What is Free To Air?
Free to Air satellite (FTA satellite) is a term that describes satellite signals which a person can receive legally -- without having any subscription -- and though it is not encrypted, it is typically encoded for MPEG-2 video and may have geographical restrictions.
Parts of the world recieve encrypted Free to Air satellite channels on UHF and VHF frequency bands.
Free to Air satellite TV is a subset of TVRO, and was originally transmitted on C Band.
Free to Air satellite content and programming has found it's way to the Ku (Kurtz under) Band, which allows Free To Air programming to be broadcasted with considerably smaller satellite dishes- consuming far less power.
Unlike subscription-based, pay-per-view satellite television programming (i.e. Dish Networks, DirecTV, etc.); Free to Air channels are received by utilizing a common MPEG-2 video compatible satellite receiver, since broadcasts are unencrypted.
Free to Air Satellite Reception Requirements
To enjoy Free To Air satellite content, you'll need:
International Free-to-Air Broadcasting
- A satellite dish antenna (both C-Band or K-Band will work)
- A FTA receiver or satellite PC card
- An LNBF
- An antenna motor (If you wish to receive channels from more than one satellite)
Australia has two primary, government-owned satellitte TV channels, SBS and ABC, as well as the 100% digital multi-channels (ABC2 and the SBS World News Channel). Both of which are available as Free to Air satellitte TV channels on the NSS5 satellite network (the Optus B1 satellite can also receive the SBS World News Channel).
In remote portions of Australia, viewers can also enjoy Imparja Television and Seven Central Television, in addition to other channels via the free-to-view Optus Aurora program.
There are 3 transponders that broadcast over 30 FTA television channels, on the NSS-6 satellite system; which covers Pakistan, India, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, as well as parts of China, Afghanistan, and Myanmar.
Korea has three primary Free to Air satellitte TV channels- KBS (privately owned, albeit free to view), MBC and EBS.
Germany enjoys over 100 Free to Air TV channels , including MTV (which is actually encrypted throughout large parts of Europe). Roughly 1/2 of the TV channels on both SES Astra 1 and SES Astra 2 (19.2E, and 28.2E, respectively), as well as Eutelsat Hotbird (13E) are Free to Air.
Overall, European satellite radio is Free to Air. However, due to the satellite broadcast systems in use, Sirius and XM-style (in-car) reception is not possible.
New Zealand has two national networks- The Maori and Television New Zealand (TV1 and TV2) networks; both of which are Free to Air on Optus B1, as is the Freeview.
In North America, there are a number of competing Free to Air DVB satellite TV systems in use, such as Globecast World (Galaxy 25; 97°W), Glorystar (Galaxy 25; 97°W), the Equity Broadcasting stations (Galaxy 10R; 123°W), PBS (AMC3; 87°W), etc.
Free to air satellite television is highly suitable for locations in which terrestrial reception (typical over-the-air reception) is a real concern; due to a broad geographical coverage in places where digital terrestrial signal coverage is poor- especially in rural areas, well away from major cities.