Click here for a general introduction
Dear Web Traveler!
Welcome to www.nrw.co.uk/satellite/. Our web server suffered a power outage (caused by a storm) on Friday, June 18, 2004, at 0600 GMT/UTC. In the process, all data has been lost from this server. Accordingly, the full content of this Website will not be available for a couple of weeks.
Satellite television is still booming, and it's a pity that lots of Sky subscribers leave 19 degrees East. Most viewers in the UK are limited to their local orbit position (i.e. 28 degrees East). Beyond that, however, there's a wide range of other exciting satellites.
The latest addition is Hellas Sat 2, a joint Greece/Cyprus venture. This satellite was launched on May 13th, 2003 from Cape Canaveral by means of an Atlas V rocket. It is located at 39 degrees East and can be received in the United Kingdom quite easily (see map).
Why, on God's green Earth, should you be interested in a Greek satellite? Well, the jewel in the crown is ENTV, a Lebanese music station which shows video clips all day and all night. The screen is too cluttered because they transmit SMS from local callers, and they do not highlight the names and the artists of the video clips. Apart from these two shortcomings, Entertainment TV is an excellent station which you can actually use. If you're fed up with commercial television, you should give ENTV a try. I currently watch this program for many hours per week. As far as I can tell, the main benefit of this program is that they apparently have no commercials. Can you imagine that: A privately owned television station without commercial breaks?
Hellas Sat 2, also carries a bouquet of international channels including Cyprus Sat. Interestingly enough, this signal has much more power than ENTV. I can receive the international package from Hellas Sat (12.524 GHz V,27500 S/R, 3/4 FEC) with a very small antenna, just 40 centimeters in diameter. On the other hand, ENTV requires a much larger dish of at least 75 centimeters.
Talking about music channels, it's certainly worth mentioning Chart Show TV. This excellent station has everything which ENTV lacks: a neat, uncluttered screen, and proper introducement of the video clips straight at the beginning. (On the other hand, Chart Show TV has annoying commercial breaks - notably absent from the Lebanese Entertainment TV.) As the name suggest, the music predominantly consists of current hits. If that's not entirely to your liking, you may try The Vault (another music channel on Eurobird 1, 11 426 V, 28° East, S/R 27500, FEC 2/3).
Chart Show Channels Ltd is based in London, and they broadcast from the major English orbit position 28 degrees East. If you subscribe to Sky, just choose Channel 455 on your Sky remote. Chart Show TV is a free channel. There's no encryption, and the satellite beam covers a wide area of Western Europe. Viewers outside the UK can easily tune in: 11 488 V, Eurobird 1, 28;° East, S/R 27500, FEC 2/3.
The main incentive for viewers on the continent to watch satellite signals from 28 degrees East is the BBC. On July 10th, 2003, the BBC abandoned scrambling. All four domestic television channels from the BBC are now available in standard DVB/MPEG-2 format to viewers on the continent who have suitable digital equipment. The main obstacle is the limited range of the Astra 2D satellite. That is an intentional harassment which the BBC put up to comply with international copyright regulations. (Click here for more details).
To appease international customers, the BBC moved its two most popular domestic radio programs to 12 441 V, Astra 2B South beam, 28° degrees East, S/R 27500, FEC 2/3. BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio 4 FM are now once again available to listeners all over the continent.Top of this page
Most of the visitors to this Website come from the U.K., and for our British audience, we have the following recommendation:
Get yourself a second dish and a second digital receiver - on top of your Sky digibox. At the moment, the Sky digibox provides an excellent service (if you are willing to shell out twenty quid per month for a digital subscription, e.g. Sky Entertainment Family package). However, it's probably a good idea to leave the Sky digibox alone. Connect it to it's own minidish, and don't meddle around with other channels from other satellites.
Yeah, that's right. The real fun begins with a second digital receiver. Don't try to receive Eutelsat with a Sky digibox. It's simply not a good idea. It's amazing what you can do with a second dish and a second digital machine.
At the moment, there are more than twenty-five different satellites which bring television pictures and radio signals directly to your home. That's a large variety of channels. Click here for a list of these twenty-five satellites. (We also specify a sample program for each satellite. Plese note: This link is under construction. Please go to www.lyngsat.com instead.)
Eutelsat and Astra 19 are the two obvious choices for Europeans who want to see more than just Sky. Astra 19 is home to approximately fifty German channels which broadcast in the clear. I recommend Viva, a 24/7 music station which is based in Cologne, Germany. This channel is available in both analogue and digital formats.
Eutelsat has a much larger variety of channels. Telepace recently moved to a new frequency (12 380 V, S/R 27500, FEC 3/4) and now shares a transponder with Jordan TV and Abu Dhabi TV. You can watch News in English from Amman at 8 PM GMT.
Telepace, 3ABN, God TV and Daystar TV are just some of the religious channels you can watch in digital MPEG-2 from 13 degrees East. Click here for more information about
There are at least three hundred and fifty television channels which you can receive in the United Kingdom free of charge. CCTV 4 is probably the most exotic of them all. They offer a lot of great entertainment, but most viewers in Europe don't understand very much. These people broadcast in Chinese. CCTV 4 is an official channel from the People's Republic of China. Also very intriguing is Arirang TV which occasionally offers programs with English subtitles. Very good! (12 207 H, S/R 27500, FEC 3/4). Unexpectedly hidden among a package of German channels is another outstanding music channel, Viva Polska. This is a Polish channel. If you like the kind of music which they present, it is one of the best free channels on Eutelsat (11.604 GHz H, 27500 S/R, 5/6 FEC).
Viva Polska is available in the clear, without a trace of encryption. Don't be fooled by the fact that you can find the German channel ARD in the same digital package. ARD is almost as good as the BBC, but it is not encrypted. (at least not yet. Big discussion going on in Germnany whether ARD should be encrypted because they cover too many international sports events. If you're from Germany, click here to read an article about the latest strategies on behalf of the major cable operators.). I'm not sure what the purpose of this digital Eutelsat package is. Possibly, it's just a backup for cable operators, in the unlikely event that the main satellite feed on Astra 1B is temporarily unavailable. Another interesting music channel is ONYX on 12.692 GHz H, 27500 S/R, 3/4 FEC. At night, they show softcore erotics. And while talking about German channels, I positively need to mention Deutsche Welle TV. Try this one instead of the Ten o'clock news! They have programs in English, they offer a different perspective than either the BBC or CNN, and these programs are really informative (11.604 GHz H, 27500 S/R, 5/6 FEC).
I'm very grateful to Christian Lyngemark who operates a truly outstanding Website. http://www.lyngsat.com/hotbird.html provides you with all the current frequencies on 13 degrees East. Warning: This file is approximately 935 Kb in size.
Deutsche Welle TV is nowadays also part of the Sky Entertainment package (10 744 H, Astra 2D, 28° East, S/R 22000, FEC 5/6). This transmission is scrambled. If you don't subscribe to Sky, you can also receive Deutsche Welle TV on 11 597 V, Astra 1E, 19° East, S/R 22000, FEC 5/6.
Fox News is no longer a free channel. This politically biased channel is now encrypted. In my humble opinion, Fox News is one of the worst examples of obiously prejudiced news coverage. I recommend that you read the New York Times instead.
Most people want more than music channels and news channels. The best source for good entertainment from satellite television is the BBC. France, Germany and Italy also offer their domestic public channels via satellite. German and Italian stations are available in both analogue and digital formats from standard orbit positions (Astra 19 for Germany and Eutelsat 13 for Italy). You'll find more information about French television at the bottom of this page. Click here!
During my last trip to France, I visited a good friend who subscribes to TPS - Télévision Par Satellite. This is a French Pay-TV Service, and at a monthly fee of approximately 16 quid, it is rather expensive. However, TPS Optima brings you more than twenty-five channels. There are four dedicated movie channels, and they regularly provide movies in V.O. (Version originale) with French subtitles. Of course, most of the programs are in French. There is also a special version of MTV for the French market.
The latest gossip on the Internet is a successful hack of the Viaccess technology. Well, actually, this is no longer hearsay. If you read the newsgroups (like alt.satellite.tv.europe), dozens of people discuss the possibility to receive TV 1000 in Viacess. Other popular targets for hackers are hardcore pornographic channels. Ticket 2 is the premium offering from Viasat A.B. Other dedicated porn channels from Scandinavia are Kiosk 11 and its siblings which have lately been attacked by pirates, too. SexView and Satisfaction are porn channels from Eutelsat. Check http://www.lyngsat.com/hotbird.shtml for details. Apparently, pirates are intrigued with sex channels. The hackers are very successful at the moment. However, virtually every major provider of pay television services in Europe already announced the upcoming release of new and vastly improved smart cards for loyal subscribers. Back in 1995, Sky Television managed to get rid of the hackers in this fashion.
Most of the pay television providers in Europe still refuse to sell viewing cards to viewers outside the individual country where the TV company is based. That's a pity. In a free and united Europe, there should be no artificial boundaries. On the other hand, this approach makes it very difficult to estimate the actual damage that is caused by pirate cards. If a viewer in Northern Italy uses a pirate card to watch TV 1000, is there any damage at all? He couldn't officially buy a subscription for these channels. So Viasat A.B cannot claim that they lost any money because this Italian guy has a pirate card. Interesting, isn't it?
As far as I got the story from the newsgroups, a pirate card for TV 1000 will decrypt TPS as well. I casually spotted a Readme file for such a card (somewhere on the net), and the hackers who provide this file say that a goldwafer card which is programmed with the attached Pic and Eeprom files decrypts many different channels, including the complete TPS package as well as Viasat Nordic, AB Sat and the French version of Canal Plus. I have no idea if this is true or if these claims are vastly exaggerated. I find it rather strange that these guys say that the two competing French pay tv packages can be accessed with the same card. I always thought that Canal Plus used Seca encryption.
Seca/Maediaguard and Irdeto have been prone to pirate attacks for a long time. A professional dealer from www.sateuro.com posted the following statement in a newsgroup: [Quote] "Seca is the most highly hacked encryption system, with the most movies, sports and hardcore erotic entertainment." [unquote] Well, that is no longer true. French provider Canal Plus fought back and changed its scrambling method to Seca 2. As far as I have gathered from the Newsgroups, this has been a very successful move. Pirate satellite tv cards will no longer decrypt Canal + Blauw either. This Dutch flavor of Canal Plus changed to Irdeto 2 in December 2003. Vice versa, the basic Dutch channels are still easy prey for pirate satellite tv. These channels are primarily encrypted for copyright reasons, and the managers of the pay tv company which operates the scrambling system probably do not care too much whether pirates watch these basic channels. On Dutch cable networks, these channels are free of charge anyway.
Pirate satellite tv has also been a plague in Germany. Official estimates claimed that one million people watched Premiere by means of pirate cards. German pay tv company Premiere currently has 2.9 million regular subscribers. They spent a lot of money and exchanged all official smartcards in October 2003. This campaign has been a mixed success. On the technology frontier, Premiere's new Nagravision Aladin scrambling system is not yet hacked. However, former pirates adamantly refuse to sign up for official subscriptions. Approximately 20,000 out of 1,000,000 users choose to get a paid subscription. That's not much.
Please note that it is illegal to use a pirate card in Europe. There might be some exceptions from this rule if you look at these devices for strictly educational purposes, but it is generally understood that you may not use a pirate card to watch Premium television channels like Sky Premier or Canal Plus.
Although it is considerably more difficult to obtain an official viewing card from a foreign vendor like TPS rather than downloading the blueprints for a pirate card from the Internet, we strongly recommend that you stick with the legal alternatives. It is the right thing to do. European legislation is concerned with two things:
As long as you cling to these two rules, it is not illegal to use an official viewing card in a foreign country.
Jomtien is one of the most dilligent contributors to the newsgroups, and he gives excellenrt advise for expatriats and other European citizens who want to watch Sky Digital outside the U.K. Visit his site!
If you really want to program your own goldwafer cards, you'll eventually find the codes that you need elsewhere. The truth is out there. Somewhere on the net...
Top of this page
If you're interested in pirate satellite tv, we recommend that you do not pursue these illegal activities. Rather get yourself a multiregion DVD player and buy your own Region 1 DVDs. Get the latest Hollywood blockbusters directly from America!
What do people want? Caesar knew the answer:
Bread and circuses.
While there are many circuses on satellite tv, movies are still a great way to entertain yourself. As far as Free-To-Air broadcasts are concerned, the selection of current Hollywood movies in English via satellite is very limited.
In sharp contrast to pirate satellite tv, importing Region 1 DVDs from America is perfectly legal. Amazon.com is an excellent supplier for North American DVDs. The first commercial banner on this satellite Website is a link to amazon.co.uk. However, the following banner is a direct link to Amazon's American R1 DVD Hot List. If you're ready to make a purchase, we'd greatly appreciate that you return to this site and access the American retailer by means of this link. Thank you very much!
Top of this page
When we talk about French satellite television, usually the first thing that comes to mind is TV 5. Indeed, TV5 is one of the oldest satellite stations for direct-to-home reception worldwide. The French TV5 started way back in 1984. The idea was to provide cable networks throughout Europe with a French television channel. For that purpose, TV5 has broadcasted in PAL as long as I can remember. Even in 1984, satellite enthusiasts were able to pick up TV5 directly from the satellite. It has been a free, clear signal ever since. Nowadays, TV5 comes to us in three flavors. First, there is TV5 Europe. It's the official follow-up to the original TV5 that started in 1984, and it's probably what you (or your uncle or whoever) has on cable. Most of the European cable networks carry TV5 Europe. That's what cable networks do, carrying official channels. As a satellite viewer, you can check if you get TV5 Europe fairly easily: Just look at the logo in the top right corner. Does it say TV5 Europe?
Is there a "europe" beneath the TV5 logo? Well, frankly, I was fairly amazed when I noted the "europe" beneath the TV5 logo for the very first time. I think my father told me on the phone that he was watching a different program than I did although we both had tuned in to TV5. Indeed, programming between TV5 "blank" and TV5 "europe" differ a lot of times.
I get "my" TV5 from digital Astra 1F on 10.788 Ghz Vertical Polarization, Symbol Rate 22 000, FEC 5/6. That's an excellent digital channel, it's free-to-air, and its predecessor on 12.363 GHz has been available since August 1997, as far as I remember. If you are familiar with Astra digital television, you may have lost Deutsche Welle TV and TV5 a couple of weeks ago. The entire bouquet of seven international channels (also including Rai Uno from Italy and a couplet of Arabic channels) moved to a new location. It's very easy to find the channels again. Just retune to the settings that I have specified below. Nothing wrong with TV5 from 10.788 V. Except that it's not TV5 "Europe". My father gets his TV5 on cable. And that one has a small "europe" beneath the TV5 logo. If you have a decent digital receiver (not a Sky digibox), and if you have access to Astra 1E at 19 degrees East, you can make the comparison for yourself:
The third flavor of TV5 is designed for viewers in Asia. You can receive this signal from Eutelsat, but you need a good satellite dish and a good receiver. TV5 Asie uses Single Carrier per Channel technology, aka SCPC. A lot of digiboxes will outrightly refuse to receive SCPC signals. As I said before: Go for a second digital receiver! Many digital machines take a rather long time to work out an SCPC signal. And these signals are very week. I complained to a friend that I could not receive a particular Scandinavian channel. He told me that he has absolutely no problems with that channel. To be fair: His dish is six feet in diameter. That's a very large dish, and you can get quite a lot of interesting SCPC channals with a large dish. So if you don't get TV5 Asia, don't worry: Nothing wrong with your equipment. There are still many interesting forerign channels that are easily awailable with a standard dish. It's very nice if you can switch between Astra and Eutelsat.
Top of this page
Let's say you don't have digital TV, you don't have Secam equipment, but you still want to watch French Television. Both version of TV5 are available in analogue PAL as well. Tune in to 5 degrees West as if you wanted to watch France 2. You'll still like that channel, even though it's in black-and-white. Quite close to the Secam signals, but on horizontal polarization, there is a PAL signal. It's TV5 "blank", the same television program that you can see from Astra 1F at 12.788 V. From Telecom 2B on 5 degrees West, it's a crystal-clear, very powerful, analogue PAL signal. Just what you need.
Once you've set up an antenna for 5 degrees West, you probably want to give France 2 a try.
That is another serious option what you could do with your old analogue receiver. Tune in to France 2.
I like France 2. It's a French channel, it has lots of Sports, including coverage of major international events. France 2 is a free channel. You don't need to pay any subscription money, you don't need any fancy encryption systems, it's just a free, clear, analogue service. However, there is a catch: France 2 is a French channel, and the Frenchmen use SECAM.
For viewers in Britain, an analogue SECAM signal will be in black and white only, unless you own a multi-norm TV set. On the continent, very old TV sets will do the job nicely. A long time ago, when there was the cold war, the countries in Eastern Europe broadcasted in SECAM, too. The idea was that viewers in the DDR should be able to watch "Western" TV in black and white. In the free West, most TV sets had cheap modules integrated that permitted to watch the communist channels in full color. Now that the cold war is over, there is basically no need for Secam modules in common TV sets.
Most dealers will tell you that common TV sets cannot receive French channels at all. That's complete balderdash, of course. These dealers have been trained to inform you about terrestrial reception. If you live near the coast, you may be able to pick up French terrestrial channels with a good aerial. Then you will indeed need a special TV set because French terrestrial television uses System L which provides an inverted image. Via satellite, System L is not used. Your receiver provides a System I signal on UHF (System G on the continent), and what you get on Scart is basically a System I PAL color signal as well. So you don't have any problems with the inverted image. It's still a question of color. French analogue satellite signals are in Secam. If your TV set can handle it, that's fine. Do it! France 2 broadcasts on Telecom 2B from 5 degrees West. The frequency is 12564 V. Audio is on 5.80 MHz in J17 mode.
I like French commercials. They are good because I can understand them. French is probably the most important foreign language outside the U.K. - It's an excellent idea to improve your skills of that language by means of watching French television.
You get M6, TF 1 and France 3 as well. There's a joint version of Canal 5 and Arte. These channels are also available in the TPS package. That's much more convenient for viewers in Britain because you get these programs in PAL (10.834 GHz V, 27500 S/R, 2/3 FEC).
France 2 also broadcasts from Astra 1G. At last, the major public channel from Paris teamed up with Europe's leading satellite system. On the former RTL 4 transponder (12.012 GHz V, 27500 S/R, 3/4 FEC), France 2 broadcasts for French citizens who subscribe to Canal Plus. For millions of potential viewers who can receive Astra 1G, the screen remains blank. That's a pity! The analogue signal on 5 degrees West is clear. The digital signal on 12.012 V, however, is encrypted. What kind of Europe is this? Free flow of information? Cultural diversity? It would be very nice to watch France 2 from Astra, but, alas, that is not yet possible.
For the time being, I'm pretty satisfied with the free, analogue SECAM signal from 5 degrees West. If you really want to practise your French, a subscription to TPS might be another option. Many programs that are originally produced by France 2 are shown on TV5 as well, including the Breakfast Show and the main French Evenining News.
The Sateuro page of nrw.co.uk/satellite is dedicated to a general introduction to the topic of satellite television. Are you still hooked on cable? Should you switch to satellite? (To cut a long story short: Yes, you should.)
If you consider all the digital stuff, there are currently three hundred and fifty different channels of television, including the thirty-five basic channels of the Sky Entertainment Package - Family pack. That's a lot of choice. Do you need Al-Jazeera? Probably not, but it's nice to know that this channel is around. Does your grandmother watch television? Well, imagine that the old lady would have told her friends in her youth: "We will soon have three hundred of fifty channels of color television in twenty different languages.". Maybe she would have won the HUGO, the coveted award for Science Fiction writers.
Thank you for visiting this site.
|This page was last updated on June 19, 2004|