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Set up to receive French and British TV

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I'd be grateful if those of you who know what they're doing can guide me on this.....

We have a house (in Indre). As we now have electricity, hot water, drainage and heating, I feel I've earned the right to a little relaxation, so I'd like to be able to watch some TV. Specifically, (A) the basic British channels, no PPV, and (B) French television.

The house has no aerial of any sort, so I'm starting from scratch. Having searched back through the forum, I think what I need for (A) is a satellite dish (80cm) aimed at Astra 28E, and a digi-box. My first question - will a digi-box bought locally be suitable, or do I still need a Sky decoder and a non-subscription card? Second question - how easy is it to install, with no specialist equipment or experience?

As far a (B) is concerned, I'd like to avoid a second aerial (either an ordinary terrestial one or another dish) if possible, purely for aesthetic reasons. Is it possible to tune in to French TV using a second LNB on the Astra dish (and to which satellite)? If so, does that mean another digi-box, or can one service both LNBs?

If there's a web site that explains all this in words of one syllable, please point me at it, otherwise I'll take all the help I can


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Hi Ian

I have heard that you can run 2 lnb's to receive Astra2 and Hotbird whether this works or not I do not know.

I personally have a motorised dish so I can move from sat to sat as I want and I find this the best way to go about it, I am sure you will get more suggestions from someone more technical than me, I do it as a hobby.

All the best







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For part A - correct.    All a Sky digibox does (which an ordinary one won't) is to decrypt Videguard-encrypted programmes,   such as the Sky bouquet itself and Channels 4 & 5.

If you can live with the BBC and ITV only (+ a host of other free to air stuff of varying quality) then get an ordinary digital receiver at your local bricowhatever or LeClerc.   Channel 4 may well go free to air later this year although it's by no means certain.

French TV is slightly more complicated because there are so many choices.   Almost all the sat digital versions of French TV are scrambled,  the free to air stuff is at 5 deg west which is a very long way away from Astra 2 to accommodate on the one dish.    Whilst a motorised system is great for some,   personally I prefer to use two dedicated dishes so that one doesn't have the problem of programme clashes and consequent arguments as to which way to point the dish.

If you were prepared to fork out €129 for the TNT via sat equipment you could use a second LNB on the one dish (one on Astra 2 and one on Astra 1);   might be the simplest (once set up) in your case.    Not a monobloc though,  it's the wrong separation.    You'd need two LNB's and a special mounting bracket.    The TNT via sat offer gets you 18 channels (including the main ones) for four years using a dedicated box and card included in the price.  

If you were just using the dish for Astra 2 you'd get away with 60 cms but once you put a second LNB on you would need the 80 cms for reliable reception.

Please ask again if this isn't clear.

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Martin, thank you very much for your advice.

The arrangement you describe (with the €129 TNT box) sounds just what I was thinking about (I think). Would it be difficult for a novice like me to fit and orientate a dish with two LNBs? (I have a fairly wide range of DIY skills and tools, but no experience of anything like this.) If it is possible, where would I acquire one of these TNT boxes (plus the extra LNB, bracket, etc)?

Another question if I may, about how it would work (which will show my total ignorance). In the UK, we used a digi-box with a normal TV aerial to give us all the FTA channels, and I changed channels by using the digi-box remote. Does the above set-up work the same way but in duplicate? In other words, the two feeds (from the two LNBs) go to the two boxes (sitting below the television) which are plugged into two inputs (SCART sockets) on the TV? And two remotes to control the two boxes?

Thanks again.

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Setting up two LNB's on one dish is slightly more fiddly but not impossible.    Basically you get one working as the "centre" LNB (I'd recommend that for Astra 2 as the 2D signal will be beginning to tail off where you are) and then slide the other LNB along the arm (which you must install the right way round!) until you get the second sat on it.    I imagine a half way competent sat dealer in the area would do it if you don't feel like trying. 

I'll look out a supplier but in the meantime try www.ausene.fr

In answer to the other question.   The €129 box is partially crippled in all sorts of respects and really designed just for the TNT par sat channels and (possibly) a few others on Astra 1.   In much the same way that Sky digiboxes do not perform at all co-operatively on any other sat than Astra 2. 

For teh sake of less than €100 I really would get a separate free to air box for your British stuff,   connected by one cable to its LNB.   You'd then use a completely separate cable from the TNT sat box up to the second LNB.   If your TV has two SCART sockets then it's very easy - one box to each socket.    If not you might need to buy a SCART selector box for about €15 so that you can manually switch the TV between each box (each has its own remote control).    A selector box has the other advantage that you can also connect a recorder to it and watch one box whilst recording from the other (the beauty of having separate LNB's).    A selector box can be obtained at most grandes surfaces.

Laters:   a quick look at the ausene site does not reveal the little bracket for the 2nd LNB;  I'll try and look tomorrow elsewhere on the web - in the meantime I suspect satcure do them

Even laters:   have a look under sundries at http://www.satcure.co.uk/accs/page2.htm#wall.     The trick is to get a bracket that is compatible with whatever dish you end up with;   and that could be tricky!

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If you really need to keep to one dish and are worried about the compatibility of the LNB brackets I mentioned,   then you could look at the Visiosat range of dishes at www.ausene.fr.

I've never set one up but they have a good reputation and it might be a slightly neater solution to the 19/28 deg problem (ie 9 deg of separation)

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Martin, you're being very patient, I'm truly appreciative.

I've had a look at the Visiosat range on the website, they seem to be just what I need. Two more questions if I may (these are probably the last!)

1. There are two suitable versions of the dish available - one with 0.2DB and the other with 0.6DB. As the latter is another €100 or so, can I assume that more DBs is a "good thing" , and I should go for that model on the basis that it will give me a stronger/more certain signal here (south Indre)?

2. I'm going to get a specialist to fit the dish to my chimney, as I have neither roof ladders or signal meters, etc. Is it worth my while supplying the boxes and the TV set at the same time, and asking him to do it all, end-to-end? In other words, he can't leave till I've got a TV set that receives 423 channels?

Thanks for your help.

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Curiously enough that scale of dB's goes the "wrong" way for LNB's because what it's measuring is the level of noise and the lower the figure the better the LNB.

I would have expected the 0.2 dB ones to be the more expensive,  if that's what in fact we're measuring;   I can't look at the moment but I'll try and look tomorrow morning,  but what you write suggests that the 0.6 dB is dearer,  which if referring to the LNB's is the wrong way round.   It couldn't be that you're getting more LNB's for the higher price (the Visiosat range can cater for up to four or five).

Where you are there won't be a lack of signal,   even on Astra 2D and the 0.6 dB LNB's will be fine if they are cheaper.    The cynical amongst us would suggest that an LNB with as low a floor as 0.2 dB is a figment of some rather contrived measurements,   and in any case is unlikely to be true for a production batch!    I think mine are all 0.9 dB and they perform fine.

I'd certainly get the stuff myself as there's likely to be a mark up when you order from the installer.    Provided you explain before you get the devis that you require Astra 2 at 28 deg E and Astra 1 at 19 deg E using two LNB's and separate cabling there shouldn't be any doubt in anyone's mind.   You could ask beforehand that he programs up the receivers once the dish is up;   I would have thought most installers wouldn't mind doing that for an extra few €'s.

However,   as I do my own installations I can't say for certain and it'll depend on how nice a guy the installer is.

Maybe others have experience?

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  • 2 weeks later...
Martin, I've had it installed as you suggested - the cheaper of the two Visiosat dish from Auseme, two digi-boxes (from Leroy Merlin), and the local Satellite installer to put it all together (including tuning in the two digi-boxes).

It all works a treat! Many thanks for your help and advice.

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Much appreciated that you've reported back Ian,  and I'm delighted that it's all up and running. 

I must try one of those Visiosat dishes myself as it would tidy up my "muddles" in both countries.

I was going to post a picture of said muddle in the UK but can't see how to do it.

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