One thing that many don't understand about FTA is that it is not a "service". It is a hodgepodge of uplinked satellite programs spread across more than a dozen visible satellites across the sky. The programming comes from many sources, usually professional broadcasters uplinking programming to other broadcast or cable professionals. These are the wild news feeds, sports events, and backhaul programs being sent to network affiliates and cable headends.
These programs are not meant for consumers to receive, we are just picking them up as the network affiliates or cable headends would. Very little FTA up there is meant for consumer reception. Most end-user programming is on Galaxy 19 at 97W, and is ethnic programming for reception by Globecast subscribers.
With that said, I have been receiving FTA satellite since 2005, and would never want to give it up. There's always something to see, although its rarely the kind of programming you'd expect from a premium cable tier. Those channels are occasionally available, but usually don't stay unscrambled for long.
Current systems: 3X GEOSATpro microHD PVRs; Digitrans DTE-7150 DVB/Digicipher II; SiliconDust HDHomeRun ATSC/QAM networked tuners; fixed 1 meter Channel Master dish with Eagle Aspen P870 FSS stacked Ku LNB; 2X 3ABN 36" dishes with Sadoun KBSL1 stacked Ku LNBFs on Powermax SG-9120B H-H motors; fixed Sadoun SD180G 1.8 meter dish with Eagle Aspen B1SAT stacked C LNBF; Winegard Square Shooter OTA DTV antenna