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In the UK, all the original five terrestrial broadcasters, BBC One, BBC Two, ITV, Channel 4, and Five broadcast FTA on digital satellite in some form, including many of their regional variations.However, in some countries, it is not the norm for mainstream channels to broadcast on FTA satellite television.The main PBS New York feed is absent from the free-to-air version of the PBS satellite service to afford local terrestrial member stations a chance to broadcast material before it becomes available on PBS-X or PBS-HD.Typically, PBS-X feeds carried programmes (except news) a day later than the main terrestrial PBS network. centralcasting operation; many small UHF local stations were fed from one central point in Little Rock, Arkansas via free-to-air satellite.In many cases, this brought smaller networks and Spanish-language broadcasting to communities which otherwise would have no free access to this content.As television market statistics for these stations from firms such as Nielsen Media Research are based on counting viewership within the footprint of the corresponding terrestrial signal, television ratings severely underestimated or failed to estimate the number of households receiving programming such as Univisión from FTA satellite feeds.FTA Receivers can be used in rural locations as a fairly reliable source of television without subscribing to cable or a major satellite provider.
The firmware in receivers themselves cannot be overwritten with malicious code via satellite as provider-issued receivers are.
There is no assurance that any individual FTA broadcast will remain available or that those which do remain will continue broadcast in a compatible format - in this example, such a viewer would have lost ABC and Fox in mid-2009 due to Equity's bankruptcy.
Free-To-Air receivers generally use the same technology standards (such as DVB-S, MPEG-2) as those used by pay-TV networks such as Echostar's Dish Network and BCE's Bell TV.
Manufacturers, importers, and distributors of FTA receivers officially do not condone this practice and some will not sell to or support individuals who they believe will be using their products for this purpose, use of third-party software usually voiding any warranties.
Unlike traditional methods of pirate decryption that involve altered smart cards used with satellite receivers manufactured and distributed by the provider, piracy involving FTA receivers require only an update to the receiver's firmware.