If you want to use the 2 dishes on a single receiver then yes. You will need a Disecq 2-way switch at the dish end and, if your receiver does not itself support Disecq, a Disecq tone inserter (I think these things exist). There is a non-Disecq solution from a company based in Anglesey (I forget the name) which can do the same thing.
If you want to use the 2 dishes on 2 separate receivers then I am sure there is equipment available but it will be very expensive as it will involve frequency changing, etc.
So how easy would this switch thing be for a novice?
Regarding two receivers - couldn't I just do something similar to having two sky digiboxes in two rooms (like that advert where they're arguing) and then connect a switch to the two dishes. That can't be too expensive/difficult can it - just a matter of extra cable?
I'm mainly interested in having hotbird upstairs and sky downstairs, but I can't be bothered running a separate cable from the other dish.
Two dishes into one box is easy. A diseqc switch does it all. One dish into two receivers is more difficult, as an LNB can only be allowed to see one powered receiver at a time. One box has to be connected, and one shut right off, so you're talking an A/B switch. That in itself will reduce the signal slightly.
I think your best bet is to have your minidish connected to your Sly setup downstairs, and your hotbird dish connected to whatever you're running upstairs. Simple, clean and truly independant. If you want to hook up your Sly dish upstairs too, then a twin LNB on your minidish will feed one coax downstairs, and another upstairs, but then you have yet another cable.
Thanks, but for one reason or another a separate cable isn't practicable for the setup of the house. Think I'll go down the switch route.
I've seen a few diseqc switches on the net. I know my Smart reciever's compatible with diseqc but I'm not sure whether my Sky box is. Does this matter - would the cable at the receiver end still give me 28 East if connected to the sky box and 13 East and 28 East on the Smart receiver? (presuming each dish points in those directions) Think I've seen a setup where this is the case.
I've currently got a system where I can watch whatever channel's on the sky box downstairs on the tv upstairs, just by plugging the upstairs outside aerial lead into the upstairs telly. Don't ask me how it works - the guy who installed sky set it up. If I connected a coax cable to the aerial lead and plugged it into a satellite receiver would this work?
The Sky digibox has no DiseqC capability, and a DiseqC switch is not the answer anyway. The only way you could do it without running another cable, is to use a Stacker/De-Stacker, so upshifting one set of signals and then combining both signals at the top and splitting them and lowering the upshifted signals at the bottom, they do of course have an insertion loss and are not particularly cheap.
The stacker/destacker units do seem expensive. Couple more queries:
(1) would a disesq switch not be the solution if I just wanted to use two dishes on one receiver, disconnecting the coax cable from the Sky receiver and connecting it to the Smart receiver (or vice versa) when I want to watch hotbird instead of Sky. Alternatively, would I be better off with a sky compatible LNB switch, like on this page http://www.satcure.co.uk/accs/page1b.htm
with the Sky converter shown. I've seen setups of two dishes to one cable, using a switch, where hotbird automatically works once the coax cable from the switch is attached to the non-Sky box, then automatically back to 28 East when attached back into the Sky Box. That in itself would be a big help, with the cold winter months coming in.
(2) Having done this could I not just use an A-B switch at the receiver end, and maybe a signal booster, to operate both receivers at the same time? It still seems cheaper than the Stacker/DeStacker.