Purchasing New Sat TV Box - Which One?

datom88

Novice Member
Hi,

The TV reception in my area of the UK (midlands) is pretty bad, boosters etc. don't make any improvement what so ever.

I used to have Sky Q but since they hiked the prices up I left them, currently stuck with catchup TV services only.

I'd like to purchase a Satellite receiver box to watch FreeSAT on but haven't got much idea which to go for, as I've got the Sky Q LNB (with two coax F connector ends) installed on my dish outside.

I'm not too fussed about PVR, just a good interface and a speedy system. Budget upto £150, but below that mark would be better. My TV does support 4K, but I understand that FreeSAT doesn't support any 4K channels just yet.

Any advise would be much appreciated.

Thanks!
 

Rodders53

Distinguished Member
There is not much choice. The latest freesat box available is the one from Arris on Amazon and Currys. Freesat - 4K TV Box although 4k capable they work fine with normal HD TVs.
Note no C4 HD on freesat.
The do work well with the wideband $ky Q LNBs though. I'd advise finding the extra money for a PVR though (£199 cf £125) if you can. (You'll likely regret it later if you don't).

If you're up for changing the LNB on the dish then there's the old Manhattan SX receiver at £49 or a second-user Humax box, perhaps?

Alternative non-freesat PVRs using Linux-based receivers (Enigma etc.,.) and internet epgs to mimic a better than freesat solution (inc C4 in HD) are rather specialist and would need some technical 'nowse' and, probably, the dish LNB changing.

Location in the Midlands (postcode of a shop, pub, church within 100m of your home) may allow Freeview (UHF TV ) reception predictions. It's pretty unusual to have very poor reception in that area unless something very local is obstructing the transmitters.
 

datom88

Novice Member
Thanks for the reply Rodders53!

I'm open to ideas, if it means a clear viewing experience (with C4 HD for example).
I work in the world of IT, so I'm not afraid to delve into the techy side of things, plus I've got a ladder so swapping out an LNB shouldn't be too much bother.

Are there any recommendations for better recievers, like you've mentioned? I've dabbled with Linux in the past, just never in the world of satellite TV before.

Thanks
 

ABARKIE

Active Member
Twin Tuner Linux box like a Vu Solo2 or 4K would look to be the way to go
 
When you finished your Sky subscription were you not able to keep your SkyQ box?

If you still have it, why not use it to access the FTA channels?
 

Monster900

Active Member
When you finished your Sky subscription were you not able to keep your SkyQ box?

If you still have it, why not use it to access the FTA channels?

Unlike the earlier boxes I believe Sky Q boxes remain the property of Sky. In effect you rent the Sky Q box and have to return it if you end the Sky Q contract.
 

datom88

Novice Member
Thanks Abarkie, I'll have a look for that box.

Are there any recommended sites that illustrate a 'how-to-get-started' type guide, as to how to setup a linux-style box, special configs etc. Possible another more specialist forum?

SeeMoreDigital, Monster900 is correct, once I ended my contract with Sky, they posted a cardboard flatpack box to my address, in which I had to send back both my SkyQ box and SkyQ router (back to my good old SR-102). You have to send it back as well, as they charger a few £100 if the equipment doesn't arrive back with them in around 4 weeks.
 
Wow...
 

Monster900

Active Member
Thanks Abarkie, I'll have a look for that box.

Are there any recommended sites that illustrate a 'how-to-get-started' type guide, as to how to setup a linux-style box, special configs etc. Possible another more specialist forum?

SeeMoreDigital, Monster900 is correct, once I ended my contract with Sky, they posted a cardboard flatpack box to my address, in which I had to send back both my SkyQ box and SkyQ router (back to my good old SR-102). You have to send it back as well, as they charger a few £100 if the equipment doesn't arrive back with them in around 4 weeks.

This is about as good as it gets for Linux (Enigma 2) box guides. It's less than perfect but it does get you started.
 

datom88

Novice Member
Thanks Monster900 for the link.

One question - is Enigma2 to the same as OpenVix then? Essentially the firmware/OS that the platform is based upon.

Also, I've come across a few brands of boxes, these being Vu, Mutant and Dreambox. Which would be the best to go down for a fast, reliable hardware platform?

Thanks for the replies guys, much appreciated!
 

Monster900

Active Member
Thanks Monster900 for the link.

One question - is Enigma2 to the same as OpenVix then? Essentially the firmware/OS that the platform is based upon.

Also, I've come across a few brands of boxes, these being Vu, Mutant and Dreambox. Which would be the best to go down for a fast, reliable hardware platform?

Thanks for the replies guys, much appreciated!

OpenVix is a particular rendition of the Enigma 2, Linux based, operating system for satellite TV Boxes. There are others, such as OpenATV and OpenPli, but OpenVix is probably the best supported for the UK.

I can't really suggest a box for you as I went cheap with a Tiviar Alpha Plus (no longer easily available) because it was all a bit of an experiment and it does what I want it to do, most of the time. A Zgemma twin sat tuner / terestrial combo is the current equivalent suggested by World of Satellite. I guess more expensive boxes have more functions but if you aren't going to use them there is little point spending the extra in my view.

Some of the more modern, expensive, boxes also use different LNBs like the Sky Q LNB which you may need if your going to do a straight swap from your Sky Q system, but I'm not up to speed on those things.
 
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datom88

Novice Member
Thanks for the reply Monster900.

Looks like OpenVix it is then - I've seen a few Youtube videos since you mentioned it, looks to be a very good interface and snappy to use (given the correct hardware is selected).

I'll have a look at Word of Satellite for some ideas as to the box, its somewhere to start from.

I've had a look at the FreeSat website and counted that they provide approximately 150 channels (this includes TV and radio channels) to a standard box. Would going down the route of using your own box provide the option to access more channels than this, possibly from other nearby countries? Would there be the need for additional LNB's to be installed?

Thanks!
 

Monster900

Active Member
You can use an E2 box to get other channels from different satellites which broadcast content primarily for other countries. Indeed, that is what they excel at but that way lies a whole new hobby. Additional LNBs do need to be installed and in some cases new dishes as well. Some people go further and have motorised dishes which can point at a large number of satellites by moving the dish in an arc. The foreign channels are broadcast on different satellite groups from the one which serves the UK, Astra 2 (28.2 degrees E) and so need to be aligned differently to receive them.

I have a second dish with two LNBs on it picking up European FTA channels on Astra 1 (19 degrees E) and Hotbird (13 degrees E). Not a huge number of channels of interest unless you happen to speak a European language. Some I watch are RTL for F1 in German (not available from next year), Supertennis in Italian and Eurosport 1 in German.
 
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@datom88,

Out of interest... What make and model of TV do you have? Some newer TV's offer built-in satellite tuners...
 

datom88

Novice Member
Thanks Monster900, it does sound like a hobby (and a complex one at that) to get into, with the right equipment. I think I'll start off with the basics and build up from there, thanks for the input every bit of information helps along the way!

My TV is a Samsung UE43KU6000 (soft. ver. T-JZL6DEUC-1242.0), one of the main reasons looking into a satellite reciever was because the terrestrial tuner isn't brilliant, especially when every two weeks the TV drops all channels and then retunes!

I've had a look and there doesn't seem to be any satellite tuner on the back.

Thanks
 

HeadBanger

Well-known Member
Another recommendation for the Linux Enigma PVRs from me.

I run OpenVix on a VU+ and whilst it does take a bit of setting up, once done you can forget about it and enjoy it.

HB
 

datom88

Novice Member
I've had some time to look into VU+ boxes and I've found the VU+ Duo 4K to be one that can do pretty much everything and more. I wasn't too sure if the Uno 4K would do the trick, as its easier to get of in the UK and cheaper too. Does anyone know any easy routes to getting hold of a Duo 4K model? Would there be any major draw backs from going for the lesser of the two models?

Also, in terms of access cards, would I need to buy some kind of 'sky' access card for Freesat? Would a CI module need to be purchased for this as well?

Thanks!
 

logiciel

Moderator
A viewing card for FreeSat, or rather for free satellite, would be a contradiction.:)
 

datom88

Novice Member
Very true Logiciel, I'm thinking back when I inherited an old $ky HD box, I had to buy a card from them to watch freesat channels, thought the same might apply here.

What would the card slots be used for then? Legitimate $ky subscription cards? Say if you wanted to ditch your Q or HD+ box and utilise a VU or Dreambox instead?
 

TJT1

Member
What exactly are you trying to achieve?
Are you just looking for just the UK Freesat channels found HERE to which the word 'Freesat' (with a capital "F") refers? The name is a clue and you do not need a 'viewing card' as the channels are free to air and on the Freesat EPG.
Incidentally, Freesat does not transmit any programme data, just an EPG, content providers have to pay to be listed thereon.

If so, the easiest way with your previous Q setup is one of the Freesat approved Arris boxes as the only currently approved box here. No recording on that version (but say that you are not fussed about that) and loads of catchup apps.
Plug and Play. No complex setup. All the Freesat channel. Loads of catchup. Will work with your current LNB. What's not to like?

Also THIS PVR which is only a bit outside your budget.

You could also buy a second hand Humax Freesat bx, but you will have to change the Q LNB (unless you had a hybrid one fitted).

Or are you interested in all the free to air channels and perhaps receiving stuff from different satellites?
 

logiciel

Moderator
The card could only have been to enable recording not receiving. Sky cards won’t work in any machine other than a Sky one, and the slot is for some foreign encrypted channels on other satellites.
 
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datom88

Novice Member
Thanks guys for your replies.

TJT1, those channels sound good but I'd like to receive all the channels I can (within reason) - if they're there to be watched, might as well receive them!

Logiciel, thanks for clarifying that, when I used to use my old $ky HD box I could only view a small limited amount of FTA channels, the card enabled $kys FTA channels as well (foodnetwork to name one of them I'm sure).

Thanks
 
As far as I'm aware, Sky's FTA platform (ie: without a card) receives much the same channels as Freesat's FTA platform.

On Sky's HD box the Food Network is available on channel number 140, on Freesat it's available on channel number 148.

For more information regarding which FTA channels are or are not available on each platform, look here: Sky Channel Guide


Cheers
 

logiciel

Moderator
Afaik the free channels are all available equally on Sky, FreeSat, and free satellite receivers.
That is the 180 channels listed by tjt1, while any others would require the use of additional satellites.
 
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