What FTA receiver should I get

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funkypc

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May 29, 2008
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Hello, I'm new here :)

I have been looking for information on FTA receivers but most sites seem to only care about how quickly 'fixes' come out. I'm not interested in that.
I'm looking for an FTA receiver with the following:

Motor control - I want to be able to switch between KU satellites - G11, G17, H2, etc.

Blind scan - I hear that is the main draw to FTA

4:2:2 would be nice, but I understand not many receivers support this?

HD capabilities would be nice, but it is not a necessity yet as I do not have a HDTV yet.

I am price concious - If I can buy a used one cheap on ebay I will go that route. I understand that if receivers stop working for hack TV they may be available for cheap on ebay?

Thankyou for your help
 
M

Mr Tony

SatelliteGuys Pro
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Nov 17, 2003
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Mankato, MN
Hello, I'm new here :)
welcome :wave

Motor control - I want to be able to switch between KU satellites - G11, G17, H2, etc.
most receiver do motor control...some really good...some not so good

Blind scan - I hear that is the main draw to FTA
for the first box this is almost a necessity

4:2:2 would be nice, but I understand not many receivers support this?
only one receiver does this and its 700 bucks. PC cards do but the above 2 options are either bad or non-existant

HD capabilities would be nice, but it is not a necessity yet as I do not have a HDTV yet.
HD programming on a SDTV looks damn nice :D

I am price concious - If I can buy a used one cheap on ebay I will go that route. I understand that if receivers stop working for hack TV they may be available for cheap on ebay?

Thankyou for your help

yep and they can be flashed back to factory fresh :)

Check out the review area. My favorites (in no particualr order)
-Visonsat...blind scan, motor control and PVR
-Coolsat 5000 (or 6000)..nice blind scan and works great with motor
-Pansat 9200 (HD box)

Other will say Fortec & Traxis. I've worked with Fortec and its like a Pansat. Havent worked with a Traxis before
 
Anole

Anole

SatelliteGuys Master
Sep 22, 2005
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L.A., Calif.
common receivers

Here are some of the more common receivers used by the members.
None are exotic with S2, HD, nor 4:2:2, but all are top units.
I don't have 'em all, but from comments by members, I'd be proud to own 'em.

Search the forum for reviews, and user-comments on these boxes.


No HD, no 4:2:2, blindscan=YES!

Fortec Star Mercury II
Visionsat IV-200 (can do PVR with user-added external USB hard drive)
Pansat 3500sd (has co-rotor control, if you can use it)
Traxis 3500
 
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funkypc

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
May 29, 2008
212
0
North America
Thank you for the replies. I'm sure everyone has a favorite receiver. I read some of the reviews for these receivers. This gives me some idea of what kind of receivers are recommended for FTA.

The main thing I watch on TV is hockey. I have read about some of the wild feeds available. Some of them are in HD. Do any of the standard def receivers pick up the HD channels (but spit them out in standard def)?

Also, can someone give me an idea of how likely I would be able to find a particular game unencrypted (KU) if I was looking for it?

Sorry for the newbieness - I really appreciate the help!
 
Last edited:
phlatwound

phlatwound

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Dec 25, 2007
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Goosapeak Junction
Thank you for the replies. I'm sure everyone has a favorite receiver. I read some of the reviews for these receivers. This gives me some idea of what kind of receivers are recommended for FTA.

The main thing I watch on TV is hockey. I have read about some of the wild feeds available. Some of them are in HD. Do any of the standard def receivers pick up the HD channels (but spit them out in standard def)?

Also, can someone give me an idea of how likely I would be able to find a particular game unencrypted (KU) if I was looking for it?

Sorry for the newbieness - I really appreciate the help!

No, you can't receive HD channels with an SD receiver....but you can view HD channels picked up by an HD receiver with an SD television......and as mentioned earlier, they look "damn nice"! :D

I don't watch much hockey....I'm pretty new to FTA in general, and Ku in particular, but I can tell you that there are a LOT of wild sports feeds, and I'd guess quite a bit of them are hockey.

And I'll throw in another vote for the Visionsat IV200 PVR, if a goober like me can figure out how to get some use out of it, anyone can. :)
 
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Mr Tony

SatelliteGuys Pro
Supporting Founder
Nov 17, 2003
335
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Mankato, MN
If you lock a HD feed on a SD box, you get (depending on the receiver) either a black screen or a green screen. You need a HD box to see a HD feed
 
Fizbi

Fizbi

SatelliteGuys Pro
May 16, 2008
539
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Wild and Windy Casper, WY
Hockey Feed

The main thing I watch on TV is hockey. I have read about some of the wild feeds available. Some of them are in HD. Do any of the standard def receivers pick up the HD channels (but spit them out in standard def)?

I caught an NBC wild feed hockey game yesterday on 72W. It wasn't HD but it sure looked great to me. If you are watching FTA on any TV less that 52" diagonal, you will not be dissapointed. Don't feel like you have to get HD to enjoy FTA. The OTA reception in my area pales when compared to FTA.

I have a Coolsat 5000 and I'm very happy with it.
I have compared it to a SonicView SV8000 HD and came to the conclusion that my CS5000 was better because it scanned faster and lacked the software bugs of the bleeding edge HD receiver. I'm going to wait for the next generation HD receivers to come out and hope that more FTA feeds upgrade to HD before investing time and money on the newer FTA boxes.
 
Anole

Anole

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Sep 22, 2005
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L.A., Calif.
The only reason I didn't include the Coolsat 5000 and Coolsat 6000 above, is because new ones are no longer being built/sold/warrantied.
If you find a used one , it would certainly go on the short list to consider.

I'll have to agree with Fizbi on the HiDef FTA boxes.
Each one seems to be missing something.
 
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funkypc

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
May 29, 2008
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North America
Thankyou again for all the useful info. I know the hockey season is almost done for the year - hopefully stations don't start encryting more next year. :rolleyes:

I will most likely be buying a used SDTV receiver on ebay. I will wait a few years untill I get an HD one (once they start being available for cheap used...)
I have a twinhan card right now, so if I need to view an HD channel I can allways use that along side my receiver.

One more question - I have been looking at lyngsat to see what size dish I need. Most satellites that I will want to be viewing say I need around a 60-95cm dish. Will a 33" (84cm) dish be the right size for me? how much advantage is there to using a larger (1m) dish (or disadvantage for using a smaller dish). Will there be many channels I cannot pick up?

Thankyou for all your help. I just want to make sure I buy all the right stuff.
 
oldford

oldford

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Feb 6, 2007
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Eastern Maine
Funkypc:One more question - I have been looking at lyngsat to see what size dish I need. Most satellites that I will want to be viewing say I need around a 60-95cm dish. Will a 33" (84cm) dish be the right size for me? how much advantage is there to using a larger (1m) dish (or disadvantage for using a smaller dish). Will there be many channels I cannot pick up? (end quote)

For most of North America a 33" dish will be fine for Ku FTA. Larger is almost always better, A larger dish will have a narrower beamwidth and reject interference better, but may be a little more difficult to align perfectly. Most guys probably would get the biggest dish they could. Money and wife/neighbor opinions tend to restrict size.

Good Luck, Eric
 
Fizbi

Fizbi

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May 16, 2008
539
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Wild and Windy Casper, WY
how much advantage is there to using a larger (1m) dish (or disadvantage for using a smaller dish). Will there be many channels I cannot pick up?

This will be tougher to answer.

I have read from a previous poster that the LNB has automatic gain control.
If this is true, then the LNB adapts to the size of the dish.

The larger the dish, the less LNB gain needed to drive the box.

The smaller the dish, the more LNB gain needed to drive the box.

The larger the dish, the greater the chances of damage from wind and external forces. The more wear and tear on the motor. More difficult to install, and greater shipping and installation costs.

The smaller the dish, the easier to install, less costly to ship, less chances to damage, etc.

I have yet to find any good data that matches a best size dish to an LNB.
A frugal installer would elect to install the smallest dish, matched to the best LNB you can afford, to utilize the least amount of resources possible. Will the LNB be wasting power with a smaller dish? Who knows?

I would opt for the smallest dish that gives you the desired results. If my neighbor installs a system that gets 90% quality for $500 on a 120cm dish, and my system gets 90% using a 80cm dish for $200, then who gets the best bang for the buck? See the problem? This is a tough call. You also have to take weather into account. Maybe that 120cm dish performs better in a snow storm where the 80cm dish loses the signal. When I get hit with a down pour, my quality drops to 66% or less, and I might lose the signal.

I would love to see some real data. :hungry:
 
Anole

Anole

SatelliteGuys Master
Sep 22, 2005
11,819
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L.A., Calif.
Generally, the 36" dishes don't cost much more than the 30" dishes.
And shipping is about the same.
Due to shipping restrictions, anything much bigger than 36 gets slapped with a big shipping surcharge!
So, unless you find an exception or proof to the contrary, I'd recommend any good 36" for general Ku use.

Of course, many of the considerations above due to size, wind resistance, motor loading do apply.
I don't think there is anything to LNB AGC - that's a function of the receiver.

If you find a 1 meter (40") dish or one of the elliptical dishes locally, by all means go for 'em.
The Primestars and other molded commercial dishes are , in my opinion, superior to most of the stamped steel dishes we buy.

Then, there are the guys on the bleeding edge who get a little C-band on a 1.2m (4') dish.
They also get better Ku reception, but how good do you need?
If you live in Florida and want solid reception through downpours, maybe 4' wouldn't even be big enough.
Where I live, rain-related reception problems are nill.
No rain, equals no problems. ;)

Your situation will be unique.
And, don't agonize over dish size.
If you get as addicted as the rest of us, your -next- dish will be far more important than this first dish! :eek:
 
F

funkypc

Thread Starter
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May 29, 2008
212
0
North America
Thankyou very much for all the help. Now its time to start shopping:)
 
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