Are you planning to get Freesat or Sky services in the UK? Then you probably know that you’ll have to install a satellite dish to make this happen. However, this is not always an easy task. As soon as you start checking out the steps required to install a satellite dish, you noticed that there are two options. You either go for a Zone 1 or Zone 2 satellite dish. Now, the question is which one to pick. What are the differences between these two types of satellite dishes? We did our best to bring some light into this matter and help you make an informed choice.

The Zone 1 satellite dish

satellite dish installed on a wall

​We will start by first describing the particularities of the Zone 1 satellite dish. With a diameter of 43 centimetres, the Zone 1 satellite dish consists of a steel round frame covered with a mesh. It usually has a dark colour, like navy blue, but if this doesn’t suit you, you can easily pain the dish according to your preferences. This particular type of satellite dish is mostly used in the midlands and south part of the UK, to get the Freesat or Sky services installed on the TV.

The Zone 2 satellite dish

Then there’s the Zone 2 satellite dish. This one is larger, featuring a diameter of 60 centimetres. It also features a body made out of a steel frame, covered by a mesh of a dark colour. Regarding the area of usage, Zone 2 satellite dishes are most commonly used in the north part of the UK and Scotland.

​Besides the visible size, there are other particularities that set this dish apart from the Zone 1 version. It features a distinct mounting arm, utilised for the mounting of the dish. So, you will have to clamp the dish onto this arm and then safely insert the arm in the mounting bracket. In the case of Zone 1 dishes, this arm is part of the dish, not being a separate part, and the mounting is done by simply inserting it in the mounting bracket.

Why these two satellite dishes are used in different areas?

aera covered for satellite dish zone 1 - 2

The main purpose of satellite dishes is to get signals from satellites, which broadcast the TV services we are looking to enjoy. In order to serve all areas, satellites are located in the sky at different distances. So, the reason various areas across the UK use different types of satellite dishes lies entirely in the distance between these satellites. In other words, if you want to get a signal from a particular satellite, recommended for your area, but you use the wrong kind of satellite dish, you won’t be able to enjoy a proper signal.

Now, the satellites broadcasting Freesat and Sky signals are orbiting around the earth’s Equator, as all satellites do. Bearing this in mind, the south of the UK will get better signals than the north of the country, which will require larger satellite dishes to enjoy a proper signal.

​The frequencies used by satellite broadcasting TV services are already very high. This means that toward the north, the signal gradually dissipates, becoming weaker, which means that larger satellite dishes are needed. Of course, this doesn’t mean a smaller dish won’t work in the north part of the country. It will work, but there are higher chances for it to fail to provide a signal of the desired quality. This is more frequent when the weather is bad, like when it rains.

Is it possible to use a Zone 2 satellite dish in Zone 1?

As mentioned earlier, Zone 2 satellite dishes are larger and, therefore, more capable of providing a stronger signal. Thus, if you’re living in the south of the UK or Midlands, using a Zone 2 dish will give you the possibility of enjoy better signals. So, although you can opt for a smaller dish, using a larger one will help you avoid any issues.

​However, you need to decide whether you won’t be bothered by the presence of a larger dish on your home. With a larger diameter, the Zone 2 dish will be easily noticed. Besides this, it will cost a bit more than the Zone 1 dish, (it is also worth noting that a larger dish may not last as long due to exposure to the weather). In other words, you will have to consider budget and aesthetics before making this decision.

Is it possible to use a Zone 1 satellite dish in Zone 2?

While no one stops you from using a Zone 1 satellite dish if you’re living up in the north or Scotland, specialists won’t recommend you doing so. The installation of this satellite dish can be done with ease and it is rather discreet, in terms of size.

​The reason it is not recommended to use a Zone 1 satellite dish in Zone 2 is that the signal is weaker in this part of the country. Thus, a smaller dish like Zone 1 may encounter problems when it comes to providing a good signal. In this case, you may experience pixels or blocks appearing on the TV’s image, blurry signal, or no signal whatsoever.

Can these dishes be used for anything else?

The Zone 1 and Zone 2 satellite dishes are mostly used for Freesat and Sky services, and they do a great job in this direction, but can they be used for other purposes? For instance, is it possible to enjoy foreign signals? Well, it is worth knowing you can, but the options are limited. So, you may want to exploit these options and see what you can find. However, if you have a Zone 1 satellite dish, especially if you live in the north, don’t expect too many. A larger dish, like the Zone 2 satellite dish will be much more appropriate if you want to expand its uses and enjoy foreign satellites, as it is more capable of capturing signals coming from satellites.

At this point, you know the differences between these two satellite dishes and you’re more than capable of making the best choice in your case. Besides taking the area where you live into consideration, think about whether you want to enjoy foreign satellites, for instance, or whether you’ll be bothered by a large dish at your house.