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Luke B (previously Lukeyboy) 205 posts since 30 Apr 2017
Meridian (South East) South East Today
Hi all,

I've had this question for a while but have never really found the answer - but does anyone know if there's any way of accessing Off Air Feeds / uninterrupted feeds from UK Live Shows?

I understand that it's possible thanks to this video that I've found:



But I was wondering whether it was possible to do the same here in the UK. Any response and help would be much appreciated Thumbs up

Thank you
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thegeek5,003 posts since 1 Jan 2002
London London
In the main, no. Most distribution feeds from studios to broadcast centres are on private fibre networks - usually BT's - so it's very hard to view unless you're the intended recipient.

Some outside broadcasts will use satellite as a main path (if there isn't any fibre on site), or as a reserve. Most of the time, there will be some encryption in use, with the complexity of the encryption depending on the value of the feed - for example, BISS encryption, which (when it was first introduced), would take an hour or two to brute-force crack, by which time a football match would be over. The likes of the World Cup feeds are using a new type of encryption, HMCrypt, which is a step beyond BISS and encrypts at the modulation layer, rather than the MPEG stream. There's also some sort of handshaking between the sender and receiver so that only authorised receivers can decrypt the feed.

However, news hits are often in the clear - when you're booking 10 minutes of satellite space, you don't want to waste any time faffing around with getting the right encryption key, you just want the material.

To view these, you'll need a steerable satellite dish, and a higher-end satellite receiver, and a bit of patience to find the feeds in the first place. I'm sure harshy will be along in a minute to give his experiences!

Receiving satellite broadcasts which aren't intended for you could potentially be illegal under the Communications Act (particularly if it's encrypted), so I'm not going to condone it here - however the chances of you being caught are slim to none.


Your best bet of seeing stuff like this is to train as a broadcast engineer and get a job in an MCR. It's what I did Smile
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Neil Jones5,509 posts since 23 Dec 2001
Central (West) Midlands Today
Think a lot of this sort of material is "leaked", for want of a better phrase, long after the event it pertains to, typically somebody at some point has transferred it off privately, held onto it and then at some point thrown it on YouTube.

A good example is The Talking Telephone Numbers clip from 1995 with talkback and a VT cockup that almost caused a major underrun in the programme has been posted on TV Forum before. It was uploaded to YouTube in December 2016 and it is actually unlisted, ie it doesn't show up if you search for it. Prior to its appearance on YouTube probably nobody apart from the uploader (and anybody else had a copy of it) knew it existed, but back in those days there was no YouTube so it wouldn't have gone too far.
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noggin14,546 posts since 26 Jun 2001
Increasingly a lot of News and ITV Daytime type hits are done using LiveU or WMT style IP connectivity, over 4G, VSAT (which is a satellite IP connection) or other IP connections (fibre broadband, wifi etc.) When you can get 300Mbs over WiFi from next to a London phone box - it all gets a lot easier...
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Luke B (previously Lukeyboy) 205 posts since 30 Apr 2017
Meridian (South East) South East Today
Increasingly a lot of News and ITV Daytime type hits are done using LiveU or WMT style IP connectivity, over 4G, VSAT (which is a satellite IP connection) or other IP connections (fibre broadband, wifi etc.) When you can get 300Mbs over WiFi from next to a London phone box - it all gets a lot easier...


Yes I've noticed 'LiveU' come up in quite a few test cards from the Good Morning Britain gallery before. Behind the Scenes footage from GMB is what I've been hunting for years! Especially the pre-show footage such as rehearsals, graphic tests etc. It is a shame it can't be located anywhere, or something related to that anyway.
harshy6,214 posts since 24 Mar 2001
Isn’t all the GMB stuff on 19e but you need a special LNB and a huge dish to have any chance, I’d like to see more itv feeds but it seems out of bounds now.
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harshy6,214 posts since 24 Mar 2001
Thanks thegeek yeah the bbc feeds and sky feeds need 1.1m dish perfectly aligned at 16e, also they are using 16apsk, I’ve in the past managed to view these 16apsk transmissions connecting a dvb card directly to my non sky box, also as the geek says the British broadcasters use backups but always encrypted in biss, the World Cup for example is at 7e but very weak indeed by Globecast. The big EBU feeds are definitely out of bounds(I’ve seen screenshots) like the World Cup which uses HMCrypt and a special NS4 modulator with a Ericsson box and authorisation to even unlock these transmissions, it’s very expensive and it wouldn’t work for average Joe, so in conclusion news feeds are the way to go except ITV which requires a KA setup.
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Luke B (previously Lukeyboy) 205 posts since 30 Apr 2017
Meridian (South East) South East Today
Thanks thegeek yeah the bbc feeds and sky feeds need 1.1m dish perfectly aligned at 16e, also they are using 16apsk, I’ve in the past managed to view these 16apsk transmissions connecting a dvb card directly to my non sky box, also as the geek says the British broadcasters use backups but always encrypted in biss, the World Cup for example is at 7e but very weak indeed by Globecast. The big EBU feeds are definitely out of bounds(I’ve seen screenshots) like the World Cup which uses HMCrypt and a special NS4 modulator with a Ericsson box and authorisation to even unlock these transmissions, it’s very expensive and it wouldn’t work for average Joe, so in conclusion news feeds are the way to go except ITV which requires a KA setup.


Interesting, thanks for the info harshy!
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Rkolsen2,846 posts since 20 Jan 2014
BBC World News
Think a lot of this sort of material is "leaked", for want of a better phrase, long after the event it pertains to, typically somebody at some point has transferred it off privately, held onto it and then at some point thrown it on YouTube.

A good example is The Talking Telephone Numbers clip from 1995 with talkback and a VT cockup that almost caused a major underrun in the programme has been posted on TV Forum before. It was uploaded to YouTube in December 2016 and it is actually unlisted, ie it doesn't show up if you search for it. Prior to its appearance on YouTube probably nobody apart from the uploader (and anybody else had a copy of it) knew it existed, but back in those days there was no YouTube so it wouldn't have gone too far.


This necessarily wasn’t leaked. It’s likely the main transmission path before the live show. If you notice you will see them do cross talk with affiliates.

NBC, CBS and ABC are typically unencrypted through their backup C-Band path and maybe their primary Ku-band path. Fox is completely encrypted through their spliced. I know CBS encrypts their NFL feeds because there may be multiple games going on at any moment and your only supposed to see your teams in your area (and the NFL Network/DirecTV sell $200+ packages to watch every game). I’m not sure if NBC encrypts Sunday Night Football as it’s one feed to the entire country and no need to access restrict it.

The feeds are high quality. Last I heard NBC was sending a 50Mbps MPEG-4 Feed 4:2:2 that is then whittled down to a 15Mbps MPEG-2 feed at the local transmitter.

Edit : The poster has a video for Ask Nigel Farage from the BBC showing the setup and NBC Nightly News. Since they have British content I think it may be a back haul for NBC across Europe (and why the picture squeezes a 16:9 image into 4:3 frame). We already know msnbc is transmitted on some of their mux.
Don’t let anyone treat you like you’re a VO/SOT when you’re a PKG.
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commseng262 posts since 8 Dec 2016
London London
As a quick rule of thumb, if it is going to be broadcast live and free to air, it is unlikely to be encrypted.
Conversely if it is going out on something you need to subscribe to, or is not to be seen until later, it will be encrypted.

Not always true, but often the case!
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