Satellite TV: FTA receiver
Subscription based satellite TV is a very popular method of home entertainment. Many people however, have discovered another method for accessing satellite channels that do not require a subscription: FTA. FTA stands for free-to-air, which means anyone with the right equipment can access unencrypted broadcasts. FTA broadcasts are unlike subscription based broadcasts in which are encrypted to non-subscribers cannot access expensive transmissions. Although called free-to-air, these broadcasts are not necessarily free. They may also require fees, license fees, or donations to be accessed. FTA broadcasts also require the correct equipment: a satellite dish and a FTA receiver.
Like subscription-based satellite TV, free-to-air satellite transmissions require a receiver in order to access them. FTA receivers look much like DVD players or VCR's, and are hooked up to a television and satellite dish. FTA receivers are readily available through the internet, and can range in cost from approximately $99 to $490. There are also a variety of FTA receiver brands to choose from, including Viewsat, CaptiveWorks, Pansat, and Coolsat.
The best selling and most highly recommended FTA models include:
- The Pansat 2700 Awith features such as Power search; Electronic program guide; Multiple-languages; Fast channel change; S-video output; Timer function; Digital audio output; and 256 colors; Additionally, the Pansat 2700 A includes a channel editing function, which allows users to sort, alphabetize, move, rename, and delete channels, as well as mark favorite channels. It also includes a parental control. Installation and satellite orientation is made easier by a beeping sound that indicates signal strength, and has the ability to simultaneously scan with 4 satellites for quick signal checking. The Pansat 2700 A comes with a 2-year warranty.
- The Viewsat Xtreme is one of the top selling and most highly recommended FTA receiver. In addition to the above features, the Viewsat Xtreme also has a 16Mb flash ROM for quick channel changing, and a 160 MHz Conexant processor for powerful and competitive performance. Additionally, the Viewsat Xtreme allows multiple channel viewing at once, fast channel changing speed, fast scanning speeds, simple setup and installation, and universal remote, plus features such as Video output components; Hardware based smart search; Full on-screen TV guide; Auto scan satellite search; Dolby Digital optical output; Smart Card slot for satellite access cards; 4,000 channel programmable; 6 RCA outputs for video and audio, and a 2-year warranty.
- The CaptiveWorks CW-600S is one of the most popular FTA receivers available essentially for one reason: a function called Auto DISQC. Auto DISQC allows for extremely easy one-step installation. The user simply connects a satellite source to the CaptiveWorks CW 600S's DISQC switch and the receiver automatically begins to search for and connect to satellites. The names of the available satellites are displayed and all frequencies correctly configured. The CaptiveWorks CW 600S also comes with a remote, but control buttons are also located on the front of the receiver for convenience. Additionally, it features LED display; Multi-language menu; Multiple channel viewing at once; An RS232 port for upgrading software; 100 satellite, 4000 channel capacity; Information screen; and a Satellite transfer countdown.
What Can FTA Receivers Access?
Free-to-air broadcasting does not provide the plethora of "premium" channel options that subscription based satellite TV does, but it does allow access to a unique variety of programming inexpensively. There are a variety of channels available in many languages, for example:
- ABC News Now
- Fashion TV America
- Global Christian Network
- The University Network
Many English-language channels are religious or education based.
- 3ABN Latino
- Azteca Siete
- CCTV Español
- Esperanza TV
- Hipodromo el Comandante
- El Sembrador Nueva Evangelizacion
As many as 24 Spanish-language channels can be accessed.
Additionally, Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, French, Italian, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Vietnamese-language channels can be accessed, to name a few.