TV and Radio in Winster
Our nearest TV transmitter is at Stanton Moor (almost exactly due North from the middle of Winster, about 3km away). Most parts of Winster get a good strong signal from a basic aerial (set the elements to run vertically). That same aerial will almost certainly be OK for use after Digital Changeover in August 2011. At that point, the current ("analogue") channels 1,2,3 and 4 will be switched off. Unless you use a satellite signal (which is not affected) you will need a Freeview box (or a set that has Freeview built in). Stanton Moor will broadcast the cut-down 18-channel version of Freeview (against 50 channels for the full version that many urban areas get).
Some people at the very top of the village already get 50-channel "Freeview" (ie terrestrial digital) from Emley Moor - near Huddersfield. But by the time you get down to the about The Flat, the hillside near Birchover gets in the way, so this is no good for most of the village. A few people at that altitude manage to get a usable 50-channel Freeview signal from somewhere to the East - either Chesterfield or Waltham (I've not been able to work out which).
Lower down in the village, Stanton Moor transmitter is probably the only option.
Here is a summary of TV transmitter information that applies until August 2011:
Bearing and distance calculated using calculator from Movable Type website
Subject to National Park rules (and Planning permission if your house is listed, or already has a dish on it), you should be OK having a satellite dish erected.
As well as the pay-per-month services from Sky, there are now two options for "pay-once" satellite service.
Freesat (from the same consortium as Freeview) costs from £130 installation (£210 if you want a box that will handle HD signals).
Freesat from Sky (beware the confusion of names) costs £150 - but when I wrote this (Nov 08) they were offering this at £75 if you sign up to a £20-a-month subscription that brings a package of extra channels - and then cancel before the end of the four-month free trial of the extra channels.
There have been reports that Sky's normal installers in the area are less than resourceful in finding locations for dishes that will satisfy the National Park rules - try talking to Farmers in Matlock who may be able to offer installation on the same terms (and who seem much more capable).
For those who already have the equipment, the Viewing Card is available separately for £20. Contact sky on 0870 606 1111 or see the FreeSat website.
Watching Satellite signals on more than one TV
If you are thinking of buying a satellite service, do bear in mind that the basic equipment allows you to watch just one "satellite" programme at a time, on one TV.
If you have a second TV in the house, and if you can run an aerial cable between them, then you can quite easily set up the second TV to be able to watch whichever satellite channel the digibox is set to (or to any of the channels you get from your normal TV aerial). Add a "magic eye" unit next to the second TV (as long as it isn't flat-panel, which may produce local interference) and buy a second Sky remote, and you can change the satellite channel from the second room. Better TV retailers will sell the kit, or try the online specialist Satcure , who have a good range of bits, but not the clearest of explanations, and watch out for VAT and delivery on top of quoted prices.
To get a "magic eye" working (or to change the channel on which the Digibox transmits its signal from the default channel 69, which may cause problems sometimes), you need to find the "hidden" Installer Menu on your digibox: Go to the Services menu and select option 4 system set-up - then press 0 then 1 (don't worry that the screen does not change) then press Select on the handset - and there will be the Installer menu. You need to turn "Power over RF" to Yes to get a Magic Eye working.
If you cannot run a cable between your Digibox and other TV's then there are systems that will transmit the digibox signal (and remote control instructions) by radio - but this is a considerably more expensive option, and you may suffer from interference from other equipment (particularly computer "wifi" networks and cordless phones) that use the same frequency bands - or from loss of signal through thick stone walls. Satcure and Argos sell suitable equipment, but check on their rules on returns and refunds in case you can't make it work in your house.
If you want to watch two different "satellite" channels at once (or record one and watch another at the same time), things get really complicated - you need the receiver box on your dish to have more than one "LNB" unit. Modern installations will have dual or quad LNB's fitted - if you have an older installation, then you will need to replace the LNB (available fairly cheaply on eBay) - a viable DIY job if you are careful (and OK up a ladder). But not nearly as simple as it might first appear!
BBC1 - East Midlands or West Midlands?
Note that some satellite viewers may find that channel 101 brings up BBC 1 West Midlands (ie local news at 6.30 and 10.30 give the Birmingham versions). If you have this problem, you can choose BBC 1 East Midlands (local news from Nottingham) by choosing channel 950.
"High definition" (HD) format will allow people with ordinary TVs to watch as normal - but for those with specially advanced sets (and specially advanced set-top boxes), they will enjoy a "crisper" picture (more, smaller, dots).
Sky offer HD on some of their channels. Freeview and Freesat offer BBC, ITV and Channel 4 HD channels.
If you ARE going for a TV that will benefit from HD, do be very careful that you are getting a TV that will show a proper HD picture, and not just something that will "cope with" an HD signal. Manufacturers are sticking all sorts of labels on TVs - not all of them helpful. The BBC have an article that describes the pitfalls.
Our nearest FM transmitter is at Stanton Moor (same as TV transmitter). An alternative is the Holme Moss transmitter at GR SE095041. Radio is not affected by the Digital Changeover in August 2011.
DAB radio UPDATED MARCH 2011
The DAB Radio Coverage checker shows a good range of stations now available in Winster.
Stanton Moor transmitter (which is where most people get their TV and FM radio from) now broadcasts DAB, so most of Winster should be able to get a decent signal on a set-top aerial. If you don't get a decent signal, then do let me know so that I can warn others.
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