So here we are in June 2016 and past the big shift to HD in French broadcasting. BIS, Fransat and TNT now have a full line up of all the main channels , in HD quality.
There was a lot of on screen messages shown to warn viewers , but still many didn’t get the importance of it all, until the big “switch off” was upon us, on 25th May and they were left with blank screens. Some HD receivers ran out of stock but not many, all in all a pretty smooth operation. BIS were the last to go through these changes, giving their subscribers time to buy CAMS capable of the new “viaccess secure” encryption. At least it was done in stages, with just a couple of channels going for the new standard first, then everyone could see whether the change would affect them ( with the older receivers and cams ) and then changing all BIS channels over to the new system.
The prices for Fransat HD receivers in particular had come down to very manageable amounts by the time the changeover was about to happen. Strong in particular, a very popular brand, making both TNT and Fransat HD models were available at a good price. All new HD receivers for TNT and Fransat from me are supplied with a new card by the way, don’t try to use your old card! Similarly avoid buying on Amazon . fr unless you know for sure that it comes with a card, some don’t and you will quickly find that Fransat cards are not available for sale anywhere.
One major advantage of the HD mpeg4 format is the ease of making recordings, all products now have the USB socket, almost all PC type USB powered “ portable” style drives can be used to make recordings, by nothing more than plugging in a USB drive. Some TNT boxes I have noted, require that the format is changed, the old FAT32 format is still the de facto standard, with all French boxes, so if your drive came with a more recent file structure on it, like NTFS, be prepared to have to reformat. On most receivers however this is now trivial, there will be a formatting procedure somewhere in the menu. On older boxes, you had to first use a PC, to change this to FAT and that was not easy as PCs have long since abandoned this option. I still have a download available for anyone wanting it, on the main website. ( http://satellitetveurope.co.uk/HDD.html ) download the GUIFormat.exe file.
As new receivers have come onto the market, the number which are net capable is increasing. Be certain that it is set up correctly though, for example the Aston Maya Fransat model will continually try to search and put up on screen any WiFi network it sees, unless it is set up from scratch ( first installation ) . This can be very annoying as it prevents you watching anything. If you do not want any of the online services, then skip this step when first setting up the box.
Overall the most noticeable thing about the latest French receivers , is the much better reliability, far fewer returns than with the older SD (standard definition) boxes. The driving force behind this is probably the Korean and Taiwanese giants who produce the major part of the entertainment electronics segment , available today. Their complete dominance of the market has driven standards up. A look at worldwide patents in electronics will quickly show how these once poor quality copycat product manufacturers have now turned the tables with innovation and top design. Have you got a Samsung phone in your pocket or an LG tv on your wall? South Korea many years ago made a mad dash for the top, by introducing a country wide 100Mbs internet system, when at the time we in England were only just seeing the change from dial up! Hey if anyone from Virgin is reading this, why is my so called 50mbs internet only capable of 1.7mbs after 4pm?
For those just receiving the free to air channels on the Atlantic bird 3 ( new name Eutelsat 5W ) satellite, there was a surprise in store. For many years, mirroring the old channel line up on the analogue transmissions, France 2,3 and 5 were free. Now, with the new HD channels, it is France 2,3 and 4 that are available free , plus one or two freebies like BFM , Dici tv, TV5 Monde , GrandLille tv, TV8Mont Blanc , KTO and Vosges and France Ô with its Caribbean programming is still there too. Why there was this changeover is not clear. France5 is available only with TNT, Fransat or Canal Plus but not with the FTA receivers. If you need to check the frequencies here is a useful link:
I have had a couple of phone calls about this. The user already has a proper HD TNT or Fransat receiver and card, but is receiving the onscreen message ” please update your receiver to an HD model, to continue viewing after the 25th April ”
This is possibly because the new receiver was installed with the SD Fransat or SD TNT bouquet of channels. If you have ever installed one, it is the very last option to choose, before it starts working properly. It is easy to overlook and there is no way to tell which bouquet has been used, after the installation is complete, as up to the 25th April, the channels worked as normal.
The solution is fairly simple, to reinstall completely. Choose “factory reset” or ” first time install” option in the SYSTEM menu ( these are fairly similar on both TNT and Fransat , throughout the different makes and models that are available. It will then show the first time installation menu, where you can choose install language, tuning……….. right through to the bouquet choice.
It looks like the software now takes care of the correct choice, I installed a Fransat box yesterday 29th April and this last choice no longer has to be made, the box automatically chose HD without any input from me
In April 2016 all TNT and Fransat broadcasts will be in MPEG4 standard . Completion date is set to 25th April, so make sure you are up to date before then.
This means you will need an HD receiver to carry on watching your TNT or Fransat channels. Those of you with my Free channel packages using the Multi lnb dishes will be unaffected.
I don’t know if my box is HD?
- If there is no HDMI tv socket on the back, it will be SD and you need a new box
- Turn to TF1 – If the TF1 logo is on the RIGHT side of the screen , it is already in HD. If not, you need to purchase a new HD box.
Will the dish need changing?
No the dish needs no attention, as long as you have a good signal ,it will work with the new HD Mpeg4 boxes.
My TV is the old “standard definition” will I be able to watch after the change over?
YES all of the HD boxes I supply have the SD scart socket as well as the new HDMI socket for the televisions
Which Channels are Affected?
All 25 National channels will change to Mpeg4 / HD
How can I order a new box?
Use the contact me form – tell me if you require TNT or Fransat and i’ll send you a list of the current best receivers and prices including postage. You can pay online. Your box will be sent out directly.
I’m not technical – How will I set up my new box?
Don’t worry, in 99% of cases, you simply switch it on and follow the on-screen prompts. For most viewers the default answer will get you back up and viewing perfectly. I will provide any help you need by email or phone.
Considering Fransat, but want to know more about the individual receivers? Now you can download the manual first and check out the features, menus, connections, remote handset etc . These are the 2 Fransat boxes we supply at the moment ( May 2013 )
Globsat GS1001 standard definitionGlobsat GS1001 fran
Aston Diva Premium High Definition manuel-utilisateur-diva-hd-premium
Click on the links to download.
If you currently have a Fransat box and card, but would like the BIS channels as well, there is now an option to update your Fransat card with the BIS card ‘rights’. So without a physical BIS card , you can use the Fransat system to get both sets of channels.
This is a big advantage to users with single card slot boxes, no need to update the box, just email me to arrange to add BIS rights to your existing Fransat card.
BIS channels are available from Hotbird ( Eutelsat 13) AND Eutelsat 5w ( ex Atlantic Bird satellite ) so whichever your dish is pointing at, if you have a Fransat or satellite receiver with a Viaccess decoder, BIS can be available to you.
Our current favourite Fransat box, the Aston Diva Premium HD, has 2 card slots, so you can sign up for BIS, anytime after installation, with a BIS card or with rights transfer.
Great news for HD Fransat users, simply go to “Auto Tuning” and when its completed its scan, you will have another 6 channels to watch. HD launched in France on December 12: Chérie 25, HD1, L’Équipe 21, Numéro 23, RMC Découverte and 6Ter. The New section of the Satellite operator Eutelsat reported:
Homes already equipped with a FRANSAT HD box will automatically receive the new channels using the channel numbering fixed by France’s national broadcasting authority (the CSA). Homes with a Standard Digital FRANSAT box can upgrade to an HD box to get the full line-up of content. For the 75% of French homes equipped for terrestrial reception, access to the expanded line-up will be possible with a satellite dish and a FRANSAT HD box, available in over 8,000 retail outlets across metropolitan France.
This gets around the problem of having to purchase a new receiver just for the main French channels
Update July 2016.
This cam has now been replaced, the current cams do not work in set top boxes
The model currently supplied for FranSat tv, is the Wisi OR03. Putting the card in the slot, in the lower half of the box, unlike previous models the card is visible, as it does not have a cover. It should be placed in the slot with the bar-code and word “FRANSAT” upwards. Don’t forget to only insert the card after checking that the dish is correctly aligned and after checking on a free channel like TV5 monde.
The only disappointing feature is the favourites list , despite the instructions saying that multiple lists can be created, I could not find the onscreen ICON to do this, which is probably an oversight in the user book, maybe an alternative model has this feature. Anyway with careful choice when storing your favourite channels, a satisfactory arrangement of channels can be made in the single available favourite list.
When in standby the Wisi displays the time and the channel number when switched on and working.
The one feature missing from the previous Fransat offerings ,which is a great boost for those wanting to see these channels in another room, as well as where the box is installed, is that the Wisi has an on-board modulator. It can put the picture signal on an aerial cable link to the second room, where the signal can be tuned into an analogue channel. Any tv should work, even the most recent of tvs still retain the old analogue standard tuners. After installation and tuning of the box, the modulator should be adjusted to Uk tv standards “PAL I” otherwise there will be no sound.
If you want the Wisi receiver cabling to an existing aerial distribution amplifier, this can be arranged, but dont forget to ask me before the day of installation as there is a fair amount of work involved.
The Wisi OR03 receiver was well made, the remote was quite responsive and the picture quality very good via both scart lead and modulator.
Viewing the set top box suppliers websites it is not immediately clear how long the encryption cards supplied with TNT and FranSat boxes will last. So I took a look at the TNTsat and FranSat websites to get to the facts:
The FranSat cards do not have a limit. Simple!
The TNT cards are initially guaranteed for 4 years. The broadcaster will turn on a reminder screen about 3 months before the card expires. French residents can update their cards for 15Euro on the TNTsat.tv website , for Uk residents I can provide the update or new card for £25. Email with your current card number – firstname.lastname@example.org The new cards will be valid for a further 4 years.
The reason given for the approach that TNT have taken is that the programmes broadcasters only have rights within French territory , wheras the satellites used to broadcast the programmes, can be received throughout Europe.
I stock the FranSat box ( SD ) made by Aston, which I recommend. see FranSat review for full details