HD French television by satellite TNT Fransat and BIS update
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: