Feb 212015

Astra 2G- the final new UK TV satellite – news update

Astra 2G is the third and final new UK TV satellite for the 28 east location.

ASTRA 2G was successfully launched at the end of December 2014.

It was expected that Astra 2G would be operational at 28 east for UK TV sometime early 2015.

Now, the satellites owners and operators, SES, have stated that the Astra 2G satellite is currently undertaking an interim mission, after which in-orbit testing will be completed prior to its entry into service during the second quarter of 2015.

It is understood that this interim mission is as a place holder to secure another satellite location.


So no Astra 2G testing has yet started..

Feb 042014


Further to our previous post (http://www.satandpcguy.com/blog/2014/02/astra-2e-channels-start-move/ ) regarding channels moving from Astra 2A to the new UK TV satellite, Astra 2E, we think we now know which channels and frequencies have moved:

11.720 H : MTV Live HD, Sky Sports 2 HD, Lifetime HD

11.758 H : Disney XD HD, Animal Planet HD, ITV 2 HD, ITV 3 HD, ITV 4 HD

11.778 v : Sky Guide / EPG

11.798 H : Sky Sports HD 1, Sky Sports News HD, Sky Living HD, Sky Sports 1 HD, Sky Sp NewsHD, Channel 5 HD

11.836 H : Sky Action, Sky Comedy, Sky SciFi / Horror, Sky Select, Sky Disney, Sky Family, Sky Movies Premier, Sky Movies Premier +1, Sky Thriller, Sky Valentine, Sky Modern Greats

11.856 H : Eurosport HD, Fox HD U.K., E4 HD, Eurosport 2 HD

11.914 H : Sky Atlantic +1

11.934 V : Sky intro, Sky Box Office

12.012 H : Sky Family HD, Sky Movies Premiere HD, Sky Thriller HD, Sky Select HD UK

12.344 H : Sky Sports HD 4, Sky Atlantic HD, Sky1 HD, Sky Sports 2 HD,

12.383 H : Sky Insider HD, Universal HD UK, Dave HD, E! HD, Alibi HD

12.460 H : Sky 3D, Sky News HD, Sky Arts 1 HD, Sky Showcase HD

Jan 312014

Press release from SES Astra this morning :

ASTRA 2E has now been deployed at its final destination in the orbital arc of 28.2/28.5 degrees East, where it is co-positioned with ASTRA 2A, ASTRA 2F and ASTRA 1N. Over the coming weeks, BSkyB, Channel4, ITV and BBC programming in this arc will be transitioned to the new satellite with its powerful footprint over the British Isles.


The following is a press statement released by SES Astra, who own and operate the Astra 2 satellite, confirming its position and start of operations:


Luxembourg, January 31st, 2014 – SES S.A. (NYSE Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG) announces that the ASTRA 2E satellite enters into commercial service in the orbital arc of 28.2/28.5 degrees East on February 1, 2014. The satellite was launched on board an ILS Proton launch vehicle from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on September 30, 2013.

Extensive in-orbit tests have since then confirmed the satellite to be fully operational and performing to specifications.

ASTRA 2E has now been deployed at its final destination in the orbital arc of 28.2/28.5 degrees East, where it is co-positioned with ASTRA 2A, ASTRA 2F and ASTRA 1N.

Over the coming weeks, BSkyB, Channel4, ITV and BBC programming in this arc will be transitioned to the new satellite with its powerful footprint over the British Isles.

British newspapers in Spain serving the British community have been referring to the Great British TV Switch-off, with biased opinions by IPTV / internet TV / Smart TV / Brit Box TV sellers. This has confused many expats residents, as they worry about losing reception of the channels from the country they left behind. Many rumours, bar talk and misinformation have been spread about the sudden loss of UK TV in Spain. Many of these rumours have been spread by people wanting to sell lower image quality internet streaming devices- many of which require a subscription even to watch the free channels like BBC and ITV..

Until the Astra 2E satellite is fully operational, and actually has some transponders and frequencies turned on, no-one knows the exact nature of Astra 2Es reception in Spain, despite what some IPTV / internet TV / Smart TV / Brit Box TV sellers claim and the one or two satellite installation companies on the Costa Blanca that have been advertising since summer 2013 that they know the dishes they supply will work with the new satellite!

As reception varies so much over Spain, some areas of Spain maybe better off reception wise, but yes some areas of Spain maybe worse off. It is difficult to generalise about UK satellite TV reception in Spain and is really incorrect to say that all of Spain will lose all UK TV. This is especially so when some areas of Spain can receive some BBC HD channels, ITV1, ITV1HD, C4HD and FIves that are on the first new satellite Astra 2F that has been operational since Decemeber 2012,and can be received on a 1m satellite dish in most of my service area. So, despite all the  IPTV / internet TV / Smart TV / Brit Box TV sellers claim, there will NOT be a total loss of all UK TV channels in Spain.

Jan 142014

Astra 2E (the second new UK TV satellite) Update : 14/01/14 : According to various satellite tracking websites tonight, Astra 2E is finally on its way from its test location of 43 east, towards the UK TV location of 28 east. At the time of writing, it is at 42 east and moving slowly.

So it will take several days for it to move into location, and then it is expected a few test frequencies will be fired up, and only then can we start to work out its reception in Spain.


Dec 112013

Astra 2E News : According to SES, who own and operate the new Astra 2E UK TV satellite, the transfer of channels from 1N to 2E will take place “early February 2014”

Channels in this transfer will include BBC ITV C4 and Sky pay channels.

“The transfer will have no adverse implications for viewers in the UK and Ireland as the affected channels will continue to operate on the same frequencies and will be broadcast at the same, or slightly improved power levels, across the UK and Ireland”

So no changes in UK TV reception in Spain for a couple of months yes, despite what you may have heard on the rumour mill – probably from some “Not So Smart” TV box sellers!!


Nov 282013

Astra 2E Update : 28/11/13 :

Astra 2E, the new UK TV satellite, is still located at 43east.

At the moment it is unknown as to why it has not yet started to move to the UK TV Astra slot at 28 east.

This means that is it still unclear as to when UK TV transmissions from the likes of BBC ITV C4 will commence from Astra 2E.

Will it start before Christmas or in the New Year? We simply do not know at the moment…




Astra 2E Satellite Information – Reception in Costa Blanca and Spain

Astra 2E Satellite Information – Signal Footprint Reception Maps

Astra 2E Satellite Information – Transponders, Frequencies and Channels

Astra 2E Satellite Information – Images and Pictures

Astra 2E Satellite Specifications and Launch Details

Astra 2E News Updates and Testing Information


Astra 2E Launch Poster
Nov 252013

Sky has advised all broadcasters of planned maintenance on 28th Nov, between 0100 and 0300, which will result in a “brief outage of between 10-20 seconds” when the PID values change. About 80 channels are affected, on 6 Outstreams.

What does this mean.

Well firstly, it may affect any planned Sky+ recording scheduled for that time.

It certainly does not mean a move of channels to the new Astra 2E satellite, as that is still at the test location of 43 east, and simply cannot make it to 28 east in time for this outage.

It sounds like it is nothing to do with BBC ITV C4 or Five channels and the so called “Big Switch Off of UK TV”, as this is message from Sky, not the other broadcasters. Nothing has been mentioned by, for example, the BBC, who are getting good as notifying viewers of changes to satellites frequencies and settings these days.

Some people are speculating that these changes are part of the satellite replacement programme that is currently going on. It is thought that the remaining channels on Astra 2A, may well be moved to Astra 2F, in preparation for a final move to the new Astra 2E satellite later. This move would allow Astra 2A, an old and deteriorating satellite, to be moved out of the way, before Astra 2E is located there.

This may be of benefit to many expat TV viewers in Spain, because some of the channels currently on Astra 2A, such as Sky Movies, can be hard to receive, particularly around mid to late evening. This is because of the reception nature of the Astra 2As north beam, where even 2.4m satellite dishes can struggle to keep these channels in 24/7!

This would also mean Sky box users in Spain no more having to change the default transponder frequency setting from 11778 (2a north beam) to another, as 11778 will be on a beam much easier to receive…and would also ensure that the full 7 day Sky guide data is available 24/7.

However, this is speculation, and may simply be, as Sky say, a change of some channel settings, and Sky digiboxes should automatically update to any new frequency and channel settings.
Users of other types of satellite receivers being used for reception of Sky TV in Spain, may have to perform a channel rescan.

We shall have to wait and see…

Sep 302013

Just because the new UK TV satellite, Astra 2E, was successfully launched last night, there will NOT be any changes for for several weeks yet – despite some IPTV / Internet TV providers saying “changes are imminent could be as soon as two weeks from today”.

This is because the satellite has to be tested first, and this is done at another location (43 east).

Once that has been completed it will take several days to move from 43 east to the UK TV slot at 28 east. This will be known, as it is possible to track the satellite on various websites.

This is assuming it follows the same process as the first new Astra 2 satellite, Astra 2F, which was also launched late September 2012, and operational with UK TV channels from December 2012.

Again some IPTV / Internet TV providers say “You will not get any advance warning of when the actual switch over to the new satellite will take place” – but the movement of the satellite to its correct geostationary UK TV slot is surely some indication!

Only then will channels start to move from the temporary Astra 1N to Astra 2E.

And only then will we get any meaningful data as to Astra 2Es reception in Spain, with its signal overspill into mainland Europe and Spaina nd Portugal, again despite some IPTV / Internet TV providers saying BBC ITV C4 and Fives “will no longer be available to the majority of Europe including Spain and Portugal.”

Sep 262013

Astra 2E News Update: 26/09/13 : Astra 2E satellite, the new UK TV satellite, and its launch vehicle, the Proton M rocket, have been rolled out onto Pad 39, in preparation for its launch on Sunday night. (see video below)

“Proton-M” rocket with the upper stage “Breeze-M” and the “Astra-2E” UK TV satellite moved to launch platform “Pad 39”

This is in preparation for the launch on the evening of Sunday 29th (Eurotime) and 30th Sept (Baikonur Cosmodrome time).

Launch time: 2138 GMT Sunday / 22.38 UK and 23.36 Central Europe

The launch will also be shown live on Astra 19 East, frequency 11.023MHz SR 22000, FEC 5/6, and will begin half an hour before the satellite launch.

More Astra 2E news and updates at : http://www.satandpcguy.com/Site/astra_2e_satellite_reception_testing_news_updates.php

Aug 142013

The new launch date for SES Astra 2E – the new UK TV satellite – is given as the 15th September 2013.

Quote from “ILS” – International Launch Services – who launch the satellite:

“The ILS Proton return to flight mission will be the Astra 2E satellite for SES on September 15, 2013. The scheduling of the remainder of the ILS Proton near term manifest for 2013 is currently being determined”

This new launch date is due to the recent failure of a Proton rocket, due to incorrectly installed sensors.

This is the new launch date, it is not the date that channels will start to be moved and transmitted from Astra 2E. That will take place a few weeks after launch, after testing.


Dec 122012

The BBC have confirmed that “as a result of SES’s fleet replacement programme, BBC services will move in the second half of 2013.”

Regular readers will recall that in February 2012, SES retired Astra 2D and BBC services moved to a new temporary home on Astra 1N. Astra 1N is due to take up its permanent position in 2013 (19°East), so the BBC’s services will move to their new permanent home on Astra 2E (28.2°East) when that becomes operational. SES expects Astra 2E to launch in Q2 2013, so we currently expect to transition BBC services to it during summer 2013.

I hope that clarifies the timings of moves and also that the moves relate to the SES fleet replacement programme, rather than any BBC strategy to change its footprint. That said, the new transponders do have a slightly different footprint, so I’ll explain a bit about that, and why the changes are no cause for concern for the BBC in our requirement to ensure that the BBC’s domestic services are readily accessible to people living in the UK.

In all likelihood the move of BBC services from 1N to their new permanent homes will have no impact on UK households.  Astra 2E and 2F have the same, tighter but slightly more powerful UK spot beams which means that UK households should get a slightly stronger signal.  So if you happened to be on the edge of coverage, you will hopefully get more reliable reception.

The overspill of the BBC’s services will be reduced so viewers outside the UK will find it even harder to receive them. I know that this causes unhappiness to some of you living outside the UK. However, it is entirely appropriate because the BBC domestic services are for people living in the UK only.


One would also assume that the other ITV C4 channels on Astra 1N would move to Astra 2E at the same time.

But there is still the question of what will Astra 2Es reception be like in Spain, and what sized satellite dish will you need to receive the channels on the UK beam…

So it could be that the changes rumoured to be happening on the 16th to 18th December is actually the transfer of some Sky channels from another satellite (Astra 2B) to Astra 2F.


Source: bbc blog bbc.co.uk/blogs/aboutthebbc/posts/Changes-to-BBC-Satellite-transponders-in-2013

Dec 052012

December 2012 Update : Channel Movement From Astra 1N to Astra 2F
On Tuesday 4th December 2012, a number of UK satellite TV channels and frequencies moved from their temporary satellite home Astra 1N, to their new home on Astra 2F.

The channels and frequencies affected are :
10.964 H SR 22.000 FEC 5/6 (CH5/5USA/5*/Channel 5+1),
10.994 H SR 22.000 FEC 5/6 (ITV 1 Granada HD/ITV 1 Central South West SD/ITV 1 Anglia West SD/ITV 1 Meridian North SD/ITV 1 Yorkshire East SD/ITV 1+1 Yorkshire SD),
11.052 H SR 22.000 FEC 5/6 (ITV 1 Central South SD/ITV 1 Central East SD/ITV 1+1 Wales SD/ITV 1+1 Westcountry SD/ITV 1+1 Tyne Tees SD)
11.126 V SR 22.000 FEC 5/6 (Channel 4 HD/4Seven SD)

There have been many reception reports for Astra 2F in Spain.

The initial indication are that there are areas of Spain that are now experiencing “no satellite signal” messages for these channels are the southern areas of Spain, like Andalucía, Malaga, Marbella  and the Costa Del Sol.


Previously these areas benefitted from “bonus” reception due to a “side lobe” on Astra 2D, meaning they could receive most of the main UK TV channels on a “medium” sized satellite dish – such as a 1.25m satellite dish

However, with the change of these channels from Astra 1N to Astra 2F, these dishes are now simply too small to receive Channel Five and Channel 4HD.

A larger satellite dish will be required to be able to receive these channels again. What sized satellite dish to be able to receive these channels is currently debateable, as there are numerous conflicting reports for these areas.

However, it may be best to wait until the main bulk of the UK TV channels, like BBC and ITV move to their new satellite, whenever this may be. Only then can you be sure what sized satellite dish you will need to be able to receive these channels. There is no point in buying a 1.4m satellite dish today, if it is unknown and not guaranteed to receive the BBC channels when they move to their new satellite!

And at the moment, no-one knows what that will be.

Dec 042012

Astra 2F UK Satellite changes:

A few (not all!) channels and frequencies moved from their old satellite to the new Astra 2F satellite last night.

The channels and frequencies affected are :

10.964 H SR 22.000 FEC 5/6 (CH5/5USA/5*/Channel 5+1),

10.994 H SR 22.000 FEC 5/6 (ITV 1 Granada HD/ITV 1 Central South West SD/ITV 1 Anglia West SD/ITV 1 Meridian North SD/ITV 1 Yorkshire East SD/ITV 1+1 Yorkshire SD),

11.052 H SR 22.000 FEC 5/6 (ITV 1 Central South SD/ITV 1 Central East SD/ITV 1+1 Wales SD/ITV 1+1 Westcountry SD/ITV 1+1 Tyne Tees SD)

11.126 V SR 22.000 FEC 5/6 (Channel 4 HD/4Seven SD)

People in some areas may notice loss of these channels on smaller 80cm or 1m dishes (especially if they are not aligned properly!)

But this does not mean the other channels (BBC ITV C4s) will not be moving – it is simply a question of when!