FAQ: Euro Satellite

 How do I set up a system?



 

Getting Euro Satellite and Euro Hardcore

Many thanks to Gosh

Further queries are probably best referred to your local satellite dealer.


September 2007

  Can I get a multi-satellite setup cheaply?

From Melon Farmer's Forum

Lidl recently sold a £59 free to air satellite system. It includes the dish, tripod, receiver, cabling, even a basic satfinder. He was receiving all the Hotbird free to air channels in his caravan 1/2 hour after unboxing it.

The special deals have all gone but you can get then from eBay. Referred to as caravan satellite systems.

 

September 2006

  What are the planning restrictions regarding satellite dishes?

A Householder’s Planning Guide for the Installation of Antennas, including Satellite Dishes

 

June 2006

  How Do I set up a system to get Euro Satellite?

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: www.fortecstar.com

DISH = Self explanatory. This is Sky call a Mini Dish
Here is 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 conservation area.

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 “Cam Slot” in your STB. Most STB’s 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:
www.boxsat.com/dragon-cam.html
www.digicams-uk.com/prod291.htm
Other Cams: www.satstore.co.uk/cams.htm

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, let’s 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 it’s software updated.

Here is the homepage: www.fortecstar.com

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
LNB £65
Fitting and installation £60

That’s 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. I’ll get to unscrambling channels later.

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 the process.

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 system.

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. I’m 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. It’s 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 don’t like any. You’ll need to check this out. If you have nice neighbours, who’s 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 ahead.

There is a popular misconception that this is complex. It isn’t. 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 “Scrambled Channel”.

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 complete): www.ultimatetvguide.com