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Satellite Changes?

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    Satellite Changes?

    Just pulled this from the web dated May 2011
    Wondering if my sat dish in the van in France will be redundant?
    Although I like the Freesat changes at home.

    In an earlier post I said that the new Astra 1N satellite would shortly be launched and that it would be temporarily placed into the 28.2ÂșE slot serving the UK and Ireland. Later satellites (Astra 2E, 2F and 2G) will be launched during 2012/2013, after which the 1N will be moved elsewhere. Astra 1N is now due to be launched in late June/early July and should become operational by August.

    It’s a spot beam satellite, meaning its signals can be focused tightly on the UK and prevented from spreading too far into mainland Europe. This in turn means that a number of free channels which have had to be encrypted because there isn’t sufficient space on the 2D for them will now be transmitted in the clear.

    There has been a lot of speculation about the 1N footprint and how it will impact viewers outside the UK. SES, the operators, have now released an official footprint map for the 1N and it seems it won’t be as bad as originally feared, being very similar to the existing Astra 2D satellite. This means that a 60cm dish should still suffice for the Benelux countries and most of France, including those areas of adjoining countries that immediately border them.

    Where the big change will happen is in the capacity of the 1N compared with 2D. Astra 1N has 55 spot beam transponders as against Astra 2D’s 16, so it will be able to carry far more unencrypted channels. This means that people further afield who until now have been able to watch encrypted channels using a Sky viewing card will find that’s no longer the case. The Channel 5 family of channels are one example. Channel 5, 5* and 5USA can currently be received across large areas of Europe because they’re transmitted on one of the wide beam satellites (no room for them on Astra 2D). Astra 1N will have bags of spot beam capacity and it’s almost certain that such channels will transfer to it.

    Freesat users will be the big winners – you should see a huge improvement in the number of TV channels available, including HD channels. This will continue as long as you don’t travel beyond France on holiday. But expats and caravanners in other parts of Europe might well find their choice of viewing will diminish because even with a Sky digibox and viewing card, the signals simply won’t be there.

    And even though the Astra 1N appears to have a similar footprint to the 2D, there remains a cloud on the horizon. In 2012/2013, the 1N will be replaced by the 2E, 2F and 2G units and we don’t yet have any information about what their footprints will be. I think we can take it for granted they won’t be wider than the 2D or 1N. Ultimately, all the existing satellites will be replaced as they come to the end of their design lives and their replacements will almost certainly be spot beam ones. So even channels such as BBC News and Sky News will become unavailable to people outside the UK, Benelux and France, unless you have access to an extra large dish.

    Tony Anchorman

    Hi Tony
    This is interesting as there were changes a couple of weeks ago that threw not only my system off line but also affected Road Pro who were demonstrating at an outdoor show. They talked me through a set up but advise that the Camos sat dome I have will need to have the box re programmed at some time. They will do this free of charge if we call in or take the box to them at a show as it only takes a couple of minutes.

    We are off to Scotland in a couple of weeks and that was one reason for having the sat dome fitted as even good directional ariels struggle to see over mountains!

    Your information makes me wonder how often this might happen and where to get up to date definitive information on what is available on each new satellite. Any ideas?


      Thanks, Tony - a very informative post - I hadn't realised any changes were afoot, but now can keep an eye out for any announcements. Top Man!!



        I'm not sure that I really understood all Tony's post, but perhaps it explains why my freesat box at home has far fewer channels available than a friends freeview box. Maybe by August when terrestrial digital is boosted, my home freeview box will work properly AND my freesat box will catch up on channels? Is that right?

        I can hardly comment on caravanning TV experiences because I rarely bother watching when away from home and the small TV I do carry just in case the weather confines me to the 'van is anologue anyway.
        Keeping people waiting is stealing a part of their lives.


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