television(TV) and radiobroadcasts are sent unencrypted and may be received via any suitable receiver: Free-to-view(FTV) is, generally, available without subscription but is digitally encoded and may be restricted geographically. Neither of these is pay-TV, which is an encrypted subscription (or pay-per-view) service.
FTA is sometimes delivered by
satellite television, but in various parts of the world free-to-air television channels are broadcast unencrypted on UHFor VHFbands.
Although these channels are described as free, in some cases the viewer does in fact pay for them. Some are paid directly by payment of a
licence fee(as in the case of the BBC) or voluntary donation (in the case of educational broadcasters like PBS), others indirectly by paying for consumer products and services where part of the cost goes toward television advertisingand sponsorship(in the case of Japanese television broadcasters like TV Asahiand TV Tokyowhich relies on sponsorship heavily). One further variation is in Canada, where the CBC Television/ Télévision de Radio-Canadanetwork is partly funded by taxpayer dollars, and otherwise supports itself with commercial advertising revenues as it competes with other free over-the-aircommercial networks.
Free-to-air is often used for
international broadcasting. It is television's equivalent to shortwave radio.
Australia has 6 free-to-air networks, ABC,
Seven Network, Nine Network, Network Ten, SBS, and the Community television channels. These networks broadcast to major metropolitan areas, while various regional affiliates cover rural areas.
Australia's two main government-owned TV channels, ABC and SBS, along with the digital-only multichannels
ABC2and the SBS World News Channel, are both available free-to-air on the Optus D2satellite. Viewers in remote parts of Australia can also access Seven Centraland Imparja Television, or WIN WAand GWNin Western Australia, through the free-to-view Optus Auroraprogram.
Other satellite-only channels such as
Indigenous Community Television, TVSN, and Al Jazeera Englishare available free-to-air on various satellites.
European countries have a tradition of most television services being free to air. Germany, in particular, receives in excess of 100 digital TV channels free to air, including
MTV(which remains encrypted for much of Europe). Approximately half of the television channels on SES Astra1 (19.2E) and 2 (28.2E), and Eutelsat Hotbird(13E) are free to air.
A number of European channels which one might expect to transmit in free-to-air - including many countries' national terrestrial broadcasters - do not do so for
copyrightreasons. Rights to purchase programmes for free-to-air broadcast are often higher in price than for encrypted broadcasts. However, these channels usually provide a scheme to offer free, but encrypted, viewing with free-to-viewbroadcasts. The UK's Channel 4and Five, certain programming on Italy's RAI, and the majority of Dutch channels are covered by such schemes (although in the case of RAI some programming is transmitted without encryption where there are no copyright issues).
Cable and satellite distribution allows many more channels to carry sports, movies and specialist channels which are not broadcast as FTA. The viewing figures for these channels is much lower than the FTA channels.
The national networks,
Television New Zealand TV ONEand TV2, and Māori Televisionare free-to-air analog signals. Additionally satellite reception is available on Optus D1 - branded Freeview. A new Channel - NTVNZ6 was introduced which will only be available on Freeview. A broadcast of parliament and a number of regional channels are also available. A Digital Terrestrial version of Freeview is expected in 2008, which, unlike the current analog and satellite options, will support high definition broadcasts.
There are a number of competing systems in use, with early adopters having used C-band
satellite dishes of several feet in diameter to receive signals which were originally analogue microwaves, and then digital microwave using the 3.9-4.2 GHz band. Today, in the 11.7-12.2 GHz Ku band, which enables the use of under one-meter dishes, with most often the DVB-Sstandard, FTA can be used from apartment balconies.
The most common North American sources for free-to-air DVB
* Ethnic-language broadcasters such as
GlobeCast World TVon Galaxy 25(97°W)
* Christian broadcasters promoted by
Glorystar& SpiritcastSatellite Systems TV on Galaxy 25(97°W)
* Individual affiliates of various US terrestrial TV networks, including Equity Broadcasting stations on
Galaxy 18(123°W, Ku-band) and Galaxy 3C(95°W, C-band). These are primarily English languageor Spanish languagestations serving various local markets.
* Public educational broadcasters including
PBSon AMC 3(87°W)
NASA TVMultichannel Broadcast on AMC 6(72°W)
Most of these signals are carried by US satellites. There is little or no free Canadian DVB-S content available to users of medium-size dishes as much of the available Ku-band satellite bandwidth is occupied by
pay-TVoperators Star Choiceand Bell TV, although the large style dish (over 3 feet) does have a few choices. FTA signals may be scattered across multiple satellites, requiring a motor or multiple LNBfs to receive everything.
The largest groups of end-users for Ku-band free-to-air signals were initially the ethnic-language communities, as often free ethnic-language programming would be sponsored by Multilingual American Communities and their broadcasters. Depending on language and origin of the individual signals, North American ethnic-language TV is a mix of pay-TV, free-to-air and DBS operations. Today, many American broadcasters send a multitude of programming channels in many languages, spanning many new channels, so they can get National support, which ultimately leads to carriage by cable systems, to additionally support the high costs of broadcasting signals in this way.
Nonetheless, free-to-air satellite TV is a viable addition to any home video system, not only for the reception of specialised content but also for use in locations where terrestrial
ATSCover-the-air reception is incomplete and additional channels are desired.
Years ago, it was hard to find Latin channels on satellites as free to air or in any other form, except for some channels from Mexico and Venezuela. Today you can see over 100 channels as FTA from all over Latin America on Intelsat806. There are more than 300 FTA channels on 5 satellites. Some 20 more satellites can easily be locked with Dishes less than 75cm for KU band or 180cm for c band.
Around 50 FTA television channels are broadcast from three transponders on the
INSAT-4Bsatellite covering India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and parts of Afghanistan, China, and Myanmar. In India The channels are marketed by Doordarshan, India's national broadcaster as DD Direct Plus.
In Korea, KBS, MBC (2 main public broadcaster, such as the ARD and
ZDFof Germany), SBS (privately owned, but for free to viewers), and EBS (including both TVand Radio) are the free-to-air broadcasting stations.They dominate more than 80% of advertisement profits, according to the recent survey from the agency [http://kobaco.co.kr KOBACO] .Due to the recent government's decision, Digital TVservice for all free-to-air network will be scheduled before the year 2012, following at the end of analogue-based current broadcast.
* [http://www.lyngsat.com/freetv/index.html Free to air TV channels]
* [http://www.lyngsat.com/freeradio/index.html Free to air radio stations]
* [http://www.zingzing.co.uk/ Free to air UK TV Listings]
* [http://www.satdirectory.com/playerhelp.html Video catalog of free to air satellite TV channels received in Australia & New Zealand]
* [http://www.flysat.com Free to air TV Index]
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