Friday, December 18, 2009

Dutch TV (…and Flemish too…)

My brother-in-law had made me aware along time ago that world wide reception of a Dutch TV channel was possible. I finally got around to seriously looking into this a few weeks ago.

Of course, anybody can go out and have a satellite installer come in and do it for you, but that is no fun. One of the parameters of any job should be cost and this one was no exception.

I had a surplus Bell satellite receiver taking up space in the basement, so I traded it with my son-in-law Greg for a satellite dish surplus to his needs. After I did some checking (well, actually a lot of checking) on the web, I found that the LNB (Low Noise Block, sometimes called the ‘eye’ on the dish) was not compatible with the satellite (AMC4) that I was trying to pick up. It had to be standard LNB, rather than circular LNB. Who knew?

Ebay to the rescue. For $8.00, the correct type of LNB arrived in my mailbox. Next trick is how to mount this. The focus point on the dish is crucial to the reception: out by just a little and obtaining a strong signal becomes next to impossible. So I decided to tear open the old LNB with the idea of perhaps mounting the new one in there. It turned out that, although significantly different in shape, with a lot of filing and cutting I was able to mount the new LNB in the old bracket. Three cable ties hold the hold thing together, and voila, Bob’s your uncle.

Next I mounted the dish onto the roof with a surplus tripod I happened to have kicking around. With the aid of a helper, aiming it was a fairly easy operation, once I discovered the true vertical alignment mark on the dish mounting bracket, which was hidden behind a mounting bolt. Duh!!!

The dish in the foreground is the “regular” Bell TV dish, pointing to Nimiq 2.

Although signal strength is not the greatest (82%), the picture displayed on the receiver is very good. The receiver, by the way, I had lying around after it become no longer useful, due to the fact that satellite pay TV encryption became (seemingly) unbeatable.

To display, since I am the only Dutch speaking person around here, I just use my notebook for viewing. A video capture device (from Belkin) leads from the S video port on the receiver to a USB port on the notebook. Install the right drivers, and all you need then is an application to display the video stream. To find that application actually took a long time. I finally settled on TV Viewer, a shareware program.


BVN is the organization that actually delivers the channel. It appears to be a joint venture between VRT (Vlaamse Radio en Televisie Omroep) and RNW (Radio Nederland Wereldomroep).

And best of all: no commercials, yeah!!!!

1 comment:

Timberman said...

Een knap staaltje knutselen! De commerciële Hollandse zenders zijn ook vergiftigd met reclame het is te hopen dat jouw BVN er vrij van blijft.