Do you find yourself watching C-SPAN or MSNBC more often than your subscription to HBO? Is your primary language, Spanish, Chinese or Arabic? Is the internet not offering you enough information? There’s a solution, one that I found and want to pass on to you, free to air (FTA) receivers.

Free to Air Receivers and their Uses

A few weeks back I was at a friend’s apartment. Caroline had moved to the U.S. from China in her early teens. Every time I would go to her house she would be watching a program from China. I’ve used both satellite and cable companies to get my TV fix and had never seen an option to get Chinese, or any foreign, programming. She told me about her FTA receiver and its ability to pick-up unencrypted satellite transmissions Back at home, I performed a Google search on FTA receivers. Not only was I missing out on foreign language and cultural programs, but a hodgepodge of news channels and feeds.

After doing some initial digging, I found the right receiver for me. Decidedly, I went with the Viewsat 2000 Ultra Satellite Receiver. It had HD component hook-ups (no HDMI) for quality picture and television viewing. Neither was it the basic model nor the high end model. For a newcomer like me, a middle of the road product was perfect.

Free to Air Channels

The FTA receiver picks up 229 channels. With the combination of the internet and my FTA receiver the wealth of knowledge at my fingertips increased exponentially. It had all of the major news channels; ABC, the BBC, CBS, NBC and PBS. Not to mention their news feeds, showing the moments between commercials. As I mentioned earlier, if your primary language isn’t English FTA receivers pick-up Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Korean and Spanish language programs. Something not offered by traditional cable or satellite companies. There’s also an esoteric mix of channels that are unheard of to the layman television viewer, including the Bloomberg feed and the Pentagon channel. NASA even has a one. If you have children there’s a PBS kids channel. Combine that with NASA’s programs and you have a huge chunk of educational programming minus the commercials. For me, a lack of commercials was enough incentive to purchase a FTA receiver.

Free to Air Receiver Advantages

I’m going to list a few of the advantages that accompany the free to air equipment. There’s a one time price of two hundred dollars or less. You can go cheaper; some receivers are below one hundred dollars. But I have a rule when it comes to electronic equipment: initially it’s better to spend a little extra money. Purchasing a quality product rather than trying to save $50 will ensure you don’t end up with a broken instrument. Within a month of owning a FTA receiver it pays for itself. The quality in TV programs, and diversity of available channels to watch, makes this purchase ideal for everyone. There is one caveat, but it’s slight in the grand scheme of things. I would advise against dumping your cable or satellite service. ESPN and other paid networks are encrypted and cannot be decoded by a FTA receiver. Once you have a FTA receiver there’s no more costs, so your bills aren’t going to increase. Picking up a free to air receiver with its host of advantages makes it a plausible and affordable addition to any household.

Leave a Reply