Last updated: 16/10/2022

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Maybe you are looking for an LNB for your home so that you can spend even better TV evenings with friends and family in the future. You may also be wondering what an LNB is or what types of LNBs there are. LNBs are frequency converters or low-noise signal converters.

In our big LNB test 2022 we show you what an LNB is, what it can be used for and what types of LNBs there are. We introduce you to different LNBs and give you criteria with which you can select the LNB that is right for you.

Contents




Summary

  • The main focus of the LNB is to pick up high-frequency microwaves, which are usually in the frequency range between 10.7 and a maximum of 12.75 GHz. These are then converted into significantly lower frequencies, enabling cable transmission through a coaxial cable or an optical fibre.
  • In addition, the low-noise signal converter amplifies the received signals, which, as already mentioned, are converted into a lower frequency, also known as the intermediate frequency (IF). This allows the signals to be transmitted with low loss.
  • LNBs are an integral part of satellite technology and have been used worldwide for decades for the transmission of television channels, for example.

The best LNB: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying an LNB

To help you find the right product for you, I have summarised the most important information about LNBs below.

What is an LNB?

LNB, or Low Noise Block, is the first electronic component that can be found at the focal point of a parabolic antenna or in the signal output of a panel antenna.

In principle, an LNB converts the satellite frequency of, for example, 10.7-11.75 or 11.8-12.75 GHz into a significantly lower frequency range. In most cases, this is 950 – 2150 MHz.

Consequently, this enables the signal to be sent via cable transmission through a coaxial cable or also an optical fibre.

The signal then reaches a satellite receiver so that both television and radio broadcasts can be received.

In short, an LNB acts as a kind of intermediary between a satellite, which always has high frequencies, and the receiver, which can only receive relatively low frequencies.

What other tasks does an LNB perform?

In addition to converting high-frequency signals into an intermediate frequency, there are other tasks for which only an LNB is responsible.

Another task is the bundling of microwaves that are transmitted by satellites. This is done in the aperture angle of the parabolic reflector and protects the inner receiving antenna from external radiation by shielding it.

This special component of the signal converter is also known as the “feed horn” and describes a cylinder or cone made of metal.

The end of the component facing the dish is open and thus allows the microwaves to enter.

It also has a protective cap made of plastic to protect it from dust and water.

The microwaves that enter thus optimally reach the exciters of the antenna construction without any interference.

Finally, the LNB separates the polarisation planes of the incident beams from each other. In the early days, this was still achieved by certain mechanical rotating devices.

Since the 80s, separate receiving discs have finally been used, which work in conjunction with appropriately arranged dipole antennas.

How many devices can be used in conjunction with an LNB?

There is no general answer, because the maximum number of receivers that can be used depends on the respective signal converter. In other words, different LNBs can be used depending on requirements.

A single LNB, for example, can only supply a single receiver. A second receiver is theoretically feasible, but this would only have a very manageable range of TV channels.

The double LNB offers you the possibility of using up to two receivers. In addition, there are other variants such as the quad LNB or octo LNB, each of which can supply four or eight devices simultaneously.

Can outdated antenna cables also be used with an LNB?

As a rule, old antenna cables can also be used as connectors. It is therefore not necessary to lay cables on a receiver.

However, you should definitely replace your antenna sockets with satellite-compatible sockets. In many cases, a single-cable solution is the best solution. This is also known as a Unicable system.

Of course, the receiver itself must also be suitable. Therefore, always follow the EN 50494 standard.

Decision: Which types of LNB are there and which is the right one for you?

Basically, you can distinguish between ten different types / kinds of “LNB”:

  • Single LNB
  • Twin LNB
  • Quattro LNB
  • Quad-switch LNB
  • 8-fold Quad-Switch LNB
  • Monoblock LNB
  • Twin Monoblock LNB
  • Quad Monoblock LNB
  • Dual LNB
  • Loop Through LNB

What is “Single LN” and what are the advantages and disadvantages of Single LNB?

The Single LNB is the simplest of all variants. It is only capable of supplying a single receiver and can process both analogue and digital signals.

This option is also the most common in conventional households.

Advantages
  • processes both digital and analogue signals
  • simple design and can therefore be used by non-professionals
Disadvantages
  • can only supply a single receiver

What is a Twin LNB and what are the advantages and disadvantages of Twin LNBs?

In contrast to the first variant, the Twin LNB is able to supply two receivers at the same time. It can process both digital and analogue signals.

In addition, it has an analogue multi-switch so that you can switch back and forth between two analogue devices without any problems. Each Twin LNB has two outputs.

Advantages
  • two receivers can be used simultaneously
  • processes both digital and analogue signals
Disadvantages
  • Multi-switch cannot be used for digital devices

What is Quattro LNB and what are the advantages and disadvantages of Quattro LNB?

In contrast to the previous variants, the Quattro LNB differs in that it can be switched in four different ways.

Furthermore, it cannot be connected directly to a receiver without giving up a significant part of the possible channels.

Advantages
  • four devices can be connected at the same time
  • processes both digital and analogue signals
  • multi-switch works with both digital and analogue devices
Disadvantages
  • cannot be used without the use of the multi-switch
  • no possibility to connect directly to the receiver

What is a quad-switch LNB and what are the advantages and disadvantages of quad-switch LNBs?

With this variant, four devices can also be used simultaneously. In addition, this signal converter offers the option of being directly connected to the receiver.

The multi-switch is already built in here, so external switches are neither necessary nor an option.

Advantages
  • four devices can be connected at the same time
  • processes both digital and analogue signals
  • multi-switch works with both digital and analogue devices
  • receiver can also be connected directly
Disadvantages
  • external multi-switches cannot be used properly

What is an 8-way quad-switch LNB and what are the advantages and disadvantages of 8-way quad-switch LNBs?

The 8-way Quad-Switch LNB is basically a Quad-Switch, where instead of a maximum of four, up to eight devices can be connected at the same time. Like the previous variant, both analogue and digital receivers can be used.

Advantages
  • Eight devices can be connected at the same time
  • processes both digital and analogue signals
  • multiswitch works with both digital and analogue devices
  • receiver can also be connected directly
Disadvantages
  • External multiswitches cannot be used properly

What is a monoblock LNB and what are the advantages and disadvantages of monoblock LNBs?

This signal converter is a special variant because it is designed to receive two satellites. The main areas of application are Astra and Eutelsat.

It also consists of two single LNBs and a Diseqc switch. One receiver is thus able to receive channels from two satellites.

Advantages
  • one receiver can receive channels from two different satellites
  • processes both digital and analogue signals
  • receiver can also be connected directly
Disadvantages
  • Use of a multi-switch is not possible
  • only one receiver can be used

What is a Twin Monoblock LNB and what are the advantages and disadvantages of Twin Monoblock LNBs?

This signal converter is a modified monoblock LNB that is able to connect two receivers simultaneously.

In principle, it is a combination of two Twin LNBs and a 4/2 diseqc switch. The main area of use is Astra 19.2° and Hotbird 13.0°.

Advantages
  • one receiver can receive channels from two different satellites
  • processes both digital and analogue signals
  • receiver can also be connected directly
  • two receivers can be connected simultaneously
Disadvantages
  • Use of a multi-switch not possible

What is Quad Monoblock LNB and what are the advantages and disadvantages of Quad Monoblock LNB?

The Quad Monoblock version is an even more extensive modification than the Twin Monoblock LNB. It is intended for use with two satellites and consists of two Quad LNBs including a Diseqc switch.

In addition, each of the four outputs is capable of controlling two satellites simultaneously.

The Diseqc signal is responsible for switching between the two SAT positions.

Advantages
  • one receiver can receive channels from two different satellites
  • processes both digital and analogue signals
  • receiver can also be connected directly
  • four receivers can be connected simultaneously
Disadvantages
  • Use of a multi-switch not possible

What is a dual LNB and what are the advantages and disadvantages of dual LNBs?

The dual LNB is one of the older variants and was mainly used during the analogue reception era.

There are two frequency bands of the low band at the output. In other words, the first output is designed for vertical polarisation and the second for horizontal polarisation.

Advantages
  • designed for analogue signals
  • low band can be distributed to several receivers
Disadvantages
  • Use of an analogue multi-switch is necessary
  • not suitable for digital devices

What is Loop Through LNB and what are the advantages and disadvantages of Loop Through LNB?

The Loop Through LNB differs from all other variants in the strongest way; clearly an input where a second LNB can be connected and an output where a second receiver is connected, it is possible to control two SAT positions and then receive.

Advantages
  • designed for analogue, thus also digital devices
  • two different SAT positions can be controlled
Disadvantages
  • use of a multi-switch not possible
  • receiver must support Diseqc

Purchase criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate LNBs

In the following we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate LNBs. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a particular LNB is suitable for you or not.

In summary, these are:

  • Number of satellites
  • Number of receivers
  • digital or analogue
  • Multiswitch

Number of satellites

An important criterion for the right LNB is whether you use more than one satellite.

In conventional households, for example, only one satellite is controlled most of the time, so depending on your preferences, a Single LNB or Twin LNB is completely sufficient.

If, in a few cases, another satellite is also to be controlled, this will of course take some time.

However, if you want to receive channels from several satellites without delay, an LNB that can control two satellites simultaneously is the best choice. The monoblock LNB, for example, is ideal for this.

In addition, it can be connected directly to the receiver, so you don’t need a multi-switch.

If you are not only controlling one satellite but possibly two, your LNB must be correspondingly more powerful. (Image source: unsplash.com / Paweł Czerwiński)

Number of receivers

Another criterion for buying the right product is the number of receivers you need.

For homeowners, for example, in almost all cases only one receiver is necessary because the entire family accesses one and the same device.

Here, too, the single LNB is the best choice, because it is simple and has all the important features, such as a connection for analogue and digital devices.

However, if you have several TV sets, you will also need several receivers. In these cases, twin LNBs or quad LNBs are the best choice.

In the case of companies with many TV sets or apartment buildings, the situation is similar; depending on the number of TV sets, the corresponding number of receivers is required.

In such cases, in addition to the Quad LNB, there is also the 8-fold Quad-Switch LNB, which can supply up to eight devices simultaneously.

Digital or analogue

Last but not least, there is the question of whether your receiver is analogue or digital. Analogue technology was used almost everywhere in TV technology, especially a few decades ago.

More modern devices, however, work with digital technology, as this allows for a more loss-free transmission.

You can imagine analogue signals in a way that, in the case of a picture, it is stepless, while a digital signal, on the other hand, consists of many small steps.

Strictly speaking, the quality is thus limited. Today, however, the effect can be kept so small that it is not perceived by people.

A dual LNB, for example, is not compatible with digital and thus with most newer devices, so it is more suitable for older devices.

According to the consumer advice centre, analogue cable TV will also be switched off gradually by mid-2019, so digital alignments will become increasingly important.

Except for the Dual LNB, all other signal converters are digital-capable.

Multiswitch

A satellite transmits its microwaves both vertically and horizontally. You should also be able to distinguish between the high band (11.70 – 12.75 GHz) and the low band (10.70 – 11.70 GHz).

The former is used exclusively for digital signals, while the latter concerns analogue signals.

This results in a total of four circuit states. An LNB has either one, two or four outputs. However, if you need more than four due to several receivers, a multi-switch is the best solution.

Multiswitches can have 4, 8, 12, 16, 24 or 30 outputs.

The receiver itself is connected directly to the multi-switch. Depending on how many outputs you need in total due to several devices and whether you want to receive analogue or digital signals, you will need a special LNB.

A Quattro LNB, for example, has four outputs and only works in conjunction with a multi-switch.

The Single LNB, on the other hand, cannot use a multi-switch because it only has one output. Therefore, it is always advisable to choose an LNB that has four outputs.

For a smooth TV evening, the LNB is usually an insufficiently valued helper. (picture source: pexels.com / Lisa Fotios)

Facts worth knowing about the LNB

History of the LNB

The LNB is one of the fundamental components of a satellite reception system and already has several decades of development history under its belt.

The first models were built in the 1980s and served to make satellite reception possible for private users as well

The predecessor of the LNB is also called LNA and stands for low-noise amplifier. It differs in that, as a high-frequency amplifier, it does not convert to a significantly lower intermediate frequency.

In addition, a slight noise characterises the LNA, among other things.

The German telecommunications satellite DFS-Kopernikus via direct broadcast reception was the first case in which an LNC was to be able to receive two frequency bands simultaneously.

The technology was later also applied to the LNA.

In the early 1990s, LNBs were used in private households that could receive both polarisation planes. The term block refers to the ability to process several of these levels at the same time.

LNCs themselves have been largely superseded by LNBs and are mainly used in legacy stations and antenna stations.

Designs

Since the advent of DHT antennas (DHT stands for Direct to Home), the feed horns have been attached directly to the Ku-band LNBs.

Previously, this was not the case, as there was no highband for digital signals besides the lowband. The low band itself was the only frequency range for signals until the end of the 90s.

Since the advent of the digital frequency range, many satellites have switched over and thus used the highband. LNBs that could control both frequency ranges were then called universal LNBs.

In addition, receivers in Germany are now only fitted with a universal LNB, not least because of the gradual phasing out of analogue SAT coverage.

Since 2015, there has also been the so-called wideband LNB. Here, the output frequency is converted from 300 – 2350 MHz.

This signal converter is used exclusively for Unicable2 multi-switches with several satellites.

However, today’s satellite receivers are hardly able to operate beyond the frequency range of 950 – 2,150 MHz.

Picture source: 123rf.com / Jaromir Urbanek

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