Ditching Sky - Please Help!

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bigboy9

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My Satellite Setup
sky box - hate it, want a digital system in the uk with NO monthly sub!
#1
Hi,

forgive my intrusion, I am new here. I found this site via google!
I have a sky digibox and pay out over £20/month for a basic service from them. I live in the UK.
I have heard that it is possible to ditch sky and switch to an alternative digital satellite option whereby I do NOT pay a monthly fee (I am not referring to sky's offer of a 1-off fee!) I just want to be rid of sky and rid of their monthly charges.
Point is, where do i start?
I want access to CNBC, bloomberg and as many ENGLISH channels as I can get without paying any monthly fees!
Is this possible?
If so, what equipment do I need? Can anyone recommend a "top notch" supplier who can do the whole installation for me? I'd appreciate any replies.

Many thanks for your help.

Mike
 
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bigboy9

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sky box - hate it, want a digital system in the uk with NO monthly sub!
#2
forgot to add; I want to be able to electronically move the dish between satellites if at all posible - call me a lazy bas*ard - but I can t see myself going outside to manually do this! - all from the comfort of my armchair if possible!


Cheers!

Mike
 
BGonaSTICK

BGonaSTICK

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#3
Yes, all possible. You're in the right place. :)

Do a bit of reading here, and you will get a feel for what you can do.

You'll need a new receiver (£100 - £500), new dish, LNB, diseqc motor and maybe cables (£150) plus bracketry and installation (maybe £150).

You can do it cheaper than this if you invest lots of time and effort, but you sound like a 'give it to me now' kinda guy... :D
 
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bigboy9

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sky box - hate it, want a digital system in the uk with NO monthly sub!
#4
Bgonastick,



Yep!

You understsand me, I'm a "give it to me now" kin of guy who wants a damned good system - not ridiculous, but with all the future proof bells and whistles sensibly needed etc. To be able to sit in my lounge and "move" to another sat automatically would be "cool"!



Any recommendations on equipment? The costs sound reasonable, considering that I will save over £250/year from ditching sky.

I have a panasonic TX26LXd1 LCD flat screen, in case you need to know
 
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bigboy9

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My Satellite Setup
sky box - hate it, want a digital system in the uk with NO monthly sub!
#6
thanks - that's a great link.

What is really "mind boggling" for newbies like me is knowing what equipment to buy - such a confusing array.

I want to "pitch" my purchase towards the top end (I always subscribe to the view you get what you pay for etc!).

IS there a link or anywhere on this site that objectively compares and recommends the diffferent boxes, dishes etc?

Hope this isn't seen as a "stupid" question - I'm conscious of the fact that to those in the know on these things that my questions may seem basic etc!

LOL!

This is a great site - I am really excited about taking the plunge - nothnig will give me more satisfaction that calling sky and cancelling the monthly sub - having said that, I may as well keep their box/dish for the free channels I suppose - at least until I am confident that there is "no going back" to sky needed.

Cheers!
 
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Happy-Buddah

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#7
@bigboy9
Looks like another convert to the "I don't like being shafted by Rupert" brigade.

There are numerous option open to you but a motorised dish is the obvious way to go. You will not find too many english programmes on other satellites, but saying that there are more british/usa films appearing on satellites nowadays still with english dialogue and foreign subtitles. CNBC and Bloomberg, in english, can be found on other satellites.
A bit more information from you, rough location, real needs would help. A read throght the "stickies" and other threads might give you some ideas as to future questions to ask.
BTW welcome to the forum.
H-B

@BGonaSTICK
I'm surprised that with your system that you are not in a pine box;) ;) :D . I expect that it is the sea air that keeps you going:D .
Keep posting M8 (LOL).
H-B
 
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bigboy9

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sky box - hate it, want a digital system in the uk with NO monthly sub!
#8
happy-buddah,


many thanks for your comments.

my location? east midlands - between nottingham and the coast.

does that influence your recommendations?

equipment - people seem to be recommending technomate, echostar or dreambox.

however, surely what matters is not the label but the features?

My simple checklist says:

1. easy to use
2. easy to switch between satellites
3. auto search of channels?
4. can plug in easily to my panasonic TX26LXd1 LCD TV
5. future proof
6. upgradable? is this a stupid thing to say or is there such a thing?
7. Inbuilt range of decoder options - presumably, I need these to unscramble anything worthwhile.
 
closetosoton

closetosoton

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#9
bigboy9 said:
equipment - people seem to be recommending technomate, echostar or dreambox.
dreambox if you're computer minded and have an insight into linux or are willing to put the time and effort in....

bigboy9 said:
1. easy to use
no experince with lots of kit, but most modern receivers are easy enough to fathom if you've a technical mindset

bigboy9 said:
2. easy to switch between satellites
most are - if you have a motor, you'll have to wait a good few seconds, maybe half a minute if you jump from 42East to 30West, a diseqc switch with fixed lnbs, you won't notice you've switched satellites - 90% of all modern receivers supprto both diseqc switch and diseqc motors.

bigboy9 said:
3. auto search of channels?
all receivers have some scan facility - but the important thing to note here is a lot of receivers use an internal data base and search known frequencies, for known channels, so consider ones which offer "blind search" they can take upto 20mins to scan a satellite - but you're sure not to miss a single channel. that said most receivers internal databases can be updated by firmware upgrades provided byt the manufacturer.

bigboy9 said:
4. can plug in easily to my panasonic TX26LXd1 LCD TV
does it have a scart? sorted.

unless the LCD supports HD in which case you're looking a a very select range of receivers if you want HD output from the reciver and there's not a whole lot of HD broadcasts right now (only belgian provider Euro1080 springs to mind _http://www.euro1080.tv).

bigboy9 said:
5. future proof
mmm, is there such a thing? please sell me a future proof computer... :)

bigboy9 said:
6. upgradable? is this a stupid thing to say or is there such a thing?
no its not a stupid question - a lot of receivers are firmware upgradeable, some across the air if you're pointing at the right satellite, some just need a simple serial connection to a PC... check here for the various official and unofficial s/w available:
_http://www.satellites.co.uk/php-bin/forum/showthread.php?t=34148

bigboy9 said:
7. Inbuilt range of decoder options - presumably, I need these to unscramble anything worthwhile.
well, you have to decide what you want to watch, if you choose a dreambox a number of add on emulators are available (software) to decode various packages, once paired with the right keys, you might get something for free... if its not a dreambox you go for, make sure you choose a receiver that can
a) be flashed with unofficial firmware (check availability by scooting around the iternet)
or
:cool: has a CI (Common Interface) slot for inserting CAMS.

CAMS officially come on a one per encryption scheme basis and paired with the providers card will allow you to watch a channel. however there are mutlicams on the market, such as dragon/matirx reloaded which, when paired with the correct software readily available on the internet may just decode a few things you should normally have to pay for without the need for a single smart card. in additon to this there are also smart smart cards, such as fun cards, gold cards, opos cards, which can carry some pretty smart software themselves and paired with a multicam can open channels too.... i hope thats not too confusing....

-cts
 
mhku

mhku

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#10
future proof computer
Just replace the motherboard,processor, RAM and video card as needed! :p
 
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PCD

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#11
Hi Bigboy, if you are just concerned about cost and don't want to constantly learn new hardware/software tricks and methods, you would be better off staying with sky basic. The satellite hobby is quite expensive and time cosuming because channels keep disappearing regularly requiring new methods when available. Also of course many of sky channels are also available without subs. Regards, pcd.
 
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bigboy9

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sky box - hate it, want a digital system in the uk with NO monthly sub!
#12
better off with sky basic?

I don't think so.

Paying murdock et al £20/month for cr*p at present.

Bit concerned, of course, as what you seem to be saying is that receving non-sky sat broadcasts takes a lot of time and a lot of knowledge etc - whereas I want to buy a good box with a motorised dish and "scan the skies" automatically then hey presto watch it.

Is this asking too much? Does it really require so much of my time and spending on loads of "workarounds" as you indicate?
 
closetosoton

closetosoton

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#13
bigboy9 said:
Bit concerned, of course, as what you seem to be saying is that receving non-sky sat broadcasts takes a lot of time and a lot of knowledge etc - whereas I want to buy a good box with a motorised dish and "scan the skies" automatically then hey presto watch it.
@pcd don't put the man off just yet..... :cool:

@bigboy9

once you've put the initial time & investment into it, it will depend on your future desires, sure it means a bit of maintenance now and again, but if you treat it as a hobby, and enjoy playing with things technical you'll easily reap the benefits. i've only been into this for 6months or so, and so far haven't gotten frustrated with it at all. i know i can't rely on some channels being open when i want to watch them - so i record films now and again so always have a stash of things that i really want to watch at any given time. setting up a motorised system will be a bit of a challenge in the begining but once you're done with that, you're more inside on the internet/PC loading this 'n that, and eveyr so often you'll have to load up something new. i've got all my kit set up so i don't have to displace the receiver, i've a a long, long (15M+) cable connected to an old PC and occasionally i spend 5mins updating it.... don't be put off just yet... ;)

-cts
 
JTA

JTA

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#14
a lot of the Italian SKY channels carry an English audio track, so you can watch a lot of these channels from Hotbird. This includes discovery, NGC, TCM, Hallmark and many more. NOT SciFi, alas.
this is valid for as long as SKY Italia doesn't change it's encryption system, if it does, all of these channels may become unavailable ! This recently happened with the Spanish Canal+ channels (a lot having an english audio track too), and is about to happen to the Dutch Canal+ channels (which broadcast films & series in their original language, mostly english). So there's no knowing how long the free ride will last !
you have a valid SKY card for the moment, so you should also be able to receive all of the basic UK channels from Astra 2 (ITV 1-2-3, Ch4, Five). All of the other Astra 2 channels will close when your subscription ends. There are some remaining FTA channels, like travel, horror and reality.

My best bet would be a dreambox, set up by someone who knows what he's doing, and hooked up to the internet to get the emu-keys automatically whenever needed.
 
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PCD

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#15
bigboy9 said:
better off with sky basic?

I don't think so.

Paying murdock et al £20/month for cr*p at present.

Bit concerned, of course, as what you seem to be saying is that receving non-sky sat broadcasts takes a lot of time and a lot of knowledge etc - whereas I want to buy a good box with a motorised dish and "scan the skies" automatically then hey presto watch it.

Is this asking too much? Does it really require so much of my time and spending on loads of "workarounds" as you indicate?
Hi Bigboy,

I didn't mean to put you off, just pointed out that it soon becomes a hobby !
With a motorised system (the popular motors and receivers are all good, bigger the dish the better) at the very minimum you can watch all the FTA (free) channels on most of the satellites with a direct line of sight from your location. You are talking about hundreds of channels, many with english audio. Beyond that you will need to learn new tricks and buy more items. If you buy a Dreambox you will get more in the future without further expense but you need to be pc competent, whereas a season interface used with other receivers costs very little and you will still get plenty from it. These are the basic facts. If you go ahead, you will find plenty of help here. Regards, pcd.
 
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bigboy9

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sky box - hate it, want a digital system in the uk with NO monthly sub!
#16
Many thanks for all the replies - it really is appreciated.

There seems to be a lot to do - and it is critically important that I "start off right" with the right equipment.

Many of you are recommending dream.. etc, and a few others too.

Given that I want to "future proof" and "auto scan" for channels and just have an easy life, would anyone care to recommend thier top three picks for receivers?

I know a lot of you are dedicated enthusiasts, but I hope some of you will be able to give me a shortlist of recomended receivers (and "why" you recommend them to me).

I am not looking for mature content, or foreign channels with english subtitles or any such similar.

All I want is a box that can control my satellite dish, automatically scan the skies for the channels and basically be "futureproof" as much as is possible.

Clearly, I am out of my depth in that I am not an expert in this field - but I am learning quick.

My problem is curbing my enthusiasm to buy - I want one "now" but realise it is sensible through this web site to first clarify my purchase before ordering a system.

I can't wait to watch CNBC and bloomberg etc without handing murdock my hard earnt cash.

As for dish, motorised of course, I assume that .8 or .9 is the biggest I can go for - I am hearing planning problems with 1 metre dishes etc. Also, I don't want anything tooooo obturusive hanging off the side of my house.

Many thanks once again to all posting replies - having surfed the web for what now seems a lifetime (how did we live before it!?) I find everyone on this forum poilite and exceptionally helpful - I stumbled on it via google.

I want to be up and running asap, and cancelling murdock!

Cheers!
 
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PCD

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#17
Xtreme + Moetek SG2100 motor. I have had this combo for moret than 2 years and it can get the type of channels you want without any other equipment or complication. This is from my experience of 3 receivers. Good luck !
 
BGonaSTICK

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#18
I'll tell you what I would do.

Phone up a few local satellite installers. If you're not going to install the dish/motor yourself, then this is where you're headed anyway.

Pick two that you like the sound of, and that will install DiSEqC motorised systems. Many won't, as they're not really qualified.

Have at least one of them round for a site survey and quote. Find out what their recommendations are, the options for locating your dish, the range of satellites that you can receive and what equipment they can supply. Then come back here!

We can verify the info you've been given, and give you the bottom line.

As a basis for your installer discussion, I would start with the following framework.

You want a 90cm dish for your location. That's, as you rightly say, the legal limit for a dish installation without PP below the roofline in this country.

I'd recommend either the Raven Gemini 90 or the Triax TD88. About £60.

A really good LNB is the Invacom 0.3db. Don't mess about. Get the best universal LNB around. Around £25.

Motor is an easy choice. Either the STAB 90HH or 120HH for around £80 to £100 or the faster and quieter Moteck SG2100A at around £60. I'd go for the latter.

That just leaves the receiver.

IMHO you should forget the Dreambox. I have one, and no disrespect to yourself, it's not for you. Yet. :)

I would go for the Technomate TM1500 CI+ at around £130 or less to start with.

All the Technomates are good. Check them here :-

_http://www.brymar.co.uk/acatalog/Technomate_Satellite_Receivers.html

Great starter kit. Full ('blind') search facility, superb build, picture and sound quality for the money, and will re-sell well if you decide to upgrade in the future.

Further to that, I would limit your expectations of what you can receive. I would just go for a good FTA (Free To Air) setup. Easy initial setup, fully legal, no hassle, no fiddling around every week and getting frustrated.

Enjoy that for a while, and experience all that it gives. If you're bitten by it and want to then get more involved, you can expand your receiver with a CAM and/or card, or even just get the receiver patched. Don't worry about all that for now.

Most of the channels you will receive will not have English audio, but plenty will (when you've found your way around all the sats).

Having a basic idea about what you want to receive before you go shopping is generally a good idea, so have a look at www.lyngsat.com for satellites between roughly 45E and 45W. You may not get all of those sats based on your location and dish mounting options, but you'll get a flavour of what's available FTA. Each channel is marked up in different colours, and there is a key at the bottom of each page.

You will have to do some reading, like you would for any other major purchase and don't be persuaded to buy whatever the installer wants to sell you.

Get yourself a copy of What Satellite and compare features etc. of each machine for yourself, and run it by us here before you commit. Many folks here don't like to compare and/or recommend receivers but it's nice to hear from someone who already owns one. Chances are if you find a good one, you'll find an existing owner here.

HTH.

STICK
 
john_graydon

john_graydon

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Azbox premium HD+,Dusty Dreambox 7000s,& Sky HD.
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#19
Very nice reply Stick.
 
rolfw

rolfw

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Berkshire
#20
The only thing I would add to this thread is that those who spend money on sat setups on the basis of replacing Sky or in fact any subscription service, may well end up disappointed. More important, their loved ones may end up disappointed when the screens go black.

I have great fun playing with the toys of the hobby, but always have my Sky+ and subscription as a buffer when things get lean. Seen too many "My kids/wife are going to kill me unless I get the Multivision/Sky Italia/Digital+/Polsat keys" posts, the writers always end up being less than flavour of the month, particularly having spent several hundred pounds/Euros of the family budget on the setup.
 
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