A free to air receiver is a satellite television receiver that is designed to receive unencrypted broadcasts to deliver free satellite Television. If you are thinking of cutting the cord from subscription-based television services, setting up an FTA satellite should be your option.
The receiver is free to air, which means that it picks up free satellite channels. It also comes with a card slot to enable you to subscribe to services if you are interested. The best free to air receiver is capable of working with different satellites (Source).
With the move to digital broadcasts, dish sizes have shrunk to an acceptable size and Free to Air channels which are now on the KU band. To receive the Free to Air channels, you will have to install a satellite dish and Low Noise Block (LNB).
In this guide, we will review the top-rated FTA receivers, letting you know if its worth it, the top products, and various hacks you can use.
What Are FTA Receivers?
Table of Contents
- 1 What Are FTA Receivers?
- 2 How Do FTA Satellite Receivers Work?
- 3 How Much Do FTA Receivers Cost?
- 4 Quick Comparison of the Top 5 FTA Receivers
- 5 1. VOdmy Free Sat FTA Receiver – Best Overall
- 6 2. Dynosat S2 HD FTA Receiver – Great on Motorized Positioners
- 7 3. Manhattan SatPro Complete HD FTA Receiver – Best US Made FTA Receiver
- 8 4. Dreamlink T5 HD FTA Receiver – Brilliant Colors & Many Channels
- 9 5. Dreamlink HD FTA Receiver – Supports Multi-Language
- 10 6. Fosa Full HD 1080p Digital Satellite Receiver – Best for Picture Quality Lovers
- 11 7. XFTREE Satellite Antenna 4K – Best for All-Around Free TV
- 12 8. GTMEDIA V7S Satellite Antenna – Best for Budget Hunters
- 13 9. Biling TV Antenna – Best for Rural Area
- 14 10. MagicSee C400 Plus DV Satellite Receiver – Best for Tech Geeks
- 15 Factors to Consider When Buying a Free To Air Receiver
- 16 Ready To Buy The Best FTA Receivers?
A free to air (FTA) receiver is a device that allows you to connect to satellite television stations for free. These typically include local channels and things of that nature. It actually works a lot like the old “bunny ear” antennas that you would see on the old tube televisions.
While many of the popular TV stations will not work with an FTA receiver, mainstream broadcasters will stream over satellite as FTA in some cases. This allows you to get high-quality satellite television without any cable plan at all.
They come in a variety of packages with features like multi-lingual support, HD video, and access to thousands of networks. With the exponential growth of mainstream media, FTA receivers are not too popular nowadays.
However, they can be very useful for anyone who doesn’t need to keep up on current TV shows or anything like that.
How Do FTA Satellite Receivers Work?
FTA receivers are satellite tv receivers that pick up free to air broadcasts that are unencrypted. Simply connect it to your television via HDMI or component cables and you are practically ready to go.
Many networks are not broadcast FTA, but there are quite a few that do fall into this category. Most notably, educational channels like PBS and BBC are offered as FTA broadcasts. This is incredibly useful since these stations are great for kids and anyone who enjoys educational programming.
Once a connection has been found, users are able to access that network and stream it straight to their tv. Very little setup is necessary, and it often is as simple as plugging it in.
Some FTA receivers will offer HD quality, and it should be noted that in order to take advantage of this you will need a HD television and the correct connections.
How Much Do FTA Receivers Cost?
On average, FTA receivers cost anywhere from $50-$200. This is actually incredibly cheap considering that these devices allow you to access satellite tv stations.
Rather than spending hundreds of dollars per year on a monthly recurring cable bill, you can simply buy an FTA receiver and reap the benefits for a lifetime. Some popular networks like PBS are even available for free thanks to these receivers.
This value is incredibly apparent when you consider that many of these receivers are able to stream 1080p HD quality television programs. Additional features like parental controls and sophisticated remotes may increase the price, but they are not necessary at all.
Overall, an FTA receiver is a great investment and money saver for anyone who enjoys satellite television.
Quick Comparison of the Top 5 FTA Receivers
|VOdmy Free Sat FTA Receiver||Support Biss Key, DRE, and PowerVu|
|Dynosat S2 HD FTA Receiver||DISEQC and USALS Motor Positioner Compatible|
|Manhattan SatPro Complete HD FTA Receiver||Includes S-Video, USB, and ViewSat Ultra Lite|
|Dreamlink T5 HD FTA Receiver||DVB-S2 and DVB-S Compliant and Free HDMI Cable|
|Dreamlink HD FTA Receiver||DISEQC and USALS Motor Positioner Compatible|
1. VOdmy Free Sat FTA Receiver – Best Overall
No products found.The VOdmy is an original free Sat 1080P Digital High Definition satellite receiver. The product supports Universal Serial Bus (USB), Wi-Fi to network sharing and USB Personal Video Recorder (PVR) ready. It also supports YouTube via USB Wi-Fi dongle. The broadcast range is 125 feet and the receiver supports multi-room capabilities.
This device has a microprocessor controller that ensures a reliable and stable performance. It supports different picture formats such as Joint Photographic Expert Group (JPEG), Portable Network Graphics (PNG), Bitmap (BMP) and Graphic Interchange Format (GIF). With it, you are promised a perfect sensual experience.
This receiver has an easy menu system with a plug and play installation. It uses multiple onscreen display languages such as English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Portuguese, Polish and Arabic.
A professional technical support website is provided for you to ask any questions on problems you may be facing. You may write an email or ask your query on the forum.
There is no need of drilling holes to run cables as the system works on a wireless aspect. It provides you with a home theatre experience as it removes cable clutter from your home. Its transmitter is capable of extending uncompressed HD signals.
2. Dynosat S2 HD FTA Receiver – Great on Motorized Positioners
The machine has a fast, accurate blind scan. A maximum of 5000 channels are available with hundreds of free to air channels. Ultra-connectivity includes RF output used for connecting to older Televisions. The output can be used to watch television in two rooms with a single receiver.
A USB thumb drive can be connected for scheduling an event to record or even recording live Television so that you can watch later. Dynosat works on a time shift mode. With the thumb drive, you are capable of pausing live TV and resuming later on. It can also be useful in backing up channel list and satellite settings.
The packaging comes with a remote control, batteries, High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) and RCA cables.
3. Manhattan SatPro Complete HD FTA Receiver – Best US Made FTA Receiver
The Manhattan SatPro includes New Standard KU single HD LNP for the best reception. The product also includes an analog satellite signal finder, which helps you align your satellite dish. It includes over 10000 TV and 3000 IPTV channels.
The receiver includes analog satellite signal finder that helps in installation. It is ideal for galaxy 18, 19, 25, 97W and more. The packaging comes with a remote, batteries, HDMI cable and user manual.
It has eight favorite groups selection. Multi-languages include English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Turkish, Russian, Arabic, Polish and others. The receiver allows for various channel editing functions such as renaming, deleting, locking, moving and sorting.
It has a maximum of ten thousand channels that are programmable. Has a parental and receiver lock for parental guidance. Has a powerful channel controls, including favorites, skip, move, lock and delete.
The device has True to Life High Definition, Composite Video Blanking and Sync (CVBS) audio and video via RCA and a closed caption support. It is DVB-S and DVB-S2 compliant. It is multi LNB controlled by Universal Satellite Automatic Location System (USALS) and Digital Satellite Equipment Control-DisEqC version 1.2.
It is a dream Link HD Free to Air Satellite receiver with HDMI output and PVR capabilities through USB port 2.0. The device has an inbuilt Ethernet/LAN port.
It is best in class SD and HD channel picture. The external USB 2.0 HOST supports for live recording and time shift or playback simultaneously.
The product supports multi-languages, has brilliant colors up to 65,535 full screen resolution. It is multi LNB controlled by USALS and DisEqC control version 1.2 and includes true to life High Definition.
6. Fosa Full HD 1080p Digital Satellite Receiver – Best for Picture Quality Lovers
No products found.If there’s one thing that FTA Antennas are known for, it’s glitchy or soft picture quality. It’s understandable. It’s not easy tech to work with, and you often end up dealing with a loss in quality as a result of poor satellite signal. Fosa made a point to fix that problem once and for all .
Along with having a highly sensitive satellite receiver built into the machine, the Fosa offers up 1080p resolution alongside its reception and additional AV interface. To help double up on functionality, it also comes with a built-in wifi that is encrypted but allows you to surf major streaming apps like YouTube, YouPorn, and more.
The best way to describe Fosa’s design is that it’s a lot like a Chromecast, except that it works with digital satellite works. If you’re a fan of WebTV, satellite goodness, or just want to have more functionality with your television, this is a good option for you.
7. XFTREE Satellite Antenna 4K – Best for All-Around Free TV
No products found.The XFTREE is considered to be one of the most popular, if not the most popular option around. People love the XFTREE for its amazing 4K digital pictures, but that’s not all it offers up to families who choose to buy it—not by a long shot.
Along with great picture quality, it’s also got a massively wide signal range of 120 miles. For people whi live in a rural area, this might be the only satellite antenna that will be able to pick up the signals around you well enough to deliver a picture.
Though the tech is remarkably advanced, the antenna itself is designed to be used by people who are normally tech-averse. Most people can set it up within three minutes, and no tools are required for installation. To make matters more impressive, it’s designed to be visually pleasing, too.
8. GTMEDIA V7S Satellite Antenna – Best for Budget Hunters
No products found.Most satellite receivers are going to be in between $50 to $200, depending on their strength and the kind of durability that you’re looking for. GTMEDIA is trying to make satellite TV more accessible for everyone, and that includes people who might be struggling to get a good system.
The V7S Satellite Antenna is an excellent way to get free satellite TV using a device that won’t break the bank. As one of the few FTA receivers under $50, it provides serious bang for your buck. It’s compatible with all major video decodes, picture modes, and more.
A typical user who snags the V7S will be able to get over 6,000 different channels. The kit is plug n’ play, and also comes with USB 2.0 hubs for easy integration with other tech. What this means for users is simple: you get all the entertainment you want at a fraction of the price.
9. Biling TV Antenna – Best for Rural Area
The Biling TV antenna is one of the best TV receives for the job, simply because it has a maximum range of 150 miles. On the low end of things, you can expect to get a 90 mile stretch. To extend the reach, just use the signal booster. Either way, you get crisp, clear pictures in definitions up to 4K.
This FTA receiver also offers up another perk: it’s easy to install. To get the most out of your receiver, just place it on a window sill and hook it up to your HDTV. A support line makes it easy to get help, just in case you have a hard time.
10. MagicSee C400 Plus DV Satellite Receiver – Best for Tech Geeks
No products found.Do you want an FTA receiver that does it all? That goes above and beyond just picking up satellite signals, and makes streaming from you home a cinch? You might want to check out MagicSee’s C400. It’s compatible with all the major transmitters, including PowerVu, NewCard, and BISS.
In terms of definition, this Android-friendly box offers up strikingly good pictures that max out at 8K definition. Setup with the DTV is easy as pie, too, since you can actively pick and choose the satellites you receive transmission from. The satellites are already saved into your box, so there’s no need to scan if you don’t want to.
The best part about the MagicSee is that you can link it up with most office and home streaming services you already use, including AirPlay and Google TV Remote. So, even though you’re getting way more functionality, it’ll still have the same simple feeling as regular home watching.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Free To Air Receiver
With the evolution of technology, a Television has become a necessity and is no longer an accessory. It is not restricted to entertainment as you can have access to economic, political literal and cultural news from all over the world.
The many different Television channels air news, documentaries, entertainment shows, and much more. However, owning this device is not enough as you require a satellite device so as to watch numerous channels. The satellite includes a dish, Silicone-Controlled Rectifier (SCR), and a receiver.
There are many different types of receivers available in the market, making it confusing when selecting. They all have different features, designs, brands, and models.
Before purchasing, you should look for the important specifications that make a receiver outstanding. Below are some of the main considerations you ought to look into.
Type of Satellite Receiver
Receivers can be divided into normal, High Definition and digital receivers. The normal receivers receive the signal coming from the LNB that collects the signal from satellites. It then transforms the signal to audio and video and projects it on your television screen. It is the most common and cheapest type.
High Definition receivers receive signal, convert it, and projects it on your screen. The difference between this kind of receiver and the normal is that it projects images that are high definition. The television channels, which transmit High Definition signals require this kind of receiver to be seen in High Definition quality.
Watching High Definition channels require three factors: the channel ought to be transmitted from its source in high definition, having an HD receiver, and an HD Television. This allows you to view better quality up to ten times.
A digital receiver has more than one task. In addition to receiving TV signals, decrypting, and projecting, you can rewind, pause and record programs scheduled to air later on.
Receiving Radio Signals
Regardless of the receiver type, you may want to listen to radio channels by using your television. This feature will enable you to do so without having to buy a radio. Make sure you check for this feature to enjoy your favorite radio channels.
Some receivers have USB ports while some may not. A USB port enables you to connect the product to other devices such as a computer, iPod, and others. With it, you may listen to music or access other applications on your television directly.
Distribution to Multi-TV Screens
You may require a receiver that supports two or more TV screens. The system is designed to receive signals then transmit pictures and sounds to more than one television through an output. It is advisable to check this specification if you are interested in powering more than one screen at home.
If you are using a receiver for free satellite television consider buying a short-throw projector that has an ability to project a fairly large in-focus image from a “short” distance.
This is a crucial feature, especially when you want to live stream favorite shows or music through online websites.
Stationary or Motorized
Free to Air satellite systems are divided into stationary or motorized. For the stationery system, it is designed for specific targeting of television channels. Once installed, you will have to determine where to point the dish to get optimum channels.
The motorized system requires a motor that is attached to the dish. It is then connected to the receiver. This system enables you to point your dish at any satellite. With such a setup, you will get access to the different broadcast lineup, which maximizes your viewing experience.
You should consider the number of television and radio channels provided by a given receiver. They all range from hundreds to thousands of channels. One that is versatile in terms of channels will ensure to transform your experience into a more exciting and enjoyable one.
The set-up and operation of the receiver should be easy. You should not be forced to incur costs in hiring a professional to set up the entire system soon after buying. Ease of use will ensure you get to enjoy what you paid for.
Ready To Buy The Best FTA Receivers?
The advantage of having an FTA receiver is that you can use it anywhere be it in town or remote areas. It is a good source of over-the-air reception as compared to the HDTV antenna that struggles to get a good signal.
Selecting a Free to Air Receiver is not a difficult decision, more so if you choose what you want from the different types, according to your budget.
Keep in mind that the most expensive FTA receivers cost less as compared to months or years of subscription-based services. They are certainly worthwhile for cost-conscious viewing.
With the many different brands available, the receiver you select should guarantee your satisfaction regardless of your needs. The top types and important considerations provided above ensures your needs are well taken care of.
Are you looking for a handy tool for long-range communication? Consider buying dual-band ham radio which is a perfect way to communicate whether for socializing or case of emergency.
While you may be having cable TV or Satellite TV in your home, consider buying the right attic antennas that will help to achieve an excellent signal and better performance.