Low threshold satellite receiver – comparison

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Receiving satellite signals to watch television in the UK is easy. However, travel overseas and things become a little tricky. The further away from the UK you are, the harder it becomes to watch UK television via satellite. There are a number of things you can do though, one of which is to use a low threshold satellite receiver. In layman’s terms, a low threshold satellite receiver does a good job at converting weak signals from the satellite into a watchable television program. The further away from the UK you are, the weaker the signals will be.

In order to test which satellite receiver works best in the fringes of reception, we have tried three different ones. A standard receiver was first and then two low threshold variants were tried. “Fringe” means being at the edge of the reception footprint, or maybe on the limit.

BBC ITV in Italy Spain

This map shows the size of satellite dish needed in order to receive UK Spot Beam channels overseas. The red dot is the approximate location of Manerba del Garda!

Our tests have been carried out at Manerba del Garda, Italy. The satellite dish is a Crystop 100 cm self seeking model – read our review here. 

The Amstrad DRX 550 box was first to up to the hockey! Even with the 100 cm satellite dish, reception of the channels broadcast on the UK spot beam was limited. The UK spot beam carries signals for channels such as BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and the “Fives”.

Next to the test – the 12v Pace Javelin. The Pace Javelin is an unusual piece of equipment in so far as it is a 12 volt receiver, making this ideal for use in caravans and motorhomes. The Javelin is also a comptact size, measuring just 26 cm x 18 cm x 3cm. This Sky minibox will accept a Sky viewing card.

Pace Javelin minibox 12 v

The 12 volt Pace Javelin minibox is a compact design

At the rear of the Pace Javelin box, there are outlets for Scart and also RF. There is a connector for the aerial in, satellite cable and of course the 12 volt power socket.

Low threshold satellite receiver

The connections on the Pace Javelin Sky Minibox

In terms of the performance, the Pace Javelin did well. Most UK spot beam channels are available through the Pace Javelin.

Low threshold satellite receiver – our winner!

The final receiver on test is the Sky DRX595 receiver. This is a HD model so if you have a HD television in your motorome or caravan, this is a good bet. Now for the results of the tests. The Sky DRX595 is the best performer here at Lake Garda. All UK spot beam channels are available, with some channels having a stronger signal. The consistently best performing channels throughout the day and into the evening are BBC CI (Channel Islands), BBC2 NI (Northern Ireland), ITV Meridian, C4 Wales and various “Fives”. I have absolutely no idea why these channels have the strongest signals.

The Sky DRX 595 is a good example of a low threshold receiver

The Sky DRX 595 is a good example of a low threshold receiver

For more details of a 595 box, click on the link Sky DRX595 AMSTRAD DRX-595 HD STB (SKY HD) 1 Tuner

Remember though, that lots of other factors can affect reception of the UK spot beam on the fringes. Hot weather can kill the signal, as can heavy rain. Expect the signal to break up in the evening – times vary – accorsing to the weather!




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