On the satellite position 28.2° East (also known as "Astra 2") you can
find numerous television channels from Great Britain. Many of these
stations do not use encryption. In return, however, they are not
broadcast evenly across Europe, but are focused on the British Isles by
a so-called spotbeam. A spotbeam doesn't mean reception stops right on
the border. In the western third of Germany, British stations can still
be received well, but further east reception is becoming increasingly
difficult. The technology has evolved over the years. With each new
generation of satellites, the confinement to Great Britain became
stronger - and thus the reception of British channels in Germany was
even more limited. Between 2013 and 2015, the current series of
satellites called Astra 2E, 2F and 2G went into operation. Since then,
reception has no longer been possible in the eastern third of Germany.
After all, the current satellites have a planned service life of 15
years; it can now be assumed that the reception situation will not
change significantly until 2028. The map below roughly shows the
required minimum diameters of the satellite dishes. However, it is only
intended as a first indication and does not claim to be precise:
Please also check this map, which has been compiled from practical
UK spotbeam map on Google Maps Please remember that none of these
maps are perfect. In practice, there can be all kinds of deviations.
First of all, the covers of Astra 2E, 2F and 2G are not completely
congruent, so it can happen that only a part of the transmitters can be
received in the edge area. Reception is not the same all day, but
usually better during the day than in the evening. The position of the
satellites also changes in the course of the year, resulting in slightly
weaker reception in summer and somewhat stronger reception in winter.
(Depending on the reception region, it can also be the other way
around.) In the "FootPrints" column of the
table you can see which channels are currently broadcast by which
satellites. Critical are "2E UK", "2F UK" and "2G UK" - i. e. the UK
spotbeams. On the other hand, the (few) stations whose footprint names
contain the terms "Europe" or "Super" can be well received anywhere in
Germany, even with smaller dishes.
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Questions and answers
read something about satellites called "Astra 2D" and "Astra 1N". What
happened to them?
reached the end of their lifespans and were shut down. Information
concerning the reception of Astra 2D or Astra 1N is therefore obsolete.
I need at best to receive the free British channels in Germany?
You need a
standard digital satellite receiver, an LNB and a satellite dish of the
appropriate size. The minimum dish size depends on your location - see map
and information above.
Can I also receive German stations using the same dish?
German channels are broadcast on another satellite position (19.2°
East). By using "squinting" LNBs (multi-feed reception), both satellite
positions can be received with a single dish and a single receiver. More
detailed information on the technical implementation can be found on
Einführung and on the
Multifeed page (in German only).
Which British channels can I receive unencrypted?
satellite channels include BBC 1/2/3/4, ITV 1/2/3/4, Channel 4, E4, More 4,
Film 4, Five, Five USA, Five Star, CBS Drama, CBS Reality, CBS Action,
Horror Channel, True Movies 1/2, Movies4Men, Food Network UK, Travel Channel
- and many more. For a complete list, visit
Will I not be able to watch any British channels if I live too far east?
channels which are broadcast on pan-European beams can also be received in
eastern Germany with dishes starting at 60 cm in diameter. Their footprints
in the FlySat
table contain the terms "Super" or "Europe".
Can I work around the problem by subscribing to Sky UK?
partially. The free channels that are broadcast on the UK
spotbeams (see above) cannot be received in the East - even with a Sky
subscription. Unfortunately, meanwhile even about one third of the
encrypted Sky channels are being broadcast on spotbeams. But the
majority of Sky stations are still broadcast on the "Super" or
"Europe" beams and can therefore also be received in the East (with a
Are there also British radio stations via satellite?
addition to television channels, numerous radio stations are also available
freesat.co.uk). However, today many people find location-bound radio
listening with a satellite receiver too cumbersome and are more likely to
use Internet radio.
What does "Freesat" mean?
UK, unencrypted satellite channels are advertised as a package called
"Freesat", and dedicated Freesat receivers are available for purchase. But
you can also receive the British channels with any standard receiver; the
Freesat receivers are not mandatory.
Which is better: regular receivers or the dedicated Freesat
variants have advantages and disadvantages. The Freesat receiver is more
convenient: it features a special EPG (electronic program guide) and
updates itself automatically if stations are added or the reception data
are changed. In addition, some Freesat receivers allow access to
on-demand content from the Internet. However, the Freesat receiver
can only be used for British channels. By contrast, with a regular
receiver (or a television with integrated DVB-S tuner) you can receive
both British and German channels. So you can use just one device for
everything. To do this, you have to set the channels there manually and
update them if necessary. Besides, you don't have an EPG for British
Are the British channels broadcast in HD quality?
free British channels are available in conventional SD quality. Some are
also broadcast in HD. Some channels are free to air in SD, but only
available in HD if you have a Sky subscription.
What does the abbreviation +1 after a station name mean?
of the British channels are being rebroadcast on a separate channel with
a delay of one hour. If you missed something on the regular station, you
can see it on the delayed channel (with the abbreviation +1 in the
station name) one hour later.
Is free reception of British channels legal in Germany?
providers try to limit reception outside the British Isles as much as
possible with the help of a spotbeam. But if reception is still
successful, e.g. with the help of an adequate large satellite dish, this
is legal for the private user. Illegal would be the "cracking" of an
encryption - but this is not necessary for the stations described here,
since they are not encrypted at all.
DeepL and edited by hand) Autor: Andreas Beitinger
Letzte Änderung: August 2018