Consumers may purchase legal FTA, or Free to Air, satellite systems that allow them to watch free satellite programming. FTA brands include Pansat, Coolsat and Conaxsat. The only cost to consumers is for the equipment, with no monthly charges or additional fees.
More than 400 satellites provide free and paid satellite programming. FTA systems receive unencrypted signals that are usually transmitted in the MPEG-2 video format. Hundreds of free channels exit that provide programming, including news, sports, and ethnic and special interest channels, all without subscriptions. In some areas, viewers can access some FTA satellite programming over the UHF and VHF band.