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Telespeed Aerials 135 Aughton Rd Aughton Sheffield S26 3XD
Tel:  0114-287-8936   Mob: 07971-846-153 Email: telespeed@tspd.org.uk

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Over 30 years Experience in TV Reception - Problems Welcome!

   All About Freesat!
Rod
by: Rod Buck
200 FREE Channels, and Stunning HD Pictures!
Freesat is another, better way to get TV. Instead of using a large, often ungainly aerial on your roof, it uses a compact unobtrusive dish like a Sky dish.

As well as getting you perhaps 60-70 more channels than an aerial (Freeview), Freesat, gives you the most stunning HD pictures - better than Sky, better than Freeview, in my opinion - crisp, sharp pictures that allow your HD-Ready set to live up to its full promise! And, unlike Sky, there are NO monthly fees!
Typical dish
Don't Confuse Freesat with Freeview!
When I mention Freesat to people, they often say:

"Oh, I've got that built in to my TV already"

No, you haven't. Or at least, it's very unlikely, unless you have a very expensive TV.

What you almost certainly have built in to your set is FREEVIEW.

FREEVIEW is built into all TV sets that have been made in the last 6 years or so, and it is a tuner that gets its pictures from a normal TV aerial.

FREESAT is a totally different system that gets its pictures from a dish, NOT an aerial. There are a few TV's that have a FREESAT tuner built in, but 95% of TV's don't have one. You need a separate box to connect to the dish to receive it. The box takes the pictures from the dish, and converts them into a form the TV can understand and display. Like a Sky box does, but without subscription.
HD-Ready TV
If you bought a flatscreen TV in the last 5 years, it will probably be "HD-Ready". This means the screen can show a High-Definition picture, but the Freeview tuner inside can only receive SD (standard-definition) pictures from an aerial.

You need an external HD receiver box that plugs into the HDMI port on the rear of the TV to show full HD. Freesat HD is one of the best ways of doing this - the wider satellite bandwidth gives the best HD pictures (well, I think so, anyway, and I see a lot of TV's).

Most of the same channels that you can get on a Freeview aerial are there - and a lot more. Freeview (from a normal aerial) has about 123 channels.   As I write this, there are currently 203 channels on FreeSat.

However, there are a few channels (Dave, and Quest, I think are a couple of them) that are on Freeview, but not on Freesat yet.

Can I Get Sky Sports or Premier Football on Freesat?
No. Sky Sports pay a fortune for Premier League football and other sports, and they can't afford to give them away for nothing. If you seriously want these sort of sports channels, then you must use Sky, or have a special Freeview box with a TV subscription, such as BT Vision.

"Freesat" means just that - it is FREE. There is no mechanism to pay a bit extra and get extra channels. If just Sky Sports were available on Freesat if you could pay, say, an extra 5 a month, then thousands would leave Sky, and go to Freesat. Which is why Sky will never agree to provide sports to Freesat - it would be commercial suicide, wouldn't it?

No, if Sport is truly important to you, then you really have to stick with Sky. There is no way round it.
Which Channels Does Freesat Carry?

Freesat carries quite a few more channels than Freeview (which you get via a normal TV aerial). To see a list of the current channels (this is for Feb 2017, and more are being added all the time) then click this link:

List Of Freesat Channels - Feb 2017

Click the link to view the file, or right-click and use "Save Link As" in Firefox it to download the .pdf

It's a large file, so it can take a few seconds to download on a slow connection.

If you are using Firefox, the download isn't always apparent. You have to click the Download arrow at the top right of the screen to see it.

You need a PDF viewer like Adobe Reader to view it.

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Freesat NEVER Needs Retuning!
You know on your Freeview TV, about every month or two you get that annoying message that your set needs retuning? This is because they have added, or removed channels at the transmitter, or shuffled them around, causing them to disappear from your TV. Retuning isn't always easy - in our area many people can receive FOUR transmitters on their aerial - the Sheffield local relay at Crosspool, the main Emley Moor transmitter at Huddersfield, the East Yorks/Lincs transmitter at Belmont near Louth, and the North-East Transmitter at Bilsdale, near Middlesbrough.

If you do a normal auto-tune, you risk the TV locking in to the wrong transmitter, and giving you bad reception, and the wrong local news. As an engineer, I spend a lot of time retuning people's sets to the correct transmitter. (There's a special Engineers manual tuning menu on most sets, but you have to know what you're doing to use it).

The good news is, that Freesat doesn't need retuning - ever! The box does it automatically in the middle of the night, so any new channels or channel changes are taken care of without you having to do anything!
FreeSat Gets You The Correct Local News - Guaranteed!
There are many more channels available via satellite - and the satellite covers all of the UK, so FreeSat broadcasts ALL the local versions of BBC and ITV. Whether you live in Sheffield, Newcastle, Brighton, North Wales, or wherever, you can get the appropriate local news on BBC and ITV.

(Using a normal TV aerial, many people in Sheffield can only get a picture from the Belmont transmitter in Lincolnshire, and this carries the wrong local news for our area. Freesat gets round this problem, and gives you the correct South Yorkshire news)

How does the FreeSat receiver know which local news to display? Easy. When it is first installed, it asks you to enter your postcode, and from this, it works out where you live and what local news to put on BBC1 (for us, it's Look North, obviously) and ITV (Calendar). I take care of the system setup for you when I install it.

The other regions are available to select via a channel number - so if you want to keep up with local news in Newcastle or Southampton, you can!
What About TV-on-Demand?
Some of the better-class receivers, such as Freesat HD Receivers or Freesat HD Recorders have the capability to be connected to your Internet Router.

If you have a reasonably-fast broadband connection (Sheffield-based Plusnet do a good fast service for only around 6-7 a month), you can watch LOTS of extra programmes via BBC iPlayer and ITV Player

However, from September 2016, the BBC are making major changes to BBC iPlayer, which will make it impossible for many Smart TV's and Freesat Boxes to receive iPlayer. This is because many people are using iPlayer to avoid having to pay for a TV licence, so the BBC are restricting the iPlayer to devices such as computers and tablets that have a full Browser interface. I believe this will mean eventually that you may have to have a licence-based password to enter the BBC iPlayer (thus proving that you have paid for a licence). More news on this as we get it.

There are many other online sources you can download programmes from, too.
What Equipment Do You Need To Get FreeSat?
The Dish
Well, you need a dish first of all. This can be a normal Sky-type dish. In fact, you can use an old Sky dish perfectly well, if you have one that works, and don't use it for Sky any more - the signals come from the same satellites. However, it may not have enough connections for the number of sets you want to run, so it's probably best to have a new up-to-date one.
Freesat dish
How Many TV's?
You can have more than one TV running from a FreeSat dish. It's possible to have up to 6 TVs in different rooms - all running from the same dish.

(Each TV (or set-top box) can watch a different channel, of course)
What Receivers?
Ordinary Freeview TV's and Set-top boxes won't work with a FreeSat dish. (Freeview TV's and decoders are designed to work with a TV aerial, not a dish).  You need the correct FreeSat equipment. You have two choices:

High-Definition (HD) FreeSat Non-Recording Boxes
HD Freesat

An HD FreeSat box, like this, gives much better picture quality on ordinary channels (as compared to an aerial)- and will give you absolutely stunning HD pictures on HD channels. No one I've installed one for has been less than impressed! An HD box usually has a Recorder output socket, so it can be connected to a DVD recorder or similar. But it only receives one channel at a time, so you can't watch one channel and record another...

Also many of these HD receivers can connect to the Internet, so you can use them to download programmes-on-demand, from the likes of BBC iPlayer  and  ITV Player

There are many other online sources you can download programmes from, too.

Twin-Tuner Recorder FreeSat Boxes
A Freesat Recorder Box

A Twin-Tuner Recorder (also known as a PVR or Personal Video Recorder), like this will get the HD channels available. But it's main atttraction is that it will let you watch one channel and record another at the same time.

Or, if you go out, you can set it to record two channels at the same time.

If you have a normal aerial as well as the dish, you can watch a third programme while the other two are recording - or you can replay a programme you recorded earlier - while two channels are being recorded!

Lets face it, there's often acres of garbage on, then 3 good programmes at once!

I can't recommend these too highly - one BIG advantage is that you can miss all the adverts by skipping over them in just a few seconds!  There is much more to tell you about these amazing gadgets - if you get one, you'll wonder how you ever managed without it...full details are given here.

Like the HD receivers, many of these Recorders can connect to the Internet, so you can use them to download programmes from the likes of BBC iPlayer and ITV Player

There are many other online sources you can download programmes from, too.


How Much Will FreeSat Cost?
Well, it's very variable - no two situations seem to be the same, either in where the dish will be positioned, where the cables can be run, or what you require in the way of receivers.

A new dish with a High-Definition Non-Recording box, we do for £217, fitted.

A new dish with full HD Twin-Tuner-Recorder is typically £357.

All equipment carries a full 2-year onsite warranty. In other words, if anything goes wrong with either your dish or box, we come straight out (usually the same day) and replace the faulty item with a new one. If it's a box that has failed, we just take it away, and leave you with a new one. We will get it exchanged by the manufacturer for a new one ourselves).

If you want Freesat fitted to your house, I usually like to come out and have a look at it, and have a chat about what you want, and where you want the dish put. I don't charge anything for coming to have a look, of course.
The Actual Cost Will Depend On:
  • Are there any buildings or trees in the way? If there are, I may have to use special mountings, to get the dish above the roofline.  (The dish has to point roughly South-East).
  • Whether you have an existing Sky dish that is no longer used. (I can often re-use the Sky dish for FreeSat).
  • Whether you want the the dish just to connect to the TV in the Living Room, or whether you want it piped to other rooms as well.
  • What quality of FreeSat box you wish to purchase:

    High Definition (HD) Receiver   or   HD Twin-Tuner Recorder
  • Or whether you have, or wish to buy, a TV with FreeSat Built In.
What About Extra Outlets?
Again, it depends on how many outlets you want, and how difficult to wire up they are. Some houses come with bedroom sockets already wired up to the loft, and it's relatively easy to connect them up there. In other cases I have to run wires to each outlet, and, depending on how easy access is, that can take time. That's why I usually need to come and have a look at the property and discuss what you want, in order to cost it accurately.

There's Often More Than One Way...

Call me on: 0114-287-8936 or 07971-846-153 for a chat, or email me on telespeed@tspd.org.uk and I'll come and discuss it with you, free of charge.

There may be a way to get what you want that saves money.. or gives a better result.

Rod Buck

Rod Buck



   

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