Keeping the Airwaves Free of Charge

By: Scott James

In these days of ever increasing charges for this service and for that service, increasing cable TV bills and so on it is refreshing to be reminded that there are actually available free alternatives to all of this, if you know where to look.

If you know where to look is the key phrase here and then also if you also know to get access to them.

Sounds great doesn’t it but to those who are of the firm belief that there is no such thing as a free lunch then you are partly correct in that as in all things there is indeed a cost but in this case the key thing is that the costs in this case are very rarely born by the consumer. That’s you and I folks and isn’t that great news?

OK, before we get too excited about this whole concept of free viewing to be honest there is always a small charge somewhere along the way and this varies from service to service. In the United Kingdom, the cost of the major Terrestrial or Free to View stations such as the BBC is paid for directly out of the TV License fee that every consumer has to have. In the US, for users to have PBS there are sometimes “voluntary donations” that are requested.

Free-to-air (FTA) is often used for international TV Broadcasting and a good analogy would be to consider Free-to-air as Televisions equivalent to shortwave radio.

FTA is usually delivered to the consumer via Satellite television but in some cases and in various parts of the world it can be delivered via encrypted digital terrestrial television channels where it is broadcast on either UHF or VHF bands.

Though in a lot of cases it would appear that cable or conventional satellite television has the market sown up, free-to-air satellite TV is a viable alternative for use in locations where terrestrial over-the-air reception is poor. This usually the case in large rural areas where the digital coverage may be patchy due to the technical fact that most digital broadcasts tend to be low power and therefore coverage outside of the main urban areas tends to be slightly “low on juice” so to speak.

Now all of this is starting to sound extremely technical with mention of this band and that, encryption etc and if you are like me, the kiss of death when it comes to either installing systems like this or trying to understand them then don’t worry help is at hand.

I could at this point insert a shameless plug for an independent service that reviews free-to-air receivers but the best thing to do in this case I would suggest is to follow the links at the bottom of this article.

You don’t necessarily have to get an expert in to set up your own setup at home. You can set up your own FTA set up, it is not beyond the scope of the most technically minded individuals but it helps if you know what you are looking for and have the right equipment at hand. On this point for further information then follow the links below for independent advice and help.

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Scott James writes about a number of Internet based issues such as FTA articles and FTA news. A keen proponent of all aspects of free and independent services available, he advises clients to look at the whole mix of online services available.

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