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Wrong assumptions about Free to Air Satellite

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Wrong assumptions Free to Air Satellite beginners make or think of Free to Air Satellite. This is a list of very weird assumptions about Free to Air Satellite that I have come across in Kenya especially in Nairobi and its environs. Many of the guys that make these assumptions do not know of Free to Air satellite while others are beginners in the Free to Air Satellite world. Others are just normal people who own (or do not own) pay TV Decoders. Sit back and be shocked.

    • The first assumption is that any Satellite dish of any size (with any logo on it) seen anywhere is used for Dstv, even when it is clearly labeled Star TV, Azam or Zuku! Majority of us free to air enthusiasts had this assumption but the truth is that there are very many satellites orbiting space and quite a number are receivable in sub-Saharan Africa. Free to air satellite is not restricted to one satellite (or provider) and the limit to how many satellites one can receive will depend on how deep your pockets are. There are very many interesting Movies, Series, Documentaries and International News channels out there for free.
    • A satellite dish can face any direction in the sky for reception. This is the craziest assumption around usually made sometimes due to the fact that the normal TV antenna can have reception (strong or weak) facing any direction. Another reason maybe is the high installation fee; some pay TV customers have even tried to install their Zuku or Dstv dishes after moving houses without success. This makes the installer’s job even harder because he has to remove the attempted setup first and then do it professionally thus making the cost even higher. Satellite dishes are usually locked on one position only where if badly installed, strong winds can affect quality signal reception. I know of a Satellite dish at a Transmission station which got hit by a reversing truck delivering building materials in a tight parking spot. The truck managed to uproot the Satellite dish concrete foundations making a local Kenyan TV station go off air, luckily they had a backup signal.
    • A normal UHF/VHF TV antenna placed in front of a satellite dish will boost reception. Again another very wrong assumption. Is this why many locals buy an antenna with a normal kitchen plate bolted at the back?
    • If you point your aerial at neighbours Dstv dish you will get better reception and receive whatever he/she is receiving. I am almost loosing my mind, okay I must admit that this was true sometime back when Dstv had very big decoders with an RF OUT port. But this was possible not because the aerial was pointed at the dish but because of the powerful RF amplifier in the Dstv decoder. By the way you had to watch whatever TV station your neighbours decoder was tuned to. Nowadays this is not possible with the energy efficient decoders Multichoice Kenya sells.
    • You can get the Supersport range of channels on free to air. The Supersport range of channels is owned by Multichoice South Africa which owns Dstv. The only way to receive any Supersport is to pay Dstv. If you cannot pay then buy a beer in a local pub airing European football matches. You get to enjoy your beer as well as the game while unwinding with you friends who also don not want to pay Multichoice.
    •  Another crazy assumption is that a Dstv dish can only receive Dstv channels so you have to buy another dish for Free to Air Satellite Channels (The same goes for Zuku). If I had a gun it would be on my head right now. A Dstv dish is a normal metallic reflector with a normal LNB (that small thing that the cable is usually connected) at its focal point. Any dish and LNB can be used to receive any satellite receivable. You can even use a Zuku branded dish to receive Dstv and vice versa. Both of these dishes can also be used to receive Free to Air Satellite.
    • Placing a plastic container on the LNB will reduce rain fade (signal loss caused by heavy rain or dense cloud cover). Rain fade can only be combated with either a bigger dish, High gain LNB or a very perfectly installed setup. The best solution to get rid of rain fade on a Dstv or Zuku installation is to use a 90cm dish with a high gain LNB. Read sure way to get rid of signal loss during rain.
    • Receiving Free to Air Channels is illegal. Relax it is not illegal and Free to Air Decoders, Satellite dishes, LNBs and coaxial cables are sold freely without any fear. Installation is also done without any fear.
    • This question is asked after a newbie or stranger stumbles on a channel like Fox Movies on Eutelsat 7W. Can you remove those subtitles? No you cannot. Most folks usually get used to the strange scribbles for subtitles.
    • It costs a lot of money to set up. This maybe true but the benefits outweigh initial cost as you will receive a wide variety of channels for free.
    • Drum rolls and now the biggest lie of them all. You can get all local Kenyan channels on one satellite. Kenyan channels on Free to Air satellite are scattered like water in a desert. Of late there are Kenyan channels on Eutelsat 70B and Amos 5 but the ones on dvbt2 are many. It’s not worth it installing a Free to Air setup primarily for receiving Kenyan local channels. Just buy a DVBT-2 set top box or a combo decoder like the Openbox V8 instead.
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  • Bernard Baraza

    Good information there, helpful for these who are thinking on free to air satellite.

    • We were all there once, the first time my friend introduced me to the world of free to air channels on satellite, I thought I would get dstv for free forever.