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TV Faq still up to date?


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The message in the Faq about "TV in France" was posted 20/05/2004. Is it still up to date?

It says: "...while there are several companies that will supply and install Sky systems overseas, and provide subscriptions to Sky..." Can these companies be named, please? We currently receive  only French channels via an old fashioned "fork  aerial" but will be using the switch to digital to upgrade to a dish so that we can receive the Beeb as well, but I have not a clue as where to buy the necessary equipment.

All help much appreciated!

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You can buy and set up the equipment yourself if you just want the basic free-to-air channels. Although Sky or freesat digiboxes are not officially available in France due to licensing restrictions they can be bought from ebay or similar sites. Dishes and generic free-to-air receivers are available easily throughout France in normal retail outlets, the dish needs pointing to the right satellite (Astra 2A, 2B, 2D) and the receiver tuned into the English language channels (the BBC and  ITV channels, channel 4, five, and many shopping, religion, news and other specialist channels can all be received this way).

If you are not confident about doing this yourself, or you want access to Sky subscription channels or encrypted channels, then you need one of the specialists. Advertising restrictions on the forum mean we cannot name any, and never having used any of them I would not want to appear to endorse any one or two in particular, but if you google "sky freesat satellite in france" you will get a selection and probably find one local to you. Alternatively look at the small ads in magazines like French Property News or Living France.

I don't think much has changed about the FAQs; there may be differences in the channels available without a subscription card, but the general principles remain the same.

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Wills advice is sound.

We can't put up recommendations as this is a commercial site but in the two magazines that Archant produce about France there are often adverts for people offering Sky subscription in France. As to the legality etc well its technically illegal but if you ask if anyone has ever been caught and prosecuted I doubt you will ever find a person who has.

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Thank you both for very quick replies! We don't necessarily want Sky, just as long as we can receive the major BBC channels. Some ITV would be nice as well, but is not essential.

Would we need a freestat decoder for that?

PS

I understand no names can be given, but I don't even have a clue as to what sort of shop to go to for a dish and decoder...

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Look in French shops for 'décodeur satellite numerique' (the last word is important if you want BBC and other English channels), you may see them in supermarkets but should be in electrical and DIY shops too. They often come in a box with dish and all the hardware. If you want a box that is easier to set up and use then a second-hand Sky box from Ebay or from one of the English language classified ads sites in France would do the job; for the basic channels you don't need a card. A new freesat box (like the Bush or Grundig from Argos , Amazon or similar) is perhaps the best option for ease of use and value for money, particularly if somebody you know can bring it back from England.

Ebay has plenty of box/dish combinations as well as boxes and dishes alone. The size of dish you need depends on how far north/south you are in France.
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We just went to our local Expert shop (they are a franchise chain selling TVs, electical goods, etc) and asked about a décodeur for receiving UK TV.  Their technician knew exactly what was required, came out and installed the dish and set top box, then tuned it in to receive all the UK free to air channels including BBC and ITV.

Can't remember exactly how much it cost, but it wasn't that expensive and it saved me having to climb up ladders.........[;-)]

 

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SD is right, many French TV suppliers, like Expert or Gitem, can set up systems to receive the English language channels. Because chains like this are franchises, not all will offer such a service so you may need to shop around or look for local recommendations.

Also, not all of them realise that whereas the satellites used for the French programmes require the LNB (the sticking-out bit on the dish) to be vertical, for the Astra satellites, housing the English-language channels, it needs to be set at a slight skew. You will probably still get the BBC etc channels with a vertical LNB, but the signal strength and quality won't be as good, leading to picture break-up, particularly in bad weather.

A 60cm dish should be just about OK (that's the larger of the two standard Sky dishes available) but most sites recommend 80cm for southern France, or even bigger as you get near to the Spanish border. A dish of at least 1.2m is said to be needed for Northern Spain, though a lot of people do seem to get away with a smaller one. These maps should help.

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A Tube-type TV receiver is perfectly OK, as long as it has a Scart connection (peritel in French) for the input from the satellite decoder. I'd be surprised if many sets without are still going; they would be very old by now.

If you want to be prepared for HD in the future, you can spend a little extra and get a HD satellite box. You won't be able to watch the additional channels in HD, of course, but you will have a couple more channels with an extra choice of programmes and when you do eventually get a new TV you won't need a new satellite decoder as well.

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One more thing, please. You write:

"he LNB (the sticking-out bit on the dish) to be vertical, for the Astra

satellites, housing the English-language channels, it needs to be set at

a slight skew".

Which way? Could you perhaps express it in clock-language, i.e ten to two or something?  Or is it a matter of fiddling around a bit?

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You will find the following link useful. Just type in the postcode and name of village/town etc in France (example - 66000 Perpignan) and it will give you the direction, angle and skew. The latter is the bit you are asking about, negative i.e. '-' is I believe anti-clockwise.

http://www.uksatellitehelp.co.uk/2007/08/12/satellite-alignment-calculator-v2/

I forgot to add that when you see the map you can left click, hold and drag the red balloon to over your house if you know where that is on the map.

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[quote user="Adriana"]One more thing, please. You write:

"he LNB (the sticking-out bit on the dish) to be vertical, for the Astra

satellites, housing the English-language channels, it needs to be set at

a slight skew".

Which way? Could you perhaps express it in clock-language, i.e ten to two or something?  Or is it a matter of fiddling around a bit?

[/quote]

It depends on your location but for us here,

if you are standing in front of the dish, the LNB with the cable coming out vertically below the arm, it needs a slight clockwise turn from 6 to nearly 7 on the clock. If you do it too far your signal /quality will degrade.

see third picture down on this page http://www.bigdishsat.com/technical.php?sort=fit_twin

Danny

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You might invest in a twin or quad LNB from the outset, also.  This will mean that you will be able to watch one channel and record another and/or watch different channels on different TVs.  Worth installing from day one then you don't have the hassle of doing it later if you wish to upgrade in the future.

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