Satellite TV in Tavira

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                               Frequently Asked Questions.

F. A. Q. page.

Here are some frequently asked questions.

Some simply answer idle curiosity, others may save you a phone call or even a call-out charge!


>Q. have just plugged in my Sky box, and I am seeing the "No satellite signal is being received" message.

 >A. Sky boxes get the channel listings (EPG) information by tuning in to a specific frequency- called the 'Default Transponder'. If this signal is weak, it can take some  time for the box to start working. Be patient- it can take up to an hour. This signal is particularly weak at present, (in the Algarve at least...). Hopefully things will be back to normal soon.


>Q. Why have I suddenly lost Channel 5 and 4-Seven?

>A. Satellite changes at 28.2°E have resulted in the loss of signal in some areas. The new Astra 2F satellite has recently taken over service for Channel 5, 5+1, Five USA and 5*. Also 4HD, 4seven and a couple of ITV regions. More free services are likely to follow in the coming months, please see "Stop Press" page for more info.

>Q. have a Sky subscription, will I continue to receive BBC & ITV etc. after the satellite change-overs?

>A. Unfortunately not. Whether you are a Sky subscriber or a Freesat viewer, the signals all come from the same place. The listings will still appear on the TV guide, but if the signal is not there, you will get the 'No Satellite Signal is Being Received' message. 

 >Q. Why does my Sky Digibox keep going to standby?

 >A. Sky have updated the software in all Digiboxes. In an effort to be 'green', this power-saving option has been added to reduce power consumption at night. You can de-activate it by going to the 'SERVICES' menu, 'SYSTEM SETUP' (4) then 'Auto-Standby' (6). Change to 'Off' using the right arrow key, then save settings. N.B. I do not recommend doing this if you have a Sky+ box. Keeping 'Auto standby' active will significantly prolong its life.

>Q. Do I need to have a 'Sky' subscription in order to receive BBC & ITV, etc? 

>A. No. All equipment supplied by us is non-subsidised, therefore there is no commitment to Sky, nor is there any need to have it connected to a phone line, as in the UK. All 'Free-To-Air' channels (over 50 of them so far!!) can be received straight away, with no need for a viewing card or any monthly commitment. A 'FreeSat' card can be purchased to enable Pick TV, Sony TV and LFC-TV. This is a one-off purchase, again with no monthly charges.

> Q. Why can't I get certain channels, whereas others work fine?

> A. The strength of different satellite signals varies enormously here in the south, especially from the Astra2 (Sky) satellite network. Therefore, if there are any problems with your system (dish too small, faulty/unsuitable LNB or even 'tired' Digibox), then the stronger signals will still work OK, whereas weaker ones (Channel 4 & certain BBC & ITV regions) may struggle. Occasionally a tree or other obstacle (crane, neighbour's TV aerial etc.) obscures the dish's view of the satellite. We always try to ensure that all available channels can be received.

>Q. Why do some channels work during the day, but fail or break up at night time?

>A. The strength of the satellite signal drops significantly at night- there are various reasons why- but if everything is set up & working as it should, you should not experience this problem. See previous  Q & A.

>Q. Why has my Digibox has stopped responding to the remote control?

>A. Assuming the batteries are OK, it may have simply 'locked up'. This happens from time to time, and can usually be cleared by un-plugging from the mains for a few seconds then plugging back in again. This resets the Digibox. If it is a recurring problem, then the chances are your Digibox is probably reaching the end of its useful life (particularly if it is a Panasonic). They tend to run quite hot & eventually 'cook' themselves to death. All Digiboxes we supply use newer processors and power supplies and run much cooler, so should have a longer life. It could of course be the remote itself- they do wear out, we keep a stock of spares.

>Q. Can my faulty Digibox be repaired?

>A. Some faults can be rectified- Grundig and some Thomson & Amstrad Digiboxes suffer from power supply problems (again from overheating), and they can often be repaired. The aforementioned Panasonic fault sadly cannot be remedied. Certain Pace and Sony models can sometimes be repaired also. See our sister site

>Q. Can my faulty Sky+ Digibox be repaired?

>A. Again, depending on the fault; their hard drives often fail, due to the fact they run almost continuously, and can be replaced. I keep a test drive handy to check viability before committing to a repair. Power supply faults also occur in certain models- again, usually repairable. (See our sister site

>Q. Do dishes and LNB's "wear out"?

>A. Frequently! LNB's seem to have a limited life, especially in the conditions encountered here. Certain dishes are made of aluminium, and they have a tendency to warp slightly over the years, sometimes they even break free where corrosion sets in around the screw holes! We always fit galvanized steel dishes- heavier, but ones I fitted here in 1993 are still in operation to this day!

>Q. What should the signal strength & quality readings be like? (Services- 4, 6.)

>A. The readings given by the Digibox's in-built meter are only indications. They vary from box to box, and only sample one frequency. However, as a rule of thumb, the signal quality bar should be up to or past the 'O' of the 'OK' in the box below it. The strength is not as critical, but needs to at least 30~40% to allow some headroom for weaker signals at night or in the rain.

>Q. Why can't I use my Portuguese or Spanish address for my 'Sky' subscription?

>A. Quite simply, Sky are not allowed to sell their product outside the UK and Ireland, due to copyright reasons. They must be seen to be doing all they can to prevent it, so even phoning from here poses a risk, as their phone system can detect an overseas call, even if the number is withheld!

>Q. I have been away for a while, and I've lost my Sky channels (free channels working fine).

>A. Your FreeSat/Sky card has missed its update signal, & de-activated whilst idle. Leave it in the Digibox, switched on. It will usually re-activate itself within 24 hours.

 >Q. I am getting the on-screen message "This is the wrong card for this set-top box".

>A. Your FreeSat/Sky card has missed its update signal, & de-activated whilst idle. Leave it in the Digibox, switched on. It will usually re-activate itself within 24 hours. 

>Q. What channels can I receive for free?

>A. There are so many, I have listed them separately. See CHANNELS

>Q. Can I fit my own dish, how do I do it?

>A. You're welcome to try, but it is a job that requires skill and experience (or a great deal of time/luck/patience!). We use a digital alignment meter and spectrum analyser which tests 12 different transponders, and costs over 500 euros. It can be done without one, but it will take a long time, a lot of patience and even more frustration. Start with a compass......... and if after two days you're still without a picture, give us a phone!!

>Q.  Is Sky reducing the signal strength?

>A. Not intentionally. Satellites drift in the sky naturally, but due to the finite supplies of fuel on board, corrections are only made when absolutely necessary. Whilst the effects probably go un-noticed in the UK & Ireland (the intended target), it can significantly affect the signals here on the fringes of the footprint. Due to contractual commitments, free-to-air channels (BBC, ITV, Ch4 etc. etc.) tend to be allocated narrow beams, which again are focussed on the UK & Ireland. This trend is likely to continue with the advent of new, purpose-built satellites. One such bird (Astra 1F) is coming into service towards the end of 2012, and with its narrow-beam design, is likely to take on board many of the channels currently being broadcast from Astra2. It will be co-located with the current Astra 2 cluster, so no need to adjust your dish. BUT as yet, we still do not know how 'receivable' the signals will be. Watch this space......

>Q. Why has my FTA (Free-To-Air) box lost certain BBC channels (BBC News etc.)?

>A. BBC News has moved to another transponder, you will need to manually retune your box. Sky Digibox & Freesat receivers will re-tune automatically.