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Freesat......

(19 Posts)
npg1 Sun 20-Sep-09 20:25:49

Ok, we have 'normal tv' channels and some channels on digi box but our ariel on the roof is so rubbish we hardly get any channels. We dont have HD ready tv. I want to get a new ariel on the roof but then realised once the digital switchover comes we will need sky or similar with a dish, we dont want to pay out every month though. I am thinking of freesat, has anyone got it and how much did the set up etc cost please? Also can they put in ariel sockets in bedrooms etc?

Thanks

ChasingSquirrels Sun 20-Sep-09 20:31:02

if you have a digi box you won't need a dish - you already are digital.

npg1 Sun 20-Sep-09 20:34:15

but the picture on 'normal tv' is rubbish and we dont get many channels on the digi box because of this so I want a better picture and more channels but not sure what happens when the switchover comes as we cant get bbc1,2, ITV, CH4 or 5 through the digi box.

ChasingSquirrels Sun 20-Sep-09 20:36:01

That is presumably the aerial though?
Maybe worth getting the aerial checked, or testing on a neighbour with a decent aerial?
You should be able to get those channels, and more, through a digi box.

nymphadora Sun 20-Sep-09 20:39:44

Get a new aerial , we have a booster on ours too

npg1 Sun 20-Sep-09 20:53:34

yeah, booster doesnt really make a difference. have to look into it!

FanjolinaJolie Mon 21-Sep-09 16:33:26

We have Freesat and like it a lot. It's basically the free/normal channels but with perfect reception as it's via a Sky dish. Not sure what the start-up costs are as you need to buy a SKy digi box, dish and a freesat card. It's a one-off cost though.

Even thought I would secretly love Sky+ we are 'economising' so will make do with what we have.

ChasingSquirrels Mon 21-Sep-09 18:52:55

can you get freesat+?
We have freeview+ (freeview via the aerial - which is a fantastic picture, as good as the sky on my parents). I am v v impressed with the "+" aspect, having had freeview for a few years before we got the +.

WebDude Mon 21-Sep-09 20:50:59

For npg1 - if you're not getting very good 'analogue' pictures from the regular stations, then it's almost guaranteed you'd have problems with using Freeview.

Was recently checking the info about Winter Hill (Granada area) as I'm on the edge of that, Central, and HTV, here in N Wales) and the analogue signals for channels 1 to 4 are at 500 KiloW, Channel 5 is lower (hence grainy image) and the digital channels (until analogue is shut down) are at 10 KW or 5 KW, due to be increased to 50 KW after the switch.

As for FreeSat - not sure if they have Channel 5 yet (when I looked into it about 18 months ago, when it launched, that wasn't available). I still don't have a TV but am considering it.

FanjolinaJolie mentioned Sky but that's not essential (as you can get a FreeSat box without ever usiog Sky), though you will need a dish to get the satellite signals.

If your area is due to switch over, you might find it worth getting a Sky box to try out, as they have been doing special deals to get new customers (charging only 50 quid for the box and installation, whereas for FreeSat you might find that having the dish set up could cost 75 to 100 quid, and the FreeSat box another 125 to 200)

You can cancel service from Sky later on (I first had Sky in the early 90s, then cancelled), later got them to install the newer dish for their digital service, and cancelled service after 12 months. Around 2001/2002 they offered me all channels at about half price for 3 months (nice to watch some different movies over the winter months) and I then went down to basic package.

ChasingSquirrels there's a Humax box which has either 160 or 320 GB hard disk in, for about 280 quid (but that was maybe 8+ months ago, and there may be better range of boxes on the market now. Humax boxes were out before the Olympics last year (a friend had one of the boxes in his shop to plug into a high end multi-input Onkyo home cinema system, so he could have a nice HD picture on a 42" plasma screen).

When I looked last year on the John Lewis website, they only suggested visiting a store (but 60 mile round trip to Liverpool wasn't top of my priorities). There will probably be a load of shops online and High Street that sell FreeSat boxes (with or without HD option).

mejon Mon 21-Sep-09 22:53:17

We got Freesat from Sky here when we moved to an area with no terrestrial reception in March. There was a special offer on at the time where we paid a one-off fee of £78-ish which gave us the sky box, card and dish (though previous owners had already left their dish) as well as free 'normal' Sky for 4 months (which we cancelled after the 4 months - there's enough rubbish on tv without paying extra for it!). I've just had a look now and it appears the cost is now £150-ish for the same thing (but without the free Sky). I'm in mid-Wales Webdude and we do get Channel 5 though I think the Freesat from Sky service has some extra (or fewer?) channels than the 'normal' Freesat you can get (double check that though as I may have imagined it!).

scroobiuspirate Mon 21-Sep-09 23:00:42

before switchover i got 4 channels here in deovn, on analogue, andnone via a freeviewbox as signal so bad.

switchover has just happened here, i now get about 15 channels with the digibox.

i could get loads more if i got a freesat, or another way to do it, is to get a normal skybox, and put a dish up. get loads of channels, no subscription required.

I could have got the skybox and dish option, before switchover and tried to se if i could pick up any channels.

i also know of someone who had 4 annalogue channels, lives in a dip (valley) who got a freesat box and a better aerial and was up and running before switchover.

WebDude Tue 22-Sep-09 01:40:37

Ta for info mejon - will check options carefully. Sounds like you got a pretty good deal

I have also seen 'get started' packs at Asda for about 75 quid (reduced a touch because of lower VAT) so might use that route.

Interesting to see the price on the Sky website, it looks to me as if they are doing these as a 'foot in the door' method of getting people to be a Sky user, by having a Sky unit and thus it is legit for Sky to send marketing literature, to encourage subs to Sky Sports or Sky Movies (at some rather high price these days).

Nice to see they will do a new install if you move for only 50 quid, but of course in their 'notes' where they mention High Definition they only mention their own receiver unit.

For someone who wants it, there is of course the HD option on some FreeSat boxes, so one could get the installation done by Sky and later add an HD FreeSat with hard drive to be able to record HD programmes, and keep the Sky unit in its box as the 'reserve' in case of any problems with the FreeSat unit. This is the route I'm planning to use.

WebDude Tue 22-Sep-09 01:45:01

mejon - just looked at the FreeSat.co.uk website and they say "HD digital boxes are available from as little as £68."

So you could have saved yourself a tenner as there was already a dish Still, it wasn't a massive difference. But a (nice) shock to me as I thought the lowest price was around 125 quid.

WebDude Tue 22-Sep-09 01:57:18

npg1 regarding other rooms - are you after every room being fed the same signal (should be relatively easy) or different rooms having different programmes?

I know there are LNBs (bit on the end of the stick, facing towards the dish) that have multiple outputs to feed separate receivers, and at under 75 quid, you could have a second box in another part of the house to have a radio station on, or some other TV channel.

It's going to mean a lot of people with an old analogue TV in bedrooms are going to need Freeview or FreeSat boxes, or consider changes (to feed signals from a box in some other part of the house) to be able to just watch the regular channels they've had for years.

npg1 Fri 25-Sep-09 22:40:52

Hi everyone. Not been on for a few days as been 'thinking' loads about this! OH coming back tonight so have to convince him over the weekend!

The man quoted £350 for either digital aerial or free sat in both rooms. OH said that is too much and he is pulling my leg so looked into sky.

To me this looks a better option, £17.50 a month and they have just started broardband in our area and sky talk (which is also an option)

Sky website have quoted £49 for the sky+ box and £30 instillation. Think if my step dad recmommended me as a friend I would get the box free?

Can I cancel after 12 months and keep the dish and box as this is what we would plan to do to keep the free channels?

WebDude Sat 26-Sep-09 19:46:09

Certain you can cancel after the first 12 months, and in my area (Wales) they are promoting digital switchover deals (switchover dates from August through to March next year).

Granada has only two dates (04/11 and 02/12) and I'm actually on the edge of their area too.

The 'digital aerial' does sound to be a con! I know there are different aerial types (E is the wideband one) for areas with different groups of channels, but the max price I saw was 50 quid for the aerial - but ages since I've had any work done, so don't know what they'd charge for their time putting it up on a new pole.

As for Sky broadband (+ Sky Talk) - if you look on SamKnows.com you can check whether your exchange has Sky (see bottom right hand side and there is a list of firms, AOL, O2, TalkTalk, Tiscali, etc)... If Sky is listed there, then broadband can be had cheaply (tied to using Sky Talk too) but if not, then broadband is 17 quid a month.

Not sure whether you'd be locked in for a year with that 49 pounds + 30 pounds install deal. Here, because of the switchover, Sky is pushing the Sky+ or Sky+HD box for free, with a 50 quid Tesco voucher gift for the new customer, but taking a 30 quid installation fee and anything from 25.50 to 36.25 a month (17.50 for 1 Sky pack, plus either Sky Sports 1 or Sky Movies {9 or 8 pounds} + 9.75 for their HD pack).

Seen on another website (and I've also seen this in my local Asda, but it was below 75 pounds due to VAT reduction - I'm considering this option as it doesn't lock you in for long) :-

"Sky 'Pay Once, Watch Forever' deal from ASDA for just £75

Peter contacted us to say...
In my local ASDA in Llandudno, North Wales, I saw a package in a DVD case offering Sky free-to-air for £75. I decided to contact Sky and order the package. Everything went OK and they even gave me the choice of the 2 packages from them for the 6 months period so 'It did just what it says on the packet'.

The system is now installed and working.
According to the leaflet in the box the automatic mix is Variety and Knowledge but I was offered Style, Music, etc. The letter from Sky states 'Your Sky Pack gives you 6 months of top Sky TV. When the 6 months is up, you can choose whether or not to continue viewing all the entertainment Sky has to offer - we'll be in touch to find out'. It also says that the viewing card only needs to be in, and the phone line connected for 6 months."

The reason for needing the phone connection is to allow for a customer to use any premium services on top of whatever else they are watching. I know someone who has not had his box plugged in for years, but I think he's just been lucky - in theory they could charge whatever they consider the box to cost, if you break the terms set down in the small print, offering the box and installation for the (relatively low) one-off fee.

Clearly they want people to stay with them, having subsidised the cost of the box/install but as it's effectively a trial of the service, you just have to remember to cancel in time (perhaps a month before the end of the period).

Cancelling is described on another website, suggesting how best to go about it Online, by Post and by Phone (a 5p/min 0844 number). Mixed results on phone calls from 'straightforward' to 'very frustrating'. I think I'd do this Online.

If you go for Sky Multiroom they charge an extra fee for the second box to be using the service. As you are thinking of the Sky+ box, the LNB would have multiple outputs so you could feed a FreeSat box (or even FreeSat+) in another room if the LNB has 4 outputs. There's more info on the combinations on the web.

Now - my plan would be to get the Sky box and installation done, and later cancel it. I would like to get a big Plasma TV later on, so am thinking of FreeSat HD - boxes can be had for as little as 70 quid.

I have not looked very closely at the options for multi-room, because it would depend on whether the sat box also has UHF out (since that would easily feed other rooms with existing cables), but if they install a Quad LNB I'll be set up for all my needs, and can pick up a FreeSat PVR later on when they get cheaper.

WebDude Sat 26-Sep-09 20:24:07

Forgot to mention, Sky+ and Sky+ HD offers are currently for people in Wales, Granada, and parts of the South West ( www.sky.com/wales or www.sky.com/granada and small print says "This offer is only available within the Wales, Granada and West Country B transmitter areas."

I know that the West Country was being switched earlier than us, but the fact they don't mention Cumbria suggests they have a limited time when they will make these offers - ie before and during switchover. Earlier in the year their leaflets were not offering the boxes for free, but not sure if I kept any of the old leaflets (based on having seen the 75 quid deal in Asda, and not wanting a year of Sky subscription to pay).

Argos sells various LNBs from about a tenner to 30 quid, so if Sky only installs a single LNB I can change it myself to get either a second (FreeSat) box connected, or to be able to switch from the Sky box to a FreeSat+ box.

WebDude Sun 27-Sep-09 03:04:04

mejon 21-Sep-09 22:53 - re Five etc.

You're right, mejon... it looks like FreeSat doesn't have FIVER or Five US (or US+1) at the moment, and if one chooses HD then Sky has more options, but it costs extra.

I read somewhere that ITV HD is only going to be on FreeSat, but that (in my case) is hardly a worry as I have to get a TV and licence before I can see anything at all !!

mejon Sun 27-Sep-09 12:11:25

We've got Fiver and Five US (and the +1s) on ours but can't get Dave (which we could on Freeview in Cardiff) but that's no great shame! Just checking the Freesat and Freesat from Sky sites and it seems that with Freesat you get 140 channels and with the one from Sky you get around 200. Makes very little difference to us really as we tend to only watch what we would have watched on Freeview anyway apart from the increased children's channels.

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