There are thousands of free TV & Radio channels available in the UK via satellite broadcasting from countries all over Europe, the Middle East and more. You just need to know what satellite these channels are broadcast from and usually a simple Free to Air Satellite Receiver & suitable dish is all that is required to pick up the channels. Lots of sporting events can usually be found for free like boxing, football including Champions league, FA cup, International games and the odd Premiership game. (Premiership games are mostly still subscription based on foreign channels and a viewing card is still required).
If you know what channel you want to receive but are unsure of which satellite gives you the channel there are two very good resources for you. Firstly there are many good magazines that publish full channel listings for all the main satellites. Secondly the website www.kingofsat.net lists every single channel available from every different satellite in orbit along with its relative frequency and signal info. There is even a search bar on the top right where you can put a channel name in to see what satellite(s) broadcast it. Kingofsat gives you information such as if the channel is FTA (clear) or subscription only (encrypted), plus other info about the broadcast including screensize, HD or SD and what package the channel may be part of. This is a very thorough database with many search options for searching by language, encryption type and location.
We would recommend that you have a motorised satellite dish if you are interested in picking up multiple foreign satellite from around the world. That way once it has all been setup all you will need to do is change the channel on your satellite receiver and the dish will automatically move to the required position. Motorised foreign satellite installations are best left to the professionals as they can be very tricky to setup for the first time and a professional satellite meter will be required. If you would prefer not to have a motorised foreign satellite system but still want the option to pick up multiple foreign satellites there are a couple of other options:
- Firstly you could have multiple satellite dishes, each one pointing to the required foreign satellite position. The outputs from the LNBs can all be then combined into a DiSEqC switch allowing just one cable to be fed to the satellite receiver.
- Secondly you could have multiple LNBs connected to one satellite dish. Triax manufacture a multi LNB holder for their range of satellite dishes, allowing you to connect upto 4 different LNBs to one satellite dish. There are also other specialist dish manufacturers that make systems capable of having 10-20 LNBs connected to one satellite dish. Again the output of all of these LNBs can be connected to a DiSEqC switch allowing just one cable to be fed to the satellite receiver.
- Another option to connect to multiple foreign satellites in order to receive foreign satellite TV is to add a monoblock to your system. A monoblock is an LNB like any other except the difference is it is two LNBs connected together with a single output. It is specifically designed to pick up satellites that are exactly 6 degrees apart; the most common use is with Astra at 19 degrees east and Hotbird at 13 degrees east. Having the two LNBs connected enables your satellite dish to receive both signals being transmitted from the two different satellites at the same time.
Using multiple LNBs/Monoblocks instead of a motor has the benefit of channel changing (zapping) is much quicker. With a motorised system if you change from a channel being broadcast from on 30 degrees east to a channel on 30 degrees west you need to allow a little time for the motor to kick in and move the satellite dish all the way around by 60 degrees. Using a DiSEqC switch however will give an instant channel change as no physical movement of the dish is required, simply an electronic signal is sent to the switch. A motorised system however will ultimately look a lot neater than having multiple satellite dishes or multiple LNBs all on one dish.
There are multiple types of satellite receivers you can buy depending on your needs. They range from simple Free To Air Standard Definition boxes to Linux HD Twin/Triple Tuner boxes capable of recording and receiving encrypted channels. A perfect FTA satellite receiver would be our brand new Triax HDS110 FTA High Definition Satellite Receiver with USB PVR functionality. The HDS110 will pick up all available free to air channels, comes with DiSEqC 1.0 and 1.2 – allowing you to have a motor or DiSEqC switches connected. The HDS110 also features a USB PVR – simply attach a USB harddrive or pen drive and you can record, pause and rewind live TV with the touch of a button. The HDS110 Triax Receiver is also a high definition receiver, giving you an amazing crystal clear video viewing experience. We even have the Triax HDS110 receiver on special offer for the whole of August 2012 – so grab yours while they are at this special introductory rate!
Just like if you live outside the UK, to get a good UK Freesat/Sky service you will need a slightly bigger dish than you would if you lived in the UK, the same applies to foreign satellite broadcasts being received in the UK. Satellite dishes are available in a whole range of sizes from simple zone 1 Sky/Freesat minidishes (around 45cm high) upto massive 2m diameter dishes. If all you want to do is pick up free to air, Freesat or Sky signals and you live in England and Wales, the zone 1 dish is for you. If you live in Scotland or Ireland, a slightly larger Zone 2 dish will be required. However if you want to pick up satellite signals from satellites designated for other countries you will require a larger diameter satellite dish.
Larger dishes are required because you are not directly in the satellites main footprint. Forexample Sky and Freesat in the UK are provided by the Astra group of satellites located at 28 degrees east (of due south). The satellite transmits the signals directly to the UK, the strongest signals being in England and getting gradually weaker the further away you travel (this is why Scotland requires a Zone 2 dish). As you get into Europe and further away a bigger dish is required to pull in the same amount of signal needed. By the time you get to Spain a 1m dish is required! Any further away and you will not get a reliable signal no matter what size dish you have!
Foreign Satellite footprints are often published on the broadcasters and third party websites such as kingofsat.net or www.satbeams.com/footprints It is well worth checking these out to see what size dish you may require.
Generally the largest motorised foreign satellite system dishes are upto 1.2m is size with the most common topping out around 1.1m. Anything above 1.1m, satellite dishes become very expensive and heavy (usually they are made up of several parts) making them hard to install and susceptible to wind/weather. A 1.1m motorised satellite dish system will be more than adequate for most people, you will get a massive range of transmissions from across Europe, Asia and the Middle East. If you are specifically after more extreme satellites then static installations, usually not wall mounted but instead mounted on a flat roof or garden are more suitable.
If all you want is a simple system to get as many free to air foreign satellite channels as possible but with as little installation and kit as possible, then a simple 60cm dish with a monobloc could be right for you. Both Astra 19 and Hotbird 13 are the main European satellites carrying several thousand foreign channels each.
Here at Tradeworks we sell everything you need for a foreign satellite dish installation. We have friendly helpful staff ready to take your call, we can give you help and advice regarding any type of installation and even point you in the right direction if we don’t have what you need. Simply give us a call or email us for more info and advice.