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Moving from Sky to Sky Freesat

Discussion in 'Audio Visual' started by opps, 12 Jan 2021.

  1. opps

    opps

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    Hi all, a friend wants to move from the paid for Sky service to the free Sky freesat.

    He has a Sky box downstairs and upstairs he has a Sky Q mini box connected via WiFi.

    My understanding is once his sky subscription expires, the box downstairs will automatically become a freestat box.

    1. Will the freestat also be availible on the TV upstairs via the Q minibox?

    2. He would like to be able to record programmes. Is there anyway to do that without paying Sky a tenner per month. He is happy to buy a PVR but isn't sure how to make that work with the Sky Q mini.

    3. As a test, whilst still under contract, will simply removing the sky card let him test to see if the Q mini will work?

    Many thanks
     
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  3. Sureitsoff?

    Sureitsoff?

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    IFAIK the sky q boxes belong to sky so they may as for them to be returned
     
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  4. opps

    opps

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    Thanks. It seems that you are correct.

    Any suggestions with regards to getting the signal to the telly upstairs?
     
  5. Colin Brenton

    Colin Brenton

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    Might be worth copying this over to the Audio Visual forum, Lucid who posts on there can tell you much more than I know, but my take on it as a DIYer would be you've got several options depending on budget and layout of the house...

    1. Run cable from the dish to upstairs (2 cables if you want to record up there) and install a Freesat box (1 cable) or recorder (2 cables) in the bedroom.
    2. Run a terrestrial aerial signal (if available where you live) to the bedroom and use a Freeview recorder.
    3. Buy a NowTV box or Chromecast or similar to use wifi to access online content (or buy a smart TV)

    HTH

    Colin
     
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  6. opps

    opps

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    Thanks for the replies

    At the back of my mind, I think he used to have a sky box upstairs which means there must be a twin coax somewhere behind the recently built in cupboard. I will ask him if he did. Those cables could then be used with the Sony TV's inbuilt freesat decoder (I think I saw two female F types connectors on the TV when I helped him install it. The TV also has Youview, is that only available via a standard aerial rather than a satellite dish?
     
  7. Colin Brenton

    Colin Brenton

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    If he's got sat feeds to upstairs then a freesat recorder is the way to go. If the TV has built-in sat tuner then even better :)

    YouView is a combination of Freeview off-air and internet delivered content from iplayer etc, I believe. Not sure if it would work without an aerial feed present or not, to be honest.
     
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  9. Lucid

    Lucid

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    Theres a thread that covers most of the basics here: https://www.diynot.com/diy/threads/freesat-replacing-sky.552391/

    Some info has changed since it was posted though. Most specifically that there is talk of a latest generation Freesat boxes that will (at some point in the future) support a wireless connection to another box much in the same way that Sky Q does now.

    I would stress though that at the moment this is just a planned feature, and there's a long way to go to actually launch it and get it working reliably.

    In the short to medium term there's nothing on the market right now that matches the features offered by Sky Q.

    What this means is that your friend will have to find the cables for his second box.

    He also needs to consider the LNB. This is the lump on the end of the stalk of a sat dish with the wires connected.

    For most installations, Sky Q uses something called a wideband LNB.This is compatible with the latest generation (Gen III) Freesat boxes you might have seen advertised on TV. It doesn't work though with older or earlier generation Freesat receivers and recorders or TVs with a Freesat tuner. Gen I and Gen II boxes require a signal from the standard Quad LNB as used with Sky before Q launched.The choice here then is whether to fork out for the latest Freesat boxes (£200+ each) or change the LNB at a hardware cost of £15-£20 so that he can buy Gen II boxes from the likes of Manhatten or used Humax Freesat recorders.

    An alternative is something called a Hybrid LNB for around £40 which has sockets for both wideband and legacy outputs. One LNB can the support a Gen III and a Gen I/II box from a single dish.

    The main benefit of a Gen III box is the ability to record 3 channels while watching/live pause on a fourth. They also integrate streaming including 4K sources such as Netflix. Satellite signals themselves aren't yet 4K tthough.
     
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  10. opps

    opps

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    Once again, thanks for the informative reply Lucid.
     
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  11. daveforever

    daveforever

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    We did find that the sky cables plugged in to our Samsung TV (which had a digital tuner built in) did work once we had cancelled Sky. It also had built-in recording capability to a USB drive.

    Your best bet to get a Freesat-centric menu/OS and built-in recording is going to be to purchase a standalone Freesat unit with built-in recorder.
     
  12. opps

    opps

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    With the TV downstairs, I believe it has an inbuilt hard drive. I assume that the HD will only record from the inbuilt Freestat. The TV is massive and recessed. I guess I could remove the existing HDMI cable that runs from the Sky box to the telly and make my own F-type leads which should be able to fit through the hole in to the recessed area. Physically fitting the f-types to the telly will be difficult but not impossible.

    Currently things are on the back burner because of covid but I will report back once things start moving forwards. One other thing that I don't think he has considered is that (I believe) the SKY Q minibox seems to act as a Wifi repeater. Once he ditches it he will need to find another repeater or wifi over powerline type set up.

    Many thanks
     
  13. Lucid

    Lucid

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    Honestly, you're opening up a can of worms.

    Very few mainstream new-ish TVs have physical hard drives inside anymore, so unless he bought a Loewe Concept or a B&O or he has one of the rare exceptions from a mass market brand then I would check very carefully whether it's a real disc drive or if they're just referring to recording on an external USB drive.

    Even where a TV does have an internal drive, you'll often find that recordings are somewhat limited. TVs with just a Freeview tuner only are frequently restricted to recording the channel that is being displayed onscreen. e.g. if you're watching ITV-1 then you can't record the movie playing at the same time on Film 4.

    Those TVs with both a terrestrial (Freeview = aerial) and satellite tuner (Freesat = dish) may be able to record from one tuner whilst the signal from the other tuner is being watched. However, that does mean that the TV needs a signal cable from a TV aerial and a suitable satellite dish LNB to accomplish that. Where one or the other signal is missing then you're back to single tuner mode with the example ITV-1/Film 4 restriction.

    There are of course the odd exceptions to this rule. Those TVs with two sat connections are likely to support a "watch one, record another" feature. The same set might also feature dual Freeview (aerial) tuners. This only requires a single aerial socket input and a suitable aerial signal. The manual will tell you whether the set has dual Freeview tuners.

    Overriding all this stuff about Freesat is the type of LNB required.

    I haven't come across any TVs with a satellite input where the Sat tuner is compatible with a standard wideband LNB as used with Sky Q systems. None. Zilch. Zip. Nada.

    If his TV does have a satellite tuner, then it's highly likely that this will be compatible with the older style Sky LNB. It won't work with a Sky Q LNB. You/he are either going to have to change the LNB, or buy a recorder that is compatible with it, or add a box of electronics for a few hundred quid that will take the Q LNB signal and make it look like a standard LNB signal.

    Trying to pull new cables in someone else's installation where you don't know if they're plastered in, or clipped, or just run in a way that makes it impossible without breaking in to the wall can turn in to a huge nightmare. This is particularly the case where they're trying to save money and maybe you're trying to help them do that. These things have a way of biting you in the bum. Whenever you either promise or predict that something will be simple in these kinds of custom installations, that's when Sod's Law strikes.

    Personally I would leave the TV and its HDMI cable in place. Your friend has already had a recorder box in the lounge, so replacing that with another recorder that keeps a lot of the functionality he has been used to with Sky will make it an easier transition. The recorder for upstairs either needs to be the same wideband compatible type (simplest solution, but the most costly), or the LNB needs changing to a hybrid with outputs for wideband to the lounge and legacy to the bedroom recorder. He'll then be free to chose a lower cost sat receiver/recorder. This is the lowest cost option but involves some manual work in changing the lump on the end of the satellite dish.


    As for Wi-Fi, if he's using a wireless router supplied by his internet supplier then that could be a reason why coverage is patchy. He doesn't have to have their router. Aftermarket wireless routers from Netgear, Buffalo, Linksys, Asus, TP-Link and others will usually outperform an ISP-supplied router by a significant margin both in range and speed.

    Wireless-only repeaters tend to lose some speed compared to the main router. Those using powerline tech have had a reputation for causing interference.
     
  14. Djangobanjo

    Djangobanjo

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    I moved from Sky to Freesat years ago, had a Humax box. Although I have a quad LNB (standard now) I no longer use it, as I get a much better image with Freeview antenna.
    I do miss pausing TV. Although I think I can do that if I stick a USB stick in the TV ...
     
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