French and English televison in France

Discussion in 'Satellite TV, Sky TV & FreeSat' started by PdeG, Feb 2, 2009.

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  1. PdeG

    PdeG
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    Hello.

    I am not just new to this Forum, I am new to digital television, satellite dishes, the whole works, so please forgive my ignorance.

    Worse, my problem seem to fit into different forums but perhaps some kind moderator will redirect me if have still become misplaced...
    1. I live in France.

    2. I have just bought an HD television (Samsung Le32A466, if that means anything)which is TNT compatible.

    3. I wish to receive basic French freeview broacasts (they call it TNT).

    4. I also wish to receive basic freeview UK broadcasts.

    5. I don't wish to pay any subscriprtions, thank you.

    6. I do not need to record one program while watching another and I do not need two televisions.

    7. I am proposing to buy a Humax Foxsat box for the UK bit.
    8. I had proposed to buy a 2nd Foxsat for the French broadcasts, but have now been told that I can only use a TNT box with a viewing card, even though it is not a subscription arrangement.

    9. I understand that UK freesat/freeview comess off the Astra 2 satellite.

    10. I have been told that the French (TNT) comes off Astra 1 AND off Hotbird. Presumably they can't both be correct.

    11. I have been told that I must have 2 dishes each pointing at the respective satellites.

    12. I have also been told that I only need one dish if it has something called a monoblock LNB which can point at 2 satellites at the same time. A single dish would be preferable for aesthetic reasons.

    13. Presumably if I can get away with only one dish, it would still require 2 cable runs, one to each box.
    Much of the information I have gleaned from English installers in France who have a vested interest in selling their services to ex-pats like me. Fair enough, but as they seem to contradict one another I am left wondering. Online experts aalso seem to contradict one another.

    May I therefore presume on the kindness of members of this forum to comment on any or all of the points I have made and help me to make some informed decisions.

    Thank you.
     
  2. stug45

    stug45
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    the way my parents is have two boxes (one uk box bought in the uk-the other came with the house) and have two satellites, each pointing in differing directions.

    in terms of recording you will probably need a recorder that attaches to both or a freesat pvr that will probably have two tuners in giving possibilites to watch and record. some might have just one.

    then connecting to the tv.

    this information you may know but it works for them as they can watch either french or english television. their freesat is connected to a hdd recorder which they can use when not watching.
     
  3. PdeG

    PdeG
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    Thanks Stug 45.

    It was not my intention to include a recording facility, but perhaps as you suggest, I can add it later.

    Regards

    PdeG
     
  4. derek500

    derek500
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    French TNT is terrestrial, and is broadcast from land based transmitters, not via satellite. You need to connect your TV to an aerial on your property.

    Freeview in the UK is the same. So unless you live on the coast a few miles across the channel from England you can't receive it in France.

    To get 'free' UK TV, go to somewhere like Brico Marche or Leroy Merlin and buy a cheap generic FTA (Free to Air) receiver kit. You will then pick up all the main UK channels for free with a dish aimed at 26.2 degrees east of south.
     
  5. Geofbob

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    PdeG, I think you may be a bit confused. In particular, are you sure TNT is a satellite system? I thought it was the French equivalent of our digital Freeview, to which you refer in your point 4, and which is received through a terrestrial aerial not a satellite dish. In which case, you will need an aerial (if you haven't already got one) for French TV.

    The TV you've bought contains a digitial tuner and its specification shows it as being TNT compatible. This should mean that not only will it receive French TV through the aerial, but it should also provide the TNT electronic guide, which is almost indispensible in planning viewing.

    As far as UK TV is concerned, the Humax Foxsat is not only a receiver but is also a recorder - in fact the only Freesat recorder on the market - so it should clearly do the trick, once you have a dish pointing in the correct direction.

    Bonne chance!
     
  6. nwhitfield

    nwhitfield
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    There are TNT services via satellite in France - see TNTsat.fr, for example. These do require a card, and are probably what the original poster has been told about. It's a bit of a silly (and confusing) name, because the second T in TNT stands for Terrestrial.

    The main site for the terrestrial service is Accueil TNT, which includes coverage info.

    The TV will probably have a tuner designed for the actual TNT service, rather than TNTsat - so, for example, both MPEG2 and MPEG4; free services are largely MPEG2, as far as I recall, and the add-on pay ones in MPEG4. No card needed for the free ones, but obviously needed for the pay add-ons.

    First step would seem to be to find out what actual terrestrial coverage will be available, before deciding if you need a satellite (TPS - Television Par Satellite) alternative for the local channels.
     
  7. PdeG

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    First of all may I repeat my thanks to those members who took the time and trouble to respond to my original plea (some 2 months ago!).

    Time has passed and I still have a brand new television gathering dust and unconnected to anything. Perhaps if I had had time to watch any television I might have had time to pursue the problem.

    As nwhitfield kindly pointed out there is a TNT satellite system in France, in fact TNT is now effectively shorthand for TNTsat. However the confusion remains with many people. I can discount terrestrial signals in this part of France – It’s there but only just.

    I now need to decide if I should buy a Humax Foxsat receiver, which appears to have only one satellite cable socket or the Foxsat HDR which two. As I said previously, I am not concerned about the recording facility of the HDR.

    If I buy the basic Foxsat I now appear to have various options if I am to connect two dishes to it:

      • The use of something called a DiSEqC which will apparently enable me to switch between the two feeds. I am not clear if this goes outside, between the two dishes, with single cable from it into the house or if it goes next to the Foxsat with a twin cable (or two cables) leading in. Is the DiSEqC an automatic controlled widget or does it require power or other external influences or does it simply function like a relay?
      • Two dishes + two cables (or twin) + 2 receivers – the television has 3 HDMI inputs.
      • Two dishes + two cables + 1 receiver + plus the patience to get up and swap the cables.
      • One motorised dish + one cable = one receiver.
    I have emailed Humax pre-sales and technical departments for advice but as yet have had no response from either.

    It was all so simple when we watched The Coronation in 1953, and my father waved a little aerial around his head in the hope of reducing the amount of "snow" seeking to obliterate Westminster Abbey and Her Majesty, while others listened to the proceedings on a wireless.

    Please help.
     
  8. Clem_Dye

    Clem_Dye
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    If you go the satellite route, I would be inclined to go for two discrete systems each having their own dish and receiver. Obviously you end-up with two dishes on your house but this way one system can't interfere with the other at all. You could perhaps get a French installer to install the TNTSat system for you whilst using an ex-pat to handle the Freesat system. Of course, if you can get TNT via an aerial that's another approach.

    I'd make sure that the Freesat system has a quad lnb fitted - that will let you have a dual tuner system in your front/living room and perhaps some extra systems elsewhere.

    I'm not familiar with the French TNT system, but I like the fact that you can get both English and French TV!

    HTH


    Clem
     
  9. PdeG

    PdeG
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    Thanks for that Clem. I may well follow your suggestion, although I will wait and see if anyone else has any alternative ideas.

    If I do have two dishes, are there any advantages or disadvantages in using twin cable ? The run would have to be about 40 metres. Is there any signal loss over that length, given that it has already travelled a fair distance ?

    With two separate receivers, is it a matter of simply switching off the one which is not in use or are they both left on with the selection being made via the television itself ?

    It would be good to avoid having two dishes for diplomatic reasons as we are in a National Park and even one dish is frowned upon ! Having said that most of our neighbours have dishes but ideally one has to put them at ground level.

    All ideas gratefully received and seriously considered.

    Thanks again.
     
  10. nwhitfield

    nwhitfield
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    A Diseq unit is a small switch - about the size of an old fashioned pack of Gauloises, for the two way one I have here. It has one connector that goes to the receiver, and for a two way one, two that are intended to go to different LNBs. Usually, during installation of a receiver that supports diseq, you just tell it which input (A, B etc) on the switch has which satellite on it. It then sends tones down the single cable, and the switch connects the correct LNB. No additional power or anything needed - just the normal sat cable.

    If the Freesat EPG isn't that important to you, frankly I'd be tempted to get a generic satellite receiver (or PVR) that is capable of taking the card for TNT, and just have one box. Then use two dishes (or something else, I'll come to shortly) with a diseq switch. One box, all the channels; much easier. And a UK newspaper or a site like Digiguide for programme info.

    Since you only want one dish if possible, the something else is a dish like the Technisat Multytenne which you can read about here: TechniSat Multytenne, beige [1045/8810]

    Essentially, this has not two, but four LNBs in a single unit, with a built in diseq switch, so you can just have one cable from dish to a Diseq-capable receiver, and pick up both UK and French channels, plus plenty of others too. They also do twin and quad output versions, if you did want a PVR, or additional receivers.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2009
  11. PdeG

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    Good morning Nwhitfield.

    Thank you for the very helpful and clear explanation of the Diseq.

    Your comments on the receiver box also simplify (and reduce the cost!) of my purchase.

    However your suggestion of the Technisat Multytenne seems to really solve all of our problems in one hit, particularly as it is more compact than most.

    We had been told that even to pick up just one of the satellites we would need a minimum dish size of 60cms and preferably 80cms. If this one, at 45cms will function here, it seems the one to go for.

    Rather more expensive but compared to buying 2 dishes plus the Diseq, probably not much in it.

    Thank you again for taking time to help me.
     
  12. Supersonic

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    I have a 60cm dish with two LNBs feeding a DiSEqc switch which in turn feeds my Foxsat HD box. One (quad) LNB picks up 28.2E for Astra 2 (Freesat) and the other (single) picks up 19.2E for Astra 1. The latter gives me a range of channels, some French, mainly German.

    The second LNB was £7 and the switch was about £10. I had some coax lying around so that was effectively free. So a single-dish setup with a switch works really well and keeps costs to a minimum. It all depends on which type of dish you need to be able to catch the signals from 28.2E and from the satellite TNT is beamed from. It helps if they are close together.

    I installed the dish etc. myself as it's on the side of our house fairly low down and it was fairly straightforward to do. The Foxsat box functions as a FTA box as well as a Freesat box so there was no need for another box.
     
  13. PdeG

    PdeG
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    Good morning Supersonic and thanks for your kind input.

    It would seem from your experience that I could possibly pick up both Astra 1 at 19E and Astra 2D at 28E on the same conventional dish despite the wide angle between them. Although you appear to be in Surrey, not France, presumably the arithmetical difference between 19 degrees and 28 degrees remains constant in celestial navigation ?

    Reverting to Nwhitfield's suggestion, I would still like to pursue the Technisat Multytenne route, both for reasons of aesthetics and of simplicity, if I can just be reassured that it will function adequately in my particular patch. I have asked both the manufacturer and a retailer for their respective comments.

    Technisat have acknowledged my enquiry but have not yet answered the question. The UK retailer (I have not found one here in France) has merely referred me to a satellite footprint chart which seems suggest that at my location (Lat: 44.84, Lon: 1.55), I would comfortably pick up Astra 2A and 2B, which are not apparently much use, but not Astra 2D which provides the main UK channels.

    My earlier question concerning twin cable is, touch wood, no longer relevant, but the length is. I would appreciate any observations on possible signal loss over a 40 metre run. I had been advised that I should use something called WF100 rather than WF65 if my cable is more than 25 metres. If there is a better quality of cable than WF100 I should like to be aware of it as, having gone to the trouble and expense of a High Definition television, I am relucatant to settle for a Mediocre Definition picture.
     
  14. davemurgatroyd2

    davemurgatroyd2
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    Signal Level has nothing to do with picture quality with digital transmissions - you either have a good signal and reception or you don't (there is a "cliff edge" transition between the two where you get pixellation and blocky pictures). WF100 cable should be adequate for runs up to about 60 metres, the next grade up is WF125 but it is a lot stiffer and harder to install.

    You do not state your location which is very important in being able to recommend a dish size for you. E.g. in Northern France a 60 cm dish for both satellites may well be adequate BUT in the South East this may rise to 1 metre or even bigger.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2009
  15. Tatra-Man

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    From your location you might just get away with a 60cm dish for ASTRA 2D but an 80cm would be safer and less liable to loss of signal in bad weather.

    I live in the UK and have a $ky minidish pointing at 19·2°E for UK broadcasts with a quad LNB using two outputs to feed a Panasonic TH-50PZ81B TV with FreeSat built in and a $ky box.

    To receive TNT par Satellite in HD I have my old $ky 80cm analogue dish with a new LNB feeding a Sagem ISD91 TNT par Satellite HD box which also gives me about 300 other channels (mostly rubbish!) but includes most German TV, BBC News International and RAI-1. I gather there is now a (very expensive) twin tuner SAGEM HD box with hard drive.

    This allows me to view either country in HD while recording anything from the other in SD.

    I think you should get away with a 50cm dish for TNT par Satellite so I expect that an 80cm dish aimed at ASTRA 2 at 28·2°E with an extra LNB offset to receive from 19·2°E would do the job.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2009
  16. PdeG

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    Thanks Davemurgatroyd2 for your thoughts on English & French television reception. I have learnt something new in that I eirther get a good signal or I don’t. I had thought that it was a case of varying degrees of definition.

    I don’t need to run cable as far as 60 metres, so the WF100 should be appropriate – thank you.

    As to location I am in the Département of Lot, (you may remeber his wife...) a little South of the Dordogne region, where almost no channels are sought which do not come from the UK ! I am about 300kms North of the Pyrenees, and thus officially in South West France. You may have missed my earlier posting when I mentioned that I am in a National Park area where anything considered a blot on the landscape is frowned upon. That certainly includes these new-fangled dish-thingies.

    Thanks also to Tatra-Man (the avatar is none too clear but is that a T-603 from Koprivnice, I perceive under your name ?). I have been told that the Technisat Multytenne dish at only 45cms is the equivalent of a conventional (whatever that is) dish of 60 or 80 cms.. Sadly, I am still waiting to receive a definitive word from Technisat on how their product will function here. Always nice to have someone handy to blame when something does not work. Perhaps that has occurred to them too.

    All of my recent kind UK respondents lead me to believe that the angle between the two satellites can be accommodated on one dish IF that dish is big enough. What I need now is to hear from someone this far South who has a similar problem or better yet who has already solved it.
     
  17. Tatra-Man

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    Yes, I put your coordinates in Google Earth.:smashin: Then I looked at the coverage map on LyngSat. I've passed through that area many times as I often ski in the Pyrenées and have friends in Andorra and a contact in the Cerdagne who receives $ky including the 2D channels so I'll ask him what size dish he uses (if he knows!:rolleyes:). I'm fairly certain it's no bigger than an 80cm.

    Yes, it's my 603-T2.:thumbsup:
     
  18. andesig

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    An 80cm or 90cm dish should be fine to receive BBC at your latitude PdeG. These are available in France for cheap at places like Mr Bricolage and Brico Depot. A generic HD satellite tuner will receive all BBC channels including BBC HD, and all ITV channels, Channel 4, though not Five. ITV HD however would still be a problem because of the way it is only available through the red button on Freesat (though it's apparently possible to get it by tweeking the tuner, which requires some especially geeky knowledge).

    You could of course pay a little more and go for a British Freesat tuner.

    As for French TV... if you want to avoid the huge costs of a Canal + setup, try the TNT by satellite bouquets of Orange (included in a DSL package) or Bis (for 5 euros a month). These services use either Hotbird (13°E), Astra 1 (19.2°E) or Atlantic Bird 3 (5°W), and include HD channels. There's a good magazine called "Tele Satellite" available at most French Maisons de presse which compares the various offers (and of course you can consult the interwebs...). Generally there is very little French TV available FTA unless you want to get a cheap and cheerful analogue setup, for the basic channels only, pointed at AB3 (dish and box for less than 50euros, but not guaranteed to stay live for long, as everyone switches over to digital).

    It's a complicated business and I've tried to simplify, but let me know if you have a specific question.
     

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