Freeview v. Sky subscription

Hello everyone. Hope you all had a good Christmas and brought in the New Year in style!

Question: Do any of you have a Sky box but no subscription? We continue to pay Sky each month so as to have access to all the rugby. This expense is just too much and we are considering cancelling our subscription. What stations can you receive with just the box? Are the four Irish channels still available? What about Discovery, History, PBS, etc.

Any information would be appreciated. Thanks.

I don't think this Hola search is the same product. I have not been affected in anyway by the symptons listed on the malware site.

You may want to read this first !!

Hola is a download, you will find it at

Hi Martin

I was very interested in your mention of a 2nd router installation. At the moment, I use a VPN service through my computer (on the internet) to achieve the necessary "UK" connection. BUt I am not sure that the sky box perceives the different VPN, merely the French based one.

As the set up currently stands, I receive the "on-demand" programmes on Sky, but only from Sky, not from BBC, ITV, etc. Could that be because the sky box is still receiving (straight from the router) a French VPN ?

Thanks for clarifying it for me.

Wow Shelia compared to my download speed of 3.65mbps your broadband is brilliant.
I have not yet moved to France (currently in Greece), planning to do so when we sell here. However the point of the mail is that I use MEDIA HINT as an extension on GOOGLE CHROME (just Google Media Hnt and download it), there is also an extension for FIREFOX if you prefer that browser.
It has no know add/malware and I have certainly not experienced any issues with it connecting my laptop to the TV.
It will give you full access to UK channels including catch up TV on both ITV and BBC.

For some sporting events (like F1), which only Sky have full coverage I tend to revert to a web site called this is a bit clunky to use but comes in OK after you get rid of the advertising windows......

okay. Ping 30 ms. Download: 19.37mbps. Upload: 0.81 mbps. Have to confess I'm not really sur what this means.

Thanks again Michael and thanks John. Yes, I can connect laptop to TV with HDMI. Had to do this during last year's 6 Nations - winds were so strong and dish /lnb were vibrating so much, the picture was pixelating. So it can be done but not sure about internet speeds. Will run a speed test and report back.

If you have reasonably fast broadband you can pick up all the rugby and Premiership football from a choice of live streams totally free. You can view these on a large screen TV provided you have a laptop or tablet which has a HDMI port. This will connect directly to a modern flat screen TV. Its also possible with older equipment but a little more complicated.

Don't use a VPN but connect to BBC iPlayer with Hola on Google Chrome. Works a treat for BBC but not yet tried it for RTE. It's a great little add on to Chrome and very easy to use.

Hi Michael and thanks for that. Yes, I've been struggling with what to do. I hate paying the subscription, but would hate even more to miss a match. I have experimented with connecting laptop to TV via HDMI and it works fine, but was wondering which online streaming sites are the best for the Heineken - overdosed somewhat at the weekend and watched every game shown. So yes, roll on the 6 Nations. I'm also looking at VPN which might allow us to watch stuff on line via RTE iPlayer - have you tried this?

Hi Sheila, I've been following the thread and will give you our position. We have a Sky box without any subscription which we bought here in France. We have dozens of free channels, many (or most) of which we never watch. However for rugby which is the main sport watched in this house we rely on BBC for most coverage. All 6 Nations matches are on BBC1 or 2. Nearly all Celtic league/Rabodirect matches are on BBC regional channels, ie BBC Wales, BBC Northern Ireland or on SC4 or BBC Alba if they have a Welsh or Scottish team playing or Ulster. Normally the commentary on the latter two channels is in Welsh or Scots Gaelic but I think English is an option "on the Red Button". Admittedly we have no Irish channels and miss RTE a bit. If the matches are only between Munster/Leinster/Connacht we can't watch live. The other international friendlies involving Ireland. Scotland and Wales are mostly live on BBC except the England matches which have only highlights on BBC. I watch most of the Heineken cup and Amlin matches online via streaming sites which are reasonably reliable or on France2 or 4 on TNT. I hate the idea of paying Sky if it's available elsewhere. Hope you find this helpful. Looking forward to a long Spring of Irish successes in the 6 Nations and the Heineken Cup.

Martin, The Irish public channels aren't in any case available from a UK IP address. It might be possible to set up a server within Ireland to receive and forward TV channels received terrestrially, but the hassle would be far far greater than simply paying Irish Sky each month.

Hi John. Thanks for that. So, it looks like Sky will continue to get our money! :-(

Thank you very much Martin for the time you have spent on this. Our broadband is adequate, barely and there are no plans at the moment to improve things in our village. However, this is election year so you never know!

I brought an Irish Sky box to France and used it without a card.None of the dedicated Sky channels are available eg Living,Docs,History etc etc. You can get the BBC ,Channel 4 and all free non Sky designated channels, you cannot get the Irish TV channels, however all Irish radio is available

Hello Sheila. I can recommend that you look at the following web address.

This is a complete listing of the free channels on a Sky+ HD box, without a subscription. Sky T&C's explaining exactly what you can watch are here,

If you contact them you must NOT tell them you are outside of the UK otherwise they will switch off your card AND your box. They have the means to do this built in if your box is connected to a telephone line.

Their alternative is to refuse you a card or turn off your existing card.

This is all about Digital Rights Management (DRM) for broadcast where Sky have licenses to broadcast shows and movies into specific geographical locations, but not others such as France, Spain, etcetera.

You might want to consider the following idea.

If you have a reasonable broadband connection, buy a 2nd router box and for $19.99 per year you can have what is called a VPN service. You then set up the 2nd router between your broadband box and your Sky box: or another box such as a NowTV box.

Inputting the VPN details into the 2nd router will then give you a UK internet connection and this will 'convince' your new box and even your Sky box that you are watching from a UK postal address. You can then download to your TV and computer all the UK only tv channels and I suspect this will also include all the irish channels as well.

Good luck

Thanks for that Neil. I was hoping that we could continue using the Sky+ box without the subscription, and as you can see above, my main concern at the moment is receiving all the channels on which the rugby games are broadcast.

Bought a Manhattan FREESAT box whilst in UK. Plugged it in and had all the UK TV channels and radio immediately. You do need two feeds from the satellite dish to get 'pause live tv' as per Sky box and the recording function-it has a 360gb hard drive so enough space for a load of programmes and films. To get Irish channels you search and add the information manually. If you want a larger drive and more functions, a Humax pvr is probably the best but costs a lot more.

Hi Peter. I really appreciate the time you have taken to research this. Yes, it does look like we either give up on the rugby (which is never going to happen) or pay Sky for now. I might try the cancelling route - we did this before and got a year at half price, so I don't know if they'll go for that old trick again.