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Sky/Sky+ with no subscription; can I still see free channels?


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Old 27-07-2006, 02:25
cdmackay
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We're about to cancel our Sky subscriptions, entirely, and we have both Sky and Sky+ (multiroom).

When it's all cancelled, and I'm no longer paying Sky anything, I understand that the Sky+ will no longer record.

But is there any way I can get either box to function as a tuner to receive free-to-air satellite channels? Any modifications available?

thanks much for any comments.
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Old 27-07-2006, 02:58
kronas
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all FTA channels, ie the free ones will still be viewable....
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Old 27-07-2006, 03:07
cdmackay
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great, thanks. Is that "as is"? I mean, do I need to get a separate viewing card, or anything, or will it "just work"?

and is that on both Sky, and Sky+?

thanks much indeed.
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Old 27-07-2006, 04:05
HEC
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No - nothing else is needed - all FTA nad FTV channels will be available on both boxes.
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Old 27-07-2006, 18:53
KillieDel
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Are you sure? I am thinking of doing the same, so i removed my sky card to see what channels still worked. There were a lot of freeview ones but some did not work - BBC1 and a few others.
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Old 27-07-2006, 19:04
ResidentSD
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Originally Posted by KillieDel
Are you sure? I am thinking of doing the same, so i removed my sky card to see what channels still worked. There were a lot of freeview ones but some did not work - BBC1 and a few others.
The only channels that need a card but not a subscription are Channel 4, five & Sky Three. Even when you cancel your subscription, you'll receive these channels but you must keep the card inserted to get them.

KillieDel - All the BBC channels should be available without your viewing card - including all the BBC1 regions. It seems strange that you're having problems.
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Old 27-07-2006, 19:06
Sam Radford.
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Originally Posted by KillieDel
Are you sure? I am thinking of doing the same, so i removed my sky card to see what channels still worked. There were a lot of freeview ones but some did not work - BBC1 and a few others.
You should definitely get BBC1 and ITV without a card but you won't get "Freeview" channels as these are free only via a terrestrial aerial and Freeview receiver.
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Old 27-07-2006, 19:32
KillieDel
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Might have got bbc1, just skipped through quickly. Will i still get all the channels i get when i take the card out now, when sky cancel my subscription? The wife watches 661 -"create and craft" all the time - will i still get this?
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Old 27-07-2006, 23:35
davemurgatroyd
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Originally Posted by KillieDel
Might have got bbc1, just skipped through quickly. Will i still get all the channels i get when i take the card out now, when sky cancel my subscription? The wife watches 661 -"create and craft" all the time - will i still get this?
Read post #6 above you will get all the channels you can view when the card is out plus the other 3 channels when the card is in
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Old 27-07-2006, 23:44
pmcmillan
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A cancelled Sky subscription means that all viewing cards associated with that account become Free to View cards, i.e., the same as Freesat http://www.freesatfromsky.com/
Phil
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Old 28-07-2006, 12:18
ianathuth
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Have a look at http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/satellite/freesatepg/ or http://www.wickonline.com/fta.htm for list of FTA & FTV channels on Sky.
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Old 31-07-2006, 12:58
cdmackay
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thanks much to all, very helpful.
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Old 31-07-2006, 13:03
cdmackay
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I wonder if my Sky+ box will still work if I take the HDD out?
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Old 31-07-2006, 14:32
pcbbc
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Originally Posted by cdmackay
I wonder if my Sky+ box will still work if I take the HDD out?
Nope - I believe a software upgrade a while back made the box useless for anything other than a doorstop without a HDD.
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Old 31-07-2006, 14:35
cdmackay
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typical, thanks. Still, I could always put the knackered original one back in, and take the 250GB I added, out.
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Old 04-08-2006, 13:02
Orfee
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Also thinking of cancelling a Sky+subscription.
I understand that recording will be disabled, but does anyone know if the box's functionality will revert to that of a standard Sky STB, i.e. EPG grid, series linking, auto-view?

Thanks for your help
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Old 04-08-2006, 13:32
Tencon
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Originally Posted by Orfee
Also thinking of cancelling a Sky+subscription.
I understand that recording will be disabled, but does anyone know if the box's functionality will revert to that of a standard Sky STB, i.e. EPG grid, series linking, auto-view?

Thanks for your help
Nope - you will lose the planner entirely.
At least mine did when I was upgrading from a minidish to a 1M dish and plugging the old 'spare' + box in from when I went to a 160+ from a 40.
I used the <Services> menu on the spare to align the dish and when done it got the free-to-view as posted above. No planner and no Sky+.
However, when I called to activate the 3rd box, it didn't. The old card was out of date and they sent a new one.
Also - which region are you in? Maybe the BBC1 for your region is part of the free-to-view package
(I don't really know what I'm talking about here - just a guess! )
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Old 06-08-2006, 17:54
AndyChat
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By the comment above do you mean the planner or the EPG grid itself?, if the latter is the case then I will be seriously annoyed!

I have two Sky+ boxes which are on multiroom but I only have one LNB in my 2nd box, the only reason I use it is because Sky ruined my standard digibox (Panasonic) with their incompatible software update and I happened to have a spare Sky+ kicking around so I only use it as a normal digibox anyway.

Also, I am thinking of cancelling my multiroom temporarily at least because I am very short of money at the mo, will they charge me anything extra if I wish to have it reconnected at a later date?

Last edited by AndyChat : 06-08-2006 at 17:58.
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Old 06-08-2006, 18:26
Tencon
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Originally Posted by AndyChat
By the comment above do you mean the planner or the EPG grid itself?, if the latter is the case then I will be seriously annoyed!

I have two Sky+ boxes which are on multiroom but I only have one LNB in my 2nd box, the only reason I use it is because Sky ruined my standard digibox (Panasonic) with their incompatible software update and I happened to have a spare Sky+ kicking around so I only use it as a normal digibox anyway.

Also, I am thinking of cancelling my multiroom temporarily at least because I am very short of money at the mo, will they charge me anything extra if I wish to have it reconnected at a later date?
My thought is that as long as you have a Sky contract, adding a box via multiroom will only cost the usual rental fees - 10pm per box.
However, you don't need to be paying multiroom for free-to-air (The channels you get on a Sky+ box with only 1 LNB) as I found out.
The multiroom charge should only be for the full set of channels you contract to pay extra for.
The channels you get by obtaining a freeview box from Dixons etc and plugging it in with the free viewing card are still free and should work!
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Old 06-08-2006, 18:54
AndyChat
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What i'll probably do then is cancel the multiroom and just use it as a FTA box for the time being, especially if as pmcmillan suggests above I can leave my old card in it and use it as a Freesat box.

At the moment i'm holding on cancelling it til the end of the month because a certain member of my household needs to keep E4 until Big Brother ends!

Sorry to repeat this but does the EPG still work on my Sky+ (like a normal box) if I do use it as a Freesat box?
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Old 06-08-2006, 21:23
Tencon
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Originally Posted by AndyChat
What i'll probably do then is cancel the multiroom and just use it as a FTA box for the time being, especially if as pmcmillan suggests above I can leave my old card in it and use it as a Freesat box.

At the moment i'm holding on cancelling it til the end of the month because a certain member of my household needs to keep E4 until Big Brother ends!

Sorry to repeat this but does the EPG still work on my Sky+ (like a normal box) if I do use it as a Freesat box?
Simple test - Remove the power plug.
Unscrew one of the 2 F-Connectors from the inputs and with the other one fitted, turn back on.
Now you have lost Sky+ so what happens is what you get as a freeview box.
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Old 07-08-2006, 00:45
AndyChat
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Do you mean the LNB inputs? cos I only have one plugged into the 2nd box anyway but it doesn't make any difference to the machine at the moment.

I currently have the recording functions switched on because it doesn't cost me any more to do so but I don't use them much cos of the missing feed.

I just wondered if things would change with the recording part switched off that's all.
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Old 07-08-2006, 08:44
Tencon
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Originally Posted by AndyChat
Do you mean the LNB inputs?
Yes
'cos I only have one plugged into the 2nd box anyway but it doesn't make any difference to the machine at the moment.

I currently have the recording functions switched on because it doesn't cost me any more to do so but I don't use them much cos of the missing feed.

I just wondered if things would change with the recording part switched off that's all.
How do you manage to make recordings with only one feed when the rest of us can't?
In my experience you can't switch the recording facility on or off other than:

1. By not making a recording (off)
or
2. Making a recording <Only possible with two feeds?>(on) .

As far as I know, without two LNB feeds, any attempt to select a recording gives an error!
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Old 07-08-2006, 18:46
AndyChat
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When I swapped my multiroom box (standard digibox) for a Sky+ box, I had to ring up Sky to have the recording functions switched on by them because the box comes with them switched off as default.

Also, as I already have a high priced package it doesn't cost me any more to have the recording enabled on both even if I only need it on my main box.

As for the recording functions, my box works fine with just one feed as long as you make sure that you only record what is on the screen at the time, as you would do if you were using a normal VCR/DVD recorder to record Sky.

I believe the reason for this is that recording the same channel as you watch only requires one feed at once (just like you can still watch & record the same channel with one feed while recording another in 2 LNB mode)

I can testify that it works because I have a planner full of successful recordings and I just had another try just now to double check!

Just to add, my 2nd box is a Pace V3, don't know if the fact it's a newer box makes any difference to anything.

Last edited by AndyChat : 07-08-2006 at 18:58.
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Old 07-08-2006, 23:16
Tencon
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Originally Posted by AndyChat
When I swapped my multiroom box (standard digibox) for a Sky+ box, I had to ring up Sky to have the recording functions switched on by them because the box comes with them switched off as default.

Also, as I already have a high priced package it doesn't cost me any more to have the recording enabled on both even if I only need it on my main box.

As for the recording functions, my box works fine with just one feed as long as you make sure that you only record what is on the screen at the time, as you would do if you were using a normal VCR/DVD recorder to record Sky.

I believe the reason for this is that recording the same channel as you watch only requires one feed at once (just like you can still watch & record the same channel with one feed while recording another in 2 LNB mode)

I can testify that it works because I have a planner full of successful recordings and I just had another try just now to double check!

Just to add, my 2nd box is a Pace V3, don't know if the fact it's a newer box makes any difference to anything.
Actually I am very glad you made this post as I didn't know that ANY recording was possible without two feeds!
So you are one up on me there. I started fixing TVs etc in 1966 and now, at 56, I am still learning.
There's a lesson - learn something new every day and don't be shy to learn from newbies!

I think you are probably right about recording the same channel you are watching. I will experiment tomorrow and see what happens. Thanks for the tip.

If I ask politely, would you mind telling us why you haven't got a second feed on the box?
There are a number of LNBs available with 1-8 outputs (and maybe more for all I know!) as well as many other (expensive) options.
You can swap the LNB out easy and run a length of WF100 from the LNB to the box for another feed without calling Sky.
The dish is already aligned - the hard bit - and rotating the LNB is childs play as you already have a starting position!
Just go to the signal test page and rotate slowly until the quality bar is as high as it will go.
You might check the dish alignment at the same time by simply leaning gently on it to angle it slightly up or down, left or right and see if the strength bar gets bigger. If not, it is already okay!

A short story for entertainment, fun, and education for all I hope. (Forgive me if I seem to ramble)
I originally had a pair of Pace v2 boxes installed and reached box #3 upstairs and 4 downstairs and the 5th LNB before I had a stable setup. When the Thomson 160+ came out, I upgraded which made one of the Pace boxes redundant.
After a lot of research - mainly on www.satcure.co.uk - I decided to risk it and bought a 1M dish and a "Maximum OCTO 8-output LNB". while at it, I decided to use WF100 instead of the lossy CT63 shotgun cable oft-used for installations. Armed with my brand-new satellite meter I made a platform for safe working and mounted the dish at the base of the roof, top of the wall, beside my bedroom window.
I could put the Sky+ box and a portable TV inside the bedroom window and see it while making the final adjustment after using the meter to 'find' the right satellite.
Not easy with a 1M dish - like the difference between a (shotgun = minidish) vs (a rifle = 1M dish
It took about an hour to align the dish, make the connections and call Sky to get the 3rd box authorised on multiroom.
It didn't record! Yes, the card was an old and faulty one and I had to wait for a new one. Another call to introduce the new card and voila! 3 Sky+ boxes that have worked great ever since!
One thing though - downstairs, the Thomson and 1 Pace v2 get occasional lockups that are fragmentation-based. A quick trip upstairs to the 'Copy+ PC' and all is well with all programs viewable!
The Pace upstairs, often swapped for the one downstairs in the endless series of tests, NEVER goes wrong!.
Downstairs they are well ventilated and relatively cool. I even have an air-conditioner to keep the worst heat away.
Upstairs the Pace sits on top of an old NTL cable TV box that I resurreted when my Aerial feed wasn't working for terresrial TV/freeview. The NTL box. on standby, runs too hot to touch in cold weather and even hotter when switched on! So this Pace, about 10" from the ceiling, is in the boxroom, sitting on an oven and with a window nearby that the Sun shines through all afternoon. Closing the venetian blinds only turns them into a 38"x47" hotplate. Today, after 17:00, they were too hot to touch - over 50c!
So, yes, temperatures in the box room get very high.
With two computers, a large CRT monitor and an a HP5100 printer chucking heat out, I am usually sweating in mid winter with the window and blinds open.
Yet this Pace is the most reliable. Whichever Pace is fitted here!
It is most likely that as the boxes downstairs run a 250GB or 300GB HDD at about 50% free and the one upstairs is usually about 70% free that downstairs, the boxes suffer more from fragmentation.
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