Telespeed Aerials 135 Aughton Rd Aughton Sheffield S26 3XD

Tel:  0114-287-8936     Mobile: 07971-846-153     Email: office@tspd.org.uk
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Over 30 years Experience in TV Reception - Problems Welcome!

Freesat Dish

FreeSat

         

FreeSat Explained...

This is my technical explanation of FreeSat, and what you may need. And an idea of cost, too.

If you're not sure about anything, please call me or email me - the contact details are at the top of the page.

Rod
   Rod Buck

Common FreeSat Questions
(Click On An Item For The Answer)

What Is FreeSat?  

Digital television signals are a bit trickier to receive than the old analogue ones. Good digital TV reception can be harder to get from a conventional terrestrial transmitter, such as the well-known one at Emley Moor.

There are many people who can't get a proper terrestrial digital (Freeview) signal. Hills, trees or buildings are in the way, or interference from nearby traffic or machinery can affect normal TV reception.

When the Digital Switchover was being planned, it was realised that a substantial proportion of the population would not be able to get digital TV from an ordinary aerial. Therefore the BBC and ITV got together and arranged for the digital Freeview channels to be made available by satellite as well.

They rented space on the same satellites that carry the Sky TV programmes. (Sky don't own the satellites, a company called Astra does. Sky just rent space on them for their programmes).

However, unlike Sky, FreeSat does not charge any monthly fees. (You might guess that from the name!)

Just as with a normal TV aerial, you buy your equipment, and that's it! No more charges. (There are some subscription channels, such as sports channels, that you can pay extra for if you wish).

But most of the same channels that you can get on a Freeview aerial are there - and some extras. As I write this, there are about 130 TV channels and 40 radio channels on FreeSat.

Freeview (from a normal aerial) has about 73 TV channels and 26 radio channels. However, there are a few channels (5USA and Quest, I think) that are on Freeview, but not on Freesat yet.

FreeSat Gets You The Local News - Guaranteed!
There are many more channels available via satellite - and the satellite covers all of the UK, so FreeSat broadcasts ALL the local versions of BBC and ITV. Whether you live in Sheffield, Newcastle, Brighton, or North Wales, or wherever, you can get the appropriate local news on BBC and ITV.

How does the FreeSat receiver know which local news to display? Easy. When it is first installed, it asks you to enter your postcode, and from this, it works out where you live and what local news to put on BBC1 (for us, it's Look North, obviously) and ITV (Calendar). By the way, I usually take care of the system setup for you when I install it.

The other regions are available to select via a channel number - so if you want to keep up with local news in Newcastle or Southampton, you can!
What Equipment Do You Need To Get FreeSat?
The Dish
Well, you need a dish first of all. This can be a normal Sky-type dish. In fact, you can use a Sky dish perfectly well, if you have one and don't use it for Sky any more - the signals come from the same satellites.

If you are just having a FreeSat TV  in the lounge, or a FreeSat Receiver with no recording facilities, such as a   Basic or a  High Definition (HD) unit, a simple dish is enough, with one cable coming from the dish to the TV.

If you want a Twin-Tuner Recorder, then you need a double LNB on the end of the dish arm, and two cables going to the lounge, (as you can see in this picture). Your old Sky dish probably won't have this, so it might mean a new dish.
Freesat dish

(The reason it needs a double LNB and two cables is that a Twin Tuner Recorder has, effectively, TWO FreeSat receivers in it, along with a recording Hard Drive (like a computer) so that you can watch one channel and record another - or even record two channels at the same time if you are out).

How Many TV's?
You can have more than one TV running from a FreeSat dish. Remember, a simple (non-recording) FreeSat receiver or TV needs one dish connection - a Recorder needs two.

Dishes come with either ONE, FOUR or EIGHT connections, so if you had a four-way dish, you could run a Recorder in the lounge, and two other FreeSat TV's (or FreeSat set-top boxes) in other rooms. (If you had just a receiver or FreeSat TV in the lounge, you could run 3 other TV's from that dish).

If you had an 8-way dish, you could run a Recorder in the lounge, and up to 6 other TV's round the house.

(Each TV (or set-top box) can watch a different channel, of course)

What Receivers?
OK, ordinary Freeview TV's and Set-top boxes won't work with a FreeSat dish. (Freeview TV's and decoders are designed to work with a TV aerial, not a dish).  You need the correct FreeSat equipment. You have four choices:

TV's With FreeSat Built In
You can now get TV's with FreeSat built in. If you bought your TV recently, it may even have FreeSat in it without your knowing. How can you tell? Easy - look on the back where the aerial connector, SCART connectors and everything are. If you see an F socket (like this on the right) sticking out, then your TV has FreeSat built in. All FreeSat equipment has these F sockets on it.

If you are going to buy a TV soon, you can ask the shop for one with FreeSat built in - usually only 32-inch or larger ones are available with Freesat.

LG, Sony, Panasonic, and Samsung all make good ones.

The good news is - FreeSat TV's all have High Definition built-in!

An F ConnectorFreesat TV
Basic FreeSat Boxes
If you want to keep costs down, or it's just for a bedroom, perhaps the best thing is a basic FreeSat box, like this. You can't record off it, it only tunes in one channel at a time, and displays it on the TV, which it connects to with a standard SCART lead. Picture quality is very good, though - crisp detail, great colours...
Basic Freesat

High-Definition (HD) FreeSat Boxes
An HD FreeSat box, like this, gives better picture quality - and will get the HD channels available. There are only a few HD channels at present - BBC has two, ITV, Ch4 and Ch5 have one each - but more will become available as time goes on. An HD box usually has a Recorder output socket, so it can be connected to a DVD recorder or similar. But it only receives one channel at a time, so you can't watch one channel and record another...
HD Freesat

Twin-Tuner Recorder FreeSat Boxes
An Twin-Tuner Recorder (also known as a PVR or Personal Video Recorder), like this will get the HD channels available. But it's main atttraction is that it will let you watch one channel and record another at the same time. If you have a FreeSat TV, you can record TWO channels at the same time - and watch a third one! (Or record two channels at the same time if you go out!). Lets face it, there's often acres of garbage on, then 3 good programmes at once!

I can't recommend these too highly - one BIG advantage is that you can miss all the adverts by skipping over them in just a few seconds!  There is much more to tell you about these amazing gadgets - if you get one, you'll wonder how you ever managed without it...full details are given here.
A Freesat Recorder Box

How Much Will FreeSat Cost?
Well, it's very variable - no two situations seem to be the same, either in where the dish will be positioned, where the cables can be run, or what you, the customer requires in the way of receivers..

I usually like to come out and have a look at it, and have a chat about what you want, and where you want the dish put. I don't charge anything for coming to have a look, of course.
The Actual Cost Will Depend On:

What About Extra Outlets?
Again, it depends on how many outlets you want, and how difficult to wire up they are. Some houses come with bedroom sockets already wired up to the loft, and it's relatively easy to connect them up there. In other cases I have to run wires to each outlet, and, depending on how easy access it, that can take time.

There's Often More Than One Way To Achieve What You Want...

Call me on: 0114-287-8936 or 07971-846-153 for a chat, or email me on telespeed@dsl.pipex.com and I'll come and discuss it with you, free of charge.

There may be a way to get what you want that saves money.. or gives a better result.

Rod Buck

Rod Buck



   

         


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