Building new house, want FTA access, I am totally a newbie regarding all this technology

Discussion in 'Free To Air (FTA) Discussion' started by bplaney, Jan 27, 2013.

  1. bplaney

    bplaney Thread Starter New Member

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    My wife and I are building a town home in downtown Dallas. I am having a smurf-tube put in so that I can eventually run a cable to the roof and set up an antenna. We will have rooftop terraces, so accessing the antenna should be easy. We will have at most two screens in the house, but for a long while it will probably be just the one we already have, a barely used 46" Samsung LCD TV.

    We watch hardly any television at all (frankly we would rather read) but wouldn't mind picking up good stuff from around the world if possible. My wife is Russian - it would be nice to get some Russian channels. I wouldn't mind picking up sophisticated news coverage (BBC, or Al-Jazeera English - something of that level) if possible; would love to see some international soccer, but don't care about watching sports on a regular basis.

    I don't know the first thing about receivers, antennas, any of the switching or other downstream equipment, providers or channels. Zip. I am good with Macintosh computers, if there's any role for them to play... I have a 10 year old Sony home theater system I bought and am using now in our current home, and I won't mind using it in the new one if possible, but I assume it would only play a role in handling the audio.

    If anyone starts using acronyms to explain anything, I'll be instantly lost. I am motivated to learn just enough to install and master a simple solution that will get me the above and then I want to forget this stuff and focus on other things.

    What I would like to know first is there a simple primer I can read that will lay out the basics at the most junior level, so that I can understand what the major issues are?

    Any recommendations for a basic antenna (that will not have to be moved manually or with a motor) that will give me the local channels in HD as well as international channels? I don't want to spend a fortune, and I don't want ongoing costs or subscriptions to anything. I assume cabling is still coaxial? or has that changed?

    I am planning to run a piece of RJ-45 alongside the coaxial cable in the smurf tube up to the roof and break it out where it passes inside the attic to connect to a secondary WiFi receiver (probably an Airport base station) that will help us with WiFi when we're on the roof terrace. Will a coaxial cable interfere with ethernet in such close proximity?

    Thanks!
     
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  2. bobvick

    bobvick Pub Member / Supporter
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    You are not going to get your local channels in HD off of FTA. You will not be able to get the BBC, you can get Al Jazerra, I think it is on Galaxy 19 Ku band at 97W, however, it is not in HD. There are many international channels on the Ku band of that satellite (Galaxy 19), however, they are all in SD and are not of the best picture quality. Take a look at 97W at this link. As far as one antenna that is not moved, this is your best bet.
    Most of the other stuff is on C-Band which would require at least a 6' dish, and you would want it to be motorized in order to move it.
    Just so you know, you will get no "cable" or DBS type programming with FTA.
     
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  3. AcWxRadar

    AcWxRadar SatelliteGuys Family
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    Bplaney,

    Welcome to SatelliteGuys forum! Great to have you join us!

    There may be a lot of information to cover to get you up to speed in this FTA endeavor, but it is really quite simple in the overall situation, once you learn some of the basic foundation principles.
    Judging from the types of channels that you think you might be interested in, FTA satellite TV might be right up your alley. Free OTA TV might also be a good option to consider as well and both options can be combined for quite a great selection of TV and radio channels.

    Basics for FTA satellite are: You set up a plumb mast, attach a dish and maybe a motor, attach a LNBF (Low Noise Block Downconverter with Feedhorn). Run an RG-6 coaxial cable back into the home and connect it to a FTA receiver and program the receiver for the individual satellites that offer the channels that you want. Align the dish and motor and scan the channels. Then you are off and running. This is the very basic explanation of what we do. Obviously, there are more details involved in this process, but I think you can see the simplicity in the overall scope.

    FTA satellite TV is more of a HOBBY for a person who just likes to tinker and has the knowledge of even just the basics of electronics and mechanics/physics and a little bit of computer background.
    You do not need to be a wizard at any of these items in order to accomplish access to a great deal of specialty channels and programming.

    You won't get the same channels that are offered on Dish Network or DirecTV, that is for certain. So you must understand that going in right off. But, it is free of all subscriptions and contracts and there are many really great channels available, enough for a non-"couch-potato" be be well entertained and educated.

    It is a DIY project. You select and purchase all of the equipment on your own, through the advice of others, learn how to set it up and aim or align the dish and motor and program the receiver. You also are responsible for troubleshooting and repairing the system yourself if anything should fail. All of this DIY knowledge can be obtained right here on this forum and all the assistance you might need or require can be obtained from the other members here at nearly any hour of the day or night. Provided you don't mind waiting for responses. It generally doesn't take long for answers to come flooding in and you will receive much valuable advice. It is quite a FUN experience! You get to know many people from all over the world and, since you like to read, you might find this very interesting and enlightening as well as rewarding.

    You have just stepped on our WELCOME mat, now we can start to fill your head with all the foundational knowledge. :) Hope you enjoy the experience.

    RADAR
     
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  4. AcWxRadar

    AcWxRadar SatelliteGuys Family
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    Bplaney,

    Satellite TV is most generally divided into two frequency bands: C and Ku.

    C band is a lower frequency band, roughly in the 3 - 5 GHz frequency range. It requires a larger reception dish 1.8 M to 3.5 M (6-12 feet)
    Ku band is a mid-range frequency band, roughly in the 10 - 12 Ghz range. It requires a dish size of about 0.75 M to 1.2 M (2.5 ft to 4 ft)

    You can receive either or BOTH with almost all FTA receivers available today.

    C band offers more diversity and more channels, Ku band equipment is less expensive and easier to manage and set up, simply due to size.

    There is also the K and Ka band, but there likely isn't much FTA content there.

    RADAR
     
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  5. AcWxRadar

    AcWxRadar SatelliteGuys Family
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    Bplaney,

    This resource, available right here at the TOP of every FTA forum main page, can present you with all the known FTA channels on the respective satellites. These are the FREE channels that we know to exist currently. Follow this link: http://www.satelliteguys.us/thelist/

    There are other resources out there, outside of this forum, that you can consult, too. http://www.lyngsat.com/ and http://www.satbeams.com/ are two of my commonly referenced and accessed sites.

    RADAR
     
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  6. AcWxRadar

    AcWxRadar SatelliteGuys Family
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    You will also need to familiarize yourself with some of the FAQ's.

    This link is available to you. It is located right here on this forum. http://www.satelliteguys.us/forums/29-FTA-MPEG2-FAQ-s

    There is a great deal of knowledge packed into these "sticky" threads and posts. Since you like to read, you might really appreciate these.

    RADAR
     
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  7. AcWxRadar

    AcWxRadar SatelliteGuys Family
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    My personal suggestion to you is this.

    Start off with a 1.2 M dish for Ku band reception and focus it in on Galaxy 19 (97.0°W) as a FIXED POINT dish for the largest bulk of FTA channels (over 200).
    I recommend a GeoSatPro 1.2M dish from http://www.satelliteav.com/. They also offer a receiver, the microHD that is quite inexpensive, highly functional and
    user friendly and a very high quality LNBF (the SL1PLL). This will be an inexpensive setup at the start for you to play with without getting too far involved in a
    monetary sense, if you decide you don't appreciate the FTA service.

    If you like what you find there on this sat, you may use this dish and upgrade it to incorporate a motor to dial in on all the other Ku band sats over the horizon.

    My motor of choice is currently the DG-380 from Saudoun's (http://www.sadoun.com/), but there are other motors out there that may serve you equally.

    RADAR
     
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  8. AcWxRadar

    AcWxRadar SatelliteGuys Family
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    Do not be apprehensive in asking questions here. We LOVE answering questions! That is a big part of this HOBBY.

    Just try to avoid being overly vague. We need to have details and specifics so that we can focus in on a direct answer without a lot of follow-up questions to fill in the blanks.
    It makes the responses (answers) flow better.

    RADAR
     
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  9. SatelliteAV

    SatelliteAV SatelliteGuys Family
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    Since you are not avid TV watchers and appears that you really don't want TV as a hobby, I might also suggest two simpler steps;

    1. A small outdoor directional antenna for local channels. See what channels you can watch on this site: http://www.tvfool.com/

    2. A simple fixed single satellite free to air system aimed at Galaxy 19. Example: https://www.satelliteav.com/p/shop/?ws_pid=1611&ws_cat=413 The system is provided with simple step by step installation instructions that can be followed by anyone with basic hand tools and 3 hours of spare time. Download the Owners Manual / Install Guide: https://www.satelliteav.com/portal/33/images/microHDmanual.pdf

    Total investment less than $250 and have over 300 free international TV and Radio satellite channels in addition to the many local TV channels available in Dallas.

    If you like what you see and wish to expand the system to include other satellites or become a hobbyist, this system will be an excellent basis for any advanced user!

    Welcome to SatelliteGuys!!!
     
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  10. bplaney

    bplaney Thread Starter New Member

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    Wow, all these responses, so quickly!
    Thanks!

    One thing I failed to mention in the initial post is that there will be a homeowner's association. I don't yet know what their limitations might be, but a "large" satellite dish might violate them. I will look through the FAQs as suggested.

    Move-in won't be until June, so I have some time to get familiar with all this.

    thanks again!
     
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  11. Trip

    Trip RabbitEars Webmaster
    Staff Member HERE TO HELP YOU!

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  12. AcWxRadar

    AcWxRadar SatelliteGuys Family
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    Definitely get the HOA rules spelled out in writing right from the start. But, also remember that there are certain items that the HOA cannot restrict you from, within certain reasonable limits, even if they think they can. But, you don't want to make too many waves right off the bat either. That could create conflicts for you with other things that you might wish to do in the future.

    RADAR
     
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  13. Anole

    Anole SatelliteGuys Guru

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    We really need to know where you are located.
    edit: oh, Dallas.
    Pay attention to comments about the bird at 30-west.
    It has some brand new movies in English, but with Spanish subtitles (on weekends).

    For a starter dish, 36" is what I recommend.
    http://satelliteav.com/p/shop/?ws_pid=1623&ws_cat=470
    If and when you decide to motorize it, I suggest the STAB HH90.
    Arguably the "best".
    For a receiver, I'd suggest the GeoSatPro microHD.
    It's one of the latest most advanced designs, and modestly priced.
    Can be had with the dish for a discount.
    http://satelliteav.com/p/shop/?ws_pid=1611&ws_cat=413

    People need to grow in this hobby, so it's hard to recommend beyond a basic dish & receiver 'till you've had a taste.
     
    #13
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2013
  14. danristheman

    danristheman Well-Known SatelliteGuys Member

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    Also look into Galaxy 19 at 97w that satellite has RT or Russia Today your wife would like that channel a lot. this is a great hobby to get into and have fun with.

    Dan Rose
     
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