How It Works?

What is this "FreeView" I keep hearing about?
Freeview is a name given to a group of broadcasters including TVNZ, CanWest (who manage TV3 and C4), Maori Television and Radio New Zealand. Read our Freeview page for more information.

What is digital terrestrial TV or Freeview|HD?
The signal is basically the same as that sent from a satellite, however with digital terrestrial, as the name suggests, it is sent from a standard land (terrestrial) based transmitter. The signal is digital, so it is perfectly clear, ideal for plasma or projection TVs and can include extra information like an EPG (onscreen electronic program guide). This system is already the main means of transmission in Australia, UK and many other countries, with analogue (the signals we have been using on our normal TV aerial) due to be fazed out in those countries soon. Freeview|HD is the name given to the New Zealand broadcast of digital terrestrial channels. This service also includes some high definition (HD) channels, something New Zealand has never had before.

What do you need to receive Freeview|HD?
This is the best bit. All you need is a UHF aerial with reasonable signal, and that can be received in most main areas of New Zealand including Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Napier, Hastings, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. You just plug the aerial in the back of the Freeview|HD receiver, like you would into a VCR, and follow the easy menu that comes up when you turn the receiver on. The receiver will then do a search for channels just like auto search on your TV. Done. Easy as that.

The UHF signal is also able to be received in the areas around the main centres, for example in Auckland, we have tested it successfully in Pukekohe. If you live in one of the main centres listed above or the areas surrounding it, your current aerial system may be all you need.

Get set for perfect TV reception as Freeview prepares to broadcast more of our New Zealand channels on Freeview, complementing the satellite broadcasts now available. Freeview|HD will gradually move to the other major cities, with the satellite service being available for those outside of the metropolitan area.

What receiver do I need?
All of our receivers are compatible with the Freeview service. They are divided into two groups and listed as Freeview|HD receivers and Satellite receivers.

 How does Freeview and FTA satellite TV work?
The satellites transmit all the time, with the signal hitting
New Zealand constantly. All you need is a satellite dish of the correct size and a satellite receiver to change the signals from computerized digital signal to analogue signal that our televisions use.

Who should have Freeview and/or other Free Satellite channels?

Everyone. But some places where it is especially useful are:

  • Holiday Homes - no monthly costs while you are not there. No big aerial to worry about. No problem with trying to relax but having to watch rubbish reception.
  • Fringe Areas - If you have struggled with TV and radio reception for years, this is the way to end it. Get some reception worth watching - crystal clear.
  • Foreign Language Viewers - If you want to see something other than English language programs.
  • Motorhome and caravan owners - yes you can have clear TV reception when you are travelling. You can even take your SKY digital. See our caravan kit on the products page.

What is Rainfade?
Rainfade is what happens when a heavy rain cloud comes between you and the satellite. It cuts the signal down to a level where the receiver can no longer function. A bigger dish gathers more signal and so is not subject to rainfade as often as a small dish. However this usually only happens on Ku Band satellite signals, not C Band.

With C Band you pick your size dish for your area (big enough to receive from the chosen satellite) and rainfade problems will be very rare. Why? See the differences between Ku and C Band below.

What is Ku Band and C Band?
Satellites transmit in different frequencies. Much like your terrestrial (ground based) TV transmitters do. Some terrestrial channels are VHF and some are UHF, and you need a bigger aerial for VHF than you do for UHF. Well the two most common frequencies for satellites are Ku Band and C Band. C Band often uses a bigger dish, while Ku Band tends to use the smaller dishes.

In either case a bigger dish will give more signal, but in New Zealand the big dish, little dish rule tends to work as noted above. Another major difference is that the low frequencies of the C Band signal is rarely affected by rainfade.

Is the cable a special type?
Yes the coax cable used is designed to cope with the higher frequencies. If other coax cables are used the signal often is lost and becomes too weak.

What is an LNB or LNBF?
LNB stands for Low Noise Blockdown Converter. The LNB takes the signal from the satellite and "converts" it to a lower frequency that travels better in the coax cable. The satellite receiver is then able to take that signal and feed it to your TV.


The LNB is the small box thing on the end of the arm that sticks out in front of the dish.

How Does an LNB Switch Work?
An LNB switch is used to connect more than one LNB to your satellite receiver. The LNBs may be on one dish or they may be on two or more dishes.


The diagram above shows how the switch is connected in to the cable system. After your satellite receiver has been setup, whenever you select a channel your receiver will send out a signal to the LNB switch to make it select the correct LNB and/or dish for that channel depending on what satellite it is being received from. There is no magic in it because you have to tell the receiver all of this during the setup process on a very easy menu system.

What is a PVR?
PVR stands for personal video recorder. A satellite PVR is a satellite receiver that has a computer hard drive inside that allows you to record TV or radio signals from the satellite, and then play them back whenever you wish. You can view our PVR range here.

Some of the features include:

OnScreen Programme guide for channels that support EPG like TVOne and TV2. Also allows pre booking to record programmes if you are away. The electronic program guide (EPG) makes recording easy, All you need to do is look up on the EPG, which is like an on screen TV guide, find the program you wish to record and press 'OK' twice. Its now set to record when that program starts. That's it. Its done.

Picture in Picture - watch your pre-recorded program while you keep an eye on the other satellite TV channels. Or just watch two channels at once.

Complete editing software built in. Record a TV programme, edit out the adverts and then feed it out to your VCR to have it recorded on a video cassette ad free. Or just save it on the hard-drive to watch anytime you want.

Time Shift Recording - allowing you to start watching a program, then if the phone ring you press record and go answer the phone. When you return, just start playing, the PVR continues to record while you watch from where you left off. No VCR can ever do that. During a 2 hour movie, if your phone call lasted about 20min, by the end of the movie you are watching it in 'real time' again (as in not recorded) because you fast forward the adverts. And yet you never realize until the end because the shift is all seamless digital technology.

Twin Tuners - Record 2 satellite programs simultaneously, while you are watching one you have already recorded. Or while you are listening to MP3's.

Yes you can listen to MP3's. The TF5010PVR has a USB port on it that allows you to upload your MP3 collection from your PC and then play them, even with the TV off if you have your home stereo connected. A home MP3 jukebox.

S-Video/RGB/YUV (component) Output - for your plasma or large screen TV.

Perfect pause - no lines and no jumping pictures. Crystal clear.

Record music from satellite radio stations. Make your own recordings to play back as a jukebox.


What is a CAM?
CAMs allow you to insert a smart card into a satellite receiver that has a CI slot (a CI slot is basically a slot for a
CAM to go in) like the TF6000PVR ES or TF5050CI. But CAMs do not go into receivers that have a built in card slot like the DishTV S7050 USB PVR. With a built in card slot you don't need a CAM, nor can it use one.

Having a
CAM in a receiver allows you to receive encrypted satellite TV services, if you have a smart card. You must select the right CAM for your smart card type. Each CAM
has a different type of decryption circuit, this allows you to select the right type for your PAY TV service provider and use it in the receiver you choose. Sort of a mix and match selection.

In New Zealand PAY TV providers do provide subscriptions, including World Media International, Vision Asia, Duna TV, and others.

I already have a dish on my house. What now?
If you have a SKY type dish already on your house in good working order, then all you need to start receiving TV and radio stations crystal clear is a satellite receiver. Anyone of our receivers will work. Just select the model you like here.

Your TV reception might be terrible now, but if you have the dish your TV and radio reception will be crystal clear. Remember - you don't need the old TV aerial to use the satellite dish. The dish works totally separate to the aerial.



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