Satellite TV on my PC – Possible?

March 16, 2006


This is not niche-market stuff. Have you ever thought "Wouldn’t it be great if I could have satellite TV on my PC?"

You are not the only one. If you’re fairly new to the concept, then you have some exciting times ahead. Not only is it possible, it’s highly affordable and highly effective.

There is a huge fuss being made in the media at the moment about claims of ‘Free satellite TV on your PC’ or ‘Free Sky on the Internet’ services. A lot of it is just the usual Media Hype, but the TV companies and broadcasters are starting to take notice. In fact, they’ve been watching for quite a while.

Are you confused about what’s possible? Do you just want the bottom line on how (or even if) it works?

That’s quite easy.

With the advent of ‘Web-TV’ the lines have been blurred somewhat, but you can either have the video streamed over an IP network (like the Internet, or your home LAN if you have one) or you can receive it from a satellite. Only the latter is real ‘satellite TV’.

The subject of much of the media attention of late has been the Internet streaming of things like Premiership football and movies. The reality is that the vast majority of those services are very poor-quality viewing and very unreliable. Even Sky’s own video-on-demand service has had poor take-up and an incredibly high churn rate with many customers being disappointed by the quality.

As for the dodgy websites offering the moon and delivering something a little less impressive, why do you think that most of them want a one-time, up-front membership fee?

If there weren’t so many of them, they would probably be quite rich by now, as people are sucked in by the tempting sales pitch.

So what does that mean for someone who just wants some basic, free TV on their PC?

Well, both the BBC and ITV are currently trialling web-streams of their flagship services and they’re not too bad actually, but they will probably only be available to UK residents. Other domestic services across Europe are likely to follow suit due to the complex media rights agreements they have already signed with content providers.

For high quality satellite TV on your PC there is a much better solution. Live TV, direct to your home. No middle man, no ‘server busy, please try later’. No here-today, gone-tomorrow lifetime subscription services, no satellite subscription and no worries about who’s knocking on your door – it’s completely legal to watch the free to air (FTA) channels from all over Europe. Thousands of them.

Of course, if you want to get free Premiership football, movies, porn or whatever then you can do that too via various mechanisms, but that’s not what this is about.

This is about a simple, standard and well-proven piece of hardware which plugs into either a vacant PCI slot in your motherboard, or a free USB port. Although the latter might sound appealing, far better results are generally achieved using the PCI card. It’s just a faster device.

A Skystar1 or Skystar2 card will provide the required platform to get the pictures onto your PC screen. It’s so cheap, it’s ridiculous! The only other thing you need is a satellite dish. That will rule this option out for some people, but it’s no big deal for most. You can even piggy-back off your existing dish. Even your Sky minidish.

You can source these cards very easily, cheaply and legally from the UK and all over Europe. They are also used to receive ‘Internet by satellite’ data links.

One of the best things about the Technisat Skystar cards is that they will even decode HDTV (though not the new Sky channels) and live 4:2:2 format feeds.

How much? Around £45 new for the Skystar 2 TV card.

There are lots of other cards to choose from too, but the Skystar has an unrivalled after-market community support platform.

Go and have a scout around and see what you can get one for. Then come back here and we’ll help you set it all up, ‘cos we’re nice like that!

What’s in it for us? Well, nothing actually. We don’t sell anything. We just get a kick out of helping you get free TV. 

Have a browse of our TV cards section <here> for more information.

Satellite TV on my PC? Oh yes, and you’re going to love it! 


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