In Hindsight: The Best Things In Life Are Free (To Air)

Lot’s of changes going around in my house. For one, we just switched over from Rogers (cable) to StarChoice (satellite), because a friend of mine in the States also wanted it. Look, it’s better if you don’t ask.

Of course, in my neighbourhood (which is rather ethnically diverse), it means just one more satellite dish jutting out from the side of a house. And it’s not because everyone’s paying for StarChoice or ExpressVu (the two main satellite companies up here) either. It’s because they’ve bought into something called Free-To-Air satellite, or FTA.

FTA is actually something that’s pretty common outside of North America. All people need to do is purchase a dish and a receiver, and they’re set. Of course, in places like the UK, “free” is deceptive, since people are required to purchase a license just to own a television set, but aside from the initial costs, there is generally no continuing fee like we have here in North America.

Curious as to what you can get using a FTA dish? Well, take a look here and you can see around 200 channels in a variety of languages available in North America.

But of course, there are a few catches. The first is that since the channels are scattered over a number of satellites, you’d need a dish to properly receive each satellite signal, which would make for an interesting cluster on the side of your house, to be sure. But it’d be worth it to be “off the grid” as far as the cable providers of the universe go. Unless your high-speed connection is via cable.

The second major catch is that FTA channels in North America can be temporary – particularly those whose signals originate from the States. So if you’re expecting that station from Oregon to be around forever, don’t count on it.

However, it doesn’t seem to affect the channels people can get from overseas, so if you’re looking for a variety of Spanish stations, this might be a good option for you.

And if you’re looking for an alternative to cable, or want an improvement over your rabbit ears, look up FTA and give it a try.

IP Linkage:
The IP Forums has a discussion about the latest reveal in Marvel’s “Civil War” miniseries. What is the big reveal, you ask? Well… this.

Bob reviews the season opener for ‘The 4400’.

Matt Basilo also talks about ‘The 4400’ as well as X-Men 3.

The Week… In Hindsight:
Thursday:
‘The Ultimate Fighter 3’ (Spike) – Some notes from Kalib Starnes from the TUF Message Board:
“The injury to my sternum occured in the first round from a roundhouse kick, however it wasn’t until the knee in the second round that I felt it was appropriate to bring it to the attention of the referee, as I thought that the doctor should look at it before the fight continued, fearing permenant injury. The referee however ignored me completely as did my corner and the doctor in between rounds, the only people who seemed to care were Tito and Kendall. The injury I suffered was a costo-chondral seperation, as two of my ribs were torn off of the catilage of my sternum one more severley than the other, and it will never be the same as bone and cartilage do not grow back together so easily. Most people are unfamilliar with this type of injury, which takes longer to heal than broken ribs. For two weeks I could not sleep on my sides and it took approximately 10 weeks before I could do a single sit-up. It was extremely disappointing to see Ken Shamrock attack my character like he did, and to have him ignore me after the fight, one would think that he would give me the benefit of the doubt until some contradictory evidence presented itself. Forming opinions and making assertions with little or no evidence however is what made Ken into the great genius we see today and we should not expect this to change any time soon. I like Kendall and none of this should take away from his win, I still talk to him and wish him the best.”

Wait, there’s more!
“Ken does excellent circuit training on the weights, the best I’ve ever had. We did it once in seven weeks.

Dan was a very nice guy.

Roman was an excellent boxing coach.

We had no wrestling or jiu-jitsu training to speak of. Ed and I taught Soloman, Tait, Mike, Jesse etc. at the gym and in our spare time at home on the carpet. We were only allowed to train at designated times, which was absolute crap if you ask me. I came there in excellent shape and left in the worst shape I’ve been in in years, this is not an excuse for my loss by the way, I was beaten fairly, it’s just a fact. In the seven weeks prior to my semifinal fight I had about two weeks worth of good training. Ken stopped me from training with Ed, my best sparring partner, because he thought we may end up fighting later on. Every day going to the the gym was a disappointment and I did not want to be there at all, which is not the way I am usually”

By the way, I don’t recommend going there if you can help it. Bloody mess of a message board, if you ask me.

Sunday:
‘Iron Chef America’ (Food Network Canada)
‘Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares’ (Food Network Canada)

Monday:
‘Hell’s Kitchen’ (CITY, FOX) – It’s back! I pissed on the first iteration initially because I thought it to be your standard variation of the reality competition. But I was wrong. The 12 wannabe chefs in this competition may want to treat this like a game, but Gordon Ramsey will apparently have none of that. And this was most apparent when he dismissed Garrett’s choices for elimination and dismissed Gabe instead.

Tuesday:
‘Fear Factor’ (NBC) – Greatest. Episode. Ever. This can only happen when you bring together Johnny Fairplay and the combustible duo of Jonathan and Victoria. This was awesome because
a) Victoria punched Fairplay and he landed on his keister
b) Rogan took the time to remind the couple that trash talking is, in fact, encouraged on the show (although I believe he worded it a WEE bit differently, something like “you can hit each other, but not the other contestants”)
c) Jonathan actually tried to pick a fight with Rogan, trying to degend Victoria’s honour, but as I’ve mentioned before, is NOT a good idea. So much so that the Miz had to step in before Jonathan got choked out.

Oh, and if you missed it, here ya go:

‘Last Comic Standing’ (Canwest, NBC) – Nikki Payne didn’t make the House Queen Mary, which really, is all I was asking for. Frankly, she’s about as funny as Dat Phan.

Wednesday:
‘Unwrapped’ (Food Network Canada) – My wife now wants to open a Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles in Canada.

‘Iron Chef America’ (Food Network Canada)
‘Good Eats’ (Food Network Canada)

That’s it for this week.