HTPC + Sattelites
I'm going to be getting a dish put up soon (never had one before), and I am curious as to what I will be able to receive. I want Freesat HD (DVB-S2), but I also have an analogue tuner and freeview combo(DVB-T, DVB-S). My question is this. Will the dish just point at 1 sat and I'm stuck with it or will I be able to get a signal off another i.e. the satellites are in a similar part of the sky?
And my second question. What channels can I receive that are not on the Freesat setup?
It will depend on what satellite you point the Dish at, unless you get a motorised dish moving device. There are a great many satellites out there for getting TV from so that would dictate what you get and how you get it.
Your Dish installer will point it at the most suitable one I would expect and cable it to your room etc. So you want the one that gives you the best. Google will be your friend.
Satellite isn't like terrestial TV - your dish points at one satellite only. Even a small dish has got a very narrow beamwidth compared to a conventional UHF yagi aerial. In any case, you don't want the dish to "see" more than one satellite, because they re-use the frequencies.
There are ways of supplimenting this (at a range of costs), but if you have one dish and one LNB, you're only going to see one satellite. If you want to watch Freesat and Freesat HD, this has to be 28.2 east (Astra 2); Freesat doesn't work on any other satellite and most Freesat boxes won't let you watch anything other then Freesat channels (but see below for Humax). I've had a Humax HD box for six months and I'm very pleased with it. By the way, "satellite" sometimes means a cluster of satellites at almost the same location - as in the case of Astra 2, which is actually several co-located satellites. They are close enough in orbit to be within your beamwidth.
The second most popular satellite is Hotbird at 13 east, which has a lot of :censored: content. The old Astra 1 location at 19.2 east is currently full of central and eastern european channels, with little interest for UK unless you happen to have origins from that area or want to learn a new language. For Hotbird, you can get an add-on bracket for your dish - this lets you fit a second LNB alongside your normal one, with exactly the right spacing to focus on Hotbird and Astra 2 at the same time. To make this work, you need some sort of coaxial switch to select between the two LNBs - this can be manual or automated (DiSEqC). If you're buying the Humax Freesat box, this supports DiSEqC selection (as far as I know, the Humax is the only Freesat box that also allows you to see non-freesat channels). Otherwise, you would need to buy a second receiver too (messy...) I don't have a Sky HD box, but I believe they are also somewhat restricted as to what you can watch (and of course, Sky doesn't recognise the Freesat extended features).
If you want to spend a lot of money, you can have motorized dishes and stuff. I've done that, but I got bored with it in the end. :eek:
The other option to fitting an offset bracket and having 2 lnb's on the same arm is to get a monoblock lnb fitted this is effectively 2 lnbs and the switch all build into one houseing with the correct offset to pick up astra and hotbird.
You then only have one cable to run back to the receiver.
Speak to your installer they should know whats available.
There are lots of other receivers out there that can pick up all sorts of channels including the freesat ones but unless you buy a freesat box I don't think you can get the full epg as it's encrypted.
Having said that it's not really a problem.
I have a technomate 9100 super linux based receiver and freesat works great on that.
Good point about the monobloc LNBs, a tidy solution. One possible problem with non-Freesat receivers is ITV-HD - I believe everyone's having problems with this because it's intimately geared up to the Freesat "environment", deliberately so. Unlike BBC HD, it isn't presented as a separate channel as such, it's an alternate data feed to the "same" channel (press the red button to see HD). Obviously the red button is part of the Freesat-specific feature set, but what I don't know is if you can capture the HD data feed directly.
It doesn't matter if on an official box you have to press red.
With the right settings the stream can be picked up by other hd boxes.
Read reports of various people with various hd sat boxes getting whilst not as flawless and easy to use as an official freesat box it depends on your usage.
Oh! By the way, dos_box, one of the best sources of information about what channels you can actually receive is on Europe, Africa & Middle East - LyngSat - this site will probably tell you more than you need or even want to know. Sorry if I underestimate your curiosity :)
I have experience of both Technomate and Humax boxes.
The Freesat name is more about the EPG [Electronic Programme Guide](that enables you to see whats on.) The Humax Foxsat HD box can receive both BBC and ITV in HD, (when they are broadcasting which as others have said is not often for ITV but last nights football was on!) This box also has a non freesat mode where you can tune in any other "free to air" channels that are broadcast from the same satellite as the Freesat channels. You can get reconditioned(?) ones of these from humaxdirect.co.uk for £89.
Humax make a more expensive version of the FOXSAT HD thats a PVR as well.
A Technomate 3150 for example could also be tuned in to all these channels but would not get you the Freesat EPG, but a simpler now and next one. This receiver has the ability to record channels to a USB disk which connects via a USB port on the back. These recordings are in TS file format and there are viewers that can play these files back via your PC (media player calssic for example). I know of schools who record Teachers TV programmes for staff to view whenever. This receiver can be had for under £50. They have the ability to drive a motorised dish if thats what you have installed.
There are good forums around to pick up useful advice
MythTV guys have a plugin that decodes the Freesat EPG.