Next Generation Freesat Boxes, LNB Type, Benefits, Problems & Solutions
The next generation Freesat boxes are finally here, as well as being 4K compatible they are also advertising the ability to record 4 satellite channels at the same time, whereas previous generation Freesat boxes could only record up to two with separate satellite LNB connections required for each viewed/ recorded channel. At the time of writing this I actually have no hands on experience with the next generation UHD Freesat boxes, but I am writing this article early as there is so little technical information of the internet about them, some questions I haven’t been able to answer at this time but I have sent direct questions to Freesat which I am hoping that they will answer promptly.
What LNB Do I Need For Third-Generation Freesat Boxes?
As discussed in a previous blog, Arris has won manufacturing rights over the new third generation Freesat boxes. This means at the moment manufacturers such as Humax won’t be making Freesat boxes anymore. One of the biggest changes with the new generation Freesat boxes is the LNB that is required to be installed on your satellite dish. A wideband LNB is required for the new Freesat 4K recorders/ set top boxes. This is the exact same LNB that is used for Sky Q.
Alternatively, a Hybrid LNB could be used that has two wideband LNB outputs for your Freesat wideband box and four universal outputs replicating a Quad LNB, which can be used to feed traditional Freesat/ Sky boxes.
For your reference the following LNB types are compatible with the following services.
Universal LNB (Single, Dual, Quad, Octo) – Sky, Sky+,Freesat, Freesat+, Freetime.
Wideband LNB – Sky Q, Third generation Freesat.
Hybrid LNB – All of the above.
What is Different With The Wideband LNB?
I already discuss this in detail in a previous blog post and on our Youtube channel, so I recommend that you check both of them out for more information. In short the Wideband LNB, that has been used exclusively used for Sky Q up until now has two separate outputs and provides all the horizontally polarised channels down one cable and all the horizontally polarised channels down the other. This means when using a wideband LNB the satellite receiver must be connected with two separate LNB connections as to only connect one would mean that you only receive half the channels/ services.
The WB satellite LNB also oscillates the signals down to a frequency as low as 300Mhz, whereas with a conventional universal/ Quad style LNB they only went as low as 950Mhz. The combination of extra bandwidth and separate cables providing separate channels means that there is no need for LNB switching to carry all the channels. This is good as this means that separate satellite connections are not required for each tuner within the satellite STB/ PVR meaning that the signals can be split inside the satellite receiver itself to feed extra tuners. This is how the new Freesat UHD boxes can provide 4 tuners with only two cables connected, this theoretically could be used to provide additional tuners in the future so don’t be surprised if we see future models coming with 6/ 8 tuners etc.
The Difference between Sky Q & Quad LNB's - Previous Smart Aerials blog post
What's Different With Sky Q LNB? - Youtube Video
Freesat Wideband LNB May Not Be Compatible With Your Existing System
To get the advantages of the four tuners within the new range of Freesat boxes you already know that a Wideband LNB is required, the downside of this is that the system will no longer be compatible with:
-TV(UHF)/ Sat (IF) combiners, diplexers, triplexers etc.
-TV/ Sat, Triplexed & Quadplexed Wall-plates
-Multiple Freesat boxes around your home.
Fear not as below as I describe in greater detail below and I have suggested some solutions to these problems.
TV/ Sat Combiners & Wideband LNB
It was relatively common to combine satellite TV signals and terrestrial TV services onto the same cable(s), this meant that far less coaxial cabling could be required within a TV system and the signals would typically be separated by a diplexed/ triplexed/ Quadplexed wall-plate. There are several reasons why this will no longer work with the new range of Freesat boxes. The main reasons are:
-Combiners only have one satellite input meaning that you can’t connect both horizontal and vertical polarised services.
-Frequency range of the new Wideband LNB’s sit directly on top of the frequencies used for digital TV, this is Freeview in the UK/ Soarview in Ireland. When you place two signals on top of each other using the same frequencies they will knock each other out and neither will work.
The only real solution I can confirm at this time is to pull extra satellite cables that the terrestrial TV and satellite signals come down separate cables. (There may be another solution using dSCR signals like is possible with Sky Q but I have neither been able to confirm or deny this at the moment.)
Diplexed/ Triplexed/ Quadplexed Wallplates & Freesat Wideband LNB
As discussed above the frequency range used by the wideband LNB conflicts with terrestrial TV services. This means that they can’t be combined on top of one another, although this is possible with dSCR signals and Sky Q. The combined style wallplates, diplexed, triplexed etc accept coax cables with the signals already combined and separate them ready to be connected to your equipment. The main reasons these will not work with the wideband LNB is:
- Excluding Quadplexed wall plates, these only have one satellite cable connection.
- The wall plates are designed to TV/ Sat signals at around 900Mhz meaning that some of the wideband frequencies below this will be diverted to the TV side of the wall-plate
Important to note that a Quadplexed wall plate is just a triplexed wall plate with an extra straight through connection with no filtering on the ‘Sat 2’ side.
1- Pull additional coax cables so that the two satellite bands from the wideband LNB and terrestrial TV/ radio services are delivered separately. This will also involve removing any equipment that combined the signals to begin with.
2- Install wall-plates with separate inputs for each service. Removing diplexed, triplexed plates and replacing them with Euro modules will be a perfect solution. Get the screened ones if you can.
Multiple Freesat Boxes Around Your Home
If you have multiple Freesat boxes serving TV’s in different rooms of your property, you will inevitably need to disconnect these when you replace your Quad/ Octo LNB for a Wideband one which only has two outputs. This will render the additional boxes around your home useless. With the Sky Q system this isn’t always a problem as the additional Sky Q mini boxes can be served wireless from the main box.
- Install a Hybrid LNB instead of a Wideband LNB. This has 2x wideband outputs(H/V) and 4x universal outputs replicating a Quad LNB. If more outputs are required the wideband outputs can be split with the right equipment to feed additional satellite receivers that have a wideband connection, the Quad outputs could always be fed into a multi-switch amplifier that is compatible with Quad LNB input connections, like the Optima range. You will need to check this though as most require a connection to a Quattro LNB which isn’t the same!
- Not the tidiest option, but install a second satellite dish. One with a wideband LNB feeding your new Freesat third-generation Freesat box and one with a conventional Quad/ Octo feeding additional Freesat/ satellite receivers.
Read our previous article on how to receive Sky Q & Freesat in same property.
Can I Connect Freesat 4K Box On Single Feed Mode?
I have sent this question to Freesat as I couldn’t find an answer online. I don’t think that the Freesat 4K wideband boxes are compatible with Quad/ Octo LNB’s at all so I don’t think a connection to a switching LNB will work. I am not sure at this time whether the new Freesat boxes are compatible with dSCR technology which allows Sky Q boxes to be connected to a single-feed system and also allows the TV/ Sat signals to be combined onto the same cable. When I receive this information, I will update this section so please check back at a later date.
Will The New Freesat System Connect Wireless To Additional Boxes Around The Home?
One of the biggest advantages of Sky Q is that multiple boxes can be installed around the home for additional TV points in bedrooms, kitchens etc with no extra cabling required. Again, I am not sure if Freesat are working towards this and I have sent them this question, I will update this section when I have an answer.
Freesat 4k Wideband System Questions - In Blog Comments Section Only!
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