- Channels & Services

Overseas tenants may wish to know the TV/Radio services available to them in an apartment block from both Sky & non-Sky programming. Sky provides some foreign language TV & radio; eg the UK Asian community & a few Arabic services.

The non-Sky TV services, mainly from Hotbird & Astra 1, cater best for those requiring Arabic, Italian, German, Austrian, French, Japanese, Greek, Croatian, Slovenian, Serbian & Iranian services. Other countries are also represented. They also provide English free-to-air news. It is not often appreciated that there are dozens of worthwhile TV & radio channels on Sky that are free-to-air & can be accessed with either a Sky or a non-Sky receiver (i.e.a Freesat or a 'General Satellite Receiver'- see below). In addition, Hotbird & Astra 1 provide a wealth of free radio services including classical, jazz & popular music stations in crystal-clear quality.

The indigenous UK population are served well by Sky which transmits free digital services including the BBC line-up. These free-to-air TV & Radio services are receivable as a 'package' using a Freesat* Set-Top-Box ('STB') or a Flat Panel TV with Freesat built-in. Recent TV's & STB's can also receive HD Freeview channels. They can also be received by the above mentioned General Satellite Receiver('GSR'). Once set-up the GSR can organise channels into 'favourite' lists for easy navigation. ie channels are sourced from free Sky & otherorbital positions like Hotbird & Astra 1. Users may learn how to occassionally update channel lists, perhaps using a pc & a channel editor- a small inconvenience for the GSR's flexibility.

*see below

It is possible to provide other foreign satellites to particular tenants (eg more Arabic, 'ex-pat' Iranian, Turkish etc) on the same feed to an apartment. Tailoring in this way is only possible if an extra roof dish site is not seen from a public area. Many urban local authority planning departments are often helpful in liaising on apartment block dish sites..

- Equipment Needed


Sky provide a 'free' receiver ('SkyHD box') as part of a new 12 month subscription agreement & an undertaking to connect the receiver to a phone line for 12 months. Sky+, the PVR function, is a no charge option. High Definition is available on national channels free-to-air ie BBC 1 HD, BBC 2 HD, BBC 3 HD, BBC 4 HD, ITV HD, Channel 4 HD & NHK World HD etc.

NB: Not everything transmitted on a HD channel is in fact HD.* Much of the HD programme material is up-scaled standard definition. Also broadcast 3D TV is not HD as it uses two Standard Definition images to give the 3D spatial effect. Only a Blu-Ray 3D DVD can provide both HD; the 3D spatial effect due to bandwidth restraints on broadcast TV. The next generation of HD Reception -Ultra High Definition- called '4K' is a solution. The 1st generation 4k TV's are available now. OLED large screens- replacement technology for plasma & LED/ LCD's- have also been released but not yet in 4k resolution. The ultimate resolution is 8k which is being developed by NHK of Japan. It claims to be 20/20 vision ie higher resolutions beyond 8k are pointless for TV.

*Sky show genuine HD in their HD programme guide by highlighting the entry in orange.


This is a relatively new service, independent of Sky, but accessing the same satellites/orbital position. Freesat receivers are bought outright with no subscription. The EPG & middleware are new & easier to use. A feature, depending on receiver, is reception of nine 'free-to-air' High Definition channels- BBC 1 HD, BBC 2 HD, BBC 3 HD, BBC 4 HD, ITV HD, CBBC HD, CBeeBies HD, Al Jazerra HD & NHK World HD. Most new flat-screen TV's have Freesat with HD capability built-in. (e.g.Panasonic, Sony, Samsung etc.).

This is a receiver not sponsored by a broadcaster like Sky or Freesat. See TV & PC Connectivity

- PayTV

Sky requires a regular monthly subscription by direct debit for its various packages & additional sub-packages, some of which require direct payment to the programme provider.

If a tenant does not wish to subscribe or continue to subscribe to Sky, there is the option to buy a digital terrestrial receiver for circa 25/80 to receive about 50 channels from the terrestrial 'Freeview' platform. BT have introduced a Freeview receiver which also connects to a BT broadband router for 'catch-up' eg BBC I-Player.

It also has a card slot for descrambling 2 or more BT Sports channels. The card is about 8 per month.

NB- The terrestrial Freeview duplicates some of the free satellite services broadcast on Freesat.

Some overseas broadcasters are licensed to sign up UK residents to their services ie JSTV and ART. Other broadcasters cannot for legal reasons provide a subscription card to a UK address. Tenants are advised to subscribe to the latest monthly print or online version of the magazine What Satellite; TV to learn more on this topic.



TV & PC Connectivity

Costs, Contact & Technical