Can I Use My Satellite Dish For Freeview?
If you have a satellite dish, but no TV aerial and a Freeview TV or Freeview set top box and were wondering whether you could use it to access Freeview the short answer is no you can’t. Freeview is a terrestrial TV service that is received via a TV aerial and is not compatible with a satellite dish. You will however usually be able to receive Free TV via a satellite dish. It just won’t be Freeview, as I will explain in this blog.
Why You Can’t Receive Freeview Through Your Satellite Dish
As I mentioned above a satellite dish is not compatible with the Freeview service and the tuner in your TV, PVR or set top box. There are several reasons why namely:
1- Freeview and satellite dishes use different frequencies.
2- Satellite dishes connect to satellites in space. Freeview connects to land-based transmitters.
3- The TV aerial tuner connection uses a different connector – It won’t fit.
4- Satellite Dishes require a constant DC voltage,which varies depending on what channels you’re watching to power the LNB. Usually 13V or 18V. The TV aerial tuner will usually provide no more than 5V and this is only with compatible TV’s.
If you were wondering if you could simply just cut off the F plug on your satellite cable and fit a coax plug or buy a F to coaxial adapter so that your satellite dish cable can fit into your TV. This will not work also as I have seen attempted numerous times. Fortunately, there is an alternative solution.
You Can Receive Free Satellite TV, Just Not Freeview
There are options for receiving free TV via a satellite dish, it just isn’t Freeview. To be able to access free TV via satellite you will require a satellite dish and a satellite receiver, usually a separate set top box. Some TV’s do have satellite tuners in which you can connect a satellite dish direct and watch Free To Air (FTA) satellite services or Freesat, which is a very similar service to Freeview with a few slight differences and different channel numbers.
Now you may now be wondering, what is the difference between Free To Air satellite TV and Freesat? I will explain now.
Free To Air Satellite (FTA)
Free To Air more commonly abbreviated to FTA, simply means any free unencrypted satellite service being broadcast from the satellites. As they are not encrypted all that’s required to receive them is a satellite dish and a FTA satellite receiver (RX). No smart card or subscription payment is required. The downside using this type of set up is that when you connect the satellite RX up and run a tune, the satellite receiver will not know the logical channel numbers of the programmes so will just store the TV services as it finds them. In the UK, this means that you might have BBC1 on channel 85 and you will have 10 or so Channel 4’s for example. Most satellite receivers will allow you to arrange the channels where you want them but this can be very time consuming and you will have to do it every time you retune your equipment. For this reason I would advise using Freesat receiver instead of a FTA sat receiver for free UK satellite TV.
Again, Freesat is very similar in terms of programmes to Freeview, you will able to receive all your BBC, ITV, Channel 4 & Channel 5 services along with a whole bunch of other channels with a few differences. To be able to receive Freesat you require a satellite installed dish installed and aligned to the Astra 2 satellites at 28.2E with a Freesat RX, which could be a separate set top box connected to your TV or a compatible TV. Your old Sky dish will be compatible providing that the LNB hasn’t been replaces with a Sky Q wideband LNB, if you have a Quad, Octo or Hybrid LNB this will be fine. Once connected you can tune in your services and away you go. The channel numbers and arrangement are different to Freeview so you may have to have a look through the numbers or electronic programme guide to begin with. For example with Freesat the channels begin at 101 for BBC One, whereas this is just 1 on Freeview.
If your TV has a satellite connection, some have two. This is the screw in F type connection compared to a push in IEC connector for a TV aerial. Please do not automatically assume that this will be compatible for Freesat as many are just Free To Air or Free To View compatible.
Free To View Satellite (FTV)
I have to admit that this article has been written from a UK perspective for a UK market where we do not use encryptions for our free satellite TV services. This is because we are an Island(s) surrounded by seawater it is possible to focus the satellite beam on the UK and there isn’t areal need for encryption. This is also why it can be really difficult to receive UK TV abroad. In Europe and abroad this isn’t always the case as there are a lot more land boarder and so encryption's are commonly used for free satellite TV. This wouldn’t be called Free To Air or Freesat, this would be called Free To View (FTV). To be able to receive Free To View TV that is encrypted you will also need a Smart Card/ CAM to be able to view the TV. Instead of using a Freesat box I recommend the following for the different countries, obviously you would also need know whereto point your satellite dish.
France – TNTSat or Fransat
Italy – Tivusat
Poland – Polsat
Spain – TDT
You Can Use An Old Sky Box For Freesat?
If you don’t want to purchase a new Freesat box you could use an old Sky box to connect your satellite dish to your TV for free satellite services. This would sort of be a cross between a Freesat and FTA satellite receiver as you will receive the bulk of all the free to air satellite services,but they will be arranged in a logical order within the Sky TV guide. If you cancel your Sky subscription or remove your viewing card you will see what services remain. These are the free TV services. The downside of doing this is that you will also have all the subscription-based Sky services which you will not be able to access in between the services you can receive so you may need to go through them all first. One thing you can do is set all the free TV services to favourites so you can quickly see what channels you can access and what channels you can’t.
Using Old Sky Dish For TV May Be Cheaper Than Freeview
If you already have a satellite dish and receiver you may find that it would be cheaper to use this for your free TV rather than having a separate TV aerial installed for Freeview, you may also be just as happy as the way it works. If you wanted extra TV’s these could be installed also with new cables installed back to your satellite dish. Just remember you will need separate satellite RX’s are every TV point if the TV’s are not satellite compatible, meaning if you are running multiple digital TV’s it may be cheaper to have a new aerial installed rather than having to pay for all new Freesat boxes for each TV.
Freesat Is The Satellite Alternative To Freeview
If you’re looking for a recommendation for Freesat boxes I recommend the Humax range. This is what I install as they are in my opinion the best. You can also purchase Freetime boxes which are similar to Freesat but allow to connect the box to the internet for On Demand content. PVR versions which allow live pause, rewind and recording services can also be purchased.
I hoped that you liked this blog and found it helpful, as always if you have any questions please post them in the blog comment section below. I have also written an older blog on Freeview VS Freesat which you may also find interesting. I ask please, please, please do not call our telephone lines for generic questions or technical support. These are reserved for customers only and I do not have the time to answer these or speak on the phone. Please also do not e-mail and do not fill in our contact forms. These are again reserved for customers only and you will not receive a response. If you do it will be asking you to post your question in the blog comments section at the bottom of this blog. Also everyone reading the blog will get the benefit of the question asked and the answer given.
Until next time,
Can You Use A TV Aerial For FM/ DAB Radio?
Read this if you want to know if it is possible to connect a TV aerial to a radio tuner for FM & DAB. Inc Tips & advice to do this yourself.
Can You Get Electric Shock From TV Aerial/ Sat Cable?
If you're worried if it is safe to cut your TV aerial/ sat cable and if you're going to get an electric shock. Read this for help & advice.
Life Span of a Satellite Dish
Read this for all you need to know about the average lifespan of a satellite dish & how long sat dishes last. Inc tips to extend life.