This article is from the Satellite TV FAQ, by Gary Bourgois firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
The provider (DirecTV, USSB, or Primestar) decides what
programming to put on their system, and if you want the Mack Truck
Channel and the provider has chosen not to include it in its lineup, you
are SOL. In this way, your relationship with the provider is similar to that
with a cable company.
A comparitively small dish is used and there is no need to rotate it.
You must pay the provider monthly fees for the programming you want;
there is no free programming. Choices include package deals, ala carte
channels, PPV, etc.
Programming is sent on the (roughly) Ku band, so rain storms can cause
outages or poor pictures.