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Discussion in 'FTA / Non Small Dish Satellite Area' started by sadoun, May 8, 2010.
Christopher talks about FTA channels on his INet
I don't understand why FTA isn't more popular.
It's not hard to figure out why not; most people want mainstream programming, and don't want to invest in hardware, adding another, larger dish to their house, just to get some mostly-international, low-interest (for most people) channels.
Yea, like commercial free ballgames, nascar races, all 5 networks, 24/7 news channels, PBS from multiple time zones. Lots of stuff besides "international" low interest programming. Just not as easy as popping up a guide tho.
Here is an up to date list of available programming:
Great list, thanks for sharing.
Battlezone, what do you think now?
Why isn't FTA more popular? It's the difference between renting a DVR vs. creating your own with a computer.
The big channel providers (cable, pay-TV satellite) promote their DVRs through lots of advertising. The monthly DVR fees pad the bottom line, and having lots of stored programming reduces the urge to leave for another provider.
OTOH, a viewer could take an ordinary computer, add a card or two and some software, sign up with a free listings service, and create his own DVR with zero monthly fees and full portability.
So why don't more viewers make their own DVR? Initial cost, time, technical competence, convenience, and promotion. Making a DVR costs a few hundred if you don't have a suitable spare computer sitting around. It takes time to find and install all the necessary pieces. It takes a small bit of technical competence (or at least technical confidence) to open up a computer and add a card. This is nowhere nearly as convenient as letting the nice installer hook up your ready-to-go DVR. Finally, if you're a techie, you've heard messages about home-grown DVRs about a tenth as often as providers' DVRs; if you're not a techie, you might never have heard of home-grown DVRs at all.
FTA is very similar. Compared to the millions the big providers pour into advertising, the promotion of FTA shines like a dime on the floor of a treasure vault. It takes real out-of-pocket cash to get started with FTA, and it takes a bit of work and technical competence. But folks who have figured it out know that it's worth it.
What FTA needs is a receiver that's as easy to use as a cable box. But FTA receivers also need to handle a variety of new and challenging DVB-S2 formats with high bit rates to support true HD programming. Right now, those two goals seem to be incompatible. I'm looking forward to the day when I get a receiver as rock-solid as my old Fortec Star yet able to handle every FTA HD signal that's thrown at it. Maybe in another year or so?
I've got one more reason why FTA isn't as popular, but I couldn't work it cleanly into the last post. Piracy.
In some people's minds, FTA = piracy. That's because a lot of pirates use "FTA" to mean pirating signals. Charlie Ergen also likes taking about a "FTA problem" when he, no doubt, really means a piracy problem.
FTA feels a little too good to be true sometimes. (All these channels, and I never have to pay anyone for them, ever?) Take that thought and add in a distant echo of an old busted-pirate news story or your co-worker's second cousin's trailer-park friend, and you'll get some people who believe that any FTA must be illegal or immoral or something. It's not entirely logical, but I've seen it happen.
Personally, I think the answer is to come up with a new name for legal FTA. Imagine an association of equipment dealers and broadcasters (e.g. FreeDBS, or an reincarnated White Springs) coming up with a trademarked name for watching in-the-clear satellite TV signals. Then maybe we'd start transitioning to a discussion of KleerSat channels.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but when I check the channel lineup for HD channels available on FTA, I only see PBS. I can get that over-the-air. My SD viewing is very limited these days and if a service can't offer a healthy selections of HD channels, it's no go, even if it's free.
Here is an updated list of FTA channels:
NBC HD has some feeds on AMC1 and AMC18.
Today they were showing feeds from the Gulf of Mexico Oil spill. These raw feeds are there but will get edited and cut. You will be lucky if you can see 30 seconds on the 6 o'clock national network news of the 1 or 2 hour feed.
I see a lot of HD channels on that list, including all of the networks.
Some of this might be a question of C band vs. Ku band. It's a couple orders of magnitude simpler to build a Ku-band system, (although a mobile C-band BUD is worth the effort if you can do it,) so a lot of FTA viewers are kind of stuck with what they can see on Ku band.
Exactly. C-band offers a lot of stuff that many would find interesting, but few are willing to spend the money to install a BUD, and even fewer are able to, due to space and/or WAF.
Ku systems are much easier and cheaper, but most people aren't very interested in what's available in the clear on Ku.
Note: I got my start in the sat biz installing C-band dishes in the late 80's for my then-girlfriend's grandfather...
A couple of possibilities I didn't see already:
-FTA equipment isn't available in stores and isn't widely advertised
-You have to install the satellite dish yourself, and that's way too complicated for most people
-Most people only want to get their TV from one box and major channels aren't available on FTA
Good points. FTA is a small market (mostly Ethnic and Hobbyists).
Before I got D*, I looked hard a FTA. It just didn't offer the networks that were must haves in my book.
While I love to tinker and build stuff and play with electronics, when I want to watch TV, I don't want to fool with motorized dishes and all the extra work that goes along with it.
Different strokes for different folks I guess.
Some of the religious channels are only available on FTA satellites. For example, Christian Glorystar networks, 3ABN, Muslim channels, and Eastern religion channels are available on G19.
I really agree with that one-box idea. I remember having to do an orientation lecture for every new babysitter. ("This controls the Dish receiver, this controls the TiVo, this is the FTA box, point here to adjust the volume ...")
You can find folks to install FTA equipment. You just have to pay them when they do it, unlike Dish and DirecTV and cable, where you pay for installation with every month of service.
There's something I don't get. Let's say I want to record CNN programs. How do I do that? Is there a card that can descramble the signal so I can save it on my hard drive to view it later? Or this only can be done for OTA signals?
If you hook the output of pretty much anything to a TiVo, you can use that to record it.
Otherwise, to record a FTA channel, you either need to have a FTA receiver with DVR functionality or a FTA tuner card or USB thingie hooked to a computer, which can typically record available programs.
Finally, unless you count the on-again off-again CNN that sometimes shows up on Galaxy 18, you really can't count on getting CNN from FTA.
Would it be possible to get (In HD) NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, and CW? What would I need for a dish?