Satellite dish
Thread poster: Williamson

Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:28
Flemish to English
+ ...
Nov 9, 2007

In an age of high-speed trains at low cost, low-cost carriers and satellite dishes help you to train your languages.
So, I was just wondering who has a satellite dish and which channels/languages did you program. Some channels I use to practise interpreting, learn new expressions and maintain my language-level, others for learning (mainly Latin-based languages and Russian), yet others to get used to the sound of the language.


Oliver Walter  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:28
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
My satellite system Nov 9, 2007

Williamson wrote:
So, I was just wondering who has a satellite dish and which channels/languages did you program.

I have a satellite TV receiving system. Note for UK members; you do NOT need a "Sky" system to receive satellite programmes. I bought (over 10 years ago) a system from a local radio and TV shop. The installation was done by a specialist satellite antenna installer. I have never paid any TV subscription (apart from the UK TV licence) and I can receive a total of about 200 "free-to-air" stations. My system has a motorised dish and I now use it for only three satellites: Astra 1 at 19.2 degrees East, Hotbird at 13 deg. E and Atlantic 3 at 5 deg. W.
From Astra1 I can receive over a dozen German stations (Das Erste, ZDF, ZDF Info, ZDF Doku, Bayern 3, Südwest, Bayern Alpha, mdr, 3sat, arte, and more), a few French ones (incl. TV5 Monde, TV5 Monde Europe, BFM, Demain, LCP, arte [which has De and Fr sound channels]), and stations from other countries and other languages.
From Hotbird I can also receive some German ones (including some that are also on Astra 1, but with advertising aimed at Germany in one case and Switzerland in the other), SF Info (repeats of some German Swiss progs including some in Schwyzertüütsch), a dozen Italian ones including RAI1-3, RAI Nettuno Sat1 & 2 which broadcast university lectures).
Atlantic 3 (formerly called Telecom 2B) appears to be a French domestic satellite, with channels including LCP, France 2, 3, M6, arte (Fr only).
I use these to maintain my ability to understand the languages, which probably helps in particular with understanding idiomatic use of language in the texts that I translate. They also help in simply learning more vocabulary, especially the occasional technical term or abbreviation that could all come in useful one day.
There are even programmes that are worth watching because their content is interesting! It's reassuring to me to note that sometimes, when I'm watching a non-English TV programme, the fact that it's not in English becomes almost irrelevant - I'm simply following something interesting.

For people interested in other languages: The other languages in what I can receive include:
Arabic, Bulgarian, Chinese, Letzebürgisch, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Turkish, Romanian. has lists of which stations are broadcast from which satellites and whether they are encrypted.

There are companies here (in the UK) that specialise in supplying satellite TV systems for foreign languages. This one advertised in the Show Guide of the recent Language Show in London, and this is the address of its (informative) web site:
You can find others by typing, for example
foreign languages satellite TV
into a search engine and asking for UK web pages.

A point worth noting is that the satellite "landscape" changes relatively frequently. Stations sometimes move to different frequencies, or become encrypted or disappear, and new ones appear. In my experience it's worth looking at Lyngsat once or twice a year to see what's there that you didn't know about previously. When stations disappear or change frequency, you usually get a warning about this on the channel itself some days or weeks in advance.



Amy Williams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:28
Italian to English
+ ...
thanks Nov 9, 2007

Oliver Walter wrote:

I have a satellite TV receiving system. Note for UK members; you do NOT need a "Sky" system to receive satellite programmes.

Thanks so much for all that info, Oliver. Much appreciated. I've been meaning to take the plunge for a while now (having been distracted by the madness that is freeview) and this seems like a good opportunity.
Thanks again and have a good weekend,


Local time: 20:28
Chinese to English
Don't forget those that broadcast online as well... Nov 9, 2007 also links to the online broadcasts of major channels. I find this very useful as I've moved around quite a lot and moving satellite equipment can be difficult.


Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:28
Flemish to English
+ ...
Not expensive. Nov 9, 2007

A satellite dish is not that expensive and not difficult to install at all.
When positioned correctly, you can capture stations with about 15th different languages.

[Edited at 2007-11-09 19:57]


Wolfgang Jörissen  Identity Verified
Dutch to German
+ ...
UK channels in Europe Nov 10, 2007

I use a satellite dish in my camper and while in (the West of) Germany or in the Benelux, I often tune it to Astra 2C (I think), which offers a lot of UK channels (incl. BBC 1-6, ITV...). But the coverage weakens east of the Rhine.

Living in Poland, I use it mainly to keep in touch with my mother tongue, watching German channels. I am thinking of getting a subscription for Dutch tv though.


Benno Groeneveld  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:28
English to Dutch
+ ... Nov 12, 2007

transmits Dutch (Netherlands and Belgium) language programs via satellite. The programs are not encrypted, so all you have to do is buy a dish and a receiver (they can help you find a dealer).

I heard that in the US you can use the same equipment to watch shows in a couple of languages, not just Dutch.

[Edited at 2007-11-12 04:33]


Kim Bakkers
Local time: 20:28
German to English
+ ...
My set-up Nov 12, 2007

I have a very similar set up to Oliver - I receive channels on Hotbird at 13 degrees and Astra at 19.2. I chose these two as I speak German and Spanish. I get a load of German channels and about 5 or 6 Spanish ones. I got it a few years ago and I think the entire thing (dish, box and installation) came to just under £300. Might sound a lot, but as it's a one-off payment, there are no subscription fees and you can access hundreds of channels, I think it's a good deal. Since then i've seen a few cheaper deals since from companies that install these regularly (mine was done by a local company who had only done a few such installations).

I use it for a variety of reasons, it helps keep my listening skills going, I can learn new vocab without it being an 'effort' and I also find it interesting to watch the news programmes from other countries to keep up with what is happening there and see things from a different perspective. I also love the quiz shows, at the mo I am addicted to Quiz Taxi in German! Unfortunately since no-one else in my house speaks any language other than English, I am restricted to when I can watch these channels without driving everyone else crazy, although occasionally my mum watches Quiz Taxi while I translate the questions for her!



Local time: 20:28
france tv £200 Jan 27, 2008

hello, i had a full system for french tv fitted for £200 from

here is a direct link


Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:28
Flemish to English
+ ...
Lidl Jan 28, 2008

I bought mine at a Lidl for about £75 and installed it myself i.e. chose 15 channels with 15 different languages of which one is simulataneously interpreted.
These are a good way to practise simultaneous interpreting.


Setti Mulari  Identity Verified
New Zealand
Local time: 07:28
Finnish to English
Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish Sep 11, 2008

I contacted a local satellite company here in the south coast of England ( and they were brilliant.

I have a 90cm dish that the guy manage to hide behind a chimney so well that you can't see it from the front of the house or the back of the house and I get LOADS of channels from all over the place.

For Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian and Danish channels, you can get good reception from Thor5 (sadly, Thor 3 is NOT available west of Kent) and you can use the same dish to catch the signal from Astra and Atlantic Birds or pretty much whatever satellite you want. The installation engineer was saying that he has found channels from Senegal, Middle East and all over Europe for his customers - a lot of them are free as well and I paid less than £50 for the equipment online.

The last two years I've been out of my nose for Sky... this system paid itself back in two months and the channel line-up is much better for me.


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