Looking for help (1 Viewer)

lorider

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Jan 27, 2021
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Stouffville Ontario Canada
My husband and I are new to this FTA. Well not new as we did have viewsat about 20-25 years ago. We are very interested in going the same route. Satellite is so expensive. Can someone please help us with what we need, if we can use the satellite dish we have or not. We live in Stouffville Ontario Canada.
 

johnnynobody

SatelliteGuys Master
Pub Member / Supporter
Aug 2, 2009
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42N 103W
My husband and I are new to this FTA. Well not new as we did have viewsat about 20-25 years ago. We are very interested in going the same route. Satellite is so expensive. Can someone please help us with what we need, if we can use the satellite dish we have or not. We live in Stouffville Ontario Canada.

I don't know what dish you have but you'll need at least a 10 foot dish for C band. I think a new 10 foot dish still goes for $1000 (not including shipping costs) at tek2000.com. You might be able to find a used dish at substantially lower cost. Anyway, the initial cost of putting in a C band system is expensive and labor intensive. A new receiver capable of today's modulations is about $200, a quality actuator would cost around $350, an LNBF would be around $50, and then there's the cost of cables, concrete, etc. If you can afford it, it'll be great to have another member of our community.
 

cyberham

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jun 16, 2010
3,231
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Nova Scotia
...Can someone please help us with what we need, if we can use the satellite dish we have or not. We live in Stouffville Ontario Canada.
Tell us the channels or types of programming that you want to receive plus the diameter and type of dish you have. Then we can let you know if this type of programming is available to you using free-to-air satellite.
 

ancient

SatelliteGuys Pro
May 12, 2014
347
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USA
I wish we could downvote replies like in Reddit; I'd be doing a lot of downvoting on some of the replies you've received already, particularly from those who are ASSUMING that you are trying to get pay TV for free. But that said, you mentioned the satellite dish you have, but gave no details so we don't know what you have now. It may be that all you will have to do is upgrade the LNB on the dish (but not the dish itself) and the receiver. Depending on what you get it may only cost between $100-$200 (not sure if prices are higher in Canada or if you get hit with duty if buying a receiver from the US). People are correct in saying you won't get pay cable channels but you probably knew that already. But there are still lots of channels on true FTA.

My one piece of advice would be to find a receiver that can record channels (PVR capability) because some of the channels that you may want to watch can't be viewed in real time on the receiver, but if you record them and then take the file to a computer and play it in VLC or Kodi then they may play just fine. Or you may need to run the recording through ffmpeg to make it playable (either to reduce the required CPU usage or to fix the audio). Alternately you could use a computer with a satellite tuner card as a receiver but that gets a lot more expensive and it's not really for those who don't know much about computers and don't want to learn. You don't have to be a major computer geek but if all you ever do on a computer is read email and visit web sites (and you had no idea what I was talking about when I mentioned ffmpeg) then you'll probably want to stick with a receiver.

As for a dish, they don't always have to be expensive. Take a ride in the country and if you see one in someone's yard ask if they are still using it. Particularly in the case of large C-band dishes (which are the best kind to have), some people would be happy if you would just haul them away and others will sell theirs for the scrap metal value, only problem there is that some people seem think their dishes must be made of gold. Also some people will try to sell you their old receivers, and you have to gently remind them that TV converted to digital about a decade ago so if the receiver is older than that it not really useful anymore, anymore than an old analog TV is. If they don't want to let their dish go write your name and number on a card and ask them to call you if they change their minds. I have gotten a couple of dishes where I left my number and out of the blue I got a call weeks or months later because something happened, in one case I think the guy got married and his wife could not stand looking at that "big ugly dish" out of her kitchen window. You may get turned down a few times but you only need someone to say yes once to get your feet wet. Just one pro tip, if the dish isn't reasonably close to the ground don't even ask unless you can rent a crane, and if it's a big fiberglass dish don't ask unless you have at least three strong people to help lift it off the pole (you MIGHT be able to work it off the pole with two strong people but you will probably drop it and damage it or even injure yourselves, and you'll probably have a backache for a week!). The easiest kind to remove are the metal mesh dishes, particularly if they are made of aluminum (also aluminum doesn't rust).

Of course all that assumes that you are not in a municipality or a HOA (do they have those in Canada?) that will not let you have a big dish. I remember at one time reading that they were trying to make it illegal for homeowners to have big dishes throughout Canada because the CRTC had a bug up their butts about people being able to watch American programming without restriction (probably forgetting that most Canadians live within about 100 miles of the border and many can receive American channels with a TV antenna) but I don't THINK that ever went anywhere, but I can't be sure.
 
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ancient

SatelliteGuys Pro
May 12, 2014
347
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Well, sur
Don't get me started...... I told them just what the costs could be and those are facts. I dare you to prove me wrong.
Well, sure, you told them what the costs COULD be. But they don't necessarily HAVE to be that high. I don't have the time to do it right this second but if you search on Amazon and/or eBay, unless prices have skyrocketed in the last couple of years you can buy DVB-S2 compatible receivers for under $100 (in the USA anyway). Now I am not saying those are the Cadillac of receivers, but for someone just getting into (or back into) the hobby they are adequate enough to see if you can actually receive signals before making a big investment. They don't need an actuator until/unless they want to receive multiple satellites (and multiple DISHES work better for that :biggrin), and you know those dishes you see while driving around that may be cheap or free if you ask? Often there is an actuator attached and all you need it something to control it (and if they are willing to give up that old analog receiver for free or cheap, that may have the circuitry to control the actuator). It will probably need at least cleaning and a good lubrication job but it may well work with a little TLC.

As for concrete, the most I have ever used on a single C-band dish is five bags and that's only because I had to remove so many roots I wound up making the hole too big. Unless you live in "hurricane alley" or your soil liquefies every time the ground shakes you don't need a ton of concrete. Poles and concrete are one place where I think a lot of people go way overboard and that's fine if you want to do that but you can spend a lot more money than you need to. RG-6 cable comes in boxes for under $100 at the big box home improvement stores; I am pretty sure there are Home Depot and Lowes stores in Canada now, not to mention similar Canadian chains (though you do want to get the cable with a solid copper core if possible). And if they actually have an older dish, it is not impossible that the cable on that is still usable, I have one dish that has cable on it that I bought in the mid-90's (the blue jacketed stuff in my icon) and I keep thinking I should replace it but the dish works so I don't.

I mean, you could spend a lot of money for a Rolls Royce, or you could spend a few thousand on a decent used car - either will get you where you want to go. But to tell someone what the costs could be almost sounds like you are trying to scare them away before they even get started!
 
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comfortably_numb

Dogs have owners, cats have staff
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Nov 30, 2011
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My... oh, my... What a welcome to FTA! With this kind of welcome and a plethora of discouragement and guesstimation, I would RUN!

How many people switch from pay TV to FTA except for hobbyists? What is there on FTA that is comparable to what they're likely paying for now (Bell or Shaw)?
 

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