[font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON 06-Jun-01 AT 08:22 PM (GMT)[/font][p](I have moved this here from "suggestions & feedback" since is neither a suggestion nor feedback!... please be careful as to which forums you post in)
Best decoder? That's too broad a question to answer. You need to state your requirements (analogue? digital? both? Built-in positioner? DiSEqC? Common-Interface? Built-in-CAM (and which type?)? There are so many variations and combinations to meet specific requirements.
If you only want digital free-to-air for example then you would be wasting your money on an all-singing, all-dancing model. If you want Sky-Digital then you only have one choice (a digibox) regardless of how "good" all the other generic boxes are. And so on...
A dish needs to point exactly at the satellite you want to receive signals from. This is very different from a terrestrial analogue antenna, which only needs to be approximately oriented. Fortunately the stellites are in orbit at the specific distance from the earth where they complete one orbit in exactly the same time as the earth rotates. IE they appear from the ground to be stationary. So the dish once fixed does not need to constantly be adjusted to follow a given satellite.
All satellites are in that geostationary orbit directly above the equator. This means that the further north you go, the lower they appear to be in the sky. Hence the angle your dish points up will depend on your geographic location. Similarly for the east-west position. In fact, from a given location on the earth you will only ever be able to see just some of the sats in orbit - the rest will always be so far east or west from your vantgage point that they will be below the horizon".
If you have a steerable system, used for receiving signals from several satellites across a wide angular separation, the dish also needs to be aligned such that it accurately traces out an arc which covers the positions of the various sats you want to receive. Aligning a motorised/steerable dish is not trivial. Many posts earlier on this board have tackled it and contain links to other sites with detailed info.
So check out those earlier posts (use the search function)