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Old 15th April 2012, 11:02 PM   #1
GrantK
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Post Watching SBS TV from Australia

If, as seems likely, TVNZ7 closes, and you are still hungering for some decent, thought-provoking content without stumping up for Sky, here is another option you might like to consider:

http://www.sbs.com.au/schedule

SBS has two free-to-air channels broadcast across Australia, and they can be received by anyone in NZ with a Sky or Freeview dish, and some types of satellite receivers. The channels we can receive here come from the Optus D1 satellite at 160 degrees East, which also carries Sky and Freeview. They are intended for Tasmania, so are a little weaker than the ones intended for NZ.

There are many foreign-language programmes as you can see from the schedules above. However, on SBS HD there is an excellent selection of documentaries from the BBC and elsewhere, and most of them are only 1 or 2 years old.

Docos I have watched recently are:

- Stephen Hawking's Brave New World (remember Beyond 2000 anyone? -- this is the 21st century version of it)

- A Celtic History of Britain

- Coast (a series exploring the coastlines of Britain, Ireland and parts of Europe)

- Civilisation: Is The West History?

- Big, Bigger, Biggest (covers various impressive engineering breakthroughs)

Many of the best programmes are on late at night (NZ time) because of the 2-hour time difference, so it is often easiest to record them.

The SBS channels have been broadcast on Optus D1 since 2007, and while there is no guarantee they will remain available, they are definitely worth watching if you hunger for documentary content which is simply not screened here -- or if it is, then it's probably many years old.

It is also possible to download programmes from the SBS website, but there are some tricks involved, which I won't go into here. The simplest and easiest way is to receive the programmes from satellite and record them for later viewing as I do every week.

At DiDi's request, here are the details of a cheap receiver sold by The Warehouse which will reportedly receive the SBS channels:

http://www.thewarehouse.co.nz/red/ca...S1?SKU=1400533

N.B. I haven't tried this receiver myself, but a knowledgeable geek says it should do the job. Certainly, the price is right at just $79!

Depending on the age and condition of your Sky or FreeView dish, it may or may not be up to the job. My old Sky dish worked perfectly on SBS until the heat of summer finally struck in late December/early Jan. Then the tuning started drifting and I could only watch the SBS channels at night. After spending about $80 on a new LNB and mounting bracket, I have better reception than ever, at any time of day or night. Your local Freeview installer could fix up your dish if needs be.

The receiver I use is this one:

http://www.vuplus.com.au/Satellite-S...STB/Vuplus-Duo

It lets me record at least two channels at once, while watching a pre-recorded programme. On some occasions, I have seen it making 4 recordings at once, if they happen to be on the right satellite transponders.

I have installed a 2TB hard drive, which gives practically unlimited recording capacity. With our old MySky box, we were always running out of hard drive space, but that is no longer a problem. The Vu+ box runs on Linux, which does mean it is quite complicated in some places. It is aimed at enthusiasts and people like myself who enjoy tinkering with the settings. I have made up my own list of channels in the order I most often use them, which is something you cannot do with a Sky box.

I am seriously considering ditching our Sky subscription after the Olympics are over, because we hardly watch any of their channels now that we can receive SBS. How nice of our Aussie cousins to provide this service for us
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Old 16th April 2012, 07:30 AM   #2
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Re: Watching SBS TV from Australia

I switched to freeview and got a guy in who brought a box and hooked everything up. Unfortunately, if you want to receive those aussie channels which i have heard are super good, then you need a freeview system that can receive them. Mine unfortunately cant and I dont think can be programmed to receive. Either i get a new box that can receive those programmes or go without. My non technical understanding of the situation
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Old 16th April 2012, 09:17 AM   #3
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Re: Watching SBS TV from Australia

We have watched SBS though TVNZ 7 rules the roost for the meantime in our house. From memory we can also receive a channel out of Cairns too

We tune into Freeview using a Sky dish left fitted on our house by the previous owner after discovering that the terrestrial signal wasn't broadcast from the Hen & Chickens translator on Mt. Egmont. I understand this has changed and Taranaki now has a terrestrial signal. Our dish is aligned to whatever the previous owner set it to (for Sky) so realignment may be required to improve marginal reception

A question though about rain fade which makes TVNZ 7 (and other Freeview channels, especially weaker channels such as SBS) unwatchable in bad weather. In such conditions we either switch to the (non Freeview version) of TV3, Prime or the likes, or more likely do something else Is this rain fade an unavoidable fact of life for satellite based TV reception, and if so do we expect to have our Winter TV viewing severely reduced?

We are less than 15km from the translator on Egmont and have a clear line of sight so is this probably a work-around but as it will exclude reception of SBS and similar we probably wouldn't bother with going to the extra expense and hassle of doing this.
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Old 16th April 2012, 10:13 AM   #4
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Re: Watching SBS TV from Australia

Quote:
Originally Posted by muri View Post
I switched to freeview and got a guy in who brought a box and hooked everything up. Unfortunately, if you want to receive those aussie channels which i have heard are super good, then you need a freeview system that can receive them. Mine unfortunately cant and I dont think can be programmed to receive. Either i get a new box that can receive those programmes or go without. My non technical understanding of the situation
You would be surprised how many boxes can be programmed to receive the SBS channels. I heard just now that a Zinwell box is capable of doing it, if you know how. Zinwell are one of the most "locked down" boxes out there, so that was a surprise.

In order to receive SBS, your box needs to be capable of either an automatic scan, or have the ability to add extra channels manually, like the warehouse one I linked to above. Then there are some numbers you need to add in:

Satellite-> Optus D1
Transponder-> name it what you want (SBS TAS)
Frequency-> 12648
Symbol Rate-> 12600
Polarisation-> VERT

For each box, the procedure is a bit different, but if you post here the parameters your box is asking for when adding a new channel, chances are I can tell you how to do it.

Quote:
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We have watched SBS though TVNZ 7 rules the roost for the meantime in our house. From memory we can also receive a channel out of Cairns too
On my most recent scan of the Optus D1 satellite, I didn't find anything from Cairns. Until recently, there were some extra channels called GEM and I think Channel 7 or 9. They have been moved to another satellite now I think.

Before changing my LNB, I was also able to receive the Optus C1/D3 satellites. I did a scan of those too, just out of interest, but pretty much all of the content was encrypted, except for some news gathering (SNG) feeds. At the time, they were reporting on the Queensland floods, but those feeds come and go all the time, and it is luck of the draw whether you see them or not. Personally, I'm only interested in channels that are always available, so I can set up recordings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Organix View Post
We tune into Freeview using a Sky dish left fitted on our house by the previous owner after discovering that the terrestrial signal wasn't broadcast from the Hen & Chickens translator on Mt. Egmont. I understand this has changed and Taranaki now has a terrestrial signal. Our dish is aligned to whatever the previous owner set it to (for Sky) so realignment may be required to improve marginal reception
The dish points to exactly the same place whether you are receiving SBS, Sky or Freeview, because they all use the same satellite.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Organix View Post
A question though about rain fade which makes TVNZ 7 (and other Freeview channels, especially weaker channels such as SBS) unwatchable in bad weather. In such conditions we either switch to the (non Freeview version) of TV3, Prime or the likes, or more likely do something else Is this rain fade an unavoidable fact of life for satellite based TV reception, and if so do we expect to have our Winter TV viewing severely reduced?
Your dish is not aligned properly if this is happening. Since they fired up the Optus D1 satellite in 2007 I think it was, rain fade should never happen because the transmit power is far greater than the old B1 satellite.

If you loosen the dish mountings one axis at a time and peak the signal using the SNR (signal strength) indicators on your box, you should be able to solve this problem. Failing that, ask the local Freeview installer to do it for you.

I don't have a Satfinder, which is the tool that the pros use to do this. But by using the Satfinder function on my box, while watching the TV set through the window and adjusting the LNB, I was able to improve the reception of SBS significantly, so we no longer lose it during heavy rain.
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Old 16th April 2012, 12:33 PM   #5
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Re: Watching SBS TV from Australia

I live here and I haven't worked out how to get my set-top box to get SBS yet! Will take a closer look now though, as the programming really does look quite good..
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Old 16th April 2012, 12:49 PM   #6
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Re: Watching SBS TV from Australia

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I live here and I haven't worked out how to get my set-top box to get SBS yet! Will take a closer look now though, as the programming really does look quite good..
If you are in SA, you will be on a different beam to Tasmania/NZ. Have a look at this page for the details:

http://www.lyngsat.com/Optus-D1.html

Presumably, SBS Adelaide on 12487 H would be the one.
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Old 16th April 2012, 01:02 PM   #7
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Re: Watching SBS TV from Australia

Thanks very much Grant.
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Old 16th April 2012, 01:20 PM   #8
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Re: Watching SBS TV from Australia

I second SBS as a great option for documentaries. Since getting Freeview we have enjoyed heaps of great programmes.
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Old 16th April 2012, 01:37 PM   #9
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Re: Watching SBS TV from Australia

Quote:
Originally Posted by GrantK View Post
.......

If you loosen the dish mountings one axis at a time and peak the signal using the SNR (signal strength) indicators on your box, you should be able to solve this problem.......
Thanks very much for your wisdom. As the dish is two stories up on a dormer out of a 45 degree pitched roof that is easier said than done though. So, pay someone to do a relatively simple task or risk life and limb. Hmm.......
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Old 16th April 2012, 01:39 PM   #10
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Re: Watching SBS TV from Australia

When my aerial fell off the roof in a storm, the landlady was sold a Alkris Digital Satellite Receiver ALK-KTA1 which I am now using off the old Sky dish without issue but can't find if it can be tuned to SBS. May as well use it as she paid for it!

HOWEVER... I own a Dish S9020DVD receiver that when searching says it is already programmed for SBS. Not that I knew! Laugh. I put it away when she produced this one as to be honest, Dish is a great machine but a dreadful remote. Dreadful on distance to the machine. Disgusting! Need I say more? I have already had one replaced and this is not better.

So, can the Alkris be programmed or is it just for NZ as stated if you look it up on their website? be programmed?
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Old 16th April 2012, 02:07 PM   #11
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Re: Watching SBS TV from Australia

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When my aerial fell off the roof in a storm, the landlady was sold a Alkris Digital Satellite Receiver ALK-KTA1 which I am now using off the old Sky dish without issue but can't find if it can be tuned to SBS.
I am fairly sure that is the same one our friends in Russell have, and it apparently couldn't be tuned to SBS either. I found the website:

http://alkrisshop.shopnz.biz/catalog...cc565aa58677eb

But there is absolutely nothing of any help on there. Alkris are a local company who will be importing these from China under their own label. If we could find the original manufacturer, it may be possible to find the manual, or failing that, if you could post the contents of any pages that deal with setting up new channels. I expect there would only be one or two pages at the most.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DiDi View Post
HOWEVER... I own a Dish S9020DVD receiver that when searching says it is already programmed for SBS. Not that I knew! Laugh. I put it away when she produced this one as to be honest, Dish is a great machine but a dreadful remote. Dreadful on distance to the machine. Disgusting! Need I say more? I have already had one replaced and this is not better.
Have you tried replacing the batteries in the remote?

Sometimes that is all that is wrong as I discovered the other night when I replaced my remote batteries for the first time. The Dish TV gear is more than capable of doing what you want, but see if you can find any manual pages dealing with channel setup for the Alkris and I will try to figure out how to program a new channel.
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Old 21st April 2012, 10:35 PM   #12
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Re: Watching SBS TV from Australia

Very basic question. Will all freeview boxes work with both arial and/or dish?
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Old 22nd April 2012, 09:03 AM   #13
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Re: Watching SBS TV from Australia

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Very basic question. Will all freeview boxes work with both arial and/or dish?
Some FreeView boxes are designed for Satellite (dish), and others for UHF (aerial).

None of the low-end boxes cater for both, although there are some very expensive ones available which do. These are popular in Europe where there is a multitude of services available, but here in NZ, there isn't any point in getting a satellite dish installed for FreeView if you can get it on UHF. Satellite installs are always more expensive than a simple UHF aerial.
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Old 22nd April 2012, 01:09 PM   #14
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Re: Watching SBS TV from Australia

I had to get a satellite dish when I moved to Oamaru last year.

I was thrilled when I found that I could watch SBS again (I'm an Aussie so I've missed my Aussie tv stations). I love SBS - it has a great news service with proper news stories. The docos are brilliant as are the dramas - I really enjoyed "The Promise" with Haaz Sleiman a few months ago. I rarely watch the local stations other than Channel 7 as SBS provides me with quality programmes and no Yank (so called)comedies.
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Old 22nd April 2012, 06:25 PM   #15
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Re: Watching SBS TV from Australia

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...
I love SBS - it has a great news service with proper news stories. The docos are brilliant as are the dramas - I really enjoyed "The Promise" with Haaz Sleiman a few months ago. I rarely watch the local stations other than Channel 7 as SBS provides me with quality programmes and no Yank (so called)comedies.
I couldn't agree more Helen. I watch more on SBS than any other single channel now. Especially the docos, and occasionally a movie.

Shows I record from the local channels are:

- Fair Go
- All the current affairs programmes: 60 mins/ 20-20 / Sunday

Then I download some programmes from the BBC using iPlayer:

- Top Gear
- Click

Occasionally I watch the news and weather, but can't really be bothered sitting down for a full hour just to get a few snippets of interest. I find browsing the stories on NZ Herald and the Northern Advocate websites gives me more than enough news on just the specific stories I am interested in. I do still flick through the local rag, and some of the farming papers which continually clutter up our letterbox.

SBS leaves any of the local channels for dead in my opinion.
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Old 22nd April 2012, 11:43 PM   #16
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Re: Watching SBS TV from Australia

Here's a blogger who reckons that the NZ Govt. should part-fund SBS, making a win-win for both Australian and NZ viewers:

http://extra-channels.com/

He also says that SBS is likely to disappear sometime during the first half of next year. I hope not, but if it happens I will download programmes from their website instead of recording them from satellite. More of a hassle though...
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Old 23rd April 2012, 09:51 AM   #17
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Re: Watching SBS TV from Australia

Question for Grant:

Can I get a tv card for my PC which will do this?

Thanks.
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Old 23rd April 2012, 10:20 AM   #18
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Re: Watching SBS TV from Australia

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Question for Grant:

Can I get a tv card for my PC which will do this?

Thanks.
Yes, it's definitely possible. I'm trying to find out which is the best card, as it's not something I have ever tried to do. Will get back to you later.

OK, here is the info. The card linked below from PB Tech. will do the job apparently, and the cost is $118+GST.

http://www.pbtech.co.nz/index.php?z=...-band-card-Ana

There will be quite a bit of messing around setting it up though, and the receiver from The Warehouse (linked to above) would be easier.

You will of course need a satellite dish and LNB in either case. If there is already a Sky dish or FreeView dish at your house, you will have all you need.
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Old 23rd April 2012, 06:35 PM   #19
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Re: Watching SBS TV from Australia

Grant How do I know for sure my UHF aerial will work with freeview before I buy one? I dont want have to buy a second reciever and a satellite dish. Is it the same line of sight as for analog signal?
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Old 23rd April 2012, 06:41 PM   #20
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Re: Watching SBS TV from Australia

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Grant How do I know for sure my UHF aerial will work with freeview before I buy one? I dont want have to buy a second reciever and a satellite dish. Is it the same line of sight as for analog signal?
Depending on how old your UHF aerial and cable is, it may or may not be good enough for FreeView. The best way is to try receiving Prime and Maori TV via Analogue. If you get a good clean signal, it will most likely work OK on FreeView. If you get a rubbish signal, installing a new aerial may fix it -- or not -- depending on where you live.

So my advice would be to look at the picture on Prime and Maori TV first. If they look good then you may as well buy a FreeView UHF receiver box.

If Prime and Maori TV have poor picture quality, then talk to your local FreeView installer and see if they recommend FreeView UHF or FreeView Satellite for your area. In that case, you will need to get a new UHF aerial or dish installed, according to the installer's recommendation.
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Old 24th April 2012, 06:06 PM   #21
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Re: Watching SBS TV from Australia

Grant thank you for taking the time to answer everyones' questions. Yep I get a good picture on Prime and Maori tv.
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Old 24th April 2012, 07:17 PM   #22
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Re: Watching SBS TV from Australia

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Grant thank you for taking the time to answer everyones' questions. Yep I get a good picture on Prime and Maori tv.
No worries Valmai

In that case, you could go and buy a Freeview Terrestrial (UHF) receiver and enjoy the benefits of digital TV now. Hardly Normal sent a flyer in today's mail and there are a couple of "Dish TV" receivers there which are worth a look:

1) Dish TV Terrestrial receiver with USB record $139.

2) Dish TV Terrestrial record with internal 500GB Hard Drive $388.

Either of these will let you record programmes onto a Hard Drive. In the case of option (1), you plug in an external hard drive, whereas option (2) has a hard drive built in, which makes for a tidier setup.

If you don't want to splash out for recording capability initially, option (1) will do it for you, and you can add a hard drive when ready. Option (2) has it all, ready to record from day 1.

Either of these should be good units, although I haven't used one personally. Dish TV has a good reputation with NZ-based support, unlike some of the others that are out there.
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Old 25th April 2012, 07:37 AM   #23
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Re: Watching SBS TV from Australia

Thankyou Grant.
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Old 25th April 2012, 05:23 PM   #24
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Re: Watching SBS TV from Australia

We should be supporting tvnz7 - www.savetvnz7.co.nz
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Old 26th April 2012, 03:24 PM   #25
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Re: Watching SBS TV from Australia

Grant, I found by rotating the LNB slightly I could balance the vertical SBS and horizontal NZ channels to 75% it meant the horizontal NZ channels went down from 100% to 75% but the SBS went up from 0% and it doesn't seem to have made any difference to the reception of the NZ stations.

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