TV masts.   

Advantages of Using a Satellite Dish As an Aerial

A young family watching TV at home

(A young family watching TV at home)

You can repurpose a satellite dish as an aerial and reap the following two benefits:

Better Signal Reception Range

Satellite dishes are generally stronger than TV antennas, meaning you will enjoy a greater range if you repurpose one. 

Additionally, the bigger dish size enhances the chances of receiving weak signals you wouldn’t have with a traditional aerial.

Multidirectional Reception

Some satellite dishes have rotating mechanisms that direct them toward the location of satellites in multiple positions within their orbits.

 As such, if you live in an area with multiple TV broadcast towers, you can adjust your satellite dish antenna to face the tower with the best signal. 


Is a satellite dish better than a TV antenna?

The answer to this question is that satellite dishes generally have wider coverage than TV antennas. 

The reason is that satellite dishes receive signals from satellites orbiting the Earth rather than TV towers on the ground. 

Consequently, obstacles and geographic landscapes don’t affect their signal quality. 

Moreover, satellite dishes aren’t susceptible to poor weather conditions such as storms, snow, and heavy rain. 

On the other hand, TV antennas suit areas with good signal coverage. They are cheaper, don’t need subscription fees, and outperform satellite dishes under normal weather conditions.

How do I combine satellite and antenna signals?

An easy way to combine or separate terrestrial (antenna) and satellite signals would be to use a diplexer. 

You install a diplexer at the base of the two devices to combine the signals through a coaxial cable. 

Afterward, have a second diplexer at the base to separate the two signals, one for the antenna and the other for the satellite. 

Can I switch back and forth between a satellite and an antenna?

No, you cannot switch back and forth between a satellite and an antenna since they have different setups. 

Generally, satellites work with higher frequency bands than TV antennas, transmitting at different levels. 

Moreover, satellites receive signals through low-noise block converters, which the TV antennas lack. 

Consequently, you have to choose between a satellite and a TV antenna, but you cannot use them interchangeably.   


Having good signal coverage ensures you get high-quality pictures on your television set.

As of today, you can opt for a satellite dish or TV antenna, depending on your preference and location. 

If you live in an area with poor signal coverage, go for a satellite dish.

Otherwise, go for a TV antenna if you live in an area with excellent signals from local TV masts.

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