View Full Version : Stuttering Sky channels

1st Jun 2014, 10:09
Here in the UK I have been with Sky on and off since (probably) day 1. I remember watching the first Gulf war live. Over the past 3 or 4 years though I (and many others) have been experiencing stuttering of picture and sound on various channels. The main ones (BBC1, ITV etc.) are fine. It happens on the more obscure channels. For instance 146. This happens for months and then mysteriously goes away and all is normal again for a year or so. Sky just tells folks it is their receiving equipment which needs updating etc. which is always total BS because, as I said, the problem eventually goes away for a while. I have tried all the obvious solutions - cleaning my dish/LNB (which gives a VERY small improvement), resetting my box and so on - with no success. Now I don't want to be shouted down by all the know-alls about Freeview and the like because I have tried them all and the channels my wife likes only come with a paid-for Sky package. Has anybody here found a solution or any techies got a good explanation (sunspot activity, satellite movement or similar)? I doubt I will get any real answers from anyone here but it will be interesting if anyone else has had a similar experience.

1st Jun 2014, 10:27
Our Sky reception usually goes erratic whenever there's a heavy rainstorm/thunderstorm about. Other than that, there is the odd, random occasion when it goes as you describe but we generally accept is as 'one of those things". The disruption lasts for minutes rather than months.

Lon More
1st Jun 2014, 10:39
Noticed the same as the OP. First thought it was because of my location but now akso have it in Kent.
Could it be that not all channels have the same signal strength?

1st Jun 2014, 11:44
Yes, I am sure it is due to channel signal strength but I wondered why that changed over time. I am familiar with the weather problems which can affect even the main channels.

1st Jun 2014, 11:53
There has been a lot of talk recently about tightening up the beam of the Astra 2D (?) transponder to inhibit reception outside the UK and IE, and I wonder if this as yet unfinished work has impacted UK viewers too. Also, I believe there has been a recent period of higher than usual sunspot activity.

cockney steve
1st Jun 2014, 11:59
It's a fundamentally flawed system, as is DAB....to put it bluntly, subscribers have been shafted with a system which cannot deliver on the promises it makes.
dangle the carrot, relieve the gullible of their cash.
Me? I don't have a problem, 'cos I don't have a TV :}

1st Jun 2014, 12:11
I recognise the problem, I had similar.

I went through all the obvious, trees at the bottom of the garden had grown so could that be affecting the signal, it was worse in the rain etc.

It only happened on cetrain channels to me as well, and that was a clue. Some channels are vertically polarised, and some horizonally. The culprit in my case was the LMB (its the bit that sits at the focal point of the dish). Its old and losing sensitivity. I wiped it and the dish clean and -touch wood - have not had a problem since.

There is plenty on the web about them, and they don't seem to be that expensive. You might start here;

west lakes
1st Jun 2014, 12:15
As far as I know the multiple channels Sky uses are transmitted from a number of different satellites rather than just the one.
I wonder if the poor reception on some channels is related ti this and the satellite that those channels are actually transmitted from

Mr Optimistic
1st Jun 2014, 12:18
Thought you had to remove all power, is unplug for a few minutes every now again to allow retune. Unplug for half an hour?

1st Jun 2014, 12:34
Sky is broadcast from 4 satellites,all co-located at 28.2 degrees East.Horizontal and vertical polarisation is used.

Groups of channels are broadcast in a multiplex (mux) on an MCPC (multiple channel per carrier).There are a lot of different carriers at different frequencies.It may be that the amplitude of some of those carriers is a bit low which will cause marginal reception on smaller antennas.Heavy cloud cover,upper atmospheric winds can affect signal strength as well as rain.

Here is a list of the channels on each mux ( 'bouquet').Separated by the horizontal lines in the boxes.

Sky UK on Eutelsat 28A & Astra 2A/2E/2F at 28.2E - LyngSat (http://www.lyngsat.com/packages/skyuk.html)

The quickest solution,but usually not the easiest or cheapest is to get a larger antenna and to make sure the antenna is peaked using a spectrum analyser.

1st Jun 2014, 12:49
Our Sky reception usually goes erratic whenever there's a heavy rainstorm/thunderstorm about.

I have Sky HD and its worse during storms plus I Have a very long soft broom for sweeping the snow out of the dish when needed. I suppose 1 day they'll invent a heated dish to stop snow settling!

1st Jun 2014, 12:58
Sat dish heaters have already been invented :ok:

E.g. Satellite dish heater. Perfect Vision Hot Shot satellite dish heater. Heater melts snow on satellite dish. low cost. UK (http://www.satellitesuperstore.com/satellite_dish_heaters.htm)

1st Jun 2014, 13:04
Consider replacing the cable between the dish and the house, which was probably bog standard cheapo cable anyway, with made-for-the-job low loss cable. Will cost a few bob but the obvious benefit of stronger signal into the box along with fresh electrical connections could be worth it.

1st Jun 2014, 14:45
Was especially bad when this was on:

Open all hours montage : The stutter - YouTube

1st Jun 2014, 14:57
There has been a lot of talk recently about tightening up the beam of the Astra 2D (?) transponder

In February this year most of the channels on the Europa Beam were shifted to a tight beam on a different satellite and this covers ONLY the UK. When it was discovered that northern France (and a few similar areas) could still get BBC, ITV etc. power was reduced still further - happened in April and May.

Hence everyone in the southern countries lost their UK ASTRA satellite channels, unless they could put up a 3 meter dish. Sadly a few areas of the UK have also experienced degraded reception.

End of story.

Start of another story.

The BBC started this movement because of copyright agreements and because they were not making any money from overseas viewers of their (and subsequently ITV and 4/5) channels. Of course if they had an iota of intelligence they would have piggy-backed on SKY's pay-per-view encrypted system, we expats would have still had our TV for a small fee, and the BBC (etc) would have had an income. But the BBC lacked the wit to do this.

End of story.

Start of yet another story.

Since we expats lost our satellite channels, ISP's such as Iberbanda Sa have upgraded the WiMax internet bandwidth in Spain (for no extra charge - it meant switching from a monthly contract to an 18 month contract at the same price) and other providers such as *** have put all the channels we used to watch on the satellite, for free on the internet, no VPN needed.

The result is that the BBC et al have no extra income (which they could have had) and we in Spain, Italy and the S of France, all watch their channels for nothing. And no need for satellite dishes and so on.

If you feel from what I write that my opinion of the BBC management is that they have no brains whatsoever you would not be far from the truth.

1st Jun 2014, 15:11
I think you will find that the copyright holders who insisted on the satellite changes will be looking to tackle the alternative free distribution of their intellectual property.
It's they who are losing money, not the UK broadcasters.

Lon More
1st Jun 2014, 15:34
In the Flemish part of Belgium and in the Netherlands all the BBC channels are available, normally as part of the basic cable tv subscription. Sky can also still be received here by satellite.
When we lost BFSTV from the cable a number of years ago it was explained to me that it was ITV, not the BBC, which was causing the problems. At that time the power of the terrestrial transmitters for BFS was also reduced, making it a purely local service round the camps

Must be a Lab Dem plot against the Spanish exiles :p

1st Jun 2014, 16:47
the alternative free distribution

Which is, BTW, routed via servers in the Ukraine. Good luck to 'em.....