Unfortunately, a USB DVB-T is incapable of picking up satellite TV channels as the DVB-S and DVB-T systems are incompatible with each other. While there are some boxes that can pick up multiple systems, the vast majority are capable of picking up one system only. See this Wikipedia article for some info of the different systems.
The main Digital Video Broadcasting systems in use are as follows:
- DVB-S for digital satellite TV
- DVB-S2 for second generation digital satellite TV (mainly used for HDTV)
- DVB-T for digital terrestrial TV
- DVB-C for digital cable TV
- DVB-H for digital terrestrial TV for handhelds
What you will need for digital satellite is a DVB-S receiver. If you are interested in watching HDTV services and you are sure your laptop is quick enough to handle H.264 video at 1080p, then it may be worth going for a USB DVB-S2 receiver. All DVB-S2 receivers are backwards compatible with DVB-S2 broadcasts, for example, the USB Technotrend S2-3600 can tune in broadcasts on both the DVB-S and DVB-S2 systems. At the moment, there is only a small handful of free-to-air HDTV services, such as the BBC HD service at 28.2E and a handful of German TV broadcasts at 19.2E.
Unfortunately, the majority of satellite TV providers which show American TV programming are subscription only and many of these shows are between a few months to a couple of years behind those shown in the US. For example, Canal Digitaal in the Netherlands has several channels that show various US shows in English (with Dutch subtitles), however their channels are subscription only and consumers need to have an address in the Netherlands to even subscribe to the service. As far as I'm aware of, there are very few live US broadcasts that are re-broadcast to Europe.
If you already have a satellite dish installed, you can connect your existing dish up to a DVB-S or DVB-S2 receiver to tune in broadcasts from that satellite position. However, if you have no satellite dish at present, you will need to get a satellite dish size suitable for the broadcasts you plan on watching. For example, if you are interested in the BBC free-to-air programming in the UK, you would probably get away with a 60cm dish and almost certainly an 80cm dish.
Even though the stickies here are a few years old, the majority of the information still applies today, although I'll later update them to cover the reception of DVB-S2 once that becomes popular. The first post of this thread goes into details about the satellite dish, its components and a little on using a satellite meter. You will also need suitable satellite coaxial cable to run from the dish to the USB box. Apart from that, all you need on your PC is tuner software to tune in the broadcasts. For example, ProgDVB is a very powerful well known freeware package.
That other package you mention (pctv4me) appears to be just a service that tunes into Internet broadcasts. Any of these software packages and services that claim to have no subscription charges and don't need a satellite dish are usually software packages that tune into freely available Internet based TV channels. In my opinion, they operate little different to the providers that claim to offer legal music download services, where as in fact they just provide links to freely available file sharing software tools once one finally decides to fork out, only to see the catch. :doh:
If you would like to try out some Internet based TV channels, this site links to quite a number of them at no charge. Just click on the region (e.g. Europe), select country and pick a channel (click the link in the 'Net' column):