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Getting Started with Free to Air Satellite TV

Free to Air Satellite TV is very much what it sounds like. It’s free Satellite Television. While you won’t find all the channels you would on pay services, there are is quite a bit of programming available. Essentially, you get a FTA receiver and a Satellite dish compatible with whatever satellite it is you’re trying to target. From what I can tell, most dishes you can find at your local electronics store will work, and considering the long term cost of pay services, aren’t too expensive. With the receiver and the DISH (and someone brave enough to make it onto the roof) you just run a coax cable down to your TV and you’re getting close. The next steps are a little bit complicated, and without having done it all myself I don’t think I can do it justice. I don’t really even think it’s something that could be explained in a couple paragraphs. What’s nice about niche technology like this is that generally there are a few good forums for the topic with members who are more than willing to help you get started.

For all of what seems to be a fairly complicated process and technical talk no end, there seem to be one button setup receivers out there. I found one with an optional USB drive upgrade for less than two hundred and fifty dollars. For a one time cost, this is pretty nice. That only points at one satellite. If you’re looking for more, you can spend nearly seven hundred dollars, but that will get you sixteen satellites and an HD box.

Looking around, I found a list of all the channels you can get in the US, and it’s extensive. Most of the programming seems to be aimed at other countries, and a large percentage of it is religious content, but you get all the basic networks, a dozen MTV channels from all around the world, PBS, and the Weather Channel. I’m sure there are more, but this some pretty inside baseball stuff, obviously not very mainstream yet.

I don’t see how this can miss in the long term, but getting premium content on these boxes doesn’t seem very likely at this point. But the potential for piracy is immense. I’ll be following this technology closely in the future. 

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