[tig] Freeview

Peter Swinson peter_swinson
Wed Jun 11 00:56:56 BST 2003


Some of the Freeview answers may be confusing. Graham Collet advised that
Freeview via Sky's Sat system requires a subscription to Sky. This is not

Freeview channels can be recieved either via UHF terrestial digital
transmisions or via satellite. The terrsetial UHF channels include all the
UK's FIVE regular channels.
BBC1,BBC2, ITV, Channal 4 & Channel 5, Plus about every British Radio
channel, all digital as opposed to analog FM.  A mix of other TV channels
is included such as additional BBC and ITV channels. 

The Satellite version of Freeview includes all those transmitted on the
Terrestial Digital Freeview icluding all the radio stations, plus many
other Free to Air (FTA) channels. 

The Satellites used are Astra 2A,2B,2D all at 28.2 degrees East and
Eurobird at 28.5 degrees East. All use the Ku band around 10-13GHz

If Graham Collet or others want these channels via Satellite they will need
a Digibox, about UK Pounds 140, includes a 45cm (18 inch) dish and LNB.
They then ring a number at the BBC and ask for a card to wake up the FTA
channels. This card appears in the post in  a couple of days, from Sky, but
at no charge. This is because the BBC at least, use Sky's transponders and
pay Sky for the transmissions and, of course Sky encrypt everything, so a
decode card is needed . 

This is soon to change, the BBC are going use there own transponders on an
adjacent satellite, and I understand the signals will be in the clear. The
Satellite beam is supposed to be narrow such that it does not cover areas
outside the UK.  

Technically any UK signals must not  be received outside the UK, mainly a
Hollywood regional thing about film tansmission rights!!! Therefore the Sky
decryption card can only be supplied to a UK address, indeed if one pays
for premium film channels etc, I believe you must connect your phone line
to the Digibox modem, such that Sky can "sniff" your box from a UK number.
(Not needed with the FTA card).  Now of course you can imagine what happens
in Europe for those who want the signal. A 60cm or 90cm dish will pull in
Sky from most of Europe!!! And there are always ways and means of getting a
card. Not sure about overcoming the modem "sniff", if indeed it is true,
maybe someone else could explain,

Finally, how come in the UK we can receive signals from several satellites
without dish steer. Well all tha satellites sit relatively close to each
other and modern dish LNBs are so sensitive that only small dishes are
required. The smaller the dish the greater its beam acceptance angle and
consequently the more sloppy the aim needs to be. I have seen Sky systems
on little boats on UK rivers. Beware the keen enthusiast with the enormous
dish, he gets a really strong signal, but may need to steer between the Sky
satellites and the upcoming BBC satellite.

I have never had a rain, snow or hail outage, about the only outages are
twice a year, once in the Spring, once in the fall, in the late morning
when the sun gets right in line with the satellite and the dish for about 1

Oh and in theory everything transmitted as DIGITAL TV is 16:9, or supposed
to be, you wouldn't believe some of the ways the image is "hacked" out of a
4:3 source just to comply.
There, I didn't mention Telecine once.

best regards

Peter Swinson.

Feel free to post this if you wish. 


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