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Free-to-view


Free-to-view (FTV) is a term used for audio and/or video transmissions that are provided free-of-charge without any form of continual subscription but are nevertheless encrypted. It differs from free-to-air (FTA) where content is not encrypted.

The free-to-view system contrasts with free-to-air (FTA), in which signals are transmitted in the clear, without encryption, and can be received by anyone with a suitable receiving dish antenna and DVB-compliant receiver (although these services can include proprietary encrypted data services such as an EPG that is only available to reception equipment made for, or authorised by, the FTA broadcaster). Free-to-view services are broadcast encrypted and can only be viewed with reception equipment that includes a suitable conditional-access module and viewing card, in the same way as a pay-TV satellite service. However, the FTV service viewing card is not subject to a continuing subscription payment for viewing the service's channels and may be available for a regular fee, a one-off payment or even for free.

Services which charge a regular fee for reception can still be considered free-to-view, and not pay-TV if the fee is not for the programming content but for the delivery. For example, the HD+ service in Germany, which broadcasts HD versions of channels which are also available free-to-air in standard definition, defended its service fee saying it "is related to the reception of the offer and not to specific content, parts or packages of the offer".

The free-to-view system allows for restricting access based on location of the viewer. For example, in the UK prior to the launch of Astra 2D, UK channels broadcasting from the Astra 28.2ŠE satellites used a wide beam and could be received across Europe on small dishes. Those channels which were non-subscription but aimed at the UK only, or restricted from broadcasting outside the UK by way of programme rights (such as Channel 5) or governance (such as the BBC channels), were broadcast encrypted using Videoguard (as used by Sky (UK) for its pay-TV services) with viewing cards made available to UK residents only.

Same as Fransat, TNTSAT broadcasts the all-HD channels from French free digital terrestrial television. TNTSAT is issued by Canal + group on its main position, Astra 1. Viewing card has to be renewed every 4 years. TNTSAT compatible equipment is also compatible with CANALSAT pay TV.