Friday, 17 April 2015

What is the Cost of an Aerial Installation in Sudbury and Bury St Edmunds?

The most frequent question I get asked is “How much does it cost to have a TV aerial installed?” Looking at the various figures quoted on the web, especially from the national companies, you would be forgiven to think it should cost no more than about fifty quid!

However, many companies often tack on the extras and surcharges that include poles, brackets and cable. This is not evident in the advertised ‘from’ price. These add-ons are then often inflated taking the total cost far in excess of what we charge.

One national company whose price list we have seen advertises aerial installations for less than £50 + VAT. In reality the price for a new installation with 6ft pole, cable and brackets, comparable to our inclusive  £100 installation, is £145+VAT.  Look at the leap from the low ‘hook them in’ price, to the extras required for the majority of installations that are added on when the installer arrives. We are at least 20% cheaper than their prices and in some examples theirs are over double ours; really!

So the cheapest advertised price will usually be one of the most expensive. As a guide our aerial installation prices including all brackets, masts, cables etc and fully installed range from £100 to £165 with no added VAT depending on  type of aerial and fixings chosen. Recommendations on ‘best solution’ are given after a signal test is made with an approved spectrum analyser and you have been consulted.  Our customers are free to accept or decline our recommendations. All installation work has a  30 day money back guarantee.

Many companies distinguish between a call out charge and a labour charge. So, the glib banner proclaiming ‘NO CALL OUT CHARGE’ often means just that, no charge for being called out. The labour charge will still apply though even if the fault is not rectified. Let me make my position very clear!  If we cannot fix your problem then we make no charge whatsoever. This applies to both installations and repairs. 

Visit our web site  or call 01787 311057 or 01284 799042.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Digital UK issue Freeview TV guide update

DUK have issued notice that the Freeview TV guide is being updated on Wednesday, 3 September 2014 to create extra capacity for new services. As a result, Children’s and News channels will move to new channel numbers. The Children’s genre will move from LCN 70 to start at LCN 120 and the News genre will move from LCN 80 to start at LCN 130.
To update their guide viewers simply need to retune their Freeview TVs and digital boxes where equipment does not pick up the changes automatically. On-screen messages will prompt viewers to retune on or after 3 September 2014.
Viewers who don’t retune will not lose channels – services will remain accessible at their old numbers. However, Digital UK and Freeview recommend viewers retune from time-to-time to ensure they have access to all available services in their area.

(Live in Suffolk or Essex? Need any help? Why not give us a call...)

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Big changes to European reception of UK TV via satellite?

Viewers in parts of continental Europe,
Scandinavia and the Mediterranean
begin to lose further UK free-to-air
channels as a result of the switch to new
satellite Astra 2E.

The BBC satellite move is part of a
second phase of moving TV and
radio services across to a new generation
of three satellites that will provide
the UK and Ireland with TV and radio services
via Sky and Freesat.All of the three new
satellites have a much tighter spotbeam,
specifically designed for the UK and Ireland.
The first phase took place in late 2012,
when Astra 2F went into service and the
first batch of UK free-to-air channels,
including standard definition Channel 5,
were lost across parts of Europe.

Additionally, the reports also indicate
where "sidelobes" around the main spotbeam
are found, and where "nulls" are found.

The best image to illustrate the reception
situation comes from Asia-Pacific satellite
website APSATTV.

This is a cross section of a typical satellite's
footprint on earth.(Don't take too much notice
of the dB numbers here for the following

The main lobe or the big hump in the middle
- in our case,the UK spotbeam - is over the UK,
Ireland and the low countries.To keep it simple,
the hump is where signal strengths are the best.
To the left (West) reception disappears into
the Atlantic.

To the right (south and east  into continental Europe),
as you go further to the edge of the main lobe,
reception drops off rapidly, and we go into a null.

In the case of Astra 2E, the satellite signal drops
off rapidly over southern France,where dish sizes
for UK TV increase rapidly south of Toulouse.
The same is true over Germany,where a new
East-West divide slices the country in two.

This "null" is, according to reception reports,
over Catalonia, parts of Northern Italy,Austria
and up through parts of the Czech Republic
into Eastern Germany.If you're right under
the null, even the biggest satellite dishes are
unlikely to help. Users in Catalonia have tried and
failed with a 3 metre dish!

Beyond the null are side lobes. You can see in
the picture above the side lobes represented by
a smaller "hump". Places such as Valencia,
Western Poland and Southern Sweden have
reported surprisingly good results on
smaller dish sizes.

Then we go into another null, as we move
further away from the spotbeam.
Southern Spain, for example, is badly hit by
this null. Gibraltar's Panorama website recently
reported that some local satellite installers couldn't
get a signal from sister satellite Astra 2F
(which has a practically identical spotbeam) even
with a 6 metre dish.

As we see in the picture,
a further - but weaker - side lobe comes
into play the further away we get.
This has allowed some in the Canaries to get
some reception with a 3 metre dish - but very
localised and patchy.

Side lobes mean that you can't just assume
that satellite dish sizes need to increase steadily
the further away you are from the spot beam.
In fact, there are distinct 'waves', with dish sizes
increasing near nulls and decreasing near side lobes.

Here's a satellite a footprint map for Astra 2E.
NOTE: dish sizes are designed to be
 Some users will have very
professional set-ups with satellite receivers

containing sensitive tuners. Any slight anomalies
or shortcomings in satellite set-ups will have a major
affect in fringe areas.

Some smaller dish sizes might be able to pick
up some,but not all channels on the UK spotbeam.
Early reception reports suggest the "nulls" are
slightly further away from the spotbeam on
 lower frequencies:so some regional variations
of channels may be available, but not others.

In addition,the spotbeam appears to 'wobble' a bit.
As the drop-off around the spotbeam is
so sharp, it means reception can vary

greatly from hour to hour.Some user reports
show that they have lost BBC channels,
before regaining them for a while.
 A larger dish size will normally provide some
reserve when that happens, and also for when
the weather is bad.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Internet Broadband via Satellite. The low down.
New website here

I supply and install Broadband via satellite for people who live in a rural area with no or very poor broadband connection. If this sounds like you then read on.

1. Satellite Broadband is for people who cannot get a good broadband service in their location.
Satellite broadband is deployable pretty much anywhere within the coverage footprint for a given
network (Tooway /SES/ Avanti), assuming the line of sight isn't obstructed. However, satellite
broadband is unlikely to be an alternative for people who already have access to Fibre or good
ADSL networks. Having said that, in some locations, ADSL and even Fibre networks are now so
heavily contended that satellite may be a better solution. It needs to be borne in mind that satellite
too is a contended service with ‘Fair Access Policies’ applying to it and that at peak times speeds will

2. Satellite Broadband is a ‘need to have’ service with pricing to match.
A satellite solution shouldn't really be compared with terrestrial broadband speeds / data
allowances or prices. It is a solution for households and businesses who are unable to access high
speed terrestrial services or whose terrestrial services are poor (i.e. ‘unserved’ or ‘underserved’).

3. Speeds are described as ‘up to’ and not guaranteed in any way.
Satellite Broadband services, in common with all other types of widely available broadband, are
contended services and speeds available to customers will vary according to various factors to do
with your own account, the amount of activity on the satellite broadband network at a given time,
and issues on the wider internet which are outside the control of the satellite operator. Please refer
to the next point on how activity on their own network is managed by Satellite providers. Customers
will frequently attempt to test their satellite broadband connection with widely available speedtests
online and will in most cases therefore receive an incorrect reading. This is because commonly
available speed tests are optimised to work with the most common technology – ADSL, and do not
work well with the acceleration software used by satellite broadband networks. In order to obtain an
accurate reading, the networks have their own speed tests, for example Tooway’s which is:

4. Fair Usage Policies (‘FUP’) apply to satellite Broadband.
Each network manages usage with Fair Usage Policy rules (also ‘Fair Access Policies’/’Traffic
Management Policies’/Network Quality Policies’/’Acceptable Usage Policy’). It is important that
you are aware of this and understand that your usage will be controlled according to
the relevant policy. These are integrated into the Terms and Conditions the customer agrees to
when purchasing from Aerial View.

5. Satellite broadband has been designed for day to day internet usage such as browsing, emailing and
occasional streaming / downloading (or uploading of larger files such as photos). It is not designed as
a service for regular streaming, for example.
The great majority of individuals using the internet every day are oblivious to the amount of data
they are using. Parents of school age children in particular are often unaware of the amount of data
their children are using on a simple home network - often streaming TV programmes and other
media constantly though peak hours (afternoon and evening). Expectations need to be managed  you should try to establish how much data tyou need or you will quickly run out & be ‘throttled back’ to very low speeds (even on ‘unlimited’ tariffs).
For example an SD film of average length will use c.1GB of data. An HD film, depending on the quality, will use between 4GB and 8GB. A household expecting to watch films regularly (i.e. more than once per
week) is going to quickly burn through data and even on unlimited tariffs may well be throttled back.

6. First person online gaming won’t work with Satellite Broadband.
This isn’t strictly true, but because of the 700ms -900ms standard latency (time it takes for the signal
to go from the customers unit to the satellite, down to the internet, back up to the satellite and
down to the customer equipment again) – the user experience for this type of application is
practically useless. This needs to be made clear to you.

7. VPNs and Remote CCTV monitoring.
VPNs will work with satellite broadband systems but because of the latency and the nature of
encryption technology employed on some VPNs, the experience can be poor.
In order to access equipment such as CCTV remotely, the satellite modem needs open ports. These
are not available on all systems so it is important that during the process you establish the likely use
and decide on the correct equipment and tariffs. Also bear in mind that there will be large variations
in the amount of data different CCTV systems will use. Clearly a CCTV system which is colour HD is
going to use a huge amount of data. Satellite broadband standard tariffs are unlikely to be a suitable
solution for remote access to such systems because of the data limits and FUP.
8. Multiple Users
Each system can be accessed by multiple users by the simple addition of a wireless router in
conjunction with the satellite modem. However, each device is sharing the available bandwidth to
that modem with the others. In an average UK household these days there are 4 internet enabled
wireless devices accessing the broadband connection at any one time (eg 1 laptop, 1 PC or laptop,1
smart phone, one tablet etc). Speed & of course data usage will be affected by this.
Eutelsat, for example, advise that only a maximum of 6 devices should be connected per satellite
modem. They cannot monitor this, but they can see the volume of data going through the
connection. Some customers have been known to buy systems on Consumer Tariffs with the (often
unstated) intention of using them as a shared service – say between several properties –or even as
an ‘internet cafĂ©’ and in some way commercialising the service. This will inevitably lead to overuse
and throttling back as it will contravene the FUP. It will also mean a very poor service for users of
course.  Pro services are more suited to this type of use.
Please ensure that you have understood these points. If you have questions I  will endeavour to help.

Aerial View

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Lightning Strike On Aerial Installation in Woolpit near Stowmarket Suffolk.

The power of nature never fails to amaze me. These pictures were from a call I had the other week after the storms we had in Suffolk. Apart from the obvious hole in chimney, notice how the roof has lifted also. As well as me the telephone man and electrician were calling at the same time to assess and put right other damage caused.

I forgot to take a photo of the aerial and coax cable but suffice to say it was not looking good.

Aerial View

Friday, 2 August 2013

Sky's new WiFi enabled Set Top Box ready for September

Sky is set to upgrade its Sky+ HD box with built-in Wi-Fi for the first time.

New customers will get the latest box without the need for an Ethernet cable to access on-demand content from September.
"This will ensure every new customer will be connected automatically, and we'll also roll out this box selectively to existing customers who don't yet have an HD box," Sky's Jeremy Darroch explained.

The company intends to push its wireless connector device to existing HD customers, but it is unclear if it will be free or charged at the current price of £21.95.

Sky recently announced a new set-top box for its Now TV service, costing £10.

The device provides access to films and Sky Sports events to rent, as well as the BBC iPlayer, Demand 5, Spotify and Facebook.


Now TV set-top box, Smart TV tech for £9.99

Sky has launched a Now TV set-top box capable of streaming things like iPlayer, Spotify and Demand 5.

The box, which costs just £9.99 including shipping, is aimed at transforming your television set into a smart TV. It rivals devices like the Apple TV and the recently-announced Google Chromecast dongle.

BSkyB began investing in Roku last year. The company is known for its set-top box offerings, with the Roku 2 XS being particularly well received. The Now TV box appears to be a rebranded version of this device, with Now TV software.

Those who invest will get access to Now TV, iPlayer, Demand 5, Spotify, Facebook and Sky channels like Sky News. Now TV allows you to rent movies on demand as well as view Sky Sports coverage.

The Now TV set-top box can be picked up from today.