Combining Sky Digital with a Foreign Channel in the UK

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paboutin

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#1
Hi,

I am starting from scratch and a have a few questions that may straddle over two or three forums. Thanks for your input and help.

I intend to subscribe to Sky Digital (Astra2 28.2E) and to either French Canal+ (Astra1 19.2E) or TPS (HotBird 13E). I do not have a TV Aerial. I am not interested in Atlantic Bird (PAL TV).

1) Can I use a two-feed dish (one of which beaming Astra2) or are the satellites too far apart and require two dish?

2 a) If a two-feed dish is technically OK, can I add an LNB to the mini-dish provided by Sky, or do I need a special dish?

2 :cool: Also if a two-feed dish is technically OK, is the 60cm dish from Sky big enough for Astra1 or HotBird from London (I hope so, I live in a conservation area, e.g dish = 60cm max).

3) Can Sky’s digibox be also used to decrypt Canal+/TPS’s programs? Or do I need two digital boxes?

4 a) If Sky’s digibox alone is OK, what happen if I cancel my subscription to Sky after 12 months? Will I still be able to read Canal+/TPS smart-cards? (In relation to question 6)

4 :cool: Also, if Sky’s digibox alone is OK, can I watch and record two programs from two different satellite at the same time? (I suppose not as these boxes have probably only one card-reading slot).

5) If I need two different digital boxes, I suppose I can easily add a 1-2 switch to the TV set?

6) I am actually more interested in the Freeview type programs than Sky’s, but do not really want to install a TV aerial and forking-out £150 for Sky’s Freesat makes little sense. Can I downgrade to Freesat if I cancel my subscription to Sky after twelve months?

Any food for thought welcome! Thanks
 
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spiney

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#2
Hey, that's loadsa questions! Well, anyway, here's some answers (I hope correct, but certainly not complete, and of course other people will add corrections and more stuff ...... ).

To your numbered questions ....

1) A monobloc (twin horn) lnb, for a single dish, is available for Astra1/Hotbird, using a single 60cm dish (although ideally would be 80cm!), but - as u say - Astra2 and (hotbird/astra1/both) are a bit further apart, so then you require 2 dishes (minidish for Sky Astra2, and 60cm for hotbird/astra1/both).

You can also use a larger size single dish, with 3 lnbs, for all 3 satellites (some dishes are specially designed just for this!), but it would be bigger than 60cm!

2a) Regardless of whether you use one single large dish, or one largish and one smaller dish, all Ku band lnbs work the same (are electrically identical) for all satellites. But, beware mechanical fixings! The "standard" lnb fixing is a circular ring, but Sky minidishes usually have an incompatible "bracket" instead, so the lnb needs to be a corresponding type. Having said that, Sky minidishes usually come complete with an lnb already fitted, so you don't need to buy one separately.

2b) Unfortunately, for all this, I don't see how you can avoid either a large single dish, or 2 smaller dishes instead, a problem in a conservation area! But, you can buy various transparent dishes, and/or a "sat antenna" instead of a minidish, which maybe would be ok? (ask the council!). You can also motorise a single dish, fairly easy with the modern diseqc system, it would work, but could be a bit awkward, as the Sky digibox is designed to "always point" at Astra2, and doesn't "mix well" with other satellite equipment.

3) A Sky receiver can only decode Sky's unique proprietry "videoguard" ecryption, and no other types, there's no way you can use it with a Canal CAM and viewing card.

(However, there's an "unofficial dodge" which will work "the other way round", using a dreambox sat receiver, and "patched" Dragon CAM with Sky viewing card, so you could use a single sat receiver to get all encrypted channels, Sky, Canal, TPS, etc. However, note, this is unofficial, and Sky can "slightly change" their encryption at any time, then this would suddenly stop working! Also, a non-Sky sat receiver won't get some things - like the BBCi text services - which also use Sky proprietry software).

4) If a Sky subscription is not renewed, the Sky viewing card reverts to "Freesat" status, ch/4/5/Sky3 only (since ITV's now suddenly free-to-air!).

5) There's various ways of connecting 2 receivers to 1 tv set, depending on the exact facilities each has, it shouldn't be a problem.

6) Once you get a Sky subscription - or Freesat - you're obliged to pay for it! Freesat is a one-off payment (maybe by installments), and the minimum subscription is 1 year.

However, you can get a Sky digibox cheap - maybe from ebay - it will work without viewing card but not get ch4/ch5/Sky3.

Or, in London SE3, although I can't guarantee it, most Freeview receivers should work acceptably well on just a "bit of wire" sticking out of aerial socket, although the picture can sometimes "jump" as people move around the room .....

Hope that helps, good luck!
 
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spiney

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Pace 2200 Sky digibox with ftv card, Comag SL65 FTA sat receiver, 40cm Sky minidish, Setpal terrestrial receiver (for free uk tv only!).
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#3
Just adding to my own reply, to Paboutin ......

Location london SE3 is "almost directly underneath" the Crystal Palace tv transmitter, with the most poweful DTT signal in the UK!

There's still no "absolute guarantee" (who can give one?!), but any Freeview receivers used in that area - even the very cheapest ones - should certainly have no problem at all in working on just - literally - a short piece of wire sticking out of the back! For any residential accomodation, it would take an exceptional problem to make this unviable (eg, living underground!).

Also, I sort-of implied you might get 3 CAMs into a Dreambox receiver, which is probably wrong, even with the right software (any experts care to comment?).

Bearing in mind the conservation area bit, even though "awkward" when combined with a Sky digibox, you could certainy motorise a standard single 60cm dish (unless explicitly forbidden), and this way get the satellites you want.
 
rolfw

rolfw

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#4
A 60 cm dish pointing at Astra 19.2 East, with a 9 degree offset arm for 28.2 East will suffice for London.
 
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