Installing French satellite tv in the Uk


2018 Update:

The French TNT satellite receivers have undergone some big changes since 2016 especially, going over to HD and changing for a more complex encryption system , the Viacess ORCA. Now the TNT service is very stable, the most common service throughout France and is the easiest of the 4 systems ( TNT, Fransat, BIS, Canalsat ) to use in the UK or other Eu countries. Also with a low price, strong satellite signal and cards available online, it is the best service by far.

TNT Channels from France

I can supply most of the major manufacturers TNT products: Strong, Cahors, Thomson and Aston

Which French TNT satellite receiver?

All of the above makes , Thomson, Cahors and Strong produce good, easy to use products for the TNT market, but which is best?


Each has its own strong points, the Strong I think comes out on top, good price, very easy to use although setting up for anything other than the simplest French system – single dish, single lnb one cable, can be confusing. If you do have a multi-lnb dish always arrange Astra1 as your port 1 input, otherwise it seems to be impossible to start the tuning routine. Otherwise with a single lnb, tuning and sorting into favourite groups is achievable within a few minutes. The latest production has the new software which does not allow you to tune without the card in the slot.


For simple French only – no problem, good pictures, sound easy menu and it’s a nice style box. However if you wanted UK and France, Cahors is NOT recommended! The software is poor, sorting is almost impossible. When I tried using a motorised dish , which is a menu option, I could not make it work reliably in either of the motorised modes diseqc 1.2 or usals. Lastly in the main menu there is a backup and restore system – this doesn’t work either. So don’t rely on it to save a set of preset channels you just selected!


The Thomson is probably the easiest to set up. In use again it is simple to learn. When I tested the Thomson with a hard drive though, it was very fussy! Only one out of the three drives, worked correctly, I measured the current taken with each one and only the Western Digital one, managed to start below the max threshold for USB 2, which is the type of USB socket used on these TNT boxes


TNT or more correctly for us in the Uk ‘TNTsat’ has been around for a very long time now and in France , the set top boxes are available in supermarkets like E.Leclerc and most electronics stores like Darty

Cards and Tuning in

TNT remains the easiest French system to install, with the strongest signal here in the UK, the only drawback is the card, which although not too expensive to replace after its 4 year term, it’s a pain to order. Fransat now has adopted the same 4 year period for its cards and now has a few more channels, Basque, Berbere and regional French to offer. All the HD receivers, from Aston, Thomson, Strong and Cahors are capable of multi satellite, if you want French + other Euro channels and they are all very similar to set up. First , when plugged in they will automatically tune and sort the French ( as you would expect ! ) channels , then by a “global” menu, offer other pre-set satellites and even input  transponders from non pre-set ones.


If you DO want multi-sat reception for instance French + German + UK then I would strongly recommend my Multi4 option, which uses a  receiver which has backup and restore functions. Actually tuning and sorting over 1000 channels in no easy task!

2020 update

Since the new Fransat satellite was launched and came into service Feb 2020, the lower power of the new satellite ( due to a problem on board ) has meant changes to my Multi4 option. If you require a single dish with UK+France, the Technisat with Wide Angle dish is no-longer suitable, so the best option now would be the TNT box , even though it has no backup and restore function

From the TNT blog post way back in May 2011:

TNT group of channels
TNT group of channels

May 2011:

Visiosat 7600

It is multi satellite capable so for those wanting the main French channels like TF1 AND some German or Spanish channels, this is the ideal satellite receiver when combined with a suitable dish

Dish for 2 satellites
Dish for 2 satellites

The new model Visiosat is very similar to the 7500 previous model with the addition of being able to switch satellites, the remote and most of the menu system is the same. The remote is sometimes too responsive, giving an accidental double press is too easy to do.


Channel organisation is great, giving the same channel numbers as the terrestrial receivers. The local France3 is selectable from the list and is easy to change its position in the list if desired.

Out of the box, you are asked to select the tv screen options 4:3 or 16:9 then your local France 3. Dont worry at this stage, it is easily changed at any time , from the main menu. After this it will install as a TNT box, giving all the 18 TNT channels in a list. Put in the Card at this point and try TF1, it should bring up the picture straight away. It is wise to check the dish alignment and plug in the dish socket, before the power is applied, for some reason I’ve had a couple of TNT boxes ( not Visiosat)  fail by not adhering to this rule, they got stuck in the update cycle and were not correctable, so had to be returned to the manufacturer.

Software Update – Mis a jour

After the TNT install, the software may be updated, just wait for it to complete, it is quite slow about 8 minutes last time.

If you want multi satellites now is the time to set this up, select ‘Search Globale’ from the ‘Install’ menu and set the diseqc settings for your satellite, then proceed to auto tune.My set up here is Hotbird and Astra 1 satellites.

Canal Sat

The new 7600 is a ‘Canal+ ready’ box, so if you are able to obtain the card ( french residents only) this is a really great flexible box for the price, being enabled for the French freesat and Canal+ too!

Your 500 ish free channels that tune in can be structured into ‘Favourite’ groups numbered 1 to 6 , you can t actually name the groups unfortunately, but sorting them out is thankfully fairly easy, as long as you recognise the channel names. The Manhattan xt boxes are better in this respect ( I use the Manhattan for most free French channel installations ) as the groups can be named and the channels picture and sound are shown in a small window as you store them into groups. – so take notice Visiosat!

The picture quality really is very good, I was impressed with the overall quality of the box, in the last 12 months no failures have occured so I can recommend these units to you.

HD Models

The Visiosat is the only one I have in stock now and is SD Standard definition, if you want the HD channels , there are currently 4 available , email me for the price , I can make a special order for these. Similarly for the recording models.

8 Responses to TNT

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *