Since I don't know which country you're in, I'll tell you what happens here in England.
First you can go for Freeview, which has no subscription costs, just the cost of the equipment, but may require you getting a satellite dish installed, which is nothing major.
Second you can go for digital satellite, which requires you signing up for a minimum term with the provider. You would be required to pay an installation fee, which may or may not include the installation of the dish, but which dish is dependent upon which service you want.
Along with the second, a standard television would be okay, but if you were to go for HD, although you can use a standard TV with the unit, it would be infinitely better with an HD ready TV.