This is far easier than it sounds and most people plump for the Sky option
for satellite TV out of laziness. It seems much easier to go for Sky because
it is all done for you. But it is just as easy to get a European Satellite
setup all installed for you and as well as getting all the Sky channels, you
get much more besides from all around the world.
Before we start, here are some key explanations for words I will use further
in the document:
STB = Set Top Box (Just like your Sky Box)
I now have a Phoenix Apollo CI+MC see www.phoenixsat.com
This is a better box than my previous model:
DISH = Self explanatory. This is Sky call a Mini Dish
a little information on Dishes. You will need an 80cm dish at least.
Dishes up to 90cm do not require planning permission unless inside a
LNB = This is the unit you see on the end of the metal rod that
points at your dish and picks up the signal received by your dish.
CAM = This is a small card that goes in to a ďCam SlotĒ in your STB.
Most STBís have 2 Cam Slots. A Cam has a circuit board in it, which will
unscramble certain channels. Also, in to a Cam you can put a CARD. You
can see what they look like a read further here:
CARD = Like a Sky viewing Card. A variety of cards are available
at extra cost to descramble certain channels BUT blank cards can be
purchased and programmed at home by uploading keys to them you can
download from the web.
CARD PROGRAMMER =
This is a small unit you attach to your PC. In to it, you can put a CARD
or a CAM. It is attached to the PC via USB and your send data to it from
your PC. The programmer then sends the info to your card or cam and will
unscramble certain channels. Mine is a CAS3.
As I am by no means an expert on setting up European Dishes and setups
for all types of Euro viewing, I can only really talk about my own system. I
will provide details of it and costs involved.
The first move it to choose a box and supplier. I bought my kit from a
company called New Channels in Yorkshire. I believe they have shops
throughout the country but with a little shopping around you can find a
supplier in your town. Use www.yell.com
and type in satellite installation. Kits like this cannot be bought from
Currys, Comet, Dixons etc.
For the purpose of this exercise, letís say you chose the Fortec Star Plus+ Ultra. This is a Common Interface Box, which
basically means it can be programmed at home and have itís software updated.
Here is the homepage:
This box has the capacity to store thousands upon thousands of channels and
has two Cam slots. It also and importantly has a serial connection port at
the back to connect it to my computer or laptop. If you prefer something
else with more or less features, then any shop you buy a STB from will
advise you further BUT you should insist it is programmable and has cam
slots. There are a LOT of boxes to choose from and some other good ones
include Technomate and particularly Dreambox.
When you have chosen your box and supplier, and explained you wish to view
European TV for football, movies and more, he will most likely recommend
your model of dish (80cms minimum) and all you need to do then is arrange a
time and date for installation.
For installation, you have two options:
OPTION 1. A FIXED position dish and possibly a dual or triple LNB.
This will most likely be pointed at satellites HOTBIRD and ASTRA 1 &
ASTRA 2. Obviously, this is the cheaper option because you do not pay
for a motor to move your dish around to pick up other satellites. Once
installed, there is nothing left to pay.
A Fortec Star box like mine retails for around £145
A 80cm Dish is approx £50
Fitting and installation £60
Thatís it. Forever! You should get a 12 month guarantee too in case the
wind moves it or the box goes faulty. You are looking at a £320 one time
payment to watch all the TV you ever wanted. Iíll get to unscrambling
OPTION 2. Fully MOTORIZED System
This is exactly what it sounds like. A motor is attached to your
dish. It is small and discreet and moves your dish around. Whilst
watching TV, you can bring up a list of satellites that your box can
pick up dependent upon your location. You select a Satellite and press
enter. The dish automatically moves to the position that picks up that
particular satellite. Then on your remote, you will see the channel
listings for that satellite. To move to other satellites, simply repeat
For a motor including fitting to the above system, you can add £200.
However, this gives you many thousands of extra channels. BUT you can
save the cost on the LNB. You only need a single LNB for a motorized
Your average Setup.
Most people have some kind of recorder attached to their telly these days.
Be it DVD or the old Video. This will still work with your new system
although you may need a spare Scart or two. Iím assuming your TV has two
scart outlets. Some people have surround sound, some already have Sky.
You can keep all of these options with the inclusion of your new system.
When the installation team for your new Euro System are due to arrive,
simply unplug everything, lay out all the cables nice and tidy and prepare
the space for your system. The nice men who arrive will be happy to plug it
all back together in the right order and get it all working. Itís best to
let the experts do it. I have all of the above things and they took a few
minutes to do what would have taken me forever to figure out.
Whilst watching TV, I select:
AV1 for my Sky freeview.
AV2 for the surround sound DVD system.
AV3 for my European System.
It can be in any order you prefer.
One thing to bear in mind is that some authorities do not like TWO dishes to
be attached to your home. Some donít like any. Youíll need to check this
out. If you have nice neighbours, whoís gonna know? Also, a Euro Dish does
not have to be fixed to your home. It can be attached to a pole and places
elsewhere, like at the foot of the garden, to an outbuilding etc. Plan
There is a popular misconception that this is complex. It isnít. Getting
this setup up and running is just as easy as Sky. You order Sky, a bloke
arrives and fits it and shows you how to use it on your telly. Simple? Well
that is EXACTLY how the European Sats work. If you know what you want, you
can do it all over the phone.
Once you have your system.
Now you are watching all the TV from around the world, you will doubtless
start to be curious about some of the strange channels that you can now see
and in particular those that come up ďScrambled ChannelĒ.
Bearing in mind you can now see thousands of previously unheard of channels,
you will always want more. There are web sites and forum type sites you can
join for free that specialise in opening these types of channels. They
provide what are known as KEYS that you can type in to your box, using the
remote to clear a particular channel. Others provide a file you can download
to your box that will unscramble a whole block of channels and more. Where
there is a will, there is a way. These guys are EXPERTS and there is a LOT
to learn here. But it is soon picked up.
Sometimes, the box you buy will come with the latest patches so you are good
to go for a while but some channels change keys every now and then to deter
freeloaders. The keys are usually available the same day from the web.
Remember, you can program your own box if you connect a laptop or PC to
it, you can program a CAM or you can program a CARD if you have the kit.
Card Programmers are about £80, Official Cards for Adult channels range from
£40 to £180 for a year but you usually get between 2 and 12 channels for
your money. A good CAM, like a Dragon Cam will set you back around £80.
Now for some research.
A whole bunch of adult channels and when they start etc: (not fully