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How Does Freesat Work?

Nowadays, entertainment has become such a massive part of people’s lives. We come home from work, school, or even just a day full of errands wanting just to lay down and chill in front of the telly. It’s always such a treat, getting to relax and unwind while watching your favourite TV show, re-watching your favourite movie, or even just browsing through the channels available via your cable subscription. However, as cable subscription prices rise, we consumers are left looking for ways to satisfy our need for TV without having to shell out enormous amounts. Amounts that would have otherwise been dedicated to paying for necessities like food, water, electricity, rent, etc. Fortunately, there are a few alternatives to expensive cable subscriptions. One of these alternatives is Freesat, a digital satellite TV service from the BBC and ITV which offers a ton for channels for free. 

Now, you may be asking, “How does Freesat work?” To answer your questions, we’ve come up with a list of things you should know about Freesat:

Getting Freesat

To receive Freesat service, you will need a satellite dish or satellite receiver. You don’t necessarily have to get a new one if you’ve already got an existing satellite dish installed. This is why many people who switch over to Freesat usually come from Sky Digital, which also delivers its service via a satellite dish. However, if you are switching from a service that does not use satellite dishes, you may have to pay to get one installed. 

Once you have a satellite dish, the next thing you will need is one of the following:

A Freesat-ready TV 

Some manufacturers already produce at least one kind of TV with Freesat built into it. With a Freesat-ready TV, you will be able to access channels and almost any radio station without the need for an additional device.

A Freesat (or Freesat+) Set Top Box

Freesat set top boxes and Freesat HD boxes cost somewhere between £50-£220, depending on which features you will want on your box. These set top boxes should be compatible with whatever flat-screen TV you own. Connect the set top box to your satellite feed and your TV via HDMI, and you’ll be good to go!

Freesat from Sky 

If you are already a Sky Digital subscriber and no longer want to pay for TV, you may consider switching over to this plan. Although you wouldn’t have access to the HD and Premium channels exclusive to Sky Digital, you will have more channels compared to the regular Freesat Digital service. Those with the regular Freesat Digital service may choose to upgrade by purchasing a viewing card from Sky Digital.

Costs

As stated above, Freesat is a free TV service. This means aside from the upfront costs such as the set top box purchase, fees for its installation, and if needed, installation costs for the satellite dish, you will not have to pay any monthly fees. 

Channels

Freesat has more than 200 channels with 20 of those on HD, when you get the Freesat HD Box or the Freesat 4K TV Box, among other models. You may access on-demand content from channels/streaming services such as Netflix, YouTube, BBC News, BBC Sport, My5, and many more. Freesat’s on-demand service, however, will require you to connect to your home broadband, and more preferably fibre broadband. 

Freesat also offers an eight-day program guide, helping you identify which shows you will want to watch live and which shows you will want to record with your Freesat+ box. 

Recording, Rewinding, Forwarding, and Pausing

If you have a Freesat-ready PVR, a Freesat+ Smart Box, you have the freedom to record programmes, as well as watch and re-watch them at any point.

Freeview vs Freesat

Freeview or Freesat? This debate has been going on for a long time. However, these two TV services are more different than alike. Their differences begin with the very fact that Freeview makes use of tv aerials to deliver their service, while Freesat makes use of satellite dishes or satellite receivers. Additionally, because of how their service is delivered, Freesat and Freeview’s coverage also differ significantly. Moreover, Freesat HD and Freeview HD differ in number, with the former almost doubling in the number of channels over the latter. 

This means rather than continuously trying to determine which of two is better, it all comes down to a question of “What does the consumer need?” Or better yet, “What do you need?” Consumers, like you, will have different needs and requirements based on their viewing habits, location, budget, current TV service provider, and many more. It is, therefore, advisable to figure out just exactly what exactly your household will require and enjoy more. 

Factors That Affect Satellite Dish Installation Cost

Satellite Dish Fitting

Television. 

Telly. 

Idiot 

Box. 

The Tube. 

The Box.

Regardless of what you call it, there is no denying that it is definitely one of man’s greatest inventions. However, the watching experience is hampered when all that you are watching is static. Before you can lean back and start to relax in front of the telly, the first thing that you need to do is have a satellite installation.

This blog post will comprehensively discuss the several factors that affect the satellite dish installation cost. It’s best to be knowledgeable of all the information so you can ready your budget. Preparing enough cash for a tv aerial or satellite installation is necessary. 

There is a general price for the dish installation. You can contact your local tv aerial installers for a general quote. However, once they come to your property, there are several factors that may affect this pricing. The standard satellite cost covers a 45 cm Satellite Dish, a Quad LNB, 18-metre cable, and 1.5 hrs worth of labour for the installation.

Below are some of the variables that would affect the cost of your installation project.

If Satellite Dish Has To Be Installed Elsewhere

It is a general rule to install tv aerials on an elevated level. Usually, they are installed on the roof. However, there are cases when the roof is unavailable for any kind of installation. At the same time, direction and alignment have to be taken into account. If the roof is not in an optimal condition, then there are alternatives to it. Take note that there may be added costs to this as they would require extra work.

  • Chimney

The chimney is one of the more common alternative places for your satellite dish. A chimney installation will require a chimney stack and a chimney lashing kit. There are different techniques that aerial installers can employ. Make sure that the installers don’t use drill fixings if your chimney is old and in poor condition. This may create substantial damage to your property like bricks being ripped clean off of the house.

  • Mast and Brackets

Another method is to stick it on a mast and bracket. This will help give height and clearance needed to receive a signal. 

If A Larger Satellite Dish Is Required To Receive Optimal Reception

The standard size of the satellite dish is around 45 cm. There are locations, however, that may require a larger one. A bigger dish is necessary to ensure that you receive a better signal. For example, if you reside in the middle of the city, a standard-sized dish would suffice. However, if you live further north, the satellite’s strength grows weak and would require at least a 60 cm satellite dish. For extreme cases, a 1-metre satellite dish may be used.

If The Work Takes Longer Than The Expected Time

Generally, installation for licensed professionals will take less than two hours to finish. However, in the case of unforeseen circumstances i.e., difficulty with installation, it may take longer. The additional labour will cost you a few extra pounds as financial compensation to the installers.

Need for a Longer Cable

The general cable length that is part of the normal quote is 18 metres. However, in the case that the satellite dish requires more elevation, the cable needed would increase. Usually, companies would charge per metre.

If Your Property Is Difficult To Access

If your property is quite difficult to access or will cost the installers more than expected, then they will charge you for it. For example, parking fees and toll fees will fall under the responsibility of the household owner.

If Octo LNB, Sky Q, or Quattro LNB Is Needed

There are times when different equipment is needed that’s more advanced than the standard supplies. For instance, the cost will increase if your household would require an Octo LNB, a Sky Q, or a Quattro LNB. Because of these requirements, there may be a change in your normal quotation.

If Upgrade On Material Is Requested

The material on the dish satellite will also change the cost. While a regular satellite dish is enough for households in the city, households living near the sea may require a satellite dish made of sturdier material.

How To Find The Right Satellite Alignment For Optimal Viewing

satellite reception

Imagine coming home from a long day of work. You just finished two shifts. You’ve got a bag of popcorn hot and ready for you to munch on. Your favourite show is about to start. You plop on the sofa, locate where you last placed the remote, you turn on the telly and…nothing.

Static

You turn your telly off. You try once again.

Still static.

You sigh and turn the telly off. You decide to turn in early due to disappointment. Nothing can ruin TV night worse than low signal reception. For the majority of the human population, sitting back and relaxing in front of the telly is one of their major recreational activities.

With the improvement of technology, the overall watching experience is enhanced with different features and new tech, i.e. surround sound speakers, HD TVs, and even Chromecast. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t matter if you have all of the latest and most modern TV accoutrements when your digital aerial or satellite dish is not correctly aligned. An £800.00 Home Cinema HD TV is a waste if the satellite alignment is wrong as reception is not clear. Your watching experience is still hampered.

Save yourself hundreds of pounds in labour by learning how to align your satellite correctly. 

If you’re going on the roof or climbing up to high elevations, take extra precautionary measures such as:

  • Put down a soft mat on the ground which could soften your landing should you fall
  • Use a sturdy ladder instead of stacking items for you to get to the right elevation
  • If you have the equipment, you should also rig a safety line to protect yourself from injuries

In this article, I will discuss how to find the right satellite angles for optimal viewing.

Azimuth Angle Adjustment

One of the main factors as to why you’re not getting the optimal amount of signal reception is because the alignment of your satellite receiver is not optimized for the satellite transmitter that it’s trying to get its signal from.

I have taken the liberty of creating a list of the most common satellites in the United Kingdom and the proper angle your satellite dish must be at. This is extremely important as the other factors down below will not work if your azimuth alignment is not perfect.

If your telly gets Freesat or Sky subscription-based services, you want to align your satellite dish towards the Astra 2 Satellites or the Eurobird. For Astra 2 Satellites, the satellite alignment should be at 28.2E while for Eurobird, moving the dish to 28.5E should do the trick.

If you wish to watch shows from French and German region, align the dish to 19.2E optimized for Astra 1 Satellites. Positioning your satellite dish towards the satellite at 13E will give you better reception of Hotbird, which is from European and North African regions.

Avoid Obstructions

Even when you’ve found the right dish elevation and azimuth angle, if there are certain obstructions, then it is likely that your telly will receive weak reception. When you’re fixing your satellite positions, take into consideration if there are any materials that might be blocking your satellite dish. For example, branches, trees, buildings can act as barriers for the signal to pass through. When barriers like these are present between the transmitter and the satellite receiver, you will also be receiving poor signal quality. To improve your signal quality, you may also adjust and set the elevation of your satellite dish or receiver to such a height with less barriers. 

Look For References

If you are still lost, you can check your neighbour’s satellite dish alignment. You can use your neighbour’s dish satellite alignment as a reference. However, there is no assurance that the satellite will perform flawlessly. Your neighbour may be subscribed to a different British TV subscription service than what you are subscribed to which means you won’t get the optimal signal.



How To Improve Your TV Reception

tv reception

Imagine being all pumped up and ready to watch the newest episode of your favorite show, or the game that’s coming up on TV. You’ve got an entire spread of snacks ready on the coffee table, and you’re already comfortable on the couch. You’ve been waiting for this moment for so long! So, you grab the remote to turn the TV on. But, alas, you can’t make out anything that’s happening or being said on screen because the TV signal is poor. Or in worst cases, you’re not seeing or hearing anything at all! 

Frustrating, right? Well, you’re not alone. Everybody hates poor tv reception. And nothing’s worse than your tv aerials acting up just exactly when you need it. 

Thankfully, getting it up and working again isn’t as difficult as you may imagine. So, here are some ways you can fix your tv reception issues:

Restart your Set Top Box

Sometimes, people think they’re having reception issues when they’re actually not. Restarting your device is always the first step in troubleshooting. Like all electronic equipment, your set top box’s system will encounter some hardware limitations that will cause it to act out (i.e. freeze, show no video, show no audio, compromise signal quality, etc.). Most of the time, in cases like these, all you need to do is turn off your device for a few seconds before powering it back on. 

If this does not work, give checking your TV a try. Make sure all the plugs and cords on your device and your TV are all connected snugly and properly. Can you see and hear everything on your TV clearly yet? If not, move on to the second step. 

Find out if it’s an isolated or an area-wide issue

Don’t get too frustrated, mate! If restarting your set top box doesn’t work, then maybe try to figure out if the problem isn’t on your service provider’s end. They could just be doing some maintenance work. Service interruptions aren’t very uncommon, after all. 

Now, if someone in your area using the same service provider is encountering the same issues with Freeview, Freesat, Virgin Media, Sky, or whatever service provider they’re using, then there’s nothing else you can do but wait for the signal to resume or to improve. However, if you find that your problem is isolated to you, then there could be something wrong with your digital receiver. 

Speaking of isolated issues, also make sure the problem isn’t isolated to the specific channel you’re watching. Just like your service provider, they could also be doing some maintenance work of their own.

Reposition your digital receiver

Whether you’re using a digital tv aerial receiver or a satellite dish, its positioning directly affects the signal strength that is being received from your TV transmitter.  Positioning problems may possibly have been caused by factors like weather conditions (i.e knocked off position by the wind) or local and geographical interferences (infrastructures, trees, etc) that can weaken the signal that gets you. Sometimes, it could also be a frequency interruption, which means something is intercepting the radio waves coming from the TV transmitter. Either way, this can be solved with moving, repositioning,or modifying the elevation of your digital receiver in order to keep it aligned with the tv transmitter or transmission tower. 

Accessing your digital aerial receiver, however, will usually require you to hire a professional or climb up the roof yourself, so if you are planning on doing the latter, be sure to follow all the safety measures before taking on this task yourself. 

Based on the Health and Safety Executive’s book on Health and safety in roof work, here are some safety measures you should consider:

  1. Use any equipment that could help you prevent any kinds of falls 
  2. Make sure your roof is stable enough to carry your weight
  3. Find a way to access your roof safely (i.e ladders, scaffolds, stair towers, roof access hatches)
  4. Do not attempt to work alone and get someone to help you in getting on and getting off the roof
  5. Consider the time and current weather conditions before climbing the roof
  6. Look out for any kind of electrical wiring or electrical equipment and any loose objects that may cause you to trip or fall
  7. Make sure any kind of distractions are out of the way

If repositioning your tv aerial or satellite dish does not improve your signal strength and signal quality, you may have to consider the possibility of having to replace your digital aerial receiver or satellite dish. 

Replace your digital receiver

Now, you’re probably considering replacing the receiver yourself in order to save yourself a few pounds. However, replacing your tv aerial is much more complicated than repositioning it slightly. This will require you to move about the roof, and it will involve a lot more tools and a lot more equipment. 

It is, then, much more advisable to hire a professional to verify the need to replace your receiver, and to do the job itself. What you need is someone who is adequately trained to conduct any kind of work on the roof. They will also have all the necessary equipment needed to fix your tv reception issues.

Additionally, learning the basics of installing a digital aerial receiver or a satellite dish will take some time. This means if you’re eager to get your TV up and running immediately, then it’s very much ideal for you to hire a professional instead.  

Look, you don’t need to pressure yourself into doing a job that other people are professionally capable of doing. You simply have to find an aerial expert you can trust, and soon you’ll be ready to hang out and relax on your couch like this whole thing never happened. 

Meanwhile, for those who have indoor antennas, here are some tips you can follow to improve your digital tv reception:

Quite similarly to a digital aerial or satellite dish, you will have to position your indoor antenna on or near a window that is facing the direction of the nearest TV transmitter. This helps you ensure a clearer line of sight to your TV transmitter, given that there are no obstructions between it and your antenna. Otherwise, keep your antenna as elevated as possible. 

Will I Need a New TV Aerial to Receive Freeview?

Will I Need a New TV Aerial to Receive Freeview?

Although the highly publicised digital switchover is well under way, there is still quite a bit of confusion about exactly how peoples’ TV signals will be affected by the process. Of course, people who receive their TV channels via satellite or cable service don’t need to be too concerned as their digital signals are taken care of by their service providers. But what about Freeview customers who get their TV signals from standard TV aerials?

Well, the chances are that if you currently receive a decent Freeview signal then your TV aerial should still work after the switchover. Even if you don’t get a great Freeview signal at present, you still may not need to buy a new aerial. This is because the current Freeview signal is not strong enough in some parts of the UK for standard TV aerials to pick it up. The Freeview signal will strengthen after the digital switchover, so even more homes will then be able to watch it without having to buy a new aerial. It is estimated that less than 10% of homes will need a new TV aerial to receive Freeview after the switch to digital.

A digital compatible television aerial, combined with a digital television and Freeview set top box installation will ensure your home is ready for the digital switchover. If you are looking for aerial fitters to fit a digital TV aerial, get in touch with Aerial Force and our aerial installations fleet will be able to match your needs.

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Quick Guide: Freeview or Freeview HD

Quick Guide: Freeview or Freeview HD

The digital switchover has had some of our clients tearing their hair out over the barrage of terms and conditions faced when simply trying to make provisions for the swansong of analogue TV. First off (and this goes for everyone expecting to see any kind of aerial-received TV signal) you’ll need a digital TV aerial by 2012. Once the switchover is complete, your regular analogue aerial will be useless.

Of all the digital TV options, the simplest solution for most folks is probably Freeview digital TV. To get Freeview you’ll need to settle a one-off payment for a digital set top box or TV with built-in set top box (iDTVs). Freeview set top boxes can cost as little as £15-£20. The important thing to remember about Freeview is that there is no monthly subscription.

Freeview set top boxes are pretty easy to self-install; as you basically plug-in and go. Still, should you run into difficulty, our team of aerial installers are happy to sort it out for you when we upgrade your aerial. Freeview digital TV is received via your digital TV aerial and offers a standard package of about forty TV channels and twenty digital radio stations (depending on location). The same regional variations as well as regular BBC1, BBC2, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 apply.

Freeview HD (High Definition) will become the norm once the entire country switches to digital. The service is free, however those with older set top boxes may need to upgrade to a Freeview HD version.

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Please complete the enquiry form below, and send your details to our customer service team. Once you have completed this form, one of our engineers will contact you to discuss your requirements further and to arrange a suitable appointment.

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Freesat versus Freeview. What’s Best for You?

Freesat versus Freeview. What's Best for You?

Hot on the heels of Freeview digital TV, Sky has come up with its own subscription-free digital TV option in the form of Freesat, Freesat HD and Freesat+.

Similarly to Freeview, Freesat is received via a set top box. There’s a one-off payment of around £175 (depending on any TV aerial installation costs) and there is no monthly subscription. Included in the one-off payment is the Freesat set top box, mini Sky dish and viewing card (included to make upgrading to Sky TV’s monthly subscription packages as quick, cheap and easy as possible) Of course prices can vary a little depending on what type of TV aerial installation you might require.

Remember a few blog entries ago when we told you about the magnificent 40 channels or Freeview? Sky Freesat boasts a massive 240 channels including music, films, sports, documentaries, and comedy – all the favourites that have made Sky TV the monolith of media we recognise it as today.

The most recent revolutionary addition to the Sky family is Freesat HD. You’ll need to make sure your current Freesat set top box is HD compatible, otherwise an upgrade could be in order.

Also on offer is the fabulous Freesat+ option, with which your remote becomes almost like a magic wand. Freesat+ enables you to record, pause and rewind live TV, and set programmes to record the same show weekly. You could pause Life on Earth while you nip to make a cup of tea, leaving you wondering how you ever lived without Freesat+ set top boxes before.

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Please complete the enquiry form below, and send your details to our customer service team. Once you have completed this form, one of our engineers will contact you to discuss your requirements further and to arrange a suitable appointment.

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Common Problems – Digital Set Box Crashed?

Common Problems – Digital Set Box Crashed?

A common yet easily rectifiable problem when watching your favourite digital television programmes, is for your pictures to freeze or not appear, and your digital set top box (which is used for either Sky, BBC Freesat or Freeview systems) to stop responding to any commands to change the channel or enter the menu.

Digital set top boxes (or satellite receivers in general) are like mini computers, and are prone to crashing which is where the software fails to operate as expected and cannot be operated by traditional methods.

The solution to rectify this problem, and return either your Freeview, Sky or BBC Freesat satellite receiver to a functional state, a reset of the box will be required.

We have outlined below the necessary procedure to perform a reset:

For BBC Freesat, Sky Digital & Freeview Receivers:

  • Unplug the set top box from the power socket for approximately five minutes. This allows the receiver to power down and clear it’s memory
  • Reconnect the set top box and allow the software approximately one minute to load itself correctly
  • Take the receiver off standby mode by pressing the power button on either the box or the remote control.
  • If successful, your digital television channels should be ok and watchable, and you should be able to change channel as expected.

If you have a Sky Digital satellite receiver and the above method didn’t cure your problems, you may need to perform a ‘system download’ to force the box to download the latest software and channels.

To perform a system download for Sky, follow the instructions below:

  • Unplug/Turn off the power supply powering the Sky digital(Sky, Sky+ or Sky HD) receiver.
  • Hold you finger down on the ‘backup’ button located on the front of the receiver (Please note, holding the backup button on the remote control will not work)
  • Reconnect the receiver or turn the power back on at the supply, whilst pressing down the backup button
  • After approximately 15 seconds, lights should appear on the front of your Sky digital receiver, and a message on screen explaining a download is in process – DO NOT SWITCH OFF THE RECEIVER!
  • Allow this process upto 15 minutes to perform fully. Once completed, the Sky digital receiver will automatically go to standby mode by default.
  • Press the power button on your remote control, and your Sky digital viewing service should be resumed!

If the above procedures do not cure your home viewing problems, there may be something else in your digital system which could be causing a disruption to your service, such as, the satellite dish or aerial, cabling or even slight mis-alignment or your satellite dish or TV aerial. A visit from an highly trained Aerialforce engineer can help fully diagnose the fault, and implement a remedial course of action.

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Please complete the enquiry form below, and send your details to our customer service team. Once you have completed this form, one of our engineers will contact you to discuss your requirements further and to arrange a suitable appointment.

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