new to fta - need suggestions and comments !!! please !!!help !!!

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madratboy

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SatelliteGuys Family
Jan 9, 2009
53
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tx
i have been on the dish/direct/cable train for a long,long time !! as a kid we had a 10' c band - i am thinking of moving to fta system(s) ! at this point , i would like to know what i can expect ( fta channel lineup )channels i must pay to receive (i know movies are paid but what receiver will allow opt to receive paid - ) can i get speed tv? history? scifi? vh1? or link to channels i can expect and or not expect (or sat's that i can look up)? minimum dish size , what receiver(s) . ku? c? dvb? ????? ---dish(s)? i have a new direct hd wide dish(4 lnb) and dish 500 (3 lnb)(minis). link to setting up ? MUST HAVE PARTS? 1300 a yr to cable co. is crazy !!!! please reply if you can answer or post links ---

THANKS A BUNCH IN ADVANCE !!! the new--b..ratboy
 
Anole

Anole

SatelliteGuys Master
Sep 22, 2005
11,819
13
L.A., Calif.
The only pay service is very limited, and on life support.
It's called 4DTV, if you want to search for discussions.
And not in HD!

All the rest of actual FTA is fully free.
See The List at the top of any page for satellites and frequencies.

As for dish size, 36" for Ku, and 8' for C-band will get you off to a good start.
For programming, what's good is personal taste.
I don't think anything you listed is free.
How do you feel about NASA and PBS? :)

edit: oh, Texas!
For very recent movies, look up 30west , Cuba.
They air new movies in English, with Spanish subtitles!
 
northgeorgia

northgeorgia

SatelliteGuys Pro
Nov 14, 2011
1,551
201
North GA
Here is a link to what is on 97W Ku-band, the satellite with the most FTA channels: http://www.satelliteguys.us/threads/303374-Galaxy-19-(97W)-Ku-band-channel-guide-Jan-23-update

I think for pay TV refugees, the best answer is a triad of free/cheap services: 1. Put up an Over-the-Air antenna for local channels...most markets now have "sub-channels" that broadcast additional programming such as local weather or other networks such as Antenna TV. (There is a forum on Satellite Guys just for OTA) 2. Assuming you have high speed Internet, get yourself a Roku or other IPTV box where you can watch some free movies and TV shows. You can also subscribe to services such as Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, or Netflix (this last one being the most common, costs just $8 a month). 3. Free-to-Air Satellite. These are completely free, and you only need to pay for, set up, and maintain your equipment. There are a wide variety of channels to choose from, but certainly aren't the same as the ones from the pay services. At first glance, you might even suspect there's nothing on it you'd want to watch...but I always get a few surprises! In addition, FTA can bring you "feeds." These are live transmissions intended for rebroadcast by networks or individual TV stations and include news reports, conferences, sports (of every imaginable variety), concerts and other special events, and even live medical procedures! The two systems are Ku-band and C-band, as Anole described above. If you click on "The List!" at the top of this page, you can get an idea of what's on all the satellites.

Here are some possible alternatives on Ku-band FTA:

speed tv ..... some occasional wild feeds may yield something, or try something new, such as Camel Racing on AD Sports. TuffTV carries some motor sports (but not live).
history? .... this was actually FTA at one point! Unfortunately, I never saw it -- it was a few months before my time in FTA. However, CCTV documentary on 95W and the Pentagon Channel on 101W have some occasional interesting stuff. Not to mention the PBS feeds and stations on 125W.
scifi? ..... On Ku-band, I don't know of a lot of stuff, but you can find a few programs and movies on Ebru TV on 97W out of the U.K. and Germany that are Sci-Fi.
vh1? ...... Try CoolTV on 97W.

As you say, $1,300 a year is a bit much for me :) My father so far doesn't want to make the switch from his pay satellite service, but I noticed he rarely watches most of the channels. I think, even if you go through "pay-TV withdrawal", with the three services of OTA, FTA, and an IPTV box you will not miss it that much and be hundreds of dollars richer by the end of the year.
 
turbosat

turbosat

SatelliteGuys Master
Dec 26, 2006
9,003
80
Oneonta,AL
Been there -done that. $1300 is a lot for tv, but it's a choice. If that choice no longer works for you, get yourself a ku=band free to air system with a motor. If you can turn a bolt and read an angle meter you can set it up. And of course-we will help with questions. The choice of buying pay-tv channels with your own equipment is just about gone, and as stated before, that system is standard def only and slowly going away. The pay stuff is either sports or reality tv these days anyway. I never find myself bored with satellite tv (the free kind!), there's always something to watch, be it newsfeeds, sportsfeeds or international channels. To get the most choice in free to air you need a big c-band dish too, if you're in an area where you can install an 8-10'dish. Otherwise the ku only system will gather hundreds of channels to watch, and no contracts!
 
radio

radio

"On the Air" in MI
Pub Member / Supporter
Oct 13, 2007
3,711
979
West Central Michigan
I'd have to agree with our post by northgeorgia, and risk getting "too wordy" as well...the membership here knows I tend to ramble on....

I'm one of those "not buying TV" anymore people, (switched to FTA and antenna) mainly because I don't have time to watch lots of TV, but...FTA has given me a great variety WHEN I have the time. I started with one large C-band dish, added the ku band LNB, modernized the dish moving system with a new positioner box, and was highly impressed! Not only are the mentioned PBS and other networks up there, but they look better than they do on your local affiliate in many cases. Do I miss pay TV? No. I'm in no rush to see the "latest" episode of something, and a simple Netflix sub on Roku fills in the "I want something else" craving. I was a 4DTV subscription person on C-band and the programming people treated me well. I just was not USING the service enough to even justify their "pick 10." Today, the receivers for this system are tough to find, overpriced in the secondary market, and may be nearing end of (memory battery) life. FTA was a good change and good choice for me.

Now, if you don't have broadband, you won't have the advantage of internet TV, but....there's never a lack on C-band or Ku Band of things to find. The newer receivers allow you to save and record to hard drive just like the pay systems, too..so you can "bank up " some programming for days that you don't find much on.

In a nutshell, if you have some mechanical and electronic savvy, if you're willing to do some work to install and (minimally) maintain your own equipment which requires very little attention if installed properly, you'll like the available programming and love not getting a monthly bill while you enjoy legal, free satellite TV! The membership here has started many a new person into FTA complete from setting the pole to aligning the dish. Spend the weekend reading this site, and you'll know by Monday if its for you or not.

Oh, and if nobody's said it, Welcome to SatelliteGuys!
 
johann12

johann12

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jan 8, 2012
316
0
NC, USA
I am still a newbie, at least I guess. I don't know how long you have to be in this hobby to loose the newbie title :). I set up my first c-band dish about a year ago, but I still learn something new.
First when I started out everything sounded confusing and high tech, but it is as simple as starting out to ride a bicycle.
Those folks here are awesome and they will walk you through. It may get frustrated at times since this is a DIY, but also very rewarding.

First when I learned of FTA, I just was reading and reading and researching and at the time I still was under contract with dish-net.
The first thing I did was that I installed a OTA outside antenna. If you have one already....good....check it out and see.

There are a few things that are required to receive Satellite signals.

A insight totally unobstructed line to the satellite or satellites in the southern sky.
A satellite dish for the right job. Since FTA satellites are weaker than commercial satellites the dishes have to be bigger.
Ku dishes as well C-band dishes can be stationary or they can be controlled with motors that go from satellite to satellite.
KU Dishes ( the smaller dishes) of 36'' or bigger is recommended.
C-band dishes = big ugly dishes=BUD, a 8 foot or bigger is recommended.
The right receiver. Do not buy the cheapest thing that is out there. Most likely it is out-dated. A lot of the signals are in Hd and /or s2.
So take caution to choose the right receiver.
Also the right LNB/LNBF per dish.
Incorporating a motor or a mover to move from satellite to satellite, please ask us about it.
Do not buy anything without asking us, there are members here that have many years behind there belts. You may save a lot of money.

As you may be aware of, do not look for HBO, Starz etc. unless you pay for it. But FTA has a lot of movies shows and sports to offer.
Here are a few sites you may want to check out.....
dishpointer.com this site will tell you the coordinates of you dish for your location. Just enter your address and this will tell you which way to point your dish with help of google maps.
lyngsat.com this site will give a channel list per satellite which a F usally stands for free reception of channels. To note here is that 4 digit transponders are for c-band reception and 5 digit transponders are for KU receptions. Light blue shaded one's are in HD and free.

By the time I learned about FTA I installed a OTA ( over the air , outside antenna system) first, prior cancellation of dish network.
I also checked the internet option like hulu or netflix.
Finally the day came to cancel dish network.
I used the turbo HD dish that dish left behind to get 97w with help of an linear LNBF, that is my wife's favorite. A lot of religion channels.
Next I set up a 7 1/2 fooot6 c-band dish, which replaced the 10 footer dish at a later time.
A year later I bought the geosat pro 36 '' from satAV, which was a good buy.
I made my whole setup into a multi - room setup.

Sorry I hgave to sign off, I took a lot medication........flue you knowww .... I seeeeee doublllle and tripppple.
See yaaaaa.
C- band as well as KU band has to offer the things you want, but for my favorite C-band is then best, Bur it depends what you like.
 
M

madratboy

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
Jan 9, 2009
53
0
tx
GREATLY appreciate the comments and leads... i seen and read some about internet tv channels -- is this thru a fta box? if yes what do i need to acquire to do this. as a heads up , i am very computer friendly - i am building my own ultimate pc media setup with 4 dvi /hdmi monitors (4 32" images or 1 64" image ) 2tb hdd for dvr, a/v dual tuner, etc and total wirelessly controlled . i do have 100mbps (avge. 50mbps) internet . i have a REALLY NICE source streaming movies (from 80's to 2013 movies )if i need it (hence pc media station) hulu,netflix,etc are good but not my choice when crackle is FREE . iptv ? is this subscription as well .. goal is to minimize all cost . when i was knee high to a grasshopper - T.V. was free (granite not a lot to view either ) and cable was less than $40. a month (again 36 chnls. cable , 100 or 2 on c ban as i remem.) is " MICROWAVE" tv still around ( view tv in the 90's ) i had a 12-16" dish on my house that coould pick this up . it was only 1 channel or 2 maybe but it was free because we owned the system movies only broadcasted on it.

as for c - band i found a 6' solid dish ?????? to small ?? i really want something at ground level and smallest poss dia. can i add ku band to c band dish . is my direct hd dish (newest one - 21" i think oval) any good -- or trash it????

so - as for receiver --- dont buy a 100 or less one to get up and running ??
i would like to "play" before i drop my paid services all together or atleast reduce channel line up ( i have the full pkg 150+ a month.)
 
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radio

radio

"On the Air" in MI
Pub Member / Supporter
Oct 13, 2007
3,711
979
West Central Michigan
I'll risk attempting a response, "risk" because we all have our favorites in equipment.. but let's hope many other members help you with their thoughts!

Most of us here will recommend, especially for a new FTA user the "microHD" receiver available from one of the sponsors here, SatelliteAV. Its small, and because they took their time rolling it out to the public, and also consulted users of this site about the minor "bugs" we all disliked in other boxes, you won't run into stuttering of video, and other issues common to the other boxes. It will run "around" $125, but once in a while a user posts one in the classifieds here on this site!!!! Highly recommended.

Your six foot dish, if properly aligned may serve you well on the stronger C-band feeds. Some feeds are a bit more "picky" and may require an 8 foot minimum, but...if you can move that dish (does it have a working positioner) by adding a V-Box of G-box (in house) digital positioner which takes information from the receiver and tells the dish where to go, you'll have a good "starter" setup. Modern LNB's are needed which flip polarities based on receiver voltage, so if your old dish has an old LNB with a motor attached to flip the small internal antenna, you'll likely want to replace that, too. LNB's are inexpensive, you can get a piggybacked C and Ku all in one, (some with built in switches that "talk" to your receiver to change bands) and FTA users' LNB's are of different design than LNB's for subscription services. Again, refer to recommendations of members, and site sponosrs. You won't go wrong. If your dish has the motorized nosecone LNB, and you've got the cable, don't toss it! You may someday want a receiver that lets you "fine tune" polarity for best signal!

Keep reading! If you've got a starter dish, can move it (or choose a favorite satellite from "the list" to start with)...and grab a MicroHD with new LNB, you won't go wrong, and won't overspend, either. But, also be on the lookout for an 8 foot dish in your area. You'll like the extra signal. Again, many threads on checking dishes for accurate focal points, and sizes needed for certain transponders' reception here on the site! Make "search" your friend and the info is nearly endless!
 
Magic Static

Magic Static

FTA Geek
Lifetime Supporter
Oct 12, 2010
7,497
4,848
Montana
FTA was a good choice for me. I like the hobby part and I got rid of the TV bill. I have more to watch now than I ever did.
 
northgeorgia

northgeorgia

SatelliteGuys Pro
Nov 14, 2011
1,551
201
North GA
Hmmm, I love the MicroHD, but if you're building a media center PC, you might install a satellite tuner card (for FTA) instead. I really don't know about their quality, and I know the prices are about the same as or more than the top receivers out there. I personally prefer the microHD because you get a lot of ongoing support, frequent updates, easy to use, and so tiny you hardly notice the box is there. As for the IPTV boxes, you can scratch that if you're planning to use your computer for those services. The nice thing about the little boxes like Roku, is that you click an icon with your remote, and you're on the service (no urls to type in). But to be honest, if you've got a really good media center PC, you'll have about everything Roku can do, plus more. Having the computer hooked directly into your TV/monitor will allow you to view Internet TV channels, such as World Wide Internet TV (search for this, if you haven't heard of it), that has many channels from around the world (some have issues with streaming and quality, though, as you might imagine).

You will certainly want an OTA antenna since you're in Dallas. According to TV Fool (if you type in your address at www.tvfool.com, you'll get a more accurate reading), you should get around 35 channels. If you have a modern TV, it already has a built in digital tuner. Otherwise, you could install an OTA digital tuner card in your media center PC (I believe you mentioned this) and probably get free DVR software with it, too. You'll find that your local channels come in a few seconds quicker than they do off the satellite, usually in better quality (many are broadcasting in HD, and most of the time get downconverted to SD for pay satellite and cable service -- though not always). Ironically, the feeds off of the FTA satellite will come in quicker and in better quality than your locals (the less bouncing back and forth to outer space, the quicker you get the signal)!

The 21" dish will be difficult to impossible to get Ku-band on (and even if it does work, you'd need to swap out the lnb). You really need a 30" dish or larger. I use a 36" dish. With a combination Ku- and C-band lnb, it should possible to get both Ku and C band on a 6-foot dish, but I think in both bands, you'll lose some of the channels. On C-band, as already mentioned, some signals will require a larger size to reject adjacent satellite interference. On Ku-band, the signal is much more narrow, so you have to be right on the satellite to get any signal. There also seems to be some signal loss with the combination lnbs, too, for some reason. (Others out there correct me if I'm wrong!) That's why most people prefer a dedicated C-band dish and a separate dish for Ku-band (but I know you are dealing with space and HOA issues). I'll let someone with more experience talk about that, as I only have one Ku-band dish.
 
FaT Air

FaT Air

HOA Free Zone
Feb 27, 2010
6,668
914
97W 48N
Free Over the Air, check www.tvfool.com
FTA: check mikes, MPEG Central
Need movies, & more? crackle.com (& others easy to find with a web search)
FTA -
C band (3.7 - 4.2Ghz ; 4 digits @ lyngsat, 3700 - 4200 Mhz)
Recommend an 8 ft dish, minimum. A 6 ft is usable, and many get them performing fairly well, but all the hard work can be 'bypassed' with a larger dish. If at all possible, a 10 ft, it just gets better. These are normally a 'prime focus' type dish. Mount it low, hide it with a hedge &/or camo paint.
Ku band (11.7 - 12.2 Ghz; 5 digit freq. 11700 - 12200 Mhz)
36 inch "offset" type recommended. Again larger is better.
OTARD is on your side up to a 1 meter dish & OTA antenna.
Receiver? Today, it must be DVB-S2 , and h264 capable.
I gotta go with the Geosatpro microHD. There's just way too much junk Chinese clones out there with no 'real' warranty or support. SatelliteAV is right here.
Media center PC FTA tuner card? Not what I'd call 'plug and play'. When trying to get the card to 'play' and trying to align the dish and feed horn(LNBF) for proper operation at the same time. WTH is going on, is it the dish, PC, tuner card??WHAT?? See what I'm gettin' at?
Best is to have the FTA receiver and a small TV right at the dish to 'tune it up'. Add the PC FTA tuner after you know the dish, and switches -etc- in a more complex system, are all working correctly.

 
johann12

johann12

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jan 8, 2012
316
0
NC, USA
First when I started, someone gave me 2 older receiver for free. I was able to get some channels, but I was missing channels. At the time you where still able to buy the S9 and S10 receivers and for the money it was a cheap receiver to receive HD, but it also had problems and now the S9 as well the S10 is not supported at all anymore. Supported means, no-one will fix software problems etc etc. and you are on your own.
I still use the S10 I bought and compare to the older receiver, the S10 will receive a lot more channels than my older receivers. There are many clones out there, so beware and ask us first.
If I would buy a brand new receiver, I would go for the microHD also.

With dishnet I had the 200 channel package and I get a lot of the channels now for free and I do not have to pay for them anymore.
But remember that I use a c-band dish, a Ku dish and a OTA. Also I use the free Hulu which I use very seldom.

I used to use the BSC 621 LNBF which is a C/KU lnbf for use with an C-band dish.
It is alright but not perfect since you are trying to find a happy median between the 2 bands, but you will never be able to peak both bands at the same time to it fullest and with it you may loose channels.
After I used a c-band only LNBF for my c-band dish and a separate KU dish I getting more channels in.
 
M

madratboy

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
Jan 9, 2009
53
0
tx
thanks again !! i do have a new dlp 65" (no -wifi / ethernet port)) but in near future i aim to have 4-32" tv/monitors with iiview . so i can watch 4 different shows at once or switch over to one large 64" picture . the media pc is going to be just that (blu-ray rw,2tb storage ,wireless media controller , and wi-fi ) .. this will fill any gaps. i have a old neighbor that has a motorized 10' mesh on a rent home -that said i can have it if i remove it.. (sweet-- i think!) as long as new neighbors don't complain . i will start with a settop box - locally i can find 4 -- sonicview, 2 nfusion's, ilink ,pansat/viewsat -- and captive works ?? but i don't know squat about these or any other box for that matter!! hahaa !! give me a pc and i can build what ever you want.

i did find this : http://skyvision.com/programming/index_old.html and i like the "Digital 4DTV
Super-sized
pkg. (speed tv) or even the gold pkg. thats still about 900-1000.00 less a year.(i am at 1900 a yr right now_
as for the direct dish - it is a swm 3/5 slim line ku/ka hdtv dish(4 lnb). i also have a dish 1000/500 (4-lnb)but not sure why i would want these - but i do see some fta guys with them !! i will research the micro box over next couple days . and try to nail down a box for purchase. are these ftza boxes going to work on a 10' mesh or 6 ' for that matter. i assume they all work the same? to bad i could not rework these direct/dish boxes i now own !!!

oh - on a last note - what is this ??? http://www.satellitedirect.com/
 
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M

madratboy

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
Jan 9, 2009
53
0
tx
the microhd box only has sat in , hdmi , av port and a usb ?? what gives. i am guessing they want it connected to a pc WITH internet? but it also states it has motor controls (wheres the hook-ups)???
 
Anole

Anole

SatelliteGuys Master
Sep 22, 2005
11,819
13
L.A., Calif.
The FTA hobby is composed of layers of experience.
There are no shortcuts.
Anyone without FTA experience who says he's going to build a media center FTA system, has no clue what he's up against.

sonicview, 2 nfusion's, ilink ,pansat/viewsat -- and captive works
All obsolete, and not recommended for purchase.

I already gave recommended dish sizes earlier in this thread.

Motors to move small Ku dishes are about the size of a cantelope.
They are wired in line on the coax between the receiver and the LNBF.
13-18 volts from the receiver run the motor.
Motors to move big C-band dishes are driven by external motor-controllers wired into the coax run.
Since these controllers need to supply more power to run the big dishes, they have their own 36 volt power supply.
Receivers are capable of sending 22 kHz-based pulse streams over their LNBF power to command either type of motor.
This is a brief simplification of the subject.

A starter system would consist of a fixed 36" Ku dish and receiver.
Once ya got a little experience, I'd add a STAB HH90 motor.
Then after more experience, you'd be ready to think about C-band, and be ready to tackle it.
 
mmewrench

mmewrench

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 8, 2005
339
46
SE Michigan
I originally got into fta because my ota signals sucked. I live in a major market area with ALL the networks (With very high voltage transmissin lines between me and the broadcasters). With fta I can get all those networks in all US time zones without digital dropout (ota got worse when they droped analog). I started with ku to get my feet wet for PBS, and added a 10 foot dish for Cband. I wont go back. With a decent media center PC, you can use several tuner cards and watch differant programing on every TV. It just depends on how hard you want to work for it. You wont beat the video quality of the master signal, and with the media center PC all you need to do is install the right codec and you will never have an issue with video or audio. I was watching 4.2.2 feeds on the PC long before anyone thought about getting them on a STB. There are programs available to stream to every PC in your houe also (or to your computer at work if you choose).

As far as the microhd, the usb port is for firmware upgrades. The motor controls are for usals and it goes through the coax to a usals compatible motor (low voltage and best suited to a small dish). You will need a positioner control to move that big C band dish and a polarity controller for the feedhorn (assuming you dont downgrade oops I mean replace the lnbs with voltage switching lnbfs).
 
rv1pop

rv1pop

SatelliteGuys Pro
the microhd box only has sat in , hdmi , av port and a usb ?? what gives. i am guessing they want it connected to a pc WITH internet? but it also states it has motor controls (wheres the hook-ups)???
Nope... No internet required. Please read up on what it is -- designed on this site... I set up to take mine with me on this 5000 mile trip. Tested that it would work in my motor home on 12 VDC, with a 12 VDC TV fed by the hdmi. Everything worked OK at home then 3 days later I got to my first destination (stop). Nothing worked!!! TOTAL OPERATOR ERROR! I left the dish at home on the pole!
=== the MicroHD: operator input via the remote; TV via the AV cables or HDMI; Dish = LNBF via the F connector; motor control by the same co-ax between the microHD and the LNBF. There is a power connector for an included wall wart OR buy/build a 12 VDC power cord from your battery bank. ===
Unfortunately, when I get back home, other projects will take my time -- like getting another vehicle running and extending my "Fixed position dwelling". (I got the kitchen sealed in -- almost -- before I left, for those following that saga.)
 
FaT Air

FaT Air

HOA Free Zone
Feb 27, 2010
6,668
914
97W 48N
The FTA hobby is composed of layers of experience.
There are no shortcuts.
Anyone without FTA experience who says he's going to build a media center FTA system, has no clue what he's up against.
Got to walk, before running.
Slow down, appreciate the scenery.
Think our recommendations have been made. Everyone here will offer you experienced guidance into entering the hobby. (We know where the booby traps lay) The choice to 'go it on your own' or follow experienced 'lead' is yours.

FYI: http://skyvision.com/programming/index_old.html is an unlinked (DEAD) page. Maybe left there for posterity?
What's available, today, is at http://skyvision.com/programming/index.html
Have a good day.
 
M

madratboy

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
Jan 9, 2009
53
0
tx
sorry guys ! not trying to overstep . let me correct my self .. my media pc will not connect to fta . it will stay on wifi till my feet are good and wet. and yes i am listen and taking in all the good info and recommendations .. thats why i am asking these questions before i jump into 2k$$ and only needed $500.. i found a 36-40" round ku that someone will just give me for taking away & a 10' motorized mesh for the hauling only ... the microhd sounds like my best choice ( guess i am use to looking at my 80's bud receiver with all those wires). with a good signal from ??? service i can usb to my dvr/pc . (i build all my pc's/laptops custom since the early 90's) .. besides microhd any others WITH good firmware / support?
 
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