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MungoP
18th Dec 2017, 18:25
My contract with BT is up for renewal in the not too distant future and I'm looking for possible alternatives.. problem is unless I sign up for an alternative.. Virgin or whatever I won't know if they're any better.
I'm not an avid TV fan, don't buy sports or movie channels just want the basics. With BT I get to pause programs, record etc but have some issues. Recording can leave me cut off from the ending of a program due to crappy ads over-running at the beginning causing the program to start late/cut off early.. 'Local' news (due to the feed being cable) comes from parts of the country I have absolutely no interest in, I live in the south of Gloucestershire, my focus is on Cheltenham, Bristol Bath etc. My news ranges from Birmingham (never been there) to as far north as Stoke on Trent which I think is somewhere up near Liverpool.
Lastly, news broadcasts sometimes consist of features that include Diane Abbot.
Any suggestions.. and please don't suggest moving to Birmingham.

VP959
18th Dec 2017, 18:39
We switched to Freesat a few years ago, when we lost terrestrial TV coverage due to the digital switchover (no usable digital signal in our deep valley). Before that we tried NTLWorld cable, which morphed into Virgin Media, but the service was bloody awful. At one point we had no TV for two weeks, and I ended up driving up to a senior manager's address in Hampshire and berating him personally. Funny old thing but the system was fixed the next day.

As we don't watch sports and have no interesting in the latest blockbuster movies, we've found Freesat to be very good indeed. We have a Humax DVR, that allows pausing of programmes, recording two whilst watching a third, or recording and replaying at the same time, and all the other stuff. The prgramme guide is very good, and allows all the usual stuff, series recording, checking what's on for weeks in advance etc.

I opted for a larger dish than normally specified, on advice from a friend that this would be more immune from the effects of heavy rain (he was right), and fitted it to the rear wall of our house myself, using a cheap satellite signal finder and a compass - not hard to do at all. I chose to fit a 4 way LNB (the receiver at the dish) so there are four cables into the house. Two feed the DVR to give the ability to record two programmes at once, or watch and record at the same time, one feed goes to the kitchen TV, and one goes to the bedroom TV, both fitted with cheap and small Freesat boxes.

I will admit to being evangelistic about Freesat, as the picture quality is fantastic, HD is brilliant for things like the BBC nature programmes and it is very reliable. It's also free, once you've bought the kit.

In terms of cost I think I paid less than £50 for the big dish, quad LNB, cable, connectors and a sat finder box, around £200 for the Humax DVR (they may well be cheaper now) and around £70 each for the Freesat boxes for the other TVs.

goudie
18th Dec 2017, 18:49
I have been a Virgin user for years and have just been upgraded to the TiVo 6. I'm not a big TV fan either but I find I can bring up YouTube in seconds ( it was minutes with the old box) and there is a wealth of really good music and some of the funnier old TV comedy programmes. If you have access to cable I would certainly consider it.
When recording I can choose to overrun by one hour
I have no connection with Virgin other than being a satisfied user.

VP959
18th Dec 2017, 18:56
Just to add that you can choose any region in the UK you like with Freesat - all are available and I quite often watch BBC Alba for their traditional music coverage, even though our "home" region is BBC South.

Watching YouTube or other streaming video etc is also possible if you supply the Humax box with an internet connection, and if your broadband speed is up to it. The same goes for the BBC iPlayer and the ITV equivalent, they all work fine from a reasonable internet connection. You can also copy recorded programmes to a USB stick and view them on a laptop of PC if you wish, handy when going on holiday and you want to catch up on some viewing.

sitigeltfel
18th Dec 2017, 18:57
I concur with VP959 re Freesat. With a 125cm dish, Humax Freetime decoder/recorder I get good reception here. Only monsoon type rain knocks it out. As part of the settup you enter the postcode for the region you want to receive local content from, regardless of where you live.

Sallyann1234
18th Dec 2017, 18:57
From what you say, your TV requirements would be met admirably by a Freesat box and a dish. I also use a Humax, although other makes are available.
As VP says, a dish is easy to install, but check before buying that you have a clear line of sight to the satellite cluster. If you have a smartphone there are apps that let you 'see' the satellite position in the sky. I use DishPointer Pro.

You will still need broadband access of course, but as a potential leaver you should be able to negotiate a good deal with BT for broadband only.

Pontius Navigator
18th Dec 2017, 19:04
My Son in Law swears by Top Cash Back. Find your supplier, click through TCB, and get the cash. He is a TCB tart and has no loyalty to any provider. As soon as his new BT contract didn't work properly he jumped to Plusnet.

NRU74
18th Dec 2017, 19:14
VP959
I’ve got a virtually identical set up to you. The bedroom Sat TV was decoded by a very old Sky Box from when Sky went digital c 20 odd years ago and the control unit (same age) sometimes didn’t work so had to manually change channels using the box buttons.
Decided to buy a new decoder. It’s c 4.5 inches by 3.5 inches by one inch and for the box, zapper power cable and HDMI lead including postage £21(obviously no recording facility at that price) !

Sallyann1234
18th Dec 2017, 19:20
I concur with VP959 re Freesat. With a 125cm dish, Humax Freetime decoder/recorder I get good reception here. Only monsoon type rain knocks it out. As part of the settup you enter the postcode for the region you want to receive local content from, regardless of where you live.
I presume that's for your location which is on the margin of coverage for the Astra satellites used by Freesat.
Within the UK, a 125cm is a bit overkill, and is more difficult to align correctly on the Astra satellite group.

SWBKCB
18th Dec 2017, 19:37
This season is better than the first, not quite as stilted - but yes, self indulgent - some of the sections just go on and on (and on).

olympus
18th Dec 2017, 19:55
Another vote for Freesat via a Humax box here. You could try a Sky box (subscription free but costs to buy) which would give you more or less the same stations as Freesat but you have to buy (one-off payment-£10?) a Sky card.

If you want to go the whole hog, you could switch to TalkTalk for landline telephone, internet and their TV service (and possibly mobile as well). It's available to us here but we don't use the TV service because of neighbour's trees which block the terrestrial TV signal, hence the use of Freesat.

Our sat dish isn't particularly large and it is affected by extreme weather, thankfully not that often.

Dan Dare
18th Dec 2017, 19:58
Any recommendations for free Spanish satellite options for Mrs Dare?
They are apparently available free there, but everything seems encrypted here. Maybe we're pointing at the wrong part of the Sky?

MungoP
18th Dec 2017, 20:10
Hey everyone.. great response and very much appreciated.. Many thanks to all..
Problem with local news is I don't get a choice of antenna via cable, if I simply used a dish I could re-tune.
Thanks again.. well done to all.
MP :>)

gemma10
18th Dec 2017, 21:48
Freesat is tops. We have this in the sitting room and HD is excellent. Freeview however is on the bedrrom tv, and it seems that everytime I turn it on, there is a request to upgrade channels or ignore. You get fed up with the organisers buggering around with channel numbers: ie BBC news was on 200 then they moved it to 202 now its on 231. Playing hell with my memory.

chevvron
18th Dec 2017, 22:47
We manage on an HD smart tv with a NowTV box we plug in when we want watch Barcelona.

Null Orifice
19th Dec 2017, 16:26
Any recommendations for free Spanish satellite options for Mrs Dare?
They are apparently available free there, but everything seems encrypted here. Maybe we're pointing at the wrong part of the Sky?

It depends what sort of Spanish TV and region the senora would prefer to watch.
My wife has been watching various free-to-air (FTA) Spanish language channels including TVE Internacional, Canal Sur Andalucia, TVGA Galicia, from Astra at 19 degrees E for many years. You can search for FTA receivers, aerials, and all you need on the internet at Satellite Warehouse or King of Satellite - both of these have useful forums/advice sections on their websites.

Usual disclaimer from a satisfied customer of both - but (words of advice), have an alternate TV setup for watching your own stuff, as females find Spanish soap serials are addictive :rolleyes:.

NRU74
20th Dec 2017, 12:24
Any recommendations for free Spanish satellite options for Mrs Dare?
They are apparently available free there, but everything seems encrypted here. Maybe we're pointing at the wrong part of the Sky?

In addition to Null’s suggestion re Astra 1 many of those channels are also free on the web. Presumably you’ve tried ‘sending’ them to your TV via either Chromecast or the Apple TV gizmo

Sallyann1234
20th Dec 2017, 13:22
In addition to Null’s suggestion re Astra 1 many of those channels are also free on the web. Presumably you’ve tried ‘sending’ them to your TV via either Chromecast or the Apple TV gizmo
You don't even need a separate 'gizmo'.
My Samsung phone can send programmes it receives on the web direct to the TV set via its 'Smartview', in full HD. I would have thought Apple phones ought to do the same.

B Fraser
20th Dec 2017, 16:45
Freesat is broadcast by the same satellite as Sky so if you have an old dish that is aligned to the right point in the heavens, it's plug and play !

UniFoxOs
20th Dec 2017, 17:30
The prgramme guide is very good, and allows all the usual stuff, series recording, checking what's on for weeks in advance etc.

How many weeks? It pi55es me off that standard freeview only has a weeks programmes listed which means that if you are going away for a week and have to leave the day before, for example for a flight at sparrowfart, then you can't set some programmes to record. Of course you can set start and finish time manually, but if the screening time changes you are snookered.

If Freesat will do just two weeks ahead I will resurrect the old receiver that I made redundant at digital switchover when the Freeview transmitter power was upped enough to give me a good signal here.

VP959
20th Dec 2017, 17:50
How many weeks? It pi55es me off that standard freeview only has a weeks programmes listed which means that if you are going away for a week and have to leave the day before, for example for a flight at sparrowfart, then you can't set some programmes to record. Of course you can set start and finish time manually, but if the screening time changes you are snookered.

If Freesat will do just two weeks ahead I will resurrect the old receiver that I made redundant at digital switchover when the Freeview transmitter power was upped enough to give me a good signal here.

Off the top of my head I think that the Freesat EPG goes at least 2 weeks in advance (probably more, but I know we've used it that far ahead) and I think one or two weeks behind (so you can use it to select on-demand programmes you've missed from a week or two before, may well be the whole month that iPlayer offers them, I'm not sure).

It also offers entire series recording, so you can set it to record every episode of a particular recurring programme, and it will do that either until you tell it to stop, or until the series ends.

UniFoxOs
21st Dec 2017, 11:54
OK, thanks for that. Looks like the just-packed-up Freeview PVR will be getting replaced by a Freesat one.

NRU74
21st Dec 2017, 18:35
You don't even need a separate 'gizmo'.
My Samsung phone can send programmes it receives on the web direct to the TV set via its 'Smartview', in full HD. I would have thought Apple phones ought to do the same.

Sallyann- does Smartview only work with Samsung ‘smart’ TVs ?

UniFoxOs
21st Dec 2017, 20:22
I have not as yet succeeded in getting any Smartview type devices to work with any TV, PVR, mobile phone or pad. Even following the "child's play" step by step instructions on a respected guru's website. I have given up all such ideas - wires are the way forward.

Sallyann1234
21st Dec 2017, 20:52
Sallyann- does Smartview only work with Samsung ‘smart’ TVs ?
No. I use mine with a Sony TV.
Very simple to use, select "Smart View" from the top screen options, and it scans for available devices.

Edit: I'm talking about the 'Smart View' option on an Android phone. There may be other uses of Smartview or Smart View terms for different devices.