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Upgrading from Sky to Freesat

It takes less than five minutes to replace an existing satellite box with a Freesat one.

It takes less than five minutes to replace an existing satellit
Published on by on UK Free TV

If you have an existing Sky or fSfS (Freesat from Sky) installation and want to go to upgrade to Freesat, it is a simple process.

First, buy the Freesat box from a Argos,, Comet, John Lewes or your local independent shop:

In the box you will find the Freesat box:

Also included will be a remote control, and this model also comes with a SCART cable, a HDMI cable and a stereo-with-composite cable. Unpack the ones you need:

You old Sky box looks like this:

Unplug the mains first from the Sky box, then pull out the SCART (or SCARTs) and then unscrew the connection to the satellite dish.

Remove the Sky box and fit the Freesat box. Reconnect the satellite cable (take care as to not damage the connection) and then the SCART and finally connect the mains power:

The box will look like this:

The box also contains the manual, which has full installation instructions. Finally fit the batteries into the remote control.

The TV screen first displays the box's logo

The first set-up screen allows you to select the TV type, widescreen mode and resolution:

Next the box checks for the satellite signal:

Then there is a check for updated software:

Then you enter your postcode and the box checks it:

The next step is a scan for channels. This takes about 30 seconds:

And that's it. You can now view channels, like 108 for BBC HD:

Or press the GUIDE button for the EPG:

(Apologies for the photos not being of the top quality)

Your comments: most recent posts are at the bottom

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Your comments are always welcome. Please use the form below to add your thoughts or questions to this page. We will get back to you as soon as we can.

Les Nicol
Monday 17 October 2011 11:08AM

Angela - Yes you can connect a freesat receiver to your present dish. It's possible you might need some minor upgrading ie:- cable run, but this shouldn't be costly and would be a "One Off".

Thursday 20 October 2011 2:09PM

I have both a sky+ and sky hd box. I want to cancel my sky and use either/both boxes for freesat + (recording?) and do i need to use my card? is this possible please.

Thursday 20 October 2011 2:25PM

C: No, you do not need (and indeed cannot put) a card into a Freesat, Freesat+ or Freesat+HD box.

Mike Dimmick
Thursday 20 October 2011 5:24PM

C: Sky require a minimum £10 per month payment or they'll disable the recording functions on the boxes. It's quite difficult to find information about paying this fee, Sky would obviously prefer to extract the £20 basic subscription.

Ending your subscription also means you won't be able to time-shift, and you won't be able to play back anything you previously recorded either.

To get full recording features back without paying a subscription, you can buy a Freesat+ box as a drop-in replacement for the Sky box.

Channels that are broadcast without encryption don't require the viewing card, but some regional variants of ITV1, ITV1 +1, ITV1 HD and Channel 5 are encrypted - if you're in one of these regions, that channel will stop working if you remove the card. (Channel 5 has different advertising regions, the programmes are the same.) The region selection is based on the postcode that the viewing card was sent to. There are a couple of other channels that require a viewing card - see <img src="" class="xico" style="vertical-align:text-bottom" alt=" link icon"> link iconCompare Freesat and Freesat-from-Sky TV | - independent free digital TV advice for the differences in the line-up.

Saturday 22 October 2011 3:15PM

can you watch the free hd channels on a sky hd box, if only subscribed to normal sky?

Saturday 22 October 2011 4:06PM

a: Yes, the free-to-air HD channels can be watch with or without a subscription.

Wednesday 26 October 2011 5:42PM

I have a loft analogue (UHF same thing?) aerial supplying a signal to two bedrooms which I have to sort out but first a query re. Sky's Freesat which I'm receiving. 1. Can I receive an HD signal from this source if I buy an HD set top (digi)box and HD tv? If so do I need to reset the direction of the satellite dish? 2. If I abandon using Sky and the Sky+ box do I put a PVR between digibox and tv or does this also function as a digi box?

Mike Dimmick
Wednesday 26 October 2011 7:00PM

David: An aerial isn't specifically 'analogue' or 'digital', just designed for part or all of the UHF band, though there were some things not often done on cheaper aerials that are recommended for most reliable digital reception.

For HD reception on Freeview, you need a Freeview HD-labelled set-top box, PVR or TV. A PVR is typically required to record, although there are a few TVs you can now plug a USB hard disk into to record. Humax's 'set-top box' HD-FOX-T2 can also be turned into a one-tuner recorder by plugging in a hard disk.

For satellite, you can cancel your subscription to Sky and just use the Sky+ box to receive free-to-air and free-to-view channels. However, Sky will disable the recording and time-shifting functions. You also can't even watch things you previously recorded.

To get recording and timeshift features back, you can get a Freesat+HD PVR. You don't need an additional set-top box. You just plug it in in place of the Sky+ box.

If you're currently distributing the output of the Sky box to the bedrooms, you will also need a plug-in RF modulator as I'm not aware of any Freesat boxes that have one. As an alternative, you should consider getting an additional cable run from the dish to the bedrooms and put a Freesat box in there as well, allowing a viewer in the bedroom to watch something different from the main TV.

You can compare the channels available through a non-subscription Sky+ box ('Freesat-from-Sky'), switching to Freesat, or switching to Freeview, at <img src="" class="xico" style="vertical-align:text-bottom" alt=" link icon"> link iconCompare Freeview and Freesat TV | - independent free digital TV advice .

If you provide a full postcode we can see whether an aerial change might be necessary to get all channels on Freeview.

Thursday 27 October 2011 7:42PM

If I get rid of sky and buy a freesat box am I then able to get sky sports on subscription or do I have to use the sky box.

Les Nicol
Thursday 27 October 2011 8:32PM

rusty - You need a SKY subscription to obtain a Sports package and these are only available on a SKY receiver. SKY sports 1 and 2 are available on other platforms e;g: BT Vision and Cable, but you require the appropriate Freeview or Cable receiver aerial and or cable connection. - A "Freesat" receiver will not allow you to receive SKY subscription packages.

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