New house with Astra 2 dish, how to get free channels

Discussion in 'Phones, DVDs, TVs, Audio/Visual' started by Drakon, Sep 14, 2018.

  1. Drakon

    Drakon Frequent Poster

    Hi, I need some advice on the Astra 2 satellite dish.

    Forewarning: I am a TV Luddite. When I moved into my own place in 2006 I did not have get a TV. I bought my first TV at the tender age of 44, only because I’d small children and I didn’t want them being deprived. However, this 48 inch Samsung was used for SaorView only.

    I’ve just moved house and there’s a satellite dish left behind by the previous occupants. I’ve yet to hook up my SaorView aerial but plugged in the two cables from the satellite dish. I have tuned it in and it’s coming up as Astra 2. Hundreds of channels are registering, but only Channel 4 and C4-relatives are coming thru with a picture. On the TV guide I can see that BBC, ITV, etc are listed but there is no programme information and no sound/vision.

    I’ve done a bit of googling and am none the wiser. My questions:
    Should I be seeing more working channels on Astra 2, or has it been whittled down to C4s for everybody?

    I’ve read users elsewhere describe “signal strength” and “signal quality”, where can I find this info in the Samsung menu?

    Any other advice appreciate.

    BTW, I’m not interested in Sky/Eir/etc packages, just SaorView and a few English channels if they are free.

  2. SparkRite

    SparkRite Frequent Poster

    Yes you should be able to get all on what is known as "FreeSat"

    See if there is an option within the Sat menu just to scan for FreeSat and if so then it will most likely look for a British location for regional channels.
    I use Northern Ireland, Belfast to be precise.
  3. dub_nerd

    dub_nerd Frequent Poster

    You should be able to see dozens or even hundreds of FreeSat satellite channels. 99% of them are total junk, and loads of them are regional variants of the BBC/ITV channels. Eventually you will need to set up your TV's "favourites" facility so that you can surf the subset you want instead of all the junk.

    Off the top of my head, you should be able to get: HD versions of BBC1, BBC2, BBC4 (decide if you want the London or Northern Ireland versions), Channel 4, C4+1, Film4, Film4+1, ITV1... , E4, More4, a few movies channels showing permanent rubbish (unless you like old cheezy seasonal movies at Christmas), BBC News, Sky News, CNN, Bloomberg, TV5 Monde (France), C5 (USA), PBS, EWTN and a bunch of religious channels, various music channels, and lots of radio stations including RTE and BBC.

    You probably don't have to worry about signal strength. If you can receive any channels clearly then your dish is probably clear of obstructions and oriented correctly. Sky boxes have a signal strength meter but your TV may or may not have one. There are lots of reasons you might see some blank channels, the most obvious being time of day for lots of channels which don't broadcast for 24 hours, plus encrypted channels such as the Sky subscription ones.

    Obviously for Saorview you will have to plug in your Saorview aerial as the Irish TV channels are not broadcast on satellite. Your TV may or may not allow you to mix "favourites" across the satellite and terrestrial tuners, or you may have to use some other clunky function to switch between them.
  4. Leo

    Leo Moderator

    Full listing of Astra 2 channels and frequencies here. As above, the TV should have an auto-tune facility that will pick up all available channels, or you can manually tune in the ones of interest.
  5. Drakon

    Drakon Frequent Poster

    Thanks for the replies. I decided to retune and after I’d done so, as well as Channel Four and its sister channels I had ITV and its sister channels.
    Last night I decided to retune again but before I started I’d acquick flick.
    Hey Presto!!!!
    All the free channels had magically appeared without me taking any further action. The guide is slow though, it only really shows the current programme on each channel, not what’s on for the remainder of the night.
    And after all that, I can say that the BBC and Channel Four have gone downhill in the last dozen years. The later is like a reality TV Channel with crappy game shows thrown in. Ah well...
  6. dub_nerd

    dub_nerd Frequent Poster

    You should be able to get "now and next" information which is broadcast with some (most?) channels. Unfortunately the full TV guide (EPG) is in a proprietary format that requires a specific tuner. Sky's EPG is on a separate encrypted data stream, and they charge some broadcasters to get on it. They also annoyingly omit some free channels such as BBC News from its EPG for competitive reasons. FreeSat also has an EPG for the UK FreeSat channels, but you would need a FreeSat-specific tuner. You are probably stuck with "now and next". There are some decent internet sites with programme guides if you need them.

    Yes, TV has gone sharply down hill which is why you're right -- in my opinion -- to stick to free satellite channels. Can you imagine paying for this schlock?