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So you are thinking about Digital Satellite Television? 
A brief guide to Sky Digital outside of the United Kingdom

List of frequently asked questions :

What Digital Television is available in the UK?

There are currently 2 systems broadcasting in the UK:

ONDigital - a terrestrial digital system sponsored by BBC and the ITV companies which began broadcasting in December 1998 using existing transmitters in the UK. Can normally be received over an existing aerial, which is subsequently connected to a special digital receiver. Not available outside of UK shores because of the limited range of the terrestrial transmissions. ONDigital is technically capable of supporting up to 60 channels simultaneously, but currently only broadcasts 30. 

Sky Digital - a digital version of the existing Sky group of television channels, broadcasting since October 1998 from the Astra 2A and 2B satellites at 28.2degrees east of south. Technically it is possible to pick up signals from these satellites outside of the UK, but all channels available are on a subscription basis, and subscriptions are limited to residents of the United Kingdom and Ireland only. Technically the system can carry up to 500 channels; 160 are currently available.

Because of the geographical limitations on ONDigital, this document will only refer to the Sky Digital Satellite System .
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What equipment is available to receive Sky Digital?

Sky Television have designed reception equipment (known as a "Digibox") for their satellite transmissions which includes a scrambling system, and have licensed their manufacture to 5 manufacturers in the UK - Pace, Grundig , Amstrad ,Panasonic and Thomson . The heart of the receiver is a computer system requiring software, provided exclusively by Sky and actually downloaded or updated directly into the receiver from the satellite. This means that apart from aesthetic issues, there is very little to choose between the different receiver boxes on the market. In a few years experience will tell who is the better manufacturer for product reliability. In the future additional equipment, and maybe even digital satellite televisions may come onto the market, but at the end of the day many of the facilities provided will be limited to software capabilities which will be identical in all systems .
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How much does it cost?

Receiving equipment is available in the UK from around £200 ($320), including dish. However, this price is artificial as it is highly subsidised by a company called British interactive Broadcasting (BiB) in collaboration with Sky to encourage people to buy into the new technology. Current estimates put the subsidy at around £250, putting the actual street value of the system at £450 ($720). The subsidy is only paid if 3 conditions are met:

The system is installed by a Sky qualified installer (the majority of these work for an installation company owned by Sky), and certified to Sky as being correctly installed at the given (UK!) address Permanent connection of the equipment to a telephone line in the home of the user (the receiver contains a modem which can be used to call Sky to book movies, make on-line shopping orders, and maybe, in the future for internet access. It is also understood that BiB (or Sky, with their permission) may actually call up boxes directly to interrogate their software status, and initiate downloads, and of course, to check they are still connected to the telephone). Signing of an "Interactive Discount Contract" - an agreement with BiB that enforces the above conditions and is valid for one year from signature. If any conditions are found to de broken any subsidies allowed in the sale of the equipment must be paid back.

The prices shown do not include any installation costs, nor costs for subscription to the channels you may wish to watch.

Please see our "Sky subscriptions page" page for more details.

For the box and installation (Greece only) , send us an e-mail.

Note that there is an annual fee of  £70 to every new and old customer for the services provided from the Uk dealer .

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Can I receive anything else apart from Sky Television?

Because the terrestrial ONDigital system wanted to expand its appeal and include Sky programming such as movies and sport, Sky have been required by the regulatory authorities to reciprocate and include terrestrial broadcast programmes with their own. UK-sourced BBC 1, BBC 2, Channel 4 and Channel 5 are included in the satellite transmissions, as are some new UK channels, BBC Choice (a mix of BBC repeats from the week before), BBC 24 (news) and BBC Parliament (live feeds from the UK Parliament!). Additional free channels supplement these, including QVC; Travel Shop, The Travel Channel (shopping channels!), CNN, Sky News, TNT, The Cartoon Network and S4C. Because these are actually non-subscription channels (known as "free-to-air") Sky are required to make them available to those that wish to view them, without charge. ITV have not joined the channel line up, because of confusion over the ability of Sky to limit regional ITV stations to their own regions. ITV regions depend heavily on geographically targeted advertising revenue, and may not want advertising intended and financed from ITV Scotland to be available to viewers in London for example. Rumors in the industry suggest that ITV will eventually join the free-to-air options later in 1999.
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Can I watch any of these digital Channels outside of the UK?

Officially - no. There are good reasons for this. Sky only licences the material (movies, sports, etc.) they buy for re-transmission into the UK and Northern Ireland. If they were to permit viewing outside of this territory, not only would they be in conflict with the redistribution rights that they have bought, but also programme providers in other countries may get upset that their territory is being infringed. The same is also true for the free-to-air channels - the BBC for example makes a healthy living out of selling home-made material to other countries, and would not want to lose this source of revenue by allowing it to be freely available in other countries. It has been suggested that additional restrictions imposed by the BBC have caused Sky to tighten up their own distribution system to further enforce UK-only viewing.
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What is to stop me bringing equipment outside of the UK to watch these channels?

Technically - very little, legally - quite a lot.

Clearly as you would not want the system installed by a "qualified" installer (only in the UK) and permanently attached to a UK phone line, you would not qualify for the subsidy. This means you would have to pay around £450 for a complete system, then ship it abroad and install it (or have it installed). You would be able to receive one channel - Sky News (and a couple of others advertising the wonders of Sky Digital 24 hours a day).

If you want to watch more channels you have 2 choices:

1. The free-to-air channels (see above). Anybody can call the BBC and request a (free) card for their Digibox which when inserted would enable it for these channels only. To get this card you need to:

  • Make a call from a UK phone (in actual fact, although it is a different number, the Sky subscriber service organisation is acting for the BBC in sending out cards). Note that the card distribution centre can see where a call is being made from, so don't try calling from abroad! 
  • You must be requesting a card for a bona-fide UK or Northern Ireland resident at the address you give, who also has a fully paid-up TV licence. The name, address, postcode and telephone number (if you give it) will be cross-checked to confirm validity. 
  • You must provide the unique hardware serial number of the Digibox that will use the card. 
  • You must provide the unique software serial number for the software installed in the Digibox (you can find this out after the box is correctly installed from one of the on-screen set-up menus).

The last two points imply that you need to be in possession of an installed Digibox before making the call.

Once you have the card (delivered by recorded delivery 3-5 working days later) you need to enable the card by inserting it into the Digibox and calling the subscriber centre once more (from the same number/address that called for the card - if they see a different incoming number they will ask additional questions). You will be asked for further information before a signal is sent to switch on the free-to-air channels in your box. This can take up to 6 hours after making the call - not all channels are switched on at once. Clearly, the box must be correctly installed with the dish aligned on the satellite for this process to be successful.

2. The Sky channels of your choice (which all include the aforementioned free-to-air channels). Once again you must make a call to Sky from a UK phone, and if you fulfil the conditions and provide the information shown above you will be supplied with a viewing card within the week. Simultaneously, you should fill out a subscription application form for the Sky channels of your choice (broadly the same packages as for the analogue system, and at the same price). The form is available from most satellite dealers or from Sky themselves. Once Sky have received your application, and you have received the card, a quick call to the Sky subscriber centre, providing them with information they request they will enable your card for the channels you have chosen within a few hours.

There is one important aspect to note when subscribing to Sky channels. Your signature on the subscription form contractually obliges you keep the viewing card in the UK, at the address you have given, in the Digibox you have described to them (in fact, the card won't work in any other box - as once enabled, it is married to that unit alone). There is no signature required to obtain a free-to-air card - the implication being that you are not obliged to retain it in the UK - however, should you be "discovered" (or even suspected of) using the card outside the UK, the card can be disabled over the satellite in seconds. Disabling a card, will disable its host Digibox meaning that Sky would not enable any further cards in that equipment (they know the serial number!), unless it could be proved to be resident in the UK (i.e. seen by Sky approved installer).

Once a card is enabled Sky recommend that it should always be left in the Digibox, the box should always be connected to power (even in the stand-by ("off") state the Digibox continues to receive and understand satellite signals) and your dish should always point at the Astra 2 satellite. As it is certainly the case that the Digibox regularly receives over-the-air software updates, then this is not unreasonable - not receiving an update for any reason may temporarily disable your card. Sky will tell you that even a few minutes with the card out of the box or the receiver off-satellite can disable the card, but this is unlikely to be the case. However, longer periods (in excess of 24 hours, say) should be avoided.
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What are the main advantages/disadvantages of Digital Satellite Television over analogue satellite? 


  • Generally better picture and sound quality, but only on a decent television. Much better quality if comparing to an old, or badly installed analogue system. 
  • A few extra Sky channels (e.g. Manchester United Television!); some existing channels have extended hours on digital. 
  • BBC Channels including BBC1 and BBC2, Channel 4. 
  • Video Nearly on Demand (VNOD). The chance to order a movie and start to watch it, usually within 30 minutes or less. 
  • Additional services will become available, but only if the Digibox is connected to a telephone line (shopping, internet, email). 
  • Additional capacity for many more channels which may become available.


  • Apart from those indicated, no alternative channels (e.g. foreign). 
  • Expensive if not subsidised!

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Can I install it myself?

Although not impossible, installation is not easy - installing digital satellite is much more complicated than analogue. You certainly can't swing the dish around and look for a picture - for a start the system needs around 20-30 seconds following accurate alignment to recognise the signal and synchronise to a picture at all. A trial-and-error approach would require tremendous patience. Accurate alignment not only of the dish, but also of the LNB (receptor on the end of the dish arm) in its holder is critical to getting any picture. Unlike analogue satellite systems, there is no such thing as a bad (e.g. "sparkly") picture - you either get a picture, or you do not! A competent installer would use a wide-band spectrum analyser and signal strength meter with 22KHz upper-band switching to ensure optimal installation. Even the cheap signal strength meters on the market are not adequate - they block the 22KHz signal required to obtain the upper band digital signals.
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Can I use any existing satellite equipment or components?

Maybe -

  • A 60cm dish (or even smaller) is adequate for signal reception of Astra 2 in central Europe. Note, however that it will need to point in a different direction to that used for Sky analogue, so you can no longer use your analogue receiver and continue to receive any existing channels!
  • You will need a universal LNB (also known as "dual-band" or "digital-ready") - many LNBs provided in the last 12 months are of this type.
  • You should ensure that the dish cabling is high-quality, low-loss specification, and not damaged or running near to other signal cables or power cables.
  • You cannot currently use a Digibox with any existing system that utilises 22KHz switching (e.g. a multi-receiver distributed system, or multi-satellite (Astra/EutelSat)).
  • You should avoid using a Digibox on a motorised multi-satellite system, primarily because of the need for the Digibox/card to always be "on-satellite".
  • Because of the alignment (or re-alignment) issues, any non-fixed installation (e.g. floor-stand) is not to be recommended.
  • Your TV must be designed for use in England (PAL-I), be multi-standard, or have SCART or A/V input (most European TVs newer than 10 years have this).

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Can I use my Videorecorder?

Yes - the Digibox has a SCART output for a Videorecorder, but as with analogue satellite you can only record or watch one programme at a time. Note that here is currently no facility in the Digibox for a VCR timer (automatic switch on to a certain channel at a certain time).
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Can I attach multiple televisions?

You can only do this using a TV antenna connection - you would then be restricted to UK standard TVs (Just like you cannot use a UK TV on a German aerial or cable system the Digibox does not support a German antenna connection and cannot be easily adapted). You would not receive stereo sound even if your TV supports it, and all TVs would have to watch the same satellite channel at the same time. You could of course use the wireless relay systems currently on the market to transmit the pictures to additional televisions around your home.
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Can I attach more than one receiver to a dish so I can have digital TV around the house?

At the moment - no. The Digibox does not support the required switching to achieve this. Future models may permit this (in fact, it maybe that only a software upgrade is required, but this is presently not certain).

The only way to do that for the moment is if you have a twin output lnb , two cables and two subscriptions.
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Can I attach the Digibox to my stereo system?

Yes - as with most analogue systems there are (analogue) stereo audio outputs on the Digibox to connect to your hi-fi.
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Can the Digibox receive radio channels?

Yes. There are more than 50 sound (music!)-only channels "in CD quality" .
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Can the Digibox receive other "free to air" digital channels from other satellites?

Theoretically, yes, but the choice is limited. The Digibox can only receive a subset of all the digital signals available from other satellites. Of course you would need to be able to move your dish accurately onto other satellite positions.
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Can the Digibox de-scramble other encrypted digital satellite signals?

No - the Digibox is designed to de-scramble signals using the "Videoguard" encryption system which is exclusive to Sky and not used by any other programme provider. Unlike other digital receivers, there is no "Common Interface" to permit additional scrambling systems to be supported.
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Can I use any other digital Receiver to receive Sky's programmes?

No - no other receiver supports the Videoguard encryption system, which is proprietary to Sky. Furthermore, Sky licences the manufacturers of Digiboxes who build to Sky's own design.
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Can the Digibox receive analogue satellite channels?

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Can I view normal teletext over Digital Satellite?

Yes - if this information is being transmitted (it is on most channels). Page updates are also much quicker. This is a good source of programme schedule detail. Note that the remote control for the Pace Digibox can (uniquely) also control the functions of most TVs so you only need to have the one remote in your hand.
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Will Digital TV get any cheaper?

Maybe - but not very much. The non-subsidised prices are comparable to other systems on the market, the prices of which have not changed much over 2 years. The systems are really quite technologically advanced and very complicated - technology has a price. Best case is that there maybe additional features included at the same price (a VCR timer for example).
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If I try to subscribe (even to the free channels) without taking the subsidy won't Sky suspect and start to ask awkward questions?

They might - but experience shows they do not. If they do then the following answers may help your case:

  • "I am rich and money doesn't matter" (!)
  • "I don't have a telephone, so can't commit to the required telephone connection".
  • "I don't trust Sky to attach to my phone line - how do I now that the Digibox won't run up a big telephone bill?"
  • "I don't trust Sky to attach to my telephone line - how do I know they are not monitoring my calls, or my TV viewing habits?"
  • "I have an expensive, wide-screen, high definition, 100Hz Television. The main source for quality wide-screen programme material is over digital satellite" (see also "I am rich…" above).
  • "My analogue TV reception is very poor because of the area I live in or the old/badly installed antenna equipment I have. Digital satellite solves all these problems at once."

(The two last points are probably the better argument!)
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Can I receive pay-per-view movies even if the Digibox is not connected to a telephone line?

Yes - you simply need to make a phone call to Sky to send the signal over the air to the card to enable it for the movies of your choice. Needless to say, this call should come from the house where the Digibox is registered. The same is also true for card upgrades to receive additional channels. This may be a risk you can do without.
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Can I upgrade from a free-to-air card to a Sky channels card?

The card itself is not upgraded - you basically need to begin the enrolment sequence for Sky as described above, and you will receive a second card. Note that your first card could not be given/loaned/sold to anyone else, as it will only work in the Digibox that it was registered for.
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How much longer will analogue satellite TV be around?

Difficult to say, but Sky won't persuade 6 million existing subscribers to convert to Digital satellite with all it entails overnight. Sky hasn't made a formal statement on this, but pessimistic estimates say at least 5 years, but it will more probably be in excess of 10. It will most probably be that newer channels will begin on digital, leaving the existing analogue offerings fairly stagnant.
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My Digibox doesn't work properly

you will need to reboot your digibox by doing
the following...

- remove the electricity lead from the back of the digibox
- remove the viewing card from the slot on the front of the digibox
- wait 30 seconds
- reconnect the electricity lead to the digibox
- reinsert the viewing card properly into the slot marked "Sky viewing card"
- switch the digibox back on

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My Digibox still doesn't work properly

You will need to force a software download to your digibox by doing
the following... (after you have made completely sure your digibox is receiving
a signal from the correct satellite)

- remove the electricity lead from the back of the digibox
- press and hold the BACKUP button on the front panel of the Digibox
- reconnect the electricity lead to the digibox
- let go of the BACKUP button as soon as you get an on-screen message
- wait for the system to return to the EPG 
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What if Sky changes the Viewing Cards?

Sky only changes the Viewing Cards to improve the technical standard or once the existing ones have been hacked and pirated Viewing Cards have become available. If that happens, you will receive your replacement card well in advance.
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Reputation, why SATWORLD ?

We are proud to enjoy an outstanding reputation.  We are one of the only agents who are able to offer Sky subscriptions personalised in your name. Other advantages of using Satworld cards are: pay-per-view... all Box Office events with the dialler ... With Satworld your Viewing Card is registered with Sky in your name if paying on the monthly scheme. Therefore, if you experience any viewing difficulties, you are able to control payment.
Monthly subscription payments help you to spread your bills evenly over the year.
Instant-turn-on some pay-TV providers offer instant-turn-on, i.e. if you already have a viewing card you only need to call us and the new programme of your choice will be added to your existing viewing card, we do not charge extra for arranging this . Again, only Satworld offers this facility at no extra cost. Upgrading if you have not subscribed to the full BSkyB package but suddenly wish to do so, simply send us an e-mail and we will be more than happy to upgrade your card . That goes for downgrading too. Service... We have a team of professionals who are there to help. Who else apart from us can offer you this service?
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Are these original Viewing Cards?

All our products are genuine. They are not pirated viewing cards. Someone offering you pirate cards is committing fraud. What's more, according to European law, the use and possession of pirate Viewing Cards is illegal.
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How long is a viewing card valid for?

It is valid for as long as you pay the subscriptions. It will not be swapped or replaced unless Sky is replacing for newer generation viewing cards or your card is damaged (does not happen when used properly).
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How does Sky Box Office / PPV / pay-per-view work?

To order PPV events you will need to purchase our dialler which will allow the box to automatically contact the Sky PPV centre and authorize your card for the event or you can directly order it through our web site

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How long does it take to get everything arranged?

Delivery usually takes about 1-2 working days after we receive payment

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You cannot subscribe to Sky directly outside the UK. You pay directly to Sky only for the time you watch Sky. With us you are personally listed with Sky. In the unlikely event of a fault you have the option to stop payments immediately. This way, you only pay for what you get. We also give one year replacement guarantee for the receivers persuade from us .
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Is this legal?

Sky has acquired the broadcasting rights to transmit it's services (movies etc.) via satellite to the UK and Ireland only and is therefore not allowed to have subscribers outside this area. We arrange your subscription using a UK address so that Sky is under the impression that you are in the UK and Sky is therefore acting in good faith. What we are doing is not illegal under German law and if you subscribe through us it is not illegal either. Sky on the other hand can not be seen to permit or promote such activities. Therefore it is very important that you always deal through us. If Sky became aware that you are using your viewing card outside the UK they would deactivate it .This has never happened to any of our customers and that's how we want to keep things. When you subscribe to Sky through us, It is unlikely that Sky will investigate any customer as long as he or she pays the subscription fees.
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Minimum length of subscription contracts

12 months is the minimum period that somebody can have sky .Before that ,you can't ask for a cancellation .After one year you can stop your payment for a period and start again when you decide .            

Note that we do not charge anything for these turn off  and on except a minimum yearly fee .                    

Do I get a TV guide with my Sky subscription?

A TV guide as such does not come free with a subscription. There is a magazine called "Sky Guide" which is issued to every subscriber but this does not contain any TV listings whatsoever. The magazine is basically a source of revenue from advertising and also a VAT fiddle. We do not send these magazines on to our customers as we feel no one will be prepared to pay extra for the postage.
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What if Sky switches the viewing card off?

This has never happened before. If it ever does, Sky will replace it. If it is your fault due to bad treatment of the card, Sky and/or we may charge you extra for that.
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I feel uncomfortable giving out my credit card details

We handle all information regarding our customers (past and present) with utmost confidentiality and such information is never stored on a computer that is in any way connected to the internet, either directly via modem or indirectly via a network.
You can always demand a refund for any unauthorized payments that may have been taken from your credit card. Simply inform your credit card company and make an indemnity claim.
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But don't I need to have a British credit card?

No! We have found a way to charge international credit cards also .

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Sky took too much off my credit card

Did Sky take exactly £30 too much in the first month? If so, that is because Sky charges you this amount for the issue of your Viewing Card. This is mentioned in the contract you signed - admittedly in small print. If not, please send us a copy of your credit card statement and mark the wrong deductions on it. We will take care of it for you.
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I would like to change my current viewing option

Please contact us stating the channels you would like to add or lose. Then leave your digibox switched on and we'll take care of the rest.

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What you need for Sky digital?

Sky digital broadcasts via a new satellite: ASTRA 2 at 28.2° east, (ask your local satellite installer how to change your equipment for ASTRA 2). If you don't already have one you will need a universal lnb fitted to your dish.

- You need a credit card: MASTERCARD or VISA 
- You will need a Sky digibox. This is a digital satellite receiver with built-in Videoguard decoder for Sky digital television. No other satellite receiver/decoder will work as there are no cams available. 
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Can I get Sky TV where I live?

You can get Sky TV all over Europe, partially even outside Europe. To find out if you can receive Sky TV where you live see the Astra 2A North Beam, Astra 2A South Beam and Astra 2D footprints below.
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Can I take over an existing contract from a friend?

No you cannot take over an existing contract. If you want to subscribe to Sky, you will have to take out a new contract.

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My monthly billing has risen, why?

Sky have raised their prices. The price rise will not effect you within the first 12 months of a subscription.

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Sending goods via Cash on Delivery

We do not deliver anything COD (cash on delivery). All our goods are dispatched after payment has been received.

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I can't get BBC,ITV, ITV 2, Hallmark and all the Disney Channels

If you cannot receive these channels then you have one of the following problems:

- your dish is too small or is incorrectly aligned
- your lnb is not a universal lnb
- your lnb is broken or incorrectly aligned (skew)

or you live in an aria that Astra 2d is out of reach  (check here)
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Does the digibox support DiSEqC?

No the digibox does not support DiSEqC. It has to be directly connected to a satellite dish receiving signals from Astra 2 positioned at 28.2 degrees east or you have to connect it to a multiswitch that allows the inputs from the Astra2 satellite to be passed through by default.
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I sometimes lose channels and the next day they're back again

We are often heard from owners of sky digital of south Greece or the Costa Blanca or indeed in parts of Spain such as Madrid and the Costa Del Sol  that all the Sky Channels aren't available all the time. The answer is quite simply a combination of the geographical location and the footprint of the Astra 2A digital satellite. The Channels broadcast by Sky on the "North Beam", e.g. Sky Sports 1, Sky Sports 2,  Granada+, Breeze, History Channel (and the rest... you know which ones they are!) tend to disappear at the same time everyday and then reappear much later or not at all the same day, only to be back to normal early morning the next day and so on.. If you look carefully at the "North Beam" footprint, the sizes in centimeters are Astra's recommended dish size required along the lines of the footprint. So for example if you lived in France or the U.K. a minimum dish size of 50cm is recommended. The extreme limits of the footprints are marked by the last ring on the outside. This is where a minimum dish size of 120cm is recommended. That's exactly where you are, right on the edge of the footprint at the weakest point where the larger dish size is required. If you look carefully near southern Italy, the 120cm limit of the footprint suddenly bends in to the west and then a bit further north curves round and bends out again to the east. Effectively isolating southern Italy from receiving all channels Broadcast on the "North Beam" ( Why doesn't the "South Beam" do the same thing? ) 
As the day progresses due to the earth's rotation and also its inclination the effect on the footprints is that they "wobble" and move to the West several hundred miles ( this has no effect on UK viewers as they are in the middle of the high signal strength area ). Gradually however, the "boot" shape of the 120cm line moves to the west until by mid afternoon its over the Costa Blanca and mid Spain effectively moving us out of the reception area. Then by the next day due to the rotation of the earth the "boot" has moved back again over southern Italy and hey presto were back on the air again. This explains why as the day progresses the weak "North Beam" channels start breaking up or "blocking", that is the effect on the screen that breaks up the picture and makes it look like a jigsaw puzzle.

For a detailed look at transponder coverage please see http://www.lyngsat.com/dig/skyuk.shtml for a channel list

and for coverage maps see http://www.ses-astra.com/satellites/footprints.php?sat=15

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Sky faq provided by Bavaria satellite ( info@bavaria-satellite.de )

Send mail to  info{@}satworld.gr with questions or comments about this web site. TEL : 0030 2105778538  
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Last modified: March 24, 2017