Sky Digibox


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How to watch the Tour De France by satellite

This information applies if you are in the UK and Europe.

If you are in the USA you can not receive European satellite feeds direct since the satellites are below your horizon. Check your local TV schedules instead.

Link to Italian Giro 2003

Thanks to everyone who sent me information about this subject.

The professional tour on July 14th 2004 is available for the majority of the stage i.e. from about 10am till the stage end on Eurosport, either British or International versions, as it is on every day of the tour.

However, if you are interested in the Tour L 'Etape, which is this year's amateur event run over the same course on 11th July 2004, then this is not broadcast except for a summary some time after the event as the main professional coverage is taking place over in Brittany on that west coast that day together with all the bikes and helicopters.

Before the use of digital uplinks, it was possible to see more than broadcast material but it's not so easy these days. However, the best choice at present is EUROSPORT ANALOGUE.

This is from Eurosport webpage:

"Eurosport's cycling coverage includes the main National tours, with Italy's Giro, Spain's Vuelta and of course, the legendary Tour de France. We also have the most spectacular World cup classics : the Tour of Flanders, Paris Roubaix + the very best of the track cycling World cup. Join David Duffield, David Harmon, Mike Smith and our international commentary team for the 2004 cycling season. From the World Cup Classics to Lance Armstrong's quest for a sixth Tour de France, keep those messages coming and they'll do their best to air as many of your questions and points-of-view on the action!"

In most of Northern Europe, a 60cm dish with an analogue receiver will get you Eurosport (Free To Air - no card or decoder required), using the following parameters:

  • Satellite: Astra 1 at 19.2 degrees east of south.
  • Programme: EuroSport Deutschland 11259 V tp 4 (or 11258)
  • Audio: 6.50 original, 7.02 English, 7.20 German

If you have a stereo amplifier you can use the balance to turn off the German commentary. Otherwise, selecting mono and the appropriate frequency should work.

Evening programmes (highlights) will probably be with German sound, which was the case last year on all sound frequencies. The coverage is much more extensive than Bitish Eurosport. Eurosport also broadcast other cycling races eg. Giro DItalia.

Where to buy the equipment?

In France, most large supermarkets and B&Q hardware stores can supply a 60cm dish and "universal" LNB. With luck, you should be able to get a compatible analogue satellite receiver there, too, although these are becoming rare. It's a good idea to take one with you if you can. The main criterion is that it must be compatible with a 9.75GHz LNB.

Analogue receivers can still be found occasionally in the UK for a few pounds. Make sure that the receiver you buy will work with a "universal LNB". (It should have a menu selection for 9.75GHz Local Oscillator LNB). If it's not compatible, then you can still use it but you will have to set the frequency 250MHz higher for a universal LNB. So 11259 becomes 11509.

Eurosport is also broadcast in digital format from Astra 1.

  • EuroSport 11597 V tp 26 DVB 22000 - 5/6
  • Encryption: Mediaguard 2 10010  2577  2585 Sp
  • EuroSport Deutschland 11954 H tp 77 DVB
  • Encryption: Mediaguard 2 Viaccess 1 28009   410   420 G


And from Hotbird at 13'E

EuroSport 12558 V tp 92

  • Irdeto 2
  • Mediaguard 2
  • Viaccess 1
  • Viaccess 2
  • 9352 2577 2562 E

It's also viewable on British Eurosport via Telewest cable and via Sky Digital EPG 412 at 28.2'E.
You'll need to subscribe to Sky Digital at a UK address. It's on a north beam which may not be receivable in southern regions such as Tenerife, Alicante etc. You get four to five hours of live cycling during the afternoon, with highlights in the evening.

You can also watch it on the French channels: either France2 or France3 (in French of course).

To get those channels: 2 solutions.

- Telecom 2B, 5'W in analog, free, but the broadcasting is in Secam so you need a Secam to PAL converter or a multisystem TV - otherwise you will see it in Black & white.

- HotBird (Eutelsat at 13'E) satellite system on the TPS package in Digital (MPeg2/DVB) but encrypted in Viaccess. You can easily get codes on the net for Funcards, Silver or Goldcards.

More comments:

"To my knowledge the only Eurosport in the clear is the German version on Astra 1F.
11954 Polarity H - SR 27500 - FEC 3/4 - PID video 410 - PID sound 420"

"It will also be shown on British Eurosport via Telewest cable in the UK."

"I think that one of the UK terrestrial channels (either CH4 or FIVE) also has coverage."

"Last year limited programmes (time wise) were also shown on ITV 2, so should be available via Astra at 28.2 deg east with a Sky Digibox and viewing card."

"Evening highlights were on ITV2 last year. They also covered weekend stages live.The previous year ITV2 also showed live coverage during the week."

Useful links

French channels transmitted on Atlantic Bird, analogue, Secam colour.

For freq. please see

More info.


Live now Free To Air on 8 w, 11598 h, 27500, 3/4, id: GCPE1
and 5 w, 12543 h, 27500, same id

GCPE 1 - 5 w, 12543 h, 27500, 3/4 and 8 w, 11598 h, 27500, 3/4

28.5 e, 12612 v, 6111, 3/4, id: AKK/ZDF/ARD/LE TOUR DE FRANCE

8 W 11540 V 6666 7/8 308 256 Teleport Koln

8 w, 11674 v, 6111, 3/4, id: TV

8 w, 11674 v, 6111, 3/4, id: TV, in NTSC

3e 12600v 20600 7/8

2 helicam feeds and 2 motorbike cam feeds

I live in Pau and had to "put up" with a sky minidish not to disturb the neighbourhood with a too indiscrete 80cm dish. The results are quite good: I got a Grundig GRD310* and get 100% signal strength and 50 to 60% signal quality. Only when the weather is very cloudy the reception is a disaster when sometimes NO SIGNAL on BBC and ITV. Mind I live in the town center and get buildings all around me that might be highting part of the signal.

I've also got another istallation at my mother's countryside house in the same area but this time with a 80cm dish. I get almost the same signal results but they don't get much deteriorated when the weather is heavily cloudy.

That piece of information can help people wishing to receive BSkyB (or the FTV channels) in the south west of France (Pau is in the "Pyrenees Atlantiques", 300 miles underneath Bordeaux and about 70 miles east from Biarritz.


*We think he means GDS310

Most mainland countries (Holland, Belgium, Germany, France) have a keen interest in the tour. Therefore any unencrypted news or sports channel from those countries will carry at least some of the events.


Eurosport tend to provide live coverage. Usually this is from early afternoon through to the end of the stage although for mountain stages the coverage starts earlier. British Europsport as I'm sure you know is available through Sky Digital, encrypted on Astra at 28.2 with English commentary. You can also get the international version free-to-air at 19.2, I don't believe there is English commentary on there any more (think it's German).

Also ITV2 do provide highlights (Sky Digital, Astra 28.2 encrypted). Usually an one hour show each night. They have been known to do some live stuff in the past as well.


Eurosport normally miss the start of each stage but cover the last 2 to 3 hours. I've watched it for the last few years in analogue on Astra 1C using an ancient Pace PRD900. English audio is on 7.02MHz during the race. The english commentary is inane to the point where it becomes an entertainment!


Eurosport always cover the Tour they have done for a few years now. Also channel 4 cover highlights later that night.


David Duffield is the main commentator and they cover each stage live from the ground as well as from helicopters.


The tour is certainly on France 3 from 3rd to 25th July (according to their sports schedule for July). French TV (France 2, 3 and 5) is one of the official sponsors according to the official Tour de France website (via a quick search in Google).

This is available on satellite as follows (from their website):

France 2, 3 and 5 are broadcast:

-in analogue mode (Secam) and in the clear on: Atlantic Bird 3 (5o West).

-in digital encrypted mode:

Astra satellite, 19.2oE KU bandwidth, Canal Satellite bouquet

France (France 2 and 3: frequency 12012 V, tp 80,

Mediaguard, France 5:12207 V, tp 90, in clear)

Satellite Hot Bird, 13oE KU band, TPS bouquet (France 2 and 3: 10834 V, tp 116, Viaccess, France 5: 11034 V, tp126, Viaccess)

France 2, 3 and 5 are also broadcast in digital encrypted mode on the NSS 7 satellite, 21.5oW C band (SAT and MultiTV Afrique bouquets).

It's also normally broadcast, here in Switzerland, on Swiss TV (but you need a card to decode the encryption on the Hotbird satellite).

Obviously the commentry would be in French, and also in German/Italian on Swiss TV.

English commentary may also be on Radio 5 live or 5 live extra, but there is no info at the moment I could find


Channel 4 and Eurosport both ran this. Channel 4 stopped a few years ago but Eurosport carried on. A real pity about Channel 4, since with Phil Liggett and Phil Sherwin, you always had an entertaining commentary and the sometimes 8 hour race was condensed into the exciting bits lasting an hour. You also got to see a lot of La Belle France.

In contrast, Eurosport ran the event live in all its different languages and the commentary was inevitably boring as a result. If this is your cup of tea, they still do run it I believe.

But the good news is, ITV (not sure if it was 1 or 2) took over the identical format and same presenters for last July's event and said they would carry on.

If you like the Eurosport presentation and have time to watch non-stop, fair enough. But I would still urge you give ITV a go also and compare the two.

Whatever, just enjoy!


Whenever we are in France in July watch the TDF in our camper using a) a multi-standard TV (for French terrestrial SECAM transmissions), b) standard Sky box with an FTV card. The coverage has (and is likely to be) transmitted in the middle of the night on ITV1. It will also probably be transnitted at sensible times on ITV2 (but I'm not buying a card and Murdoch can go swivel). On this platform you will also be able to get Eurosport in English with some Murdoch card I believe, and c) an anologue ancient Sky box (pointed at Astra 19.2 degrees east) where you can get Eurosport in English for nowt on channel 19.

The ITV coverage is best as the two commentators (Phil Liggit(?) and Paul Sherwin(?) - know how paranoid you are about spelling) are 2nd to none ... usually about 30 minutes / day. Coverage is much more extensive on Eurosport and is pretty good but, IMHO, you have to be more of a cycling anorak thean we are.

Hope this helps ... ask if you want further bumf.


We watch the tour de france every year on eurosport. Many stages are shown complete if there is nothing else on. Other stages show a recorded start then live for the last 3 or 4 hours. They also repeat the highlights 2 or 3 times that eveing and the following morning.


German channels ARD and ZDF carried Live transmissions but in German.


55, Drury Lane
London WC2B 5SQ




Look at the magazine Cycling Weekly (published on a Thursday) a week or so before the race and you should find the TV schedules there e.g. in the issues of Thursday 24 June or Thursday 1st July.


I'm based in Crete and watch it every year on Nova, the Greek Sat system, and by the way the footy coverage for the UK is fantastic.


The Tour de france is normally covered by Eurosport every day of the race , but some days only for two hours some days in the mountain stages for five hours.It is the only channel you will get it in English.

The tour is covered for longer on France 2 on the Telecom Satellite.

It is also on Spanish TVE international Channel and on Italian Channels Rai on the hotbird satellite.


Copyright ©2004 SatCure
Updated February 22, 2004
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