What Do You Think The Future Of FTA Will Be? (1 Viewer)

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Alexander Olar

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Nov 24, 2017
Macomb Michigan
Since tv providers are hiking up prices more and more how will it impact FTA? I'm thinking it's future is grim. Probably more and more channels will get scrambled and eventually there won't be anything worthy to watch? What do you guys think?


SatelliteGuys Pro
Jan 25, 2011
We are the nitch hobby we are very small they really dont go after us. Vast majority of people watch paytv off cable, satellite. Then we have streaming iptv after that is OTA channels then us in the fta at very tail end of things. Most people don't like working on this stuff. They like something they can point and shoot.


SatelliteGuys Pro
Pub Member / Supporter
Lifetime Supporter
Sep 11, 2005
Canby, Oregon
What drove this hobby 10 years ago were the hackers and niche KU programing (religious and ethnic). The hackers have been greatly reduced by strong encryption, the niche markets are now largely served by IPTV (Roku). Hence the market for equipment that served these markets as well as FTA has dried up.

Religious and ethnic programing on satellite is in decline. There is/are commitments that have been made to supply programing to terrestrial translator/repeater operations. That will force a limited number of program producers to continue using satellite for sometime into the future.
So there will be programing available for FTA in the future - just less and less. IMHO

Bob Westcott


SatelliteGuys Pro
May 12, 2012
Central NJ
Guess it depends upon the impact the Internet and the use of wireless media like Smartphones.

SmartPhones are sorta' like the transistor radios we had in '60's hi hi.

As a comparison, shortwave stations have left the airwaves slowly but steadily over the years and gone to Internet websites instead. As a result there are lots less international broadcasters than a decade or more ago but still plenty to listen to, plus the ute (utility) stations are still there to listen to.
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SatelliteGuys Pro
Nov 14, 2011
North GA
China, Cuba, Romania, and Spain are the only major players that come to mind right now. It's been several months since I've turned the dial over to SW, though.
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Lifetime Supporter
Mar 1, 2006
Roseville, CA 121W
I think a very large percentage of the general population have no idea that its possible to setup a dish in your backyard and receive other programming besides Dish Network and Directv. When I show visitors my satellite dishes I show them where the Clark arc goes across the sky here. They are quite surprised when I tell them that there are satellites about every 2 degrees.

For me its just a hobby -- feed hunting and L-Band antenna experimenting. I have a cable TV subscription for my main viewing.

I don't know what the future of FTA will be. Even if it goes away there will still be interesting signals besides TV up there, like weather satellites and whatever else we can find -- for a long time to come.


SatelliteGuys Pro
Nov 25, 2016
Helenwood, Tennessee
I think back a few years ago when you could get tv on cband with subscription gave dish and direct more competition but since you can't do that much anymore the price will continue to rise. I just wish some more of the good channels would go to FTA.
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Magic Static

FTA Geek
Staff member
Lifetime Supporter
Oct 12, 2010
Well I haven't been doing FTA for ever. Maybe about 12 years now. But if recent history is any indicator of the health of FTA, I would say it is only getting better. We have way more channels now than years past. Sure some have gone away but many new ones have started. Satellites can carry more content than ever before and they are launching new ones all the time. With a life span of 15+ years satellite technology won't be replaced soon I think.
The hackers have been cut back and dried up the demand for cheap mas-produced FTA gear. So now there is demand is for real FTA gear vs hacker junk. Though a very small demand we are seeing some better equipment come out for the FTA crowd.
FTA changes a lot but I don't think it is trying to die. ;)

Keith Brannen

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jun 2, 2006
Southwestern Ontario
Magic Static, I too have been doing FTA for 12 years. However, my assessment of the state of FTA certainly differs greatly from you! While you may be correct as far as C band goes, where the change over in OTA to digital spawned FTA diginets that breathed new life into C band, Ku band did not benefit, and it is constantly losing good channels, without replacements. Even with C band, I have noticed that there have been recently more channels that have scrambled. As well, with C band, it use to be that a good 6 or 8 footer was more than enough to get most, if not all channels, whereas now it seems a 10 or 12 footer is necessary. Of course, the changes in formats such as DVB-S2, HD, etc. have been the reason, but still, it does raise additional concerns for anyone wanting to get into C band.

Not only has there been a big loss in Ku band FTA channels, but there has also been a big loss (in the past 12 years) of satellite positions. For example, I remember satellites at 74, 79, and 129 (with good programming), where there are none now. As well, other satellites are now wastelands, for Ku especially, for example, 72, 83, 85, 89, 93, 101.

On my system with its combination of switches I can have 22 satellites on it (actually, at one time I had 23, used an A/B switch for two). Currently, I only have 20 satellites. In the spring (or earlier, if weather permits), I intend on doing a bit or re-arranging. For example, my Star Choice 75e dish, currently pointed at 83/87 will become 87/91. Also on that dish are LNBs for 61.5 (for those times when they had FTA channels, long time since they have had any), 72, and 93. While I will see if I can get 95, instead of 93, both the other two will be removed, dropping down to 20 satellites. If 95 does come in well, my SC 60e, currently pointed at 91/95, with 101 on the side, will either be removed, or will replace my 121 smaller dish, but it will probably mean reducing the number of dishes I have, which is a first for me. There are also other LNBs I may remove, as they are essentially useless, and there is nothing to re-point them at.


SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 24, 2016
I think it depends on which FTA we are talking about...

FTA that is not aimed at the individual residential system is a moving target, new stuff appears, older stuff gets encrypted once it's making money, to protect that revenue.

On the other hand, there are the channels that are not trying to make money but instead to promote their content, whether it's religious ideas, or simply promoting their culture and perspective (NHK, CGTN, RT, Press TV, DW-TV, France 24, i24, BVN, Arirang, etc.). Their goal is to reach as many viewers as possible. I think those will be around in the foreseeable future

Then there's the ethnic stuff, mostly on 97W, and for those, IPTV could be a threat to FTA

Then there's all the Latin-American channels, and I don't know much about those markets.

Now one thing that I just don't get is why BBC World News and Al Jazeera are encrypted... i would have expected those to fall in the same category as NHK, DW, etc.


SatelliteGuys Pro
Jan 23, 2005
Albuquerque, NM, USA
I think BBC, CBC, Fr24 and AJ thinks they are big boys so they get to scrambled and make money. Now the other thing like BBC 1 ,2 , ITV, Aussi channel like ABC, 7 Network, 9 Network and SBS same goes for NZ, Ireland and any English speaking country tend to scrambled for copyright censorship reasons preventing people like to see what going on domestic news issue.:rolleyes:

While at the same time lot's of other languages tend to be FTA some Spanish ,Arabic, some French stations and many others. Would love to see DW, Fr24, CBC, RAI and many goodies out there nice if they are on Ku band .:hungry

US and Mexico full time stations are some what more open than you think. Sadly Canadian full time stations are more in to scrambling than anything else save for raw feed we get from time to time.:oldfrown

NHK,PBS,KBS and other are doing a good job keeping the signal in the clear.:clapping

Now back to TV DXing!!


SatelliteGuys Pro
Lifetime Supporter
Sep 19, 2014
N. Central WV
As I've said before, Satellite is not going anywhere anytime soon. Still many, many areas in NA that is not served by fiber and other things.

I think satellite companies like Dish & DirecTV and cable providers are seeing the writing on the wall. As more people get high speed internet, the more people will turn to streaming services. I think they're headed for the same doomsday scenario I saw with BUD's years ago. Just a matter of time before everything will be streaming.


Member of the Month - July 2014!
Pub Member / Supporter
Lifetime Supporter
Jul 20, 2005
Northern VA
That’s a LONG time away.

True high speed “broadband” Internet doesn’t reach everywhere, not even enough places to ignore the remainder.

And it seems inherently more efficient to “broadcast” a few hundred channels to millions of people, than to send millions of unique programs out to millions of homes over the Internet.

Call me when the LEO, MEO or some other upcoming Internet delivery service actually works, and at a price JSP will find reasonable.


SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 13, 2014
The future of TV is shaping up to be on demand video for any kind of scripted or recorded programming and then occasional live streams for events like sports or news. Amazon is providing a glimpse of the model with their acquisition of NFL streaming rights to go with their on demand content.
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