BBC FTA using a 'non-Sky' box

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#1
OK, I'm all ready to go for May 30 when the BBC goes FTA on Astra 2D:
1. I've replaced my lnb with a twin one, so I can watch the Beeb upstairs while the kids watch Sky Movies or whatever downstairs.
2. I've bought a cheap digital box ('WorldSat') which works fine for the current Astra 2 FTA channels.
Does anyone know, please, what will be the transponders/symbol rate for the new Beeb channels? I think I'll need this info for the WorldSat box, as it would take forever to scan all transponders from scratch. I heard they may be on 41 to 43. I would be grateful for someone's advice.
Nick
 

rolfw

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#2
Not convinced that anyone will know the frequencies until it happens Nick, they may not even know themselves until the satellite owners let them know which transponders are free. Obviously for the people using Sky digiboxes it will all happen seamlessly (probably) ;)
 
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#3
Many thanks for the quick reply, Rolf. This explains why I can't find the info anywhere. I'll stop looking. I hope this FTA switch actually happens as planned otherwise I've wasted my money on a box that can only show CNN, Sky News, and travel programmes. I was going to get a second Sky box but changed my mind when I heard the news about the BBC going FTA. Do you think ITV will follow?
Nick:)
 

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#4
If it works for the BBC Nick, then i think that we can almost guarantee that ITV and channels 4 and 5 will follow suit when contracts permit. It will be good for me as well, my sister lives in France and has one of the original Amstrad boxes as her main subscription box and a newer grundig for BBC FTV etc, the Amstrad will be sure to give up the ghost soon, so I can swap over to the Grundig and give her a £60 FTA digital receiver to replace the FTV box.
 
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#5
Rolf,
I'm in Paris: it seems that the change is good news for some ex-pats, who are well in the 2D footprint, but very bad news for others that are out of it.
I generally only watch BBC/ITV, so the change saves me having to buy a second Sky box (one isn't enough - I have four children!).
On my FTA digital box that I just purchased, I get "Going Places" (which I understand is the main FTA test for 2D) with a signal quality of 96% (80cm dish), and of course have no problem at all on the Sky Box for ITV.
I actually find I get a better signal quality on 2D than 2A!
I hope your French relations are in a similar area, as I guess the signal drops off rapidly the more south you go.
One further quesion: I have an old TV connected to the FTA box, and if I view a 16:9 broadcast such as S4C everything is squashed up. I have to change the digibox menu from 4:3 to 16:9, then change the TV to 'letterbox mode' in order to get the correct proportions. I assume I'll have the same problem when BBC starts, as it is all 16:9 format as far as I am aware. Can I get round this problem by updating my TV set? - or is the problem with my cheap FTA box (Worldsat - it cost 129 Euros).
Many thanks in advance for your help.
Nick
 

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#6
Certainly sounds like a TV problem Nick.

With regard to my sister, she is just East of Chartre and everything storms in with a 60cm dish, a couple of installations that I've done around Paris, have had to be hidden minidishes because of local restrictions (not really allowed a dish in this area on the outskirts of Versaille), but they still receive evrything well with no signal dropout in bad weather.
 
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#7
This is reassuring news -thanks: it means that anyone in the Paris area with a larger-than-needed dish (80cm in my case) can replace it with something smaller come the next hurricane.
I get 100% on signal strength and almost full marks for quality according to the Sky Box. I used to lose some channels during very heavy rain, but this happens in the UK too as far as I've heard - I read somewhere that for the UK you should have the lnb exactly vertical, but further south, like here, you should turn the lnb clockwise by about 10° (looking at the back of the lnb and facing the dish). Ive done this and it definitely seems to improve reception during the downpours.
Don't skew it in the wrong direction as the signal dives to nothing very quickly!

Nick
 

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#8
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Many thanks for the directions to the sites - I've checked with the handy Swedish configuration program you recommended and I note that I'm not skewed enough - I need to be at 20.9°, it says (for Saint Nom-la-Bretèche).
I've adjusted the lnb so we'll see what happens during the next deluge. Anyway, loss of picture is quite a rare event - it happened twice last year during two heavy summer storms (with hail) and again this January but that was because the dish got caked in snow (they should make electrically-heated ones!?).
Is it possible to have a dish that is too big ?- I wonder if I'm picking up extraneous noise that can readily swamp the signal with the current 80cm dish I have.

Nick
 

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#10
Yes Nick, you can have too much signal, but an 80cm should normally be OK.

PS. I'm sure that they do make heated dishes, but probably only the big ones.
 

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#11
Originally posted by Nick123

One further quesion: I have an old TV connected to the FTA box, and if I view a 16:9 broadcast such as S4C everything is squashed up. I have to change the digibox menu from 4:3 to 16:9, then change the TV to 'letterbox mode' in order to get the correct proportions. I assume I'll have the same problem when BBC starts, as it is all 16:9 format as far as I am aware. Can I get round this problem by updating my TV set? - or is the problem with my cheap FTA box (Worldsat - it cost 129 Euros).
Many thanks in advance for your help.
Nick
Hi Nick, this sounds more like a problem with your box. The reason it is squashed is because the TV is receiving a 16:9 anamorph signal. Normally the TV should only be getting this if your digibox is set to 16:9 in the picture settings. By changing the digibox to 4:3 and the letterbox option to on you should then get a picture with black bars at the top and bottom thus preserving the 16:9 format. If you have the letterbox option on your digibox set to off you should then get a full screen 4:3 picture but cropped at the sides as to be able to preserve the 4:3 picture.
The reason for the squashing is because a 16:9 TV would receive this picture and then pull it apart as it were.
If you have a letterbox mode on your 4:3 TV which then squashes the picture back together and creates black bars at the top and bottom its better to use this as an anamorph picture has a much better resolution than a 4:3 letterbox.

Methos.
 
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#12
Thanks for the info, Methos, but my STB doesn't seem to behave as you say. The TV is an old 4:3 set as you know, but it has a letterbox option (it reduces the height of the picture); the STB doesn't have a letterbox option, but does have a 4:3/16:9 option. With the TV in normal mode and the STB on 4:3, all channels are correct except a 16:9 signal like S4C - this is squashed horizontally (black bars on sides). If I switch to 16:9 on the STB, then S4C fills the whole 4:3 screen, but of course the proportions still aren't correct: neither are the 4:3 signals, they now have black bars top and bottom. If I now push the letterbox button on the TV, S4C comes into proportion (black bars top & bottom), and normal 4:3 stuff now has even bigger black bars top/bottom. Is this how it should be?
TV is an 18 year old Sont Trinitron; STB is French Worldsat Impérial 300L. Perhaps I ought to move it and try it downstairs on my 16:9 Philips TV? - but this means unplugging a lot of wires and disturbing a maze of sleads to Sky box, DVD's etc.
Nick
 

methos_de

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#13
Hi Nick, this is definately not how it should be. If your STB doesnt have a letterbox feature you should when using 4:3 mode have correct proportions on 4:3 transmissions and when watching a 16:9 programme the picture should be cropped at the sides to then make it a 4:3 picture.
If you had the STB set to 16:9 a 4:3 programme should still be fine on your TV as the STB doesnt generate any bars on the side this is done by your TV and all 16:9 programmes should be squashed sideways giving the appearance that the people are all approx. 8 foot tall.
You could then use your letterbox feature on your TV which would then squash the picture back together making the people again look normal.
I am not familiar with your box but all STBs and DVD players í've seen and used, which are quite a few, all use the same principal. If you still have the manual its worth reading just in case it is different with yours but I cant imagine it is because no matter how you set it up it doesnt work properly.
It may be worth while setting it up with your 16:9 TV. Normally you should then set the STB to 16:9 and it'll work fine.
Do you have the STB connected to the TV with a RGB cable and have the STB setup for RGB and of course the TV ?
Any signals sent from the box to the TV to change the picture format are sent via RGB and not via composite video. Might be worth trying on your 4:3 TV first. But to be honest I dont think this will help. Sounds like your box is a bit confused ;-)

Methos.
 
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#14
You're diagnosis seems correct, Methos - the STB is wierd. I plugged it into my widescreen TV downstairs (direct scart connection, fully-wired) and nothing happens automatically (not like with my Sky box). If I leave the STB on 4:3, 16:9 programs are predictably squashed vertically, but if I leave it on 16:9, the 4:3 channels are squashed horizontally. The best I can do is set the TV to automatic full-screen and suffer all the fat-faced people on 4:3 stations.
The other annoying thing about this box is that it doesn't store the time, video mode, or the language settings if you unplug it - it reverts to GMT, PAL DK and French at the slightest loss of power.
So others may avoid it, it's a Worldsat Impérial 300L.
Thanks,
Nick
 
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