Humax Freesat

May be a stupid question but do i have to buy a Freesat Humax box in the UK to have UK channels pre-loaded. Only i noticed on a French site that they said it comes pre-loaded with Canal?

Any advice on where best to purchase greatly appreciated.

Also any recommendations as to where to purchase the Satellite Dish (TV only) - I have been reading that it might be best to get a large dish?


Mike, check out There is much expertise (not me) on fringe reception, including in the South of France.

We are currently enjoying a period of relatively good reception from the Astra 2E and 2F satellites of UK Spot Beam channels (i.e. most of the things you want to watch), but there is no guarantee that that will not return to the bad old days of spring 2014, after further satellite changes are eventually made. On the fringes (e.g. Carcassonne to the Pyrneees - the reception drops off very quickly in that short distance), it appears that the make, as well as the size of dish, and the type of LNB can be critical. Read all about it on Rob's.

Most of the French contingent on that website, like myself, have got their dish etc. online from - based in Villeneuve sur Lot (47).

We have a Manhattan box purchased in the UK - cheaper than Humax and preloaded. The channels automatically get updated. We are in 64 and near the Pyrenees and lost all UK channels earlier in the year but most of them reappeared a couple of months back. We will be inastalling a 1.2m dish as the signal is a bit iffy especially when it rains.

Doreen, I'm not particularly strong on terrestrial TV, but understand at least the basics.

I looked up your location on the internet (MaTNT on & 'carte des sites' on This shows that your TNT reception is very poor indeed, so I wouldn't use any kind of indoor aerial. (It looks as if it's at least 70-80kms to the transmitter, which is near Melle.) If you really want to watch via an antenna, you're going to need a good one, probably with a 'masthead amplifier'. Such a setup would not be beyond an experienced amateur, but you'd probably be best getting in a local antenniste. For casual use, perhaps trying French catch-up tv via the Internet would be more economic.

It might be an idea to ask some of your neighbours about their experiences in this respect, as I'm only going on the theory and the maps, which might be a bit out-of-date.

The Optima Quad PLL rather than the twin on Michael's post (€22 +post from is a good buy.

I'd suggest a twin LNB as you will need two cables from the dish to any receiver capable of receiving two programmes at once, such as those with built-in recorders. Use a quad- or octo- LNB if you might need more than this. The extra ports cost very little.

This twin LNB comes from a family of LNBs much recommended by Michael Howarth here. His post also contains some examples of dishes over 1m, suggested for a location quite a lot further south & west of you. I'd have thought that around 1 metre would be OK in your area, such as Brian has, but you need to see what is working with other anglophones near you. Keep in mind that obstructions, whether trees, hills or bits of buildings, are absolutely fatal so far as satellite reception is concerned. (Remember also that trees grow a lot over the years, and that what might work in winter without leaves probably won't work come the summer after the leaves have grown.) The dish must be located so that all of the dish face is completely 'illuminated' by the satellite. (If it just can't be completely clear, you will need a bigger dish which will give you the equivalent reception area.) For calculating the significance of an obstruction, a rule-of-thumb can be based on the 6:10 ratio. If the object is 10 metres/feet/kilometres away it can be up to 6 metres/feet/kilometres high without getting in the way. Any higher than that and you will probably either have to move the dish or the obstruction. (This is a much steeper angle than appears to be the case when you look at most installed dishes. It because these are 'offset' dishes.) When dealing with a big dish, keep in mind that the top, bottom & sides of the dish must all have an unobstructed view, so that a 1m. diameter dish needs a 1m. diameter clear 'tube' towards the satellite.

Personally, I'd always put such a dish on a substantial ground-mounted mast, preferably with a chunky base of poured concrete. (I'd suggest at least 40Kgs of concrete for a 1 metre dish, with proportionately more for larger dishes.) The forces acting on a large dish in a storm are massive, and could pull it off a wall, along with a big chunk of wall!

Mike, I am beyond Lalinde. My reception is first class. An acquaintance in Lanquais has terrible reception. It is that variable for X reasons hereabouts, but we both have 1m dishes. I have a satellite finder that is no help whatsoever, beware of believing it will absolutely help and LNBs do count. That is where the likes of Peter can best advise. If you find that you need an installer, care is advised. Even some of the ones advertising on another forum include people who should not be used for reasons we need not go into but who are capable of making people's blood boil!

We are about 20 Mins from Bergerac. Thanks for the advice on Humax - I will order from Amazon.

Took the fully uncertified installation training course from Youtube :) Bricomarche had the (cheap) satellite finder 26EU.

I have also read that there are variations in quality if LNB?

Concerning your question about the dish, you don't say where you want to install it. Over here close to Geneva, I still use a well-aligned 60cm dish with no significant problems, but over near Biarritz you'll need a relative monster. I get dishes of up to 80cm from my local Brico (DIY) store, but bigger dishes are readily available by mail order within France.

If you would post where you'd like this system installed, I'm sure we can give you a reasonable idea of the size you'll probably need.


I've a lot of satellite and TV experience over here, stretching back almost 25 years. I'd strongly suggest that you get your Humax Freesat in the UK, primarily because you're not very likely to find the real Freesat version in France. (You can, however, buy your Humax Freesat from Amazon in the UK & they'll deliver it to France for very little extra.)

The first difference is that genuine Freesat receivers are automatically managed by the Freesat consortium 'over the air'. This covers adding new channels and changing frequencies, when necessary, for existing ones. The second difference is that the genuine receivers have the full Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) showing up to seven days ahead. Most non-Freesat receivers can only tell you what's on 'now & next'. A further issue I've had trouble with on some non-Freesat systems is that they don't seem to be able to cope with Channel5, whereas that's automatically part of Freesat.

You can, of course, just buy any Free-to-air receiver, from Humax or anybody else, & set it up yourself. They are, however, often a bit out-of-date so far as the frequencies are concerned, even when they're new. From then on, you need to manually make the changes that Freesat does automatically for you. Doing this varies in complexity from model to model, but, IMHO, is best simply avoided by going Freesat in the first place. There's no significant price difference if you compare receivers of similar quality. You can actually buy some quite cheap Freesat receivers, in the UK & from Amazon, but I've had nothing but trouble with them. (I've not tried the Openbox, so can't honestly comment on that one.)

For what? For receiving you are covered by the TV licence that is part of your local tax that you pay irrespective of having a television or not. As for the UK, well you receive the signals and that is that. If you are in a protected area such as UNESCO listed then you would probably need permission for the dish. Otherwise, as long as it is discreet and not above the size for which permission is required (see above, ahem ahem) then you need nothing. Simply make sure the equipment you have, LNB and all, are appropriate to where you are. Ditto the installation. This discussion has arisen very often, there are answers if you look for old posts and also several professionals who will advise if they pick this post up.

Thanks both. Also answered my next question which would have been about needing permission :slight_smile:

We have always had a 1m dish, which is the limit without permission, (well, 90cm really I believe, but nobody will climb your wall to measure). Others in this area who had 60 to 80cm had difficulties and have gone up to 90 to 100cm. Boxes available online too, cheaper than Bricomarché.