Originally Posted by highlifelight
Great, thanks for the response!
I'm a tinkerer, so this whole thing feels like something I would just love
to play around with.
If you like tinkering, FTA will definitely hold your interest, I think.
First, we had Dish Network a few years ago, and it worked fine. However, I wouldn't say we have an entirely clear view of the southern sky (which I've read multiple sites say is a prerequisite to get any of this to work). If I was able to get Dish Network, is it a reasonable assumption that I should be able to hit at least a few satellites?
In Virginia, where I lived before I moved to Chattanooga, I had to hunt to find a position where I could see both AMC21 and G19 (I decided I didn't care enough about AMC9). I did find a position where I could see AMC21 just above the tree line, and with my motor I can see from 91W to 125W. If you got Dish Network to work, though, I think you will be okay for the western satellites at least, as I think Dish is on satellites between 110W and 129W.
Depending on your view, you may be blocked from certain satellites, but it would be difficult to tell off-hand.
Second, I just don't have the room (or probably the spousal support) to put up a "C" dish. Do you find that there is plenty to play with on the Ku dish, or do you find it lacking? This is probably a dumb question, but I wanted to ask.
What's your experience with wildfeeds? This has to be the most interesting aspect to me. I've found a couple forums that post wildfeeds to sporting events, etc, and it looks great. Are you able to get much of that stuff with the Ku dish?
I spend a fair amount of time with it. The satellites with the interesting feeds tend to be the ones centrally located, so 91W and 105W have a lot on them, for example. You will find that many times when TV stations have people live, those feeds will appear on Ku. I'm not a sports watcher, but did happen across an ESPN feed of a UVA baseball game once at 38 Mbps in 720p. Since it was otherwise available only on ESPN3 as far as I could tell, I was probably seeing it more clearly than anyone else watching.
As I am a fan of PBS, I spend a lot of time on AMC21, and I would say there's tons to watch there. 24/7 news from Al Jazeera English is good too, and was great during the Egyptian uprising.
Have you used Windows Media Center to control your signal? I've seen a few videos on youtube showing this method, but there just isn't a whole lot out there explaining whether it's worth it to try. Since there apparently is usually no channel guide data, there wouldn't be a huge advantage, but I would like to get the signal to my windows media extenders that way, if possible.
I don't use Windows any more than I have to, so I can't say that I've used it with Media Center, but I do use it with TSReader on a regular basis. In fact, I don't own a TV these days, and do all my watching on a desktop computer. I have a USB DVB-S2 tuner and it works great for me.
Originally Posted by highlifelight
I'm looking at a Ku dish. I think I'll probably start making calls to professional installers here in Springfield (trying to find somebody with experience with this FTA stuff specifically).
I encourage you to get a 90 cm dish. The OTARD rules permit a dish up to 1 meter, and my dish is 90 cm by 99 cm, so I'm definitely within that limit.
As for a receiver, I'm still researching. I'd like to just get a compatible card for my windows media center pc, and have it mixed in with all my OTA stuff. There are quite a few forums on the subject, but the receivers do not seem very user friendly, and I'm a little worried about the learning curve. I want something that can do that "blind scan" quickly, display HD content (if at all possible), and be able to manipulate a motorized dish. I'm hoping I find an installer that is himself an enthusiast.
If you're looking for a standalone receiver, I've tried the Openbox S9 and the Manhattan receiver, and found both to be good receivers. I own the latter, but have not used it nearly as much as I would like to have.
If you're looking for a USB tuner, I am of less help. I bought a TeVii S660 based on a recommendation from a friend and from the fact it has a dedicated driver in TSReader. It's a good receiver, but I've been having a driver issue that requires a reboot to get it working again after it stops. I imagine it's something fixable but it hasn't quite annoyed me enough to bring it to the attention of the manufacturer. It cost me $85, plus $30 shipping from Taiwan.
I'm a member over on Satellite Guys, and the folks there would probably have better suggestions on a USB tuner than I would.
If I am able to get this running successfully, I will happily report back with my findings.
I look forward to hearing about it!