The main basis for my TV solution is (or I should say "was" - more about this later) a 3.5m satellite dish, which I share with my neighbour. It uses an Invacom QDF-031 C120 0.3dB quad LNB. with an Invacom ADF-120 adjustable feedhorn attached. The photos below show these items (the LNB in the photo of the dish is not the one I use). Bacause we have had reception problems in the past which were the result of small spiders nesting in the feedhorn I have covered the end of it with insulation tape. This prevents the spiders from getting in and does not appear to decrease the sensitivity of the LNB. I have 2 feeds from the LNB, as does my neighbour. Connecting these two feeds to my satellite gives me greater flexibitity (see below) regarding the number of channels I can record concurrently.
We have a Humax Foxsat HD receiver. This PVR incorporates 2 tuners and 320GB of disk space. It is capable of accessing all of the Freesat SD and HD channels (but see below) and, because of the twin tuners can record 2 channels concurrently, while watching a third (proving the channel you want to watch is on the same transponder as one you are recording). The picture below shows the rear of the receiver. You can see the inputs for the twin tuners and various other connections and how these connect to my 2 feeds from the LNB. I use an HDMI cable to connect the receiver to my Sony Viera TV. I figure I can justify watching UK satellite TV because I still pay a TV license in the UK.
Even though Cyprus is on the edge of the footprint for the ASTRA-2D satellite the 3.5m dish meant that we could get very good reception of most of the channels. However, there was always a problem with some of the channels that were on the vertical polarised beam of various satellite transponders. This meant that e.g. we could receive ITV2+1 (horizontal polarisation), but not ITV2 itself (vertical polarisation). Of the HD channels, we could only view ITV-HD (horizontal), none of the others.
All this changed though earlier this year (2012). Most of the TV channels moved off Astra-2D and onto a new satellite, Astra-1N, which has much more bandwidth, in particular for the new HD channels. This new satellite has a footprint that is much more tightly focused on the UK and as a result we have now lost all of the Freesat channels (apart from some of the news channels, like Al Jazeera). People with Sky receivers also lost the ITV and BBC channels - there are a lot of disgruntled "Corrie" fans in Cyprus now. This has been discussed at length on various satellite reception bulletin boards and to my knowledge no-one in Cyprus has yet managed to pick up reception from Astra-1N, not even with a 4m dish! Astra-1N is a temporary solution until Astra-2E comes onstream in 2013. Everyone here is hoping that that satellite's footprint will be a bit more generous and enable us to pick up reception again, but no-one is holding their breath. There are some internet-based solutions to this problem, which I'll elaborate on in the next section.
The BBC SPORT Streaming channels are named:
6711, 6712, 6713, 6714, 6715
These channels are still available on the ASTRA 2B satellite and can easily be received by my large dish. The transponder on which they reside has the following characteristics: Frequency = 11953, Polarity = H, Symbol-rate = 27500, FEC = 2/3
To access the extra channels, you need to do the following for Sky satellite receivers:
add them to the "Other Channels" section of the Digibox "Services" menu:
We have 3 computers in our household: a Windows 7 laptop that I was given as a retirement present; a desktop, also running windows 7; an iPad3 (32gB WiFi, but no 3- or 4-GL); I don't count Sue's and my Kindles as computers. We also have an HP Photosmart B110 wireless printer. Our internet broadband connection is supplied by Cytanet and (touch wood) so far the service provided has been more than adequate. Compared to UK ISPs, Cytanet is very expensive; disregarding the telephone landline cost, a 3Mbps connection costs about €35 per month. You can save a bit by going to a slower line, but if you want to stream content off the internet with few interruptions you need at least 3Mbps, or better still 4Mbps. Some people go down a different route, such as using Holitec, which does not require you to have a landline. I've heard mixed reports of the quality of service for this company, but quite a lot of businesses and private individuals use them.
Cyta have provided me with a Thomson TG585 wireless router. I recently bought a pair of TP-Link PA211 powerline adapters. and have one of these connected via ethernet cable to the router. The wireless router is downstairs, so I connect the desktop, which is upstairs, via an ethernet cable to the other TP-Link adapter, which is also upstairs. Of course anything with a wireless adapter (like the printer, laptop, iPad and Kindles) can access the router via that mechanism, but this is slower than using the TP-Link adapter and this is important if you are streaming data over the internet.
Computer equipment is quite a bit more expensive here in Cyprus than in the UK. The power supply unit (PSU) in my desktop was playing up, so I decided to change it for a new one. It cost about 50% more than the same model in the UK. At the same time as I was replacing the PSU I took the opportunity to upgrade the motherboard, luckily my daughter was coming out for a holiday so I got her to buy it on Amazon and bring it with her (the PSU was a bit too heavy for Easyjet hand-luggage). Fitting it was a doddle.