Thanks Geoff - Tina, i'll do my best.....Answers highlighted in your text.
I think I need a 1.4 dish which I can mount on the side of my house, but which satellite do I choose Prime Focus or Offset Focus? Which is the best box but most importantly who do I use to install it?
They are different dish types and the prime focus is a better dish. Offset is an oval dish, Prime focus is round and at it's widest point is 12 cm wider. Prime focus is a thicker dish too, better in high wind and pulls a better signal overall. To confuse matters further there are also different manufacturers of dishes - so direct comparisons are not always as seems - many suppliers put in cheaper dishes and related equipment - example some use Inverto LNB's on the Prime focus dishes, others the Invacom - the Invacom cost trade €20 more, so it is quite easy for suppliers to assemble cheaper equipment. We have been installing locally (and legally) for around 10 years and have many recommendations from local forum users (happy to forward).
Prime Focus or Offset?
You mention about having 4 connections. Using the minimum size / spec dish - 1.4 offset (Tecatel is best of this type / size), these dishes work best optimised with a twin LNB, the Quad - 4 outputs do not work as well on this dish (as shadow more of dish) and you run the risk of weakening signal further, pushing it close to edge of reception, in some areas, too close. On this basis if you want more than 3 connections / require a Quad LNB, we would recommend the 1.45 Prime focus, as is a better performing dish & the Quad (4) LNB (different type for PF dishes)) does not weaken signal on this dish. Will give better stability, though will add €200 to costs - in summary a quad LNB on a 1.4 offset may be pushing your luck signal wise in La Marina. We also have to be a little cautious in this location, as suffers microwave interference in parts, which does also cause issues - so always from a starting point, is better to put in good quality equipment for a good long term & stable system.
So far I think I know I need:
- 1.4 dish
- 4 way LNB (I have 4 TV sets)
- Freesat boxes for each TV, two of which I want to have a hard drive recording facility
- A ton of caballing
Freesat boxes are UK only. Not available (officially) or have warranty in Spain. If you do find a supplier of them in Spain, you will pay a premium (as will be shipped from UK) and if there are issues they cannot be fixed locally. Free to air receivers - are available locally (designed to work world wide) and have local / official 2 year warranty. Main difference is the Free to air receivers do not have the 7 day program guide (now and next), though most record by a connected memory stick & have multiple timers. To summarise, if you want Freesat official, you may want to buy yourself, as will be cheaper than any local dealer (no real dealer!), but will not have support.
You also mention 2 x Freesat / hard drive recording boxes & another 2 connections (4 TV's) this is actually 6 connections, not 4, as the hard drive twin tuner receivers require 2 connections each. This changes the requirements of the system, as once you go over 4 connections (to maintain any decent stability), you have a different LNB (quattro) and a further piece of equipment to re-assemble the signal into separate ports - Multiswitch, which most give from 8 outputs - this is usually how you would start constructing a community system! would add a further €200 or so to cost as this is commercial grade type equipment.
If you chose 4 x Free to air receiver (not Freesat) - still get the same channels (but without same program guide), to be cost effective if you select a single tuner model which records via USB (connect a memory stick or external hard drive) - these only require 1 cable run each (so you could do 4 off a Quad LNB) & if you record onto a memory stick / external hard drive - you can move from box to box. So for example you could record something in the bedroom connection, unplug the memory stick and watch in any other connected room - each box would record this way, so you have 4 compatible recording / playback boxes. Not quite the same thing, but a much more cost effective way of going about this, without needing additional expensive equipment.
Ultimately you can have everything you have asked for - but only if prepared to not be concerned over budget and are aware of potential warranty issues on the receivers.
Edited by graham1, 12 August 2016 - 09:12 AM.