UK TV SATELLITES WILL BE HIT BY SIGNAL LOSS DUE TO SUN OUTAGE
FROM 28th FEBRUARY
Updated Tuesday 8th February 2016
Satellites serving the UK will soon be passing directly in front of the sun starting from the 28th February (4th
March in Scandinavia)
For about ten days, signals from Astra 2E, 2F and 2G will be completely lost for up to 15 minutes during the early
afternoon (around 1.00pm) in Crete and Greece.
Sun outage is a twice-yearly event, and happens when the sun, satellite and earth are in a straight line during the
spring and autumn equinoxes. A satellite dish always has to point to the satellite 24 hours a day, even if this
means the dish is pointing straight at the sun. Random electrical noise from the sun overwhelms signal in weak
areas. Dramatically worse signal-to-noise ratio results in total loss of data. The British Isles are unaffected.
Strong signals also weaken, but within normal margins.
At night, satellites pass through the umbra, or area of total eclipse, forcing operators to switch to built-in batteries,
compensating for the absence of sunlight.
For some weeks either side of total eclipse, satellite reception in fringe areas is disrupted owing to the reduced
amount of sun the satellite's solar panels receive as they pass through the penumbra, or outer shadow.
There is one compensation for the loss of signals. It's the perfect time to check whether there is anything
shading your dish, such as trees or foliage. Any obstruction will cast a shadow on your dish at sun outage,
revealing that signals will be reduced all year round. Green leaves are as effective as lead in blocking satellite
Any site with full sun at this time is a good site for a new dish installation.
Of course, this only works if the sun is shining...
NEW UK SATELLITE ASTRA 2G IN PLACE 15th JUNE
Sunday 1st June 2015
Astra 2G will be in its final position at 28.3º east on 15th. June. It is currently being moved westwards at 0.64º per
day. Services will be transferred to the new satellite almost immediately. Reports indicate there will be a
complete migration of all Channels from Eutelsat 28A by the end of June.
Some people in the fringes of mainland Europe may see loss of channels, others will see an improvement, as
2G is much more powerful than the older satellites it will be replacing.
BBC BEGINS TO BLOCK VPN SERVICES
Monday 26th October 2015
In preparation for the launch next year of an 'iPlayer-style' service aimed at US viewers, the BBC has begun to
block access from larger VPN servers, typically used by those who wish to view BBC iPlayer outside the UK.
Larger VPN providers, such as IPVanish and TogGuard have already opened new servers not already on the
BBC's block list, as a "workaround".
VPNs work by connecting a user in another country to a server located in the UK, allocating a UK IP address. The
BBC prevents all non-UK IP addresses from accessing BBC iPlayer, and has now started to add IP addresses
used by VPN servers to their Blocklists.
The likely result will be a cat and mouse game, until one or the other side gives up.
FOX CHANNEL AND FOX MOVIES NOW ENCRYPTED
Saturday 14th November 2015
Following a number of enquiries from our customers over the last few days, it can be confirmed that both
the Fox Channel and Fox Movies are now permanently encrypted on the Arabsat (26E) and Nilesat (7w)
Following a successful purchase of the Rights to these Channels, BeIN have now placed both these
Channels behind their 'Pay Wall'
Unfortunately, as with a lot of channels which were once 'free to view' many are now becoming 'pay only'
Channels including the long time favourites such as Fox.
DAVE, GOLD, DRAMA DISAPPEAR IN MAINLAND EUROPE
Monday 7th December 2015
The old Europe-wide frequency for Home, Eden, GOLD, Yesterday, Dave, Good Food Channel, Watch, Alibi,
Drama and Really has this morning been turned off, meaning loss of signal to those who can't receive the UK
spot beam from Astra 2.
Three channels, Drama, Really and Yesterday are now broadcast in the clear and can be received on Freesat.
The rest remain for the moment as encoded channels, needing a Sky box and card to view.
The +1 versions of these channels are still available on the European Beam on Astra 2. Additional seasonal
channels, Christmas Food and Christmas Gold have been added as well as Alibi and Watch. To include these
extra channels on your Sky Box, you will need to add the following frequency to your Other Channels and select the
channels you wish to view
Frequency: 11 523 H 22000 5/6 QSPK DVB-S
ALL CHANNEL 4 SUITE TO MOVE TO UK ONLY SATELLITE BEAM
Wednesday 27th January 2016
The last remaining versions of Channel 4 which can be received in Southern Europe will shortly be moved to the
UK spot beam of Astra 2, ending the reception of these channels in Greece on ‘Other Channels’ on Sky Boxes.
For many years, it has been possible to receive the C4 group of channels on small dishes over a wide area in
The signals were encrypted and intended for the Republic of Ireland. The 'other channels' menu on Sky boxes
allowed these programmes to be viewed with a UK Sky viewing card.
12304 H, a UK-only transponder has been introduced, carrying 10 channels:
The Box, Kiss TV, Kerrang!, Smash! Hits, More 4 Ireland, Channel 4 Ireland, Channel 4 Ireland +1, E4 Ireland +1,
E4 Ireland, Channel 4 London and 4Music.
With the closure of the old transponder, 12480 V, the channels will be lost to wide areas of continental Europe.
CHANNEL FIVE HD MOVES TO UK BEAM
Updated Thursday 3rd March 2016
In the latest switch-off to hit UK expats in Greece and Crete, the European beam HD version of Channel Five has
today been switched off on 11798 H, leaving just the UK beam Channel 5 HD on frequency 10964 H.
Five's new owners, Viacom, may be intending to remove encryption, making the channel free to air and eligible to
BBC iPLAYER UNRESTRICTED ACCESS 'LOOPHOLE' TO BE CLOSED
Updated Thursday 3rd March 2016
Legislation could soon be introduced to close the loophole in the law which enables iPlayer viewers to avoid
having a TV licence if they watch BBC TV as catch-up, but not live.
The problem is costing the BBC a large amount of money, which it can ill afford.
UK Culture Secretary John Whittingdale told the Oxford Media Convention he would bring forward the legislation
"as soon as practicable", possibly in this parliamentary session.
It's not yet been revealed how the change in the law will be enforced. One method might be by forcing iPlayer
users to create an account before viewing, in which a TV licence is linked to the user.
In future, the BBC is highly unlikely to allow the unrestricted use of iPlayer, as the current geo-blocking measures
are easily defeated by using VPN or special DNS Servers.
Given the urgency expressed by the Culture Secretary, it seems probable change will be in the short to medium
term -- not good news unfortunately for ex-pats in Greece and Crete.
LOGIN SOON REQUIRED FOR BBC iPLAYER
Sunday 16th October 2016
All users of the BBC's iPlayer service will have to log in with a personal account from early 2017. Users of BBC
services can already create an online account - known as a BBC ID - but this is not currently required in order to
access iPlayer. At the end of last month, BBC ID holders have also had to add a postcode to their account.
TV Licensing has access to the information but the BBC says it has no current plans to use it for enforcement
The corporation says the changes are part of an attempt to make its services more personal and localised.
Anyone watching BBC programmes via iPlayer, both live and catch-up, has been required to have a TV licence
since the start of September.
About seven million accounts already exist, the BBC said.
There's no indication how many users will be allowed from one account. The measures are part of of an effort to
stem evasion of licence fee payment. As a by-product, pirates re-transmitting iPlayer streams will find it more
difficult to operate, as will those viewing the BBC from other parts of the world through VPN services.
SUN OUTAGE REACHES PEAK IN SCANDINAVIA
Monday 27th October 2016
The bi-annual loss of satellite signal is at its maximum today in northern Europe. At around 10.40 am local time,
BBC and ITV transmissions will disappear for up to 14 minutes as the satellites pass in front of the sun.
Radiation blots out the UK-only beams during the transit.
Stronger Europe beams such as those used by Sky's entertainment services are also affected, but normally stay
above the reception threshold.
Sun outage has been affecting southern Europe for the past week but will ease shortly. As the loss is in the
mornings, only couch potatoes or radio listeners normally notice.
The satellites are in a sun-earth-satellite straight line, as it's the equinox for the Clarke Belt. At night, they pass
through the earth's shadow for a number of hours, requiring battery power to operate. (The sun's light provides
power at other times)
Odd effects will be noticed during transition into the complete darkness of the earth's shadow. Some areas
experience better reception than normal around late evening and midnight but lose the signal completely during
the switch to batteries.
The closer you are to the UK, the less the effect.
It's also a good time to check for obstructions to your dish. Any shadows falling on the face indicate shading from
an object or foliage.
DISCOVERY AND EUROSPORT SET TO SPLIT WITH SKY?
Tuesday 31st January 2017
This is a dispute between the Discovery network (who also own Eurosport) and the Sky corporation in Europe
(including UK, Germany, Italy etc...) and is around the cost of the services supplied by Discovery. The existing
contract between both parties is due to expire on 31st January and as yet has not been renewed
However as the Discovery and Eurosport brands are offered by most Satellite TV pay to view platforms throughout
the world, Sky would be putting its business at serious risk if the contract is not renewed. It sounds as if Mr
Murdock is trying to use his corporate might to bully suppliers to reduce the costs of their services to maximise his
Anyway, we will have to see what happens and on the strength of previous disputes that Mr Murdock has been
involved in anything could happen.
For updates please see the link below:
Sky Sports mix is available to all Sky customers who have the Variety pack and above. As far as can be
ascertained it offers different content than Eurosport such as cricket and rugby as well as mainstream sports.
The whole issue has been kept low key by Sky because of the likely detrimental effect it will have on Sky's
business should Discovery decide to remove its channels from the Sky platform.
Hope that this helps clarify the situation and obviously this will affect all of Sky UK's customers so watch this space!