Free-to-air (FTA) are television (TV) and radio services broadcast in clear (unencrypted) form, allowing any person with the appropriate receiving equipment to receive the signal and view or listen to the content without requiring a subscription, other ongoing cost or one-off fee (e.g. Pay-per-view). In the traditional sense, this is carried on terrestrial radio signals and received with an antenna.
FTA also refers to channels and broadcasters providing content for which no subscription is expected, even though they may be delivered to the viewer/listener by another carrier for which a subscription is required, e.g. cable, satellite or the Internet. These carriers may be mandated (or opt) in some geographies to deliver FTA channels even if a premium subscription is not present (providing the necessary equipment is still available), especially where FTA channels are expected to be used for emergency broadcasts, similar to the 112 emergency service provided by mobile phone operators and manufacturers.
Free-to-air is often used for international broadcasting, making it something of a video equivalent to shortwave radio. Most FTA retailers list free to air channel guides and content available in North America for free to air use.
Although commonly described as free, the cost of free-to-air services is met through various means:
In Brazil the main FTA satellite is the Star One C2, it holds approximately 30 C-band analog channels, including all major networks like Rede Globo, SBT, Record, RedeTV!, Band and others, and 5 digital HDTV channels.+itv 1
There are a number of competing systems in use. Early adopters used C-band dishes several feet in diameter to receive analog microwave broadcasts, and later digital microwave broadcasts using the 3.7-4.2 GHz band. Today, although large C-band dishes can still receive some content, the 11.7-12.2 GHz Ku band is also used. Ku-band signals can be received using smaller dishes, often as small as under a meter in diameter, allowing FTA satellite to be picked up from smaller spaces such as apartment balconies (note, however, that these dishes are not quite as small as those commonly used for commercial services such as Dish Network, DirecTV, Bell ExpressVu, Shaw Direct, etc. Dishes intended for those services may not deliver an adequate signal on Ku-band). The European-developed DVB-S and DVB-S2 standards are the most commonly used broadcast methods, with analog transmissions almost completely discontinued as of mid-2014.
The most common North American sources for free-to-air DVB satellite television are:
Most of these signals are carried by US satellites. There is little or no free Canadian DVB-S content available to users of medium-size dishes as much of the available Ku-band satellite bandwidth is occupied by pay-TV operators Shaw Direct and Bell TV, although larger C-band dishes can pick up some content. FTA signals may be scattered across multiple satellites, requiring a motor or multiple LNBs to receive everything. This differs from Europe, where FTA signals are commonly concentrated on a few specific satellites.
Another difference between North American FTA and FTA in most of the rest of the world is that in North America, very few of the available signals are actually intended for home viewers or other end-users. Instead, they are generally intended for reception by local television stations, cable system headends, or other commercial users. While it is generally thought to be legal for home viewers to view such transmissions as long as they are not encrypted, this means that there are several unique challenges to viewing FTA signals, challenges not present in other areas of the world. Among these are:
The largest groups of end-users for Ku-band free-to-air signals were initially the ethnic-language communities, as often free ethnic-language programming would be sponsored by Multilingual American Communities and their broadcasters. Depending on language and origin of the individual signals, North American ethnic-language TV is a mix of pay-TV, free-to-air and DBS operations. Today, many American broadcasters send a multitude of programming channels in many languages, spanning many new channels, so they can get National support, which ultimately leads to carriage by cable systems, to additionally support the high costs of broadcasting signals in this way.
Nevertheless, free-to-air satellite TV is a viable addition to home video systems, not only for the reception of specialized content but also for use in locations where terrestrial ATSC over-the-air reception is incomplete and additional channels are desired.
Australia has five major free-to-air networks: Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Seven Network, Nine Network, Network Ten, and Special Broadcasting Service (SBS). Traditionally each network had only a single channel in a geographic area, though with the advent of digital television each network now has SD multichannels 7TWO, 7mate, 7flix, 9Go!, 9Gem, 9Life, 10 Boss, 10 Peach, SBS Viceland and SBS Food respectively, and one HD networks simulcasting ABC HD, 7HD, 9HD, 10 HD and SBS HD respectively. With the exception of SBS, each commercial broadcaster also has one SD datacasting channel: Your Money, TVSN and Spree TV respectively; SBS instead broadcasts NITV free-to-air. The ABC is exempt from the policy limiting the number of multichannels, and currently runs three SD channels ABC, ABC Comedy, ABC ME, ABC News, and a primary channel which is simulcast on both analogue and digital. ABC and SBS channels are available across Australia; outside the major capital cities, regional affiliates provide channels that are essentially identical to the metropolitan commercial channels. In addition, community television provides one channel in some major cities.
Australia's two main government-owned TV channels, the ABC and SBS, along with the digital-only multichannels ABC Comedy, ABC ME and SBS Viceland, are both available free-to-air on the Optus D1 satellite. Viewers in remote parts of Australia could also access Seven Central and Imparja Television, or WIN WA and GWN7 in Western Australia, through the DVB-S free-to-view Optus Aurora service, which was replaced in December 2013 with the DVB-S2 free-to-view Optus VAST service.
New Zealand has a number of FTA broadcasters such as Television New Zealand's TVNZ 1 and TV2, as well as MediaWorks New Zealand's TV3 and FOUR, Sky Network Television's Prime and the government subsidised the Māori Television and Te Reo channels.
Four channels, TV One, TV2, TV3, FOUR are also broadcast timeshifted by +1 hour on Freeview and Sky platforms.
A broadcast of parliament and a number of local channels, such as Cue TV are also available. Local stations such as CTV and Face TV (previously Triangle TV) were free-to-air analogue PAL transmissions prior to CTV migrating to the free-to-air digital DVB-T service and Face TV's terrestrial free-to-air service shutoff from December 2013.
A digital terrestrial version of Freeview was launched in 2008, which, unlike the analogue and free-to-air satellite options, supports high-definition broadcasts for TV One, 2 and 3.
In Hong Kong, the largest and most dominant television channel, Television Broadcasts Limited, was the first free-to-air commercial television channel when it commenced broadcasting on 19 November 1967. It may also well be among the oldest and first station to broadcast over-the-air in East and Southeast Asia.
In Korea, KBS, MBC (the 2 main public broadcasters), SBS (privately owned, but available for free to viewers), and EBS (including both TV and radio) are the free-to-air broadcasting stations. They dominate more than 80% of advertisement profits, according to the recent survey from the agency. Due to the recent government's decision, digital television service for all free-to-air networks would be scheduled before the year 2012, followed by the end of analog television broadcasting.
Around 600 FTA television channels and 180 Radio Channel are broadcast from ku-band and c-band transponders on the INSAT-4B and GSAT-15 satellite covering India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and parts of Afghanistan, China, and Myanmar. In India, the channels are marketed as DD Direct Plus/ DD Free Dish by Doordarshan, India's national broadcaster and other Indian private broadcaster ABS Free Dish from the ABS2 satellite, one can receive free-to-air regional TV channels using small DTH antenna and freetoair set-top box.
European countries have a tradition of most television services being free to air. Germany, in particular, receives in excess of 100 digital satellite TV channels free to air. Approximately half of the television channels on SES Astra's 19.2° east and 28.2° east satellite positions, and Eutelsat's Hot Bird (13° east) are free-to-air.
A number of European channels which one might expect to be broadcast free-to-air - including many countries' national terrestrial broadcasters - do not do so via satellite for copyright reasons. (Rights to purchase programs for free-to-air broadcast, especially via satellite, are often higher in price than for encrypted broadcast.) The lack of FTA among public broadcasters are prevalent in countries whose broadcasters tend to use subtitles for foreign language programmes; although Spain's two public domestic channels, La Una and La Dos, are also encrypted despite dubbed foreign programmes being the norm in Spain. However, these channels usually provide a scheme to offer free, but encrypted, viewing with free-to-view broadcasts. Certain programming on Italy's RAI, and the majority of Dutch channels are covered by such schemes (although in the case of RAI some programming is transmitted without encryption where there are no copyright issues). In Austria, the main national networks broadcast free-to-view via satellite; however, all regional and some smaller channels are transmitted free-to-air, and the national public broadcaster, ORF, offers a special free-to-air channel which airs selected programming without (i.e. those without copyright issues) via satellite all over Europe.
As Germany and Austria speak the same language and use the same satellite, Austrian viewers are able to receive about 120 free German-speaking channels from both countries.
Cable and satellite distribution allow many more channels to carry sports, movies and specialist channels which are not broadcast as FTA. The viewing figures for these channels are generally much lower than the FTA channels.
In France, there are twenty six national television channels (MPEG-4 HD video) and 41 local television channels broadcast free-to-air via the TNT DVB-T service.
In Germany there are various free-to-air DVB-T services available, the number of which varies by region. Das Erste, ZDF, ZDFneo, ZDFinfo, 3sat, Arte, KiKA and Phoenix are available throughout the country, in addition to at least one region-dependent channel which is provided by the regional ARD member. Additionally, ARD's EinsFestival, EinsPlus and tagesschau24 are variously available in some parts of the country, and various commercial channels are available in metropolitan areas.
In the Republic of Ireland, there are nine television channels and 11 radio channels broadcast free-to-air via the DVB-T Saorview service. Analog PAL versions of some of the channels were also broadcast until October 24, 2012, when all analogue television broadcasting was shut down.
In the Netherlands, 3 national public television channels NPO 1, NPO 2 and NPO 3, and 7 national public radio channels broadcast free-to-air via the DVB-T Digitenne service. The television and radio channels of the regional public broadcasters are also free-to-air via the DVB-T service.
In the UK, around 220 free-to-air television channels and 25 free-to-air radio channels are available terrestrially via the Freeview DVB-T service. Seven HD channels are also broadcast via a public service broadcast multiplex and a commercial multiplex, both DVB-T2.
In Denmark, nine channels are as of 2018 free-to-air, distributed via 18 main transmitter sites and 30 smaller, auxiliary transmitters. The nine channels (DR1, DR2, DR3, DR Ultra, DR Ramasjang, DR K, Folketinget, TV2 Regionerne, and sign language/local programme) come in two DVB-T2 MUXes.
FIFA, through several companies, have sold the rights for the broadcast of 2010 FIFA World Cup to the following broadcasters.4Music
4Music is a British free-to-air and free-to-view television channel launched on 15 August 2008, replacing The Hits. It is the only Channel 4-branded channel within The Box Plus Network.
On 2 April 2013, all Box Television channels went free-to-air on satellite, apart from 4Music which went free-to-view. As a result, the channels were removed from the Sky EPG in Ireland. Eventually, 4Music also went free-to-air on 7 February 2017 and launched on Freesat, replacing The Box, but reverted to being free-to-view on 12 December 2018. On 25 September 2017, 4Music received an update to its on-screen graphics, revolving around four squares which extend to create the 4Music logo and animate to form the artist credit.
From 16 April 2018, the channel now shows more entertainment programmes as well as classic US drama to coincide with a change in the EPG numbers on Sky from 1 May 2018, moving from the music section into the entertainment section on Sky 139. A temporary duplicate launched on channel 129 on Virgin Media at midnight on 22 July 2018, a slot previously vacated by Really prior to the UKTV channels' removals, until the network was restored on 11 August 2018.Cartoon Network Arabic
Cartoon Network Arabic (Arabic: كرتون نتورك بالعربية) is a Pan-Arab free-to-air children's television channel that is broadcast for a pan-Arab audience in the Middle East and North Africa region (excluding Israel, Iran, Turkey and Cyprus), and it is one of two Arabic-language versions of Cartoon Network, the other being an HD pay TV channel on beIN and additional providers called Cartoon Network MENA which is available in both English and Arabic. The channel was launched on October 10, 2010 at 10:10 AM GST, with the channel's launch coinciding with the opening of Turner Broadcasting System Europe's offices in Dubai Media City.
The standard channel broadcasts via Arabsat Badr 6 and Nilesat. Cartoon Network Arabic is considered a free-to-air alternative to Cartoon Network MENA and Boomerang MENA, two pay TV channels offered in the Arab world in HD and in both English and Arabic on beIN Network and additional providers since July 1, 2016, despite the varying differences in programming, schedules, and available languages.DD Free Dish
DD Free Dish (previously known as DD Direct Plus) is an Indian Free-To-Air digital direct-broadcast satellite television service. It is owned and operated by Public Service Broadcaster Doordarshan (Prasar Bharati). It has a reach of approximately 30 million households which is 15 % of the total TV Households in the country.It is the only free-to-air satellite television service in India. After upgrade, INSAT-4B satellite at 93.5° was used to broadcast 64 FTA MPEG-2 Channels and 29 radio channels.
With the latest upgrade, to GSAT-15 at 93.5° on 1 February 2016, the present capacity is likely to be enhanced to 104 SDTV channels and 40 Radio channels in near future with the introduction of new MPEG-4, DVB-S2 stream. DD Free Dish DTH viewers can watch 80 SD MPEG-2 TV channels and 18 SD MPEG-4 channels apart from 40 radio channels. New logo for DD Free Dish was added on its transponders on 29 October 2014. DD Free Dish also offers its slots to private channels.At this time DD Free Dish TV channels can be received by using simple free to air set-top boxes with DVB-S and DVB-S2 technology. Now a days many free to air set-top box are available. Recently Prasar Bharati selected few Indian manufacturers to produce iCAS enabled set-top box with MPEG-4 technology. Free to air set-top box can be bought online as well as in offline markets.
There is no monthly charges to access DD Free Dish DTH service. This is India's only free DTH (direct-to-home) service.DZRH News Television
DZRH News Television is a Philippine free-to-air television news channel owned by Manila Broadcasting Company. Its programs are primarily from MBC's flagship radio station DZRH and station-produced programs, occupied by the timeslots of radio dramas and other programs of DZRH.
DZRH News Television is the second free-to-air channel that re-broadcasts news from a radio station, after DZMM launched its own TV channel, while other stations soon followed such as DZRJ/8TriMedia (for 8TriTV), Radyo Inquirer DZIQ (for Inquirer 990 Television) and Radyo 5 92.3 News FM (for One PH).Digital television in the United Kingdom
There are four major forms of digital television (DTV) broadcast in the United Kingdom: a direct-to-home satellite service from the Astra 28.2°E satellites provided by Sky UK, a cable television service provided by Virgin Media (known as Virgin TV); a free-to-air satellite service called Freesat; and a free-to-air digital terrestrial service called Freeview. In addition, an IPTV system known as BT Vision is provided by BT. Individual access methods vary throughout the country. 77% of the United Kingdom has access to HDTV via terrestrial digital television. Satellite is the only source of HDTV broadcast available for the remaining 23%.Freesat
Freesat is a British free-to-air satellite television service, provided by joint venture between the BBC and ITV plc. The service was formed as a memorandum in 2007 and has been marketed since 6 May 2008. Freesat offers a satellite alternative to the Freeview service on digital terrestrial television, with a broadly similar selection of channels available without subscription for users purchasing a receiver.
The service also makes use of the additional capacity available on satellite broadcasting to offer a selection of 17 (as of October 2018) high-definition channels from the BBC, ITV, Channel 5, Arirang TV, Bloomberg, Daystar, Discovery Networks, France 24, NHK, RT UK and TRT World.Freesat's main competitors are Freeview, Freesat from Sky, Virgin Media and BT. TalkTalk also offer a YouView service (with Channel 4HD and All 4 catch up).Glorystar
GloryStar Satellite Systems is a Direct to Home religious based satellite television service. The service offers viewers and churches a selection of Christian radio and television services.
Glorystar broadcasts its channels via the Galaxy 19 Ku band satellite, which covers most of North and Central America, as well as the Caribbean.
All channels are religious, family friendly and distributed as non-encrypted or free-to-air (FTA) allowing viewers to receive programming without a monthly subscription fee.Hot Bird
Hot Bird is a group of satellites operated by Eutelsat, located at 13°E over the Equator (orbital position) and with a transmitting footprint over Asia, Europe, North Africa,
Americas and the Middle East.
Only digital radio and television channels are transmitted by the Hot Bird constellation, both free-to-air and encrypted. In addition there are a few interactive and IP services. The satellites currently operate at 13° East and are numbered 13B, 13C and 13D.KBS2
KBS2 is a South Korean free-to-air channel owned by the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS). Its programming mainly consists of drama and entertainment shows. KBS2 is a result of the forced merger of the Tongyang Broadcasting Corporation with KBS in 1980.List of free-to-air channels at 28°E
This is a list of all of the free-to-air channels that are currently available via satellite from SES Astra satellites (Astra 2E/2F/2G) located at 28.2 °E. These are the same group of satellites used for the Sky pay-TV platform and the Freesat free-to-air platform, therefore existing installations for these platforms would not require a realignment of the satellite dish or the purchase of any additional equipment.List of television stations in the United Kingdom
This list of linear television stations in the United Kingdom refers to television in the United Kingdom which is available from digital terrestrial, satellite, cable, and IPTV providers, with an estimated more than 480 channels.Prime (New Zealand TV channel)
Prime is the second privately owned national free-to-air television broadcaster currently available in New Zealand. The broadcaster airs a varied mix of programming, largely imported from Australia, the UK and the United States, as well as free-to-air rugby union and cricket matches.
It was originally owned by Prime Television Limited in Australia. Prime later entered into a joint-venture agreement with Nine Entertainment Co. (Nine Network Australia), causing the network's graphics to look like Nine Network. On 8 February 2006, the Commerce Commission gave Sky Television clearance to purchase the station for NZ$31 million.
Prime's analogue terrestrial signals had covered 91% of the population via the state-owned Kordia transmission network. It is currently available in digitally free-to-air form via Sky Network Television on satellite and Kordia on terrestrial. Vodafone also carry the channel for their cable subscribers in Wellington and Christchurch.RAI
RAI – Radiotelevisione italiana (Italian pronunciation: [ˈrai ˌradjoteleviˈzjoːne itaˈljaːna]; commercially styled as Rai since 2000; known until 1954 as Radio Audizioni Italiane is the national public broadcasting company of Italy, owned by the Ministry of Economy and Finance.
RAI operates many terrestrial and subscription television channels and radio stations. It is the biggest television broadcaster in Italy and competes with Mediaset, and other minor television and radio networks. RAI has a relatively high television audience share of 33.8%.RAI broadcasts are also received in neighbouring countries, including Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, San Marino, Slovenia, Vatican City, Switzerland, and Tunisia, and elsewhere on pay television.
Half of the RAI's revenues come from broadcast receiving licence fees, the rest from the sale of advertising time.In 1950, the RAI became one of the 23 founding broadcasting organizations of the European Broadcasting Union.RCTI
RCTI (Rajawali Citra Televisi Indonesia) is an Indonesian free-to-air television network based in West Jakarta. Its programming consists of news bulletins, sports events and soap operas.Rai Gulp
Rai Gulp is an Italian free-to-air television channel aimed towards kids. It is owned and operated by Italian State-owned broadcaster RAI.Rai News24
Rai News 24 is an Italian free-to-air television channel centred towards airing news as its main programmingSony Movie Channel (UK)
Sony Movie Channel is a British free-to-air digital television channel showing films and related content. As of 2018 the channel is transmitted on all the major broadcast platforms in the UK - terrestrial, satellite and cable. The channel is only broadcast in standard-definition.
As a free-to-air channel, supported by advertising, it is subject to standard UK broadcasting rules, which means that films shown between 5.30 am and 9 pm are often edited to make them suitable for pre-watershed slots. After 9 pm, the rules are more relaxed and films will generally not be censored.
The channel formerly aired an Animax programming block every Monday night.Television in Hungary
Television in Hungary was introduced in 1957. Transmission in color was introduced to Hungarian television for the first time in 1971. Hungary had only one television channel until 1973. It was only in the mid 1990s when private and commercial broadcasting was introduced to Hungary.