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UK TV in France
Satellite dishes and digiboxes
When you live or have a maison secondaire in France you will probably still want to keep up with events back home or follow your old favourites! It isn’t hard to stay in touch, as all your usual UK channels are available throughout France.
There are several ways of getting a Sky/Freesat Digibox. You may already have one that you used in the UK, or you can find a used one – just be a bit wary and try and check it functions properly before bringing to France! You can also buy them new from any UK satellite specialist store. Expect to pay a little more if you buy in France as all Sky/Freesat boxes start off life in the UK and have to be imported anywhere else.
We can supply new Sky/Freesat Digiboxes (Our Products). We’re sorry but we wont deal in second-hand or reconditioned boxes to avoid disappointment. We are also happy to install your own equipment that you bring over to France.
Freesat, started by BBC/ITV, is the satellite version of the terrestrial Freeview service available in the UK for those not able to access via aerial due to the Analog-to-Digital switchover, and is receivable in France. The Freesat Digiboxes (satellite receivers) give the full range of red button services (and HD content where applicable), and there is also a PVR version that offers ‘Sky+ type’ functionality for the Freesat channels.
In practice those who want
to receive these channels outside of the official reception area tend to just
take their card and box with them, if they already have one. If they subscribe they use their UK
address or "borrow" the contact address of a friend in the UK. New cards need to be activated and this
can only be done once the box has been set up with a dish and is working
properly. Subscription cards also
have to be done in the box which is going to be used for reception: so you can't
activate a card in someone else's box and expect it to always work correctly
in yours. ‘Premium’ channels are
tied-in to their respective Card/Digibox combination.
(As satellites are over the equator, all positions are always given in degrees from the Greenwich meridian at the equator, and not from
In the main
areas of France where we install a 60/65cm dish will be perfectly
adequate. Southerly locations will
need a larger dish to be a more reliable option in bad weather.
Sky grey elliptical/oval dishes that are so prolific in the UK are typically
only seen on ‘UK owned’ properties out here – just an observation from living
and working here – and whilst may not be too much of an issue for permanent
residents, we would advise against these for a rarely occupied maison
secondaire. We would always fit a
French supplied minimum 60cm dish unless specifically requested or you have
your own existing kit. Replacement
components are also readily available in France.
The instruction manual supplied with your Digibox shows all the equipment connection details. Basically these are all via Scart or HDMI leads (one is supplied with the box) for the connections between the VCR/DVD+/-RW, Digibox and TV. Your UK TV will work perfectly well with a Digibox as will any TV bought in France as long as you use Scart (Péritel in French) or HDMI leads for the connections.
Furthermore, some Digiboxes can be connected to HiFi units with an available input to allow radio listening without the need for the TV to be switched on.
We can advise of the connections to your auxiliary equipment at time of installation.
France, has phased-out the old analogue services of both terrestrial and satellite transmission. TNT is the French equivalent of the UK Freeview service via aerial. TNTsat is the corresponding service available from the Astra 1 satellite for people in difficult terrestrial reception areas. Fransat is also the other option for those who are migrating from the old French analogue satellite system on Atlantic Bird 3 satellite.
Click Here for a table outlining the French digital TV options.
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