FTA - Where to start?
This is a discussion on FTA - Where to start? within the Free-to-Air (FTA) forums, part of the All Other Cable and Satellite Providers category.
One of my friends mentioned to me last week about how great Free to Air satellite is and that he only pays a month for the package but receives a ton of channels. I guess my question is, where does one begin? How do I know if I'm I can even get it in my area?
If you have a clear view of the southern sky, you should be able to receive it. Here's a thread with more information on C-Band satellite reception.
Originally Posted by TonyT
Thanks 1inxs. I'll have a look at it.
Free To Air (FTA) Discussion - SatelliteGuys.US
Free TV from United States - LyngSat
LNB's : Transat Electronics
These were links given to me by nobleach over on AVS.
As far as personal knowledge I have very little and no practical experience.
Is there a FTA method that doesn't require me carrying a 3-ton C-band dish and then having it in my yard?
I have heard of buying receivers and such, hacking and getting 'free to air' satellite but it all seems like tons of frustration without really positive outcomes. you can NOT get, say, a Dish receiver from a thrift store and expect to get free signals. sure, you'll get their FYI channel, maybe the 'free' locals or if you're lucky, a still-active smart card, but i highly doubt FTA can really happen without tons of money to buy the right equipment, tons of frustrations in keeping it working for longer than a few minutes before it requires another download, and tons more money with software. in the end, paying for it legally makes more sense and works.
It almost sounds like you're confusing, hacking a Videocypher II descrambler, used for stealing signals from the cable companies with FTA. If you're talking about Videocypher II hacks, I'll tell you up front. It ain't right and it ain't worth going there. FTA is in the clear. It isn't scrambled and doesn't require any type of hacking or monthly upgrades. They don't use smart cards. For legal FTA satellite you will need at least a 4 foot dish. The cleanest way to install it is to use on old length of drill pipe and run it up the side of your house above the eves. That will keep it up out of the way and make it less intrusive. It also helps for reception by getting a clear view of the sky, above the tree's. I haven't checked prices lately, but you should be able to get into a decent system for under $900.00 with some smart shopping.
Originally Posted by DTVuser2009
Exactly and like other forums we should starting now have a policy of not talking about stealing any signals. No offense meant to anyone what so ever, just a good time to add that. Jay should add it somewhere in the policy if not there.
Originally Posted by 1inxs
That said the real meaing like 1inxs says is clear channel like Clear QAM is on a cable system. No tricks, it's free, like OTA.
I have read that you need a 31 inch dish for Ku band. What would a 4 foot dish yield? Stronger Ku or limited C band also?
There is also no point in putting a satellite dish up high unless you are clearing an obstacle.
A 4 foot dish is for maximum C-Band reception, based on the current 2 degree spacing of the satellites.
Originally Posted by Piggie
The two reasons for getting the dish up high is
1- Getting a clear view of the sky (clearing obstacles)
2- Less intrusive - uses no ground or space - out of sight out of mind (it doesn't interfere with landscaping or yard decor)
Of the hundreds of C-Band satellite receiver systems I've installed. Probably 10% of the buyers requested the dish be out of view from their landscape theme. Usually the wife's preference.
Glad I have a wife that understands antennas! I can litter a landscape with copper and aluminum.
Originally Posted by 1inxs
In my yard I would need a C-Band dish up 20 ft or more to clear the trees if attached to the house. But if I backed it up to the back of the property it would work on the ground.
Different wives, different yards.
I am really out of date on C-Band dishes. Last time I played with them (almost 30 years now) 3 meter was a norm. Good to hear LNA/B are good enough now for a 1 meter dish.
Hey everyone Piggie invited me over here to check out the discussion.
While there is a lot on C-Band still, I actually use a 30inch dish with a linear Ku band LNB. I'm able to find all types of things to watch.
Let me reiterate one thing for you all. Much of what you read out there about "FTA" is really not true FTA. As mentioned above, much of it is geared toward signal theft of dish network. That is not something I want to get involved with.
The main site for true FTA is Satelliteguys. Some of their members are incredibly knowledgeable. ("Iceberg" seems to be a wealth of information - think Piggie but about Satellites and dishes)
For anyone that is interested in a smaller sized dish, I'd recommend looking at what is freely available on w97 and w123. The bulk of english language programming is there.
I'd be happy to answer any questions that I can.
You're going to be looking at a 30 inch dish at least with a linear Ku band LNB. The majority of the good free English programming is on w97 and w123.
I had a more thorough post, but it never showed up. I was really into FTA for awhile so I'm willing to be of any help I possibly can.
I looked into this package because of the price, and I was confussed but reading through this thread has made it seem so easy. Thanks for lal of the advice guys I now feel prepared to make the decision.
Ok, I'm just going to make some general statements, where we might start some dialog on FTA, so...
It's just like OTA, except you use a Dish, a Box similar to a Cable Box, then cable it into your TV via Coax to HDMI.
Sorry to say, but, the above components are a bit more expensive than a normal OTA setup. Dish may run you $50-$100, you really will be better off using a Rotator $100, and the Receiver (UOO) can be $300-$700.
Dish size depends on your Latitude. Here in Houston we can get by with a 1 Meter pretty well, and the farther north you are, like in Washington/Montana like that, you need a bigger dish. They make FTA Dishes up to 10 ft or so in Diameter, so, you CAN do it ok.
The Receivers have the ability to memorize Thousands of Channels, not that you'd want to watch that many, but, with a Rotator, you have access to "several" Satellites. Sat Companies are just like OTA's, they like to shine their stuff in highly populated areas, and those who are in line N/S, can benefit from having a Sat aligned on that Longitude.
Part of the Dish is a Receiver Module, called an LNB or LNBF.
They are rated to receive Vertical, Horizontal, Circular CW, Circular CCW signals.
One probably will be more interested in a Horizontal or Vertical. Most of the PTV's like DirectTV or DishNet use the Circular Signals. But, someone who is more up to date with this, may have additional info on that. But, those thousands of channels are available with the V or H LNB's.
Just like in the PTV stuff, one can get Rain Fade, a bigger dish helps here, but other than that, I need to step back a minute, and think if there's anything else.
Have a good Day !
The above generally applies to the Ku Band of Sat Signals.
Ok, I just thought of a little more...
Most all of the Receivers have a "Card Slot", where you can subscribe to a PTV and get their normal Programming, AND, the FTA stuff as well. I'm not sure just why one would want to do that, since FTA is free, but it would work just like having an OTA Antenna input, and a Cable Box input. One would need to share his Dish with more than one LNB, or, have a second Dish (one for FTA, one for PTV).
The Receiver/Rotator/Dish controls is done with Software called DIsEqC. Which means that once you scan a channel, the Receiver remembers which Sat it's on, and can return to it when you select that channel. Just like Rotator Control on some of the Converters and TV's.
Installing/utilizing a FTA Dish, in no way will interfere with your OTA stuff, as long as you have a sufficient number of "Source" A/V Inputs on your TV. It'd be like adding a DVD or other component.
So, HA, now that I've edited this Post for the fourth time....
IF you really want a supersetup for FTA, you need to be thinking about an investment of $600+, I do mean + if you get really nice stuff.
However, IF you can find a Dish and Receiver on Special, you can get the basic (1 Satellite) setup for maybe as low as $250.
NOW, I'm going to stop editing this post !
Last edited by SWHouston; 02-20-2011 at 09:03 PM.
Nah, you can find package deals FAR cheaper. If you take a look at what's out there, you're probably going to point at two different birds.
Originally Posted by SWHouston
Go ahead and get yourself a Coolsat 5000... or if you want a PVR, get a newer one. But you should be able to pick up a used Coolsat for around $40 bucks. I threw one out before I moved from Florida.
I had planned on being more involved in this thread a couple years ago. I got caught up in many MANY other things. I do have an NFusion HD sat receiver still... just cause it was SO expensive that I couldn't throw it out. It was really big in the "dish piracy" community because it had internet connectivity... but I actually liked it for real FTA. I had a 36" dish that I pointed at w123.
Last edited by SWHouston; 05-03-2011 at 08:36 PM.
That all seems to be pretty pricey and a big hassle. Has anyone tried out IPTV yet? Saw this IPTV Pod the other day and it looks interesting, not sure what to think about it.
Originally Posted by nobleach
Here is a good place to start with FTA at ftalist.com , Redirect to index.php. FTA is Free To Air Satellite Tv . Free is Free and what is there to receive for free is what is there. Some people say , I want to receive the free channels , Wink , wink , wink. If you are having trouble with your eye then you are on the wrong forum. It's about free or very low cost and thats it.
Last edited by Aerial; 03-29-2012 at 10:00 PM.
What makes , FTA , Internet Tv , OTA TV , PBS , interesting is finding and being part of the non mainstream programing.
Just joined- new member- gosh what a lot of WRONG and confusing information!! I wonder if the OP ever DID get his "FTA Satellite". Out of all the replies, someone told him the only way to get FTA is with a big ugly dish! Yet another told him he needs a subscription. A subscription is the complete opposite of FTA!!
FTA satellite in North America GET A Ku BAND DISH which is only slightly larger than a Dishnet or Directv dish. Jeez! NO "stealing signals" NO subscription, just ONE receiver which for a good one may run 95. dollars or so. A dish and receiver may run 150. dollars on average. The dish is small, NOT giant. If you don't know what FTA satellite is, PLEASE do not give your two cents as your peanut gallery comments are completely wrong and confuse the original poster. I dont think any of the replyers know even what FTA is, frankly.
For OP, wherever you may be, just do a google search for "FTA satellite" or "free to air satellite" and there you go. I am sorry you were referred to get a 6ft dish... ugh... or told you need a subscription. FTA is just that- free to air.
For channel listings consult lyngsat.com Galaxy 19. That would be the satellite with the most channels if you get a stationary system. Motorized of course check out other sats, but for one simple non-motorized dish that's what you'd want to point your dish to.
Last edited by TVDragon; 05-01-2013 at 01:55 PM.
FYI, this thread is from 2009. A lot has changed since then. You can put together a serviceable Galaxy 19 package (dish and receiver) for about a hundred bucks, and add a motor drive for an additional $80.
Originally Posted by TVDragon
I don't even think you can get a package of pay TV channels in the USA anymore!
One thing that hasn't changed is the variety of dishes. FTA can be seen on Ku band with dishes as small as a DirecTV dish, but for C-band people still use those big dishes. But yes, for most people watching on Ku, a 30" -36" dish works just fine.
And welcome to the forum, TVDragon!