Receiving UK programmes in France ?

B

baruffaldi

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#1
As a complete novice (I do not and have never owned a satellite system) to the world of satellites, any help that can be offered with the following query would be greatly appreciated.

I have a holiday home in the South of France near Montpellier and usually stay there 3/4 weeks of the year. I am interested in installing a satellite system to receive UK programming and other English speaking channels.

Reading various topics / threads it seems consideration can be given to :

1. Second hand out of contract Sky digibox with fta BBC card (what channels can I receive ?)

2. Second hand out of contract Sky digibox with subscription (using a neighbours address to secure card).

3. Consider installing a Sky digibox in England and subscribing. Install a second hand out of contract box in France and take card when abroad.

4. Digital receiver with some form of programmable card (although keys may change whilst I'm in France and I may struggle to get access to the internet for replacement keys)

5. Obtain an old analogue receiver with some form of programmable card (but concerned about the future availability of analogue programmes)

Given the limited time that we stay in France, what is the most cost effective option that will give me the greatest coverage of English speaking channels ?

Whilst the above are what I believe to be some of my options, I freely admit to being confused and I struggle to know what to I should do. Any suggestions ?

Signed,
A confused novice with two kids asking "Dad, why can't we have television when we are in France ....."


Any help / guidance would be greatly appreciated.
 

w hole

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#2
i assume you already have sky digital at home.

if yes : Get a good sized dish installed on your property in France and take the sky box and card with you.

of no : Get sky installed at home for £40.00 and then as above.

it's the easiest way.

good luck - come back if you need any clarification

w hole
 

2old4this

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#3
The "BBC card" enables you to receive:
BBC-1, 2, Choice, Choice-N.Ire., Choice-Scot., Choice-Wales, Knowledge, News-24
Also the non-BBC channels: Channel-4, Channel-5

In addition to that, a Sky digibox is capable of receiving a number of unencrypted channels such as TCM, Sky-News, CNN, travel, QVC,.....

And by the way, on terminology: "FTA-card" is an oxymoron. A card is only required for enctrypted channels and the definition of FTA (free to air) is "unencrypted". The BBC Card is actually a FTV card (Free-to view - meaning that though the channels it enables are encrypted, they are non-subscription for UK residents).

Before you can sensibly be advised on what equipment you need, you must decide which channels you need to receive. If you MUST have BBC1 & 2 for example, then you MUST have a Sky Digibox. No other receiver or device is capable of decrypting the Sky/NDS Videoguard system and BBC-1 & 2 are only carried by satellite on Sky's Videoguard-encrypted digital platform.
If you MUST have Sky, then you will not be able to use a "home-made" card because the digital Videoguard and even the analogue transmissions are secure (no hack available).
If you don't need either, then a Seca/Mediaguard system with 'home-made' card offers the best price/performance advantage as it were.

So what do you want to watch??

2old
 
B

baruffaldi

Guest
#4
w hole & 2old

Thanks for the replies to my posting. I have two main objectives :
1. To receive UK programmes in France
2. To leave the equipment down there for any visitors

I don't have SKY in the UK and currently don't have any intention to (but I may be bitten by the satellite bug and this may change!!). My purpose in this venture is to give the kids TV when in France and from your replies I think that channels received via the FTV route will be adequate without the need to subscribe.

Although arranging an installation in the UK will be the least cost, is not feasible to leave the digibox in France because of the need for a phone connection whilst on contract. Therefore I think that the best option is to go for a secondhand ex-contract digibox and order a FTV card from the BBC.

I have trawled through Loot, eBay, etc. to get an idea of what is on offer and at what cost, but would welcome emails of recommended suppliers. Are there any views on which box is best ? I noticed comments about tuner problems with the Amstrad.

Following one of 2old's link I can see that the Astra footprint suggests that the standard Sky digital dish will not be sufficient and I should go for at least 60cm. However, comments have also been made about Sky using a new beam to target the UK. Is this the 2D UK beam which appears to have a much smaller footprint ? Should I consider going for a bigger dish in case SKY move the FTV programmes across to this new beam ? If so, how big ? The dish will be located in Montpellier near Marseilles in the South of France.

A friend has an old dish that he used for his analogue system prior to going to cable. Will the dish (assuming correct size), LNB and cabling be ok, ? Do I need a different LNB ?

Again, following a 2old recommended link, I went to the SMW site and downloaded a program (version 2.0, I had problems with version 3.0) to calculate angle, elevation, etc. for dish alignment. I had hoped that the site might also give me clear consise step by step instructions but ..... that's life ! Is there a site that I can go to ?

How easy is dish alignment or am I being follhardy to even consider that I may be able to install it myself ? Do I need a meter ?

I know that I am a novice but I have done some research (via this site) so that, hopefully, I do not waste people's time by asking daft questions.

Well I hope that I haven't asked any daft questions !!

As ever, any advice / feedback will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
 

2old4this

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#5
W.r.t. second-hand ex-contract Digiboxes, I have alerted a contact of mine who may be able to help you.

All boxes offer identical fucntionality, Some boxes (Sony, Panasonic) are generally regarded as the best because either they are slightly more reliable or they are quicker loading particularly the Open... pages (their chipset must be better).

But if you're buying second-hand don't worry too much about such nuances. The biggest challenge is to find one with a matched working card. Which box it is should be a secondary consideration.

Yes, the new astra 2d satellite has a tightly focussed beam extending only part-way into mainland Europe.
Check which channels are carried on the beam here:
http://www.lyngsat.com/dig/skyuk.shtml
Here's the footprint (dish sizes also indicated)
http://www.astra.lu/corporate/press/gallery/footprints/2_d.htm

It juuuuuuust covers the whole of France, but in the south-east extremities you need a dish of up to 1.2m

Aligning a motorised dish is triucky, but a fixed dish (as I assume you would want) is a doddle. Don't listen to the nay-sayers who insist it is virtually impossible. Granted it is a little trickier to locate the "all or nothing" digital signals than it is analogue signals, but if you aim your dish at the correct spot using the elevation figures given by that program, then you can't really go too far wrong. Just remember to sweep up and down in that area in very tiny steps, at each step waiting about 10 seconds to give the tuner time to lock onto any digital signal it has found. I've fitted several fixed dishes in this low-tech way, without meters (other than the meter given in the menu options of the satellite receivers). Takes an hour or two max. The bigger the dish, the more accurately (counter-intuitively) it must be aligned. If indeed you start with a large dish in order to be able to pick up the 2d uk beam as well, then you may find it takes longer to get the alignment (especially as the reception may still only be marginal .

2old
 
B

baruffaldi

Guest
#6
Thanks again 2old.

I followed the link to look at the channel list for 2D UK. It appears that SKY are moving their subscription channels onto this beam and that 2A/B continue to carry the FTV channels (how long for is anyone's guess !)

An element of pot luck ? ..... If I go to 60cm I will be able to pick up the 2A/B beam and the FTV channels but if they move to 2D UK then I will need to replace the dish for 1.2m

I have the chance to obtain a 60cm dish (boxed and unused with brackets, feed arm, etc.) with the following LNB (Grundig Universal AUN14S 0.7dB 9.75-10.6GHz). Not sure what the LNB spec means, but will it do the job in the S. of France? He wants £20, which sounds reasonable to me.

I have received an offer for help (I assume your contact since I have seen his name on previous postings) to supply a box with FTV card. I was about to accept his offer when I received a further email offering to supply a brand new digibox (without a FTV card) for the same price. How easy is it to obtain a FTV card ? Am I better off going for the 2nd hand with matching card ?


Once again, any guidance offered gratefully received.
 

zansi

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#7
[font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON 23-Mar-01 AT 08:51 PM (GMT)[/font][p]I would be very wary of a "new" box if offered for less than £115.00 + Vat which is the Sky dealer ASA price.

Whilst it is fairly easy to obtain a BBC card from a UK address
the box may have originated from a "dubious" source and problems may arise when you try to enable a viewing card as all boxes are electronic serial numbered and this has to be quoted before they will send out the "enable" signal. You have been warned!

zansi


>I received a further email
>offering to supply a brand
>new digibox (without a FTV
>card) for the same price.
> How easy is it
>to obtain a FTV card
>? Am I better
>off going for the 2nd
>hand with matching card ?
>
>
>
>Once again, any guidance offered gratefully
>received.
>
 
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