We get asked everyday how to receive foreign channel subscription packages and alternatives to Sky.
Foreign channel reception in the UK
Sky broadcast in the UK and charge a monthly subscription for their channel package to UK residents. There are similar channel packages across Europe that are also only available to the residents of the country of origin. Due to the fact that the channels are broadcast via satellite it means that the channel packages can usually be received across most of Europe with correct receiver and subscription card.
Generally foreign channels subscriptions are far more expensive than Sky due to the markup added by the various suppliers in the chain so do not represent good value to domestic users as an alternative to Sky. Commercial users however benefit from far lower subscription charges than the Sky commercial rate which is one of the reasons UK pubs and clubs run European channel packages for their sports channels. Another reason is that foreign broadcasters have the rights to show the 3pm kick offs that are blocked in the UK to protect the attendance at the stadiums where the games are played.
So what are the options for domestic customers?
If you are looking for a cheaper alternative to an official Sky subscription then an official foreign channel package is not for you. If money is no object and your keen to receive 3pm kick offs then there are various packages to choose from.
The only other way to receive foreign channel packages is the unofficial route using illegal pirating methods. Years ago it was possible to insert an pirated card into a satellite receiver or enter pirate codes to unlock channels. Broadcasters continually altered their codes and scrambling technology making this method very unreliable.
Card sharing is now the method used by pirates to gain unofficial access to scrambled channel packages. Basically an official card and receiver is obtained and connected via a server to the internet where compatible receivers share the card details. Some receiver manufacturers provide their own servers with a free “gift” for a limited period of time. Others offer a service in return for a monthly, quarterly or yearly fee. Go to Google and search for CCCAM and you will see lots of providers offering services in return for a subscription of around 20 euros a month for dozens of packages including UK sky channels.
Whats the downside to card sharing?
Its illegal across the whole of Europe and providers have been prosecuted and have had their servers closed down. Not sure how they track end users but you are liable to prosecution if you are found to be using a card sharing service. Secondly the fact that there may be many users sharing simultaneously means that channels are slow to unscramble and may freeze. Many card sharing servers claim to offer the fastest channel change with little freeze.
What do you need to make it work?
Its best to install an 80cm or 1m motorised dish to be able to move between the satellites broadcasting the channel packages assuming line of sight to the satellites is not an issue. You need a satellite receiver that is either Linux CCCAM compatible or can be connected to the manufacturers own server if one is available. You will also require a decent quality broadband connection and some technical ability with PC technology.
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