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Freesat set-up: an introduction, with photos!
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Old 11-08-2008, 13:51   #1
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Freesat set-up: an introduction, with photos!

Right, we're getting Freesat installed in our holiday flat. We're using a local, independent installer for the dish and cabling, but I've just been down to Currys to get the box myself. I bought the Goodmans SD box at £49.99. Argos are also doing this box, but at £10 more, and when I tried Comet, the sales assistant had never even heard that it was possible to get a SD Freesat box ... she seemed to think the service was HD only.

Anyway, I'm trialling the new STB at home and will be taking it down to the flat next week to meet the installer. It's currently connected up to our existing Sky minidish and has gone through all the set-up procedures. I thought I'd share the process with you all in case anyone's interested or thinking of getting one of their own.

First, this is the carton:



And this is the back of the carton:



The contents, unpacked:



This is the STB, atop a Sky digibox for size comparison:



This is the back of the STB showing all connections that can be made (the manual says the RS-232 port is for factory use only):

[img]Download Failed (1)[/img]

Audio outputs, plus the Ethernet port, which allows broadcasters to build interactivity into their services:



The remote:



The package includes a quickstart guide, which starts at the very beginning with instructions for setting up a dish, assuming you don't already have one:



Right, so by this point I was ready to actually power the thing up. This is the very first screen you get:



Next, the STB downloads system software:



Then it pauses and performs a re-boot:



After re-booting, the STB asks for your home postcode so it can put the correct regional variations in slots 101-104:



It then performs a full scan to identify and store channels:



And that was it done. Simple as.

A couple more things worth noting. The EPG automatically displays the synopsis of the highlighted programme, at the top of the screen, without the need to press the 'info' button:



Unlike Sky, it is possible to view synopses for programmes other than the one you're watching, while using the now/next feature. This screenshot is Eastenders on BBC One, with a synopsis for what's on C4 at the same time:



Finally, this is what the BBC multiscreen feature looks like ... there is limited red button functionality available on Freesat at the moment, but what is available, works very well:



Hope that's useful to someone, anyway. If you have any questions about the service, or the Goodmans SD box, I'll have it operating here at home for another day or so, so fire away.
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Old 11-08-2008, 14:02   #2
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Re: Freesat set-up: an introduction, with photos!

Bit bored today by any chance Chris?
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Old 11-08-2008, 16:26   #3
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Re: Freesat set-up: an introduction, with photos!

To be fair the red button stuff looks identical to the Sky box.

How many days epg do you get Chris?

Channel 4 migrated transponders last week and are now FTA.
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Old 11-08-2008, 17:55   #4
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Re: Freesat set-up: an introduction, with photos!

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Originally Posted by Losttheplot View Post
To be fair the red button stuff looks identical to the Sky box.

How many days epg do you get Chris?

Channel 4 migrated transponders last week and are now FTA.
I believe the BBC's aim was to mimic the Freeview red button stuff rather than Sky, however a certain similarity is inevitable across all platforms as the Beeb likes to brand them all the same, as 'BBCi'.

The EPG has eight days (today plus a complete week ahead).

C4 has been FTA since just before Freesat's formal launch in May and has been part of the Freesat line up from day one. However this was on a different transponder to the one Sky boxes are tuned. They have been broadcasting a parallel service ever since. If C4 has now gone FTA on Sky boxes, that means they have completed the migration process.

---------- Post added at 16:55 ---------- Previous post was at 16:46 ----------

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Bit bored today by any chance Chris?
Actually I set it all up on Friday evening - thought that was obvious from the photos.
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Old 11-08-2008, 18:59   #5
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Re: Freesat set-up: an introduction, with photos!

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I believe the BBC's aim was to mimic the Freeview red button stuff rather than Sky, however a certain similarity is inevitable across all platforms as the Beeb likes to brand them all the same, as 'BBCi'.

The EPG has eight days (today plus a complete week ahead).

C4 has been FTA since just before Freesat's formal launch in May and has been part of the Freesat line up from day one. However this was on a different transponder to the one Sky boxes are tuned. They have been broadcasting a parallel service ever since. If C4 has now gone FTA on Sky boxes, that means they have completed the migration process.
The Beebs feeds are same on Sky and Freesat (its the same transponder like C4 now) so probably why the Freesat and Sky interactive look the same.
I know C4 had a London region broadcasting FTA for a quite a while but I think the 6 regions only became available in the last few weeks.
I wonder if the Freesat system will allow triggers to update an overrunning programming (like Sky's) or will be set (like Virgins)?

Not sure I'd be happy with a Goodmans box though, not exactly known for long lasting reliable products!
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Old 11-08-2008, 19:12   #6
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Re: Freesat set-up: an introduction, with photos!

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Originally Posted by Losttheplot View Post
The Beebs feeds are same on Sky and Freesat (its the same transponder like C4 now) so probably why the Freesat and Sky interactive look the same.
I know C4 had a London region broadcasting FTA for a quite a while but I think the 6 regions only became available in the last few weeks.
I wonder if the Freesat system will allow triggers to update an overrunning programming (like Sky's) or will be set (like Virgins)?

Not sure I'd be happy with a Goodmans box though, not exactly known for long lasting reliable products!
It's a bargain basement product, but it's for a holiday flat so it's only going to get a few weeks' use per year - not really worth spending much on it.

Regarding the look and feel of the interactive stuff, I think that is dictated by the screen designer rather than what transponder the TV channel comes from.

In fact I think there must be separate transponders for BBCi on Freesat and on Sky because isn't the whole interactive thing dictated by the software in the box? Freesat doesn't use the same one as Sky.
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Old 11-08-2008, 20:21   #7
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Re: Freesat set-up: an introduction, with photos!

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It's a bargain basement product, but it's for a holiday flat so it's only going to get a few weeks' use per year - not really worth spending much on it.

Regarding the look and feel of the interactive stuff, I think that is dictated by the screen designer rather than what transponder the TV channel comes from.

In fact I think there must be separate transponders for BBCi on Freesat and on Sky because isn't the whole interactive thing dictated by the software in the box? Freesat doesn't use the same one as Sky.
I know they are defintely using the same transponders. They have to send two lots of data (Open TV and MHEG I believe) but its the same transponders. They also now do both DVB and Teletext subtitling, DVB for the Freesat boxes.
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Old 11-08-2008, 20:28   #8
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Re: Freesat set-up: an introduction, with photos!

yep it limited by the software built in to the box.
Thats one problem SKY can't ever fix, SKYs EPG has to work on every box ever released as they add more channels it gets harder to do.
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Old 12-08-2008, 15:56   #9
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Re: Freesat set-up: an introduction, with photos!

Excellent information, thanks.

Going to give Freesat a go when I move house and might dump Sky, depending on how its loss impacts my broadband price .
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Old 12-08-2008, 16:17   #10
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Re: Freesat set-up: an introduction, with photos!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Losttheplot View Post
(Open TV and MHEG I believe)
Absolutely right, although for some distressing reason I couldn't remember the name of either of them yesterday.

MHEG is what's used in Freeview boxes, which is why it was chosen for Freesat, to try to ensure the simplest possible route to carry development work already done on one platform over to the other (although it's not quite as simple as that - there was an interesting post on this on one of the BBC blogs a couple of months back, the Internet Blog, I think).

They won't use Open TV because it is anything but open.
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Old 06-09-2008, 12:19   #11
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Re: Freesat set-up: an introduction, with photos!

Im really confused now. It says in one of your photos,

"FreeSat - the best digital services with no subscription" or something to that effect.

Well, is that not what freeview is, or does, accept without the need for a dish , also, in the top right hand corner of this page of this forum, it says "Free digital TV for the whole of South Wales - no monthly bills."

So am I right in assuming, this is purely for the South Wales area which can not receive Freeview?
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Old 06-09-2008, 15:34   #12
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Re: Freesat set-up: an introduction, with photos!

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Originally Posted by Slyder View Post
Im really confused now. It says in one of your photos,

"FreeSat - the best digital services with no subscription" or something to that effect.

Well, is that not what freeview is, or does, accept without the need for a dish , also, in the top right hand corner of this page of this forum, it says "Free digital TV for the whole of South Wales - no monthly bills."

So am I right in assuming, this is purely for the South Wales area which can not receive Freeview?

Freesat exists for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it allows the public service broadcasters to reach the entire UK population, something analogue terrestrial broadcasts have never quite achieved, and which Freeview broadcsts most certainly won't ever achieve.

Second of all, it allows them to do this without relying on Sky, which does offer a 'free satellite' service but doesn't advertise it to any significant degree.

Thirdly, it offers a viable platform for free-to-air HD, something else Freeview will never be able to do (don't be fooled by anything you may have heard Ofcom saying about HD Freesat, it's a messy compromise - if you want free HD, then Freesat is, ultimately, the only place you're going to get it.
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Old 06-09-2008, 20:09   #13
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Re: Freesat set-up: an introduction, with photos!

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Not sure I'd be happy with a Goodmans box though, not exactly known for long lasting reliable products!
plus Alba make the Freesat receivers for Goodmans which says it all really dont it
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Old 06-09-2008, 20:30   #14
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Re: Freesat set-up: an introduction, with photos!

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plus Alba make the Freesat receivers for Goodmans which says it all really dont it
Alba Group make Goodmans, Bush and Alba branded products. They're the bargain basement product, cheap as chips ... but in our case we're only going to use the thing a few weeks per year, on an equally cheap flat-panel TV from Tesco, so it's just not worth splashing out on a better quality unit.
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Old 08-09-2008, 03:05   #15
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Re: Freesat set-up: an introduction, with photos!

yes your correct there & by the sounds of it you know already im just pointing out as some other members on this forum my not be aware.
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