Free-to-air (FTA) television (TV) and radio broadcasts are sent unencrypted and may be received via any suitable receiver:

Free-to-view (FTV) is, generally, available without subscription but is digitally encoded and may be restricted geographically. Neither of these is pay-TV, which is an encrypted subscription (or pay-per-view) service.

FTA is sometimes delivered by satellite television, but in various parts of the world free-to-air television channels are broadcast unencrypted on UHF or VHF bands.

Although these channels are described as free, in some cases the viewer does in fact pay for them. Some are paid directly by payment of a licence fee (as in the case of the BBC) or voluntary donation (in the case of educational broadcasters like PBS), others indirectly by paying for consumer products and services where part of the cost goes toward television advertising and sponsorship (in the case of Japanese television broadcasters like TV Asahi and TV Tokyo which relies on sponsorship heavily). One further variation is in Canada, where the CBC Television/Télévision de Radio-Canada network is partly funded by taxpayer dollars, and otherwise supports itself with commercial advertising revenues as it competes with other free over-the-air commercial networks.

Free-to-air is often used for international broadcasting. It is television's equivalent to shortwave radio.


Australia has 6 free-to-air networks, ABC, Seven Network, Nine Network, Network Ten, SBS, and the Community television channels. These networks broadcast to major metropolitan areas, while various regional affiliates cover rural areas.

Australia's two main government-owned TV channels, ABC and SBS, along with the digital-only multichannels ABC2 and the SBS World News Channel, are both available free-to-air on the Optus D2 satellite. Viewers in remote parts of Australia can also access Seven Central and Imparja Television, or WIN WA and GWN in Western Australia, through the free-to-view Optus Aurora program.

Other satellite-only channels such as Indigenous Community Television, TVSN, and Al Jazeera English are available free-to-air on various satellites.


European countries have a tradition of most television services being free to air. Germany, in particular, receives in excess of 100 digital TV channels free to air, including MTV (which remains encrypted for much of Europe). Approximately half of the television channels on SES Astra 1 (19.2E) and 2 (28.2E), and Eutelsat Hotbird (13E) are free to air.

In general, all satellite radio in Europe is free to air, but the more conventional broadcast systems in use mean that XM and Sirius style in-car reception is not possible.

A number of European channels which one might expect to transmit in free-to-air - including many countries' national terrestrial broadcasters - do not do so for copyright reasons. Rights to purchase programmes for free-to-air broadcast are often higher in price than for encrypted broadcasts. However, these channels usually provide a scheme to offer free, but encrypted, viewing with free-to-view broadcasts. The UK's Channel 4 and Five, certain programming on Italy's RAI, and the majority of Dutch channels are covered by such schemes (although in the case of RAI some programming is transmitted without encryption where there are no copyright issues).

Cable and satellite distribution allows many more channels to carry sports, movies and specialist channels which are not broadcast as FTA. The viewing figures for these channels is much lower than the FTA channels.

New Zealand

The national networks, Television New Zealand TV ONE and TV2, and Māori Television are free-to-air analog signals. Additionally satellite reception is available on Optus D1 - branded Freeview. A new Channel - NTVNZ6 was introduced which will only be available on Freeview. A broadcast of parliament and a number of regional channels are also available. A Digital Terrestrial version of Freeview is expected in 2008, which, unlike the current analog and satellite options, will support high definition broadcasts.

North America

There are a number of competing systems in use, with early adopters having used C-band satellite dishes of several feet in diameter to receive signals which were originally analogue microwaves, and then digital microwave using the 3.9-4.2 GHz band. Today, in the 11.7-12.2 GHz Ku band, which enables the use of under one-meter dishes, with most often the DVB-S standard, FTA can be used from apartment balconies.

The most common North American sources for free-to-air DVB satellite television are:
* Ethnic-language broadcasters such as GlobeCast World TV on Galaxy 25 (97°W)
* Christian broadcasters promoted by Glorystar & Spiritcast Satellite Systems TV on Galaxy 25 (97°W)
* Individual affiliates of various US terrestrial TV networks, including Equity Broadcasting stations on Galaxy 18 (123°W, Ku-band) and Galaxy 3C (95°W, C-band). These are primarily English language or Spanish language stations serving various local markets.
* Public educational broadcasters including PBS on AMC 3 (87°W)
* NASA TV Multichannel Broadcast on AMC 6 (72°W)

Most of these signals are carried by US satellites. There is little or no free Canadian DVB-S content available to users of medium-size dishes as much of the available Ku-band satellite bandwidth is occupied by pay-TV operators Star Choice and Bell TV, although the large style dish (over 3 feet) does have a few choices. FTA signals may be scattered across multiple satellites, requiring a motor or multiple LNBfs to receive everything.

The largest groups of end-users for Ku-band free-to-air signals were initially the ethnic-language communities, as often free ethnic-language programming would be sponsored by Multilingual American Communities and their broadcasters. Depending on language and origin of the individual signals, North American ethnic-language TV is a mix of pay-TV, free-to-air and DBS operations. Today, many American broadcasters send a multitude of programming channels in many languages, spanning many new channels, so they can get National support, which ultimately leads to carriage by cable systems, to additionally support the high costs of broadcasting signals in this way.

Nonetheless, free-to-air satellite TV is a viable addition to any home video system, not only for the reception of specialised content but also for use in locations where terrestrial ATSC over-the-air reception is incomplete and additional channels are desired.

outh America

Years ago, it was hard to find Latin channels on satellites as free to air or in any other form, except for some channels from Mexico and Venezuela. Today you can see over 100 channels as FTA from all over Latin America on Intelsat806. There are more than 300 FTA channels on 5 satellites. Some 20 more satellites can easily be locked with Dishes less than 75cm for KU band or 180cm for c band.

South Asia

Around 50 FTA television channels are broadcast from three transponders on the INSAT-4B satellite covering India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and parts of Afghanistan, China, and Myanmar. In India The channels are marketed by Doordarshan, India's national broadcaster as DD Direct Plus.

South Korea

In Korea, KBS, MBC (2 main public broadcaster, such as the ARD and ZDF of Germany), SBS (privately owned, but for free to viewers), and EBS (including both TV and Radio) are the free-to-air broadcasting stations.They dominate more than 80% of advertisement profits, according to the recent survey from the agency [ KOBACO] .Due to the recent government's decision, Digital TV service for all free-to-air network will be scheduled before the year 2012, following at the end of analogue-based current broadcast.

ee also

*Satellite dish
*Satellite television
*Set-top box

External links

* [ Free to air TV channels]
* [ Free to air radio stations]
* [ Free to air UK TV Listings]
* [ Video catalog of free to air satellite TV channels received in Australia & New Zealand]
* [ Free to air TV Index]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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  • free-to-air — free to airˈ or free to viewˈ adjective Denoting a television channel for which no extra subscription is required, opp to pay television • • • Main Entry: ↑free * * * free to air UK US adjective british free to air television programmes can be… …   Useful english dictionary

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  • Free to air — ou FTA est une formulation anglophone signifiant « à accès libre », ou « diffusé en clair » ou encore « à accès gratuit ». Ces termes techniques sont principalement employés en télédiffusion terrestre ou satellitaire …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Free as Air — Infobox Musical name = Free as Air subtitle = caption = music = Julian Slade lyrics = Dorothy Reynolds Julian Slade book = Dorothy Reynolds Julian Slade basis = productions = 1957 West End awards = Free as Air is a musical with lyrics by Dorothy… …   Wikipedia

  • Free-to-Air — Der Begriff Freier Empfang oder englisch Free to Air [ˌfɹiː təˈɛɹ] bezeichnet die Eigenschaft eines Fernsehprogramms, unverschlüsselt empfangen werden zu können. Das Programm kann kabellos terrestrisch (erdnah) gesendet werden (analog/DVB T/DVB… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Free to air — El texto que sigue es una traducción defectuosa o incompleta. Si quieres colaborar con Wikipedia, busca el artículo original y mejora o finaliza esta traducción. Puedes dar aviso al autor principal del artículo pegando el siguiente código en su… …   Wikipedia Español

  • free-to-air — ADV Free to air television programmes and channels are broadcast to all televisions and do not require a subscription or payment. For a change, the fight will be televised free to air on the Fox Network. Free to air is also an adverb …   English dictionary

  • free-to-air — UK / US adjective British free to air television programmes can be watched without having to pay anything extra …   English dictionary

  • free-to-air — /fri tu ˈɛə/ (say free tooh air) adjective (of television) supplied at no cost to the consumer …   Australian English dictionary

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