If you’re interested in European professional cycling like the Tour and the Giro or the Tour of California or the Tour Down Under then you’d might be interested to know that it’s a reasonably easy and inexpensive exercise to tune in to the Tasmanian beam of Australia’s SBS. They have an hour long weekly cycling show on Sunday’s at 7pm NZ time. Have a look at Cycling Central to see what’s on.
SBS also has enough food shows, Japanese game shows, subtitled foreign language films and docos on 2 channels that it also makes it worth it if sports cycling doesn’t float your boat. They’re also pretty big on soccer, which they curiously call football.
I’ve just gone through the process of getting satellite TV installed with 2 dishes.
The SBS channels are on the Optus D1 satellite. That’s the same satellite as Freeview and Sky. You may need a 90cm dish, as the 65cm dish may not be quite good enough. SBS’s Tasmanian signal has vertical polarity, whilst Freeview and Sky have horizontal polarity. So if you have an existing satellite dish you may be able to reuse it, and get a different LNB (the funny thing on the front of the dish). LNB’s aren’t expensive (about $30) and you can get a dual one to get both polarities and tune in Freeview and SBS1 and SBS2. (SBS1 is also there in HD). On the same dish you can also get another LNB (or two) and tune in Optus D2. (I went with only a vertical polarity on D2 as the horizontal would only give me 1 extra non-religious channel in English – Myanmar International). On the second (1.2m) dish I can tune in to Intelsat 5 which gives me Australia Network and BBC World News.
The 4 signals from the LNB and the existing UHF are inputs into a multiplexer and then the signals get mixed and can be sent out to 4 or 8 rooms or whatever. Then you get a set top box or a PVR and plug it into your TV. If you have a Freeview receiver you may be able to use it for satellite TV as well. There is a thing called MHEG-5 which puts an episode guide for Freeview and limits your receiver to only those channels. Don’t get one of them. If you need one get a cheap one from Dish TV or Topfield. They are only a bit above $100.
So for only a few months that a Sky subscription would cost you can set yourself up with free to air satellite TV. I ended up getting all the Freeview channels plus 7 English language non-religious channels SBS1, SBS2, Australia Network, BBC World News, NHK World TV, Russia Today and Press TV. Then there are channels in Dutch, Hungarian, Romanian, Serbian, Thai, and Arabic plus 15 religious ones that you don’t have to watch.
I’m unlikely to watch much of the sports cycling with all that lycra, but Australia Network does carry Australian Rules Football, and with all this Rugby World Cup carry on in NZ, I think I’ll watch some real football.