How to Buy a Viewing Card to Improve Satellite TV on eBay

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How to Buy a Viewing Card to Improve Satellite TV on eBay

Individuals who enjoy watching satellite television programming may be interested to discover that they can view additional channels and possibly reduce their monthly expenditure on satellite service by using a satellite viewing card. While most individuals know they can purchase satellite service through their local satellite companies, they may not be aware of satellite viewing cards, which allow individuals to watch certain channels without subscribing to an expensive subscription service.

Though not all channels are available when using viewing cards, there are a variety of cards that provide access to sports, adult entertainment, and general entertainment channels, so individuals looking to cut down on their expenses do not need to completely give up their satellite television. Satellite owners who are interested in purchasing a viewing card for their satellite dish can find a vast selection of viewing cards for sale on eBay. Before selecting a satellite card for purchase, prospective buyers should confirm that the card is compatible with their satellite dish and features the channels they are interested in viewing.

Brief History of the Satellite Television

The Russians put the first satellite Sputnik into orbit in 1957, but satellite television did not make its first appearance until 1962. Although many people believed Sputnik was a satellite launched to spy on Russia’s enemies, it was actually launched to conduct studies of the earth’s atmosphere. Following the launch of several scientific research satellites, governments began deploying communications satellites that allowed users to communicate securely over long distances.

Telstar, the first telecommunications satellite, was launched in 1962, allowing tens of millions of individuals to watch television programming from both sides of the Atlantic instantaneously rather than having to wait for tapes to be shipped back and forth. Early satellite television dishes and receivers were quite large and expensive, so they were only used by restaurants, pubs, and television broadcasting companies. Early satellites also had to be pointed in a specific direction to receive the correct satellite signal, which meant that the dishes themselves could never be made stationary.

Using Satellite Dishes at Home

The first satellite dishes designed for consumer use were introduced in the 1980s. Dishes were extremely popular in rural areas that did not receive service from local cable companies, and even many individuals who could subscribe to local cable switched to satellite television because satellite offered improved programming or more channels.

Now that satellite equipment has come down in price and installing a satellite system has been made incredibly easy, more and more individuals are making the switch to the dish. There are currently more than 18 million subscribers worldwide and that number is growing every day.

Overview of a Viewing Card

A satellite viewing card is similar in size and shape to a credit card. A chip is embedded in one end of the card to provide the necessary decoding to unscramble the scrambled satellite signal. Different cards provide decoding capabilities for different satellite systems and different channels, so individuals should review the information for each card before deciding which one best suits their needs. In addition to choosing which channels or programming packages an individual wants, he or she may also have to decide if he or she prefers a hosted viewing card or wants to manage the card at home.

Hosted Viewing Cards

Some satellite companies offer hosted viewing cards as an option for their subscribers. Individuals using a hosted card receive the card at their home and then contact the provider to set up all of the details, including the desired channels. The satellite provider connects the card to a specific satellite receiver automatically and selects the desired programming package. Any time changes need to be made, the customer simply contacts the satellite company, and they handle updating the account and making the required changes. Satellite companies charge a maintenance fee for this service, so individuals who plan to have a hosted viewing card should be sure to determine the monthly or yearly cost before signing up.

Home Managed Viewing Cards

For those individuals who prefer to handle the management of their viewing cards themselves and save the service fee, home managed viewing cards are the way to go. These cards are registered to a specific address and once they are installed in a satellite receiver, it is up to the card owner to make any changes to the channels and settings.

Free-to-View vs. Free-to-Air

In addition to subscription-based satellite service, there are two additional types of programming available via satellite. Free-to-view programming requires the use of a viewing card but does not require the user to pay a monthly or yearly subscription fee. This means that once the viewing card is purchased, there is no additional expenditure required to watch hours of quality satellite television. Individuals who choose a hosted viewing card may have to pay a management or hosting fee, but this is a fee used to maintain and update the account and not a service fee to view the programming. For individuals who do not wish to incur any additional charges, the home managed card is ideal as there are no additional fees once the card has been purchased.

The second programming option is known as free-to-air. Channels that are offered as free-to-air are totally free and do not require the use of a subscription service or a viewing card. While this is a great option for individuals looking to reduce their monthly expenses, the programming available for free is typically very limited. Paying a one-time fee for a viewing card is typically the preferred option because a greater variety of channels is available this way.

What to Look for in a Viewing Card

Consumers who want to purchase a viewing card to improve their satellite viewing experience or eliminate a monthly satellite subscription should keep in mind that there are different viewing cards for different satellite services as well as different cards for different programming. Which card an individual selects depends on which satellite equipment he or she already owns as well as which programmes he or she wants to gain access to. Individuals who do not currently own any satellite equipment are not tied to a specific card brand, which means if they want to they can shop for the best viewing card and then choose the equipment that is compatible with that card.

While some viewing cards only offer access to a specific type of programming, such as sports, other cards provide far more freedom and allow users to select packages with a variety of channels, not just those within a specific category. Cards that are limited to sports or other categories of programming may be a better option for individuals who also have subscription service or take advantage of the free-to-air programming as well, whereas individuals who plan on relying on the viewing card for all their entertainment needs may want to get a more liberal card.

Shopping for Viewing Cards

While it may be possible for individuals to find viewing cards at select local retailers, most buyers realise that they need to look online to find viewing cards. Shopping over the Internet provides a much wider selection of viewing cards, so buyers should be able to locate a viewing card that is perfect for their needs and compatible with their satellite equipment. Prospective buyers should be sure to check the selection of viewing cards on eBay before making a purchasing decision. With thousands of sellers listing products on a regular basis, there is always a great selection of satellite viewing cards available on the auction site.

Buying Viewing Cards on eBay

If you are ready to take a look at the listings for viewing cards on eBay, go to the site’s homepage and type "viewing cards" into the search box. Once the search results page has loaded, you can use the filters, including provider and price, to narrow down your search results. Buyers who already have satellite equipment can search on their specific provider to narrow down their results. For example, individuals who have Sky satellite equipment can search for Sky viewing cards to only see cards that are compatible with their existing equipment.

Before making a purchasing decision, buyers should read through each listing carefully to confirm that the card being sold is compatible with their satellite equipment and that it offers the channels or packages they are interested in. Prospective buyers should also read through the seller’s return policy so they know if they can return the card if it is not compatible with their equipment.


Although televisions and cable programming are still technically luxury items, both have become standard items in most homes. While television programming is informative and educational as well as entertaining, paying for a satellite or cable subscription each month can get quite costly over the years. Individuals looking for alternatives to paying a large subscription fee should consider satellite viewing cards, especially if they already own the satellite dish and receiver.

Even individuals who currently do not own a satellite dish and receiver should figure out how much it would cost them to purchase the satellite equipment and viewing card as it may still be more affordable than paying a monthly subscription fee. Those who do not own existing equipment can also choose their viewing card first and then purchase the equipment needed to use the card. Regardless of whether individuals are buying cards to fit their existing equipment or shopping for both the card and the equipment, they are sure to find the perfect satellite viewing card on eBay.

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