Frequently Asked Questions

This section is part of something like a blog. To contact me or comment on this, see my email page.

photo This is a container page for the satellite TV FAQ. (To make it, I remembered some tags I've not used for a while.) Latest updates are at the bottom of the page and the 2007 satellite TV news page.

FAQ Changes and Satellite News (2006)

27 Nov

Replaced satmania with satscan on my TV guides page.

8 Dec

UK media regulator Ofcom released Ofcom sets Digital Switchover related licence conditions about the terrestial broadcast network, including a consultation on self-help relays.

Essentially, the public service station multiplexes (BBC Royal Charter, Digital 3 & 4 and Freeview, labelled 1, 2 and B on this list ) will be available from all current public analogue transmitters, but the commercial multiplexes (SDN/itv and National Grid Wireless, which are A, C and D on the list) only need to continue the current coverage. So, free-to-air satellite reception will still be better for radio, music and films in most current poor-DTT areas.


2007-09-15 (Permalink): Satellite TV commented:

"Wow, all that seems pretty complex to me. The U.S is so much more simple, we just chose Dish Network or DirecTV or some kind of cable and call it a day. Then again I don't know if thats a bad or a good thing."

That's a bad thing. Look at the situation: In the US, there seems to be very little free-to-air (FTA) satellite TV for most of the country, except PBS and religious channels. The main US FTA FAQ answers "Should I drop cable/Dish/DirecTV and switch to FTA?" with "Probably not."

I'd say "Probably yes" to similar questions in Europe, as long as you aren't dependent on one of the few incompatible pay-TV channels. Channels like MTV, Nick, TVEi and DW are all pay-TV in the US, but FTA in Europe. But if you're in the US, look on the bright side: Canada seems even more behind on this.

In Europe, you can still call whatever satellite broadcaster (such as Canal Satellite, Premiere or even Sky) and get a system installed if you choose, but you can also install your own. That's what my FAQ is about: giving people in "the land of the free TV" some starting info on how to do that.

Some broadcaster-supplied systems only really work well with one broadcaster's "approved" channels (Sky are particularly bad for that), are more expensive to upgrade than standard systems and don't give viewers the equipment to repair it when it breaks, which encourages them to keep paying the broadcaster's agents. Some of those agents do some pretty dishonest tricks when installing dishes, such as putting them far higher up than necessary, to discourage viewers from fixing it themselves and to advertise satellite TV to the neighbours.

It's pretty easy to install a standard satellite system... if you can put up a wall bracket and tune in a video, you can probably do it. Alternatively, there are independent installers who will do it for you, who might seem like they charge more than the broadcaster's agents, but remember that a good one won't keep charging you every month or try to sell stuff to you forevermore!

Comments are moderated (damn spammers) but almost anything sensible gets approved (albeit eventually). If you give a web address, I'll link it. I won't publish your email address unless you ask me to, but I'll email you a link when the comment is posted, or the reason why it's not posted.

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This is copyright 2006 MJ Ray. See fuller notice on front page.