[mythtv-users] Freeview channels on UK Sky Dish. FTA vs FTV? CAM required?

Stroller linux.luser at myrealbox.com
Fri Dec 15 19:31:15 UTC 2006

Hi there,

I'm wondering if there's anyone on the list who can advise me. I'm  
based in a part of England which doesn't have great Freeview  
reception, in a town with a particularly low-quality cable feed.

It's my understanding that most of these channels (or a good  
selection of free junk-tv channels, at least) is available on the Sky  
satellites and that one doesn't need a full Sky subscription to  
access them.

My understanding is that the BBC channels are "free to air" (FTA) and  
unencrypted and that these can be accessed using a Hauppage Nova-s  
DVB-S PCI card and Sky dish. I think that's what this chap <http:// 
tinyurl.com/yza9yt> is doing.

A greater number of channels are, however, "free to view" but  
nevertheless encrypted (FTV). As I understand it you can watch these  
with a purchase of a 20 "freesat viewing card" if you "already have  
a Sky box & dish". <http://www.freesatfromsky.co.uk/?pID=6>

Does this sound correct so far? Anyone know?

Now, as I understand it this "freesat viewing card" is of a standard  
CAM (common access module?) format. There's some mention of this in  
this posting <http://tinyurl.com/vrtlo>, but it's not clear to me if  
CAMs are compatible with MythTV, whether only certain models of CAM  
are, or what.

Looking around I find a handful of DVB-S cards which take a CAM:
- Later models of the Twinham criticised in the previous link.  
<http://tinyurl.com/ybpd8a> & <http://tinyurl.com/yaxyg8>. I'm not  
sure the difference between these units.
- Some of the Satelco PCI cards <http://tinyurl.com/y8gqkt> & <http:// 
tinyurl.com/y7ncxp> connect to an optional adaptor <http:// 
- The Hauppage WinTV Nova-S is available with the appropriate slot  
<http://tinyurl.com/seh27>. This looks fairly promising to my  
uneducated eyes.

Does anyone know if any of these units can be used with MythTV in the  
way I describe?

It seems always to be the way that I research a subject for hours &  
put aside my results until the next day to prepare my post to the  
mailing list. Just when I've finished composing that post I do a  
final search an come up with a bunch more results. :/

So it looks like this was discussed a few months ago <http:// 
tinyurl.com/yn4yfo>. Any updates since then? Following the link to  
the Wiki at linuxtv.org I find <http://tinyurl.com/vrtlo> which seems  
promising "de-scrambling support is provided by the experimental  
dst_ca module. This driver is working but some polishing is still  
required". I have no problem with using a 3rd-party programmable CAM  
if it works, and I'll take a chance on Sky changing their protocol in  
the future.

Finally: is there any list of the FTA vs FTV services available on UK  
Sky Dish? Should I just accept that I don't need Men & Motors _that_  
badly (unavailability of the Home Shopping Channel would be a  
disappointment, tho' ;)

Thanks for any comments or advice,


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