originally posted by dssguy

There has been a frequent amount of posting that indicates some newbies DO NOT READ or know how to use the search feature of these forums. I really try to keep everyone abreast of FTA developments and sometimes I get a little cranky having to answer the same questions OVER & OVER & OVER. For this I apologise. I MUST force myself to remember "we were all newbies at one time" Here are some answers to the newbies Frequently Asked Questions. Please read ALL the sticky's for a better understanding of our hobby.

What is the difference between Blackbird, Pansat, Fortec, Silverbullet and Enforcer?

There is no difference between them, DVB receivers all come as Free to Air units , that means you set the dish to the satellite that you want to catch, all free channels are shown, and all Decrypted channels are displayed in the menu guide but when you try and enter that channel its says 'Scrambled Data/Encrypted Channel'. DVB standard receivers have a serial port and if the laws allow in your country you can connect the receiver to the PC to flash upgrade to a silverbullet also know as a silverbird or enforcer. This is basically downloading into the receiver the decryption information it needs to enable the scrambled channels to be viewed! In fact grab a Pansat or a Fortec flash it, it is a silverbullet or silverbird sometimes even called an enforcer! Grab some paint, paint it black and call it a blackbird.

What kind of dish do i use?

Use any regular 18" dish or bigger, this will do the job, the only exception is some dishes that have directv or RCA actually written on them may have an LNB that is specifically for directv, and although some people have claimed to have had some success with these lnb's , we find it much harder to locate a signal, swapping out the LNB for a generic LNB works great! Some directv dishes are generic dishes no name brand, these are PERFECT! Either way the dish itself is okay!

Why not get a flashed unit Blackbird or Silverbird Enforcer ready to go?

These are great but what happens when it needs to be re-flashed, do you ship it back? So many have fallen due to this, great but every 9 months or so they need a new encryption program, its so easy to disconnect it from the tv, plug a serial cable into the back of the receiver and run a program and flash it! Disconnect from serial cable and PC and reconnect to TV and away you go, a procedure with the right software and support takes less than 10 minutes. this way you have full control of your entertainment investment!

How long before it needs to be flashed again and reprogrammed?

Hard to say these receivers are cardless , no access cards, so they can't be hit like traditional receivers can, it knows the encryption method used, and for this to change its a big thing so it does not happen often! Some History for you!
First Fix Ran from 2000 - July 2003
Second fix Ran from July 2003 - April 2004
Third Fix ran from April 2004 - Present day still running!It takes a couple of days judging from history to get a new encryption file to flash! But even during these couple of days you still going to get a few Free to air Channels anyways, these are also satellite quality! This is only a hand full but its better than nothing at all!

What is the best DVB product for me?

If you want the easiest solution then you should consider a Pansat 2500a or a Fortec Lifetime Ultra receiver, its easier to upgrade and better than playing with jtags and stuff, its simple to do! Plus you have a receiver that runs like any other receiver not attached to computer just the TV! If you are a geek and like to play with computers then only consider a DVB card this is for more technically minded people and much harder to setup, the receivers are a breeze and much easier!