Thus, you can by pointing your dish at various satellites easily take down 250 or more channels for free. But is it worth it? What kind of programmes do these open channels carry? As for the distribution of languages, some conclusions stand out easily: There are very few channels in English, the most commonly understood language in Europe; nor many in French. The dominant languages are German, Italian and Arabic. Notice also the lack of channels in Scandinavian and Dutch languages. This gives us a clue to the peculiar language distribution: Scandinavians and Dutch tend to send English movies and serials with their original sound and subtitles, while the German and Italians mostly dub them into their own language. A film with English sound can be understood all over Europe, so a channel that wants to put it on satellite would have to pay the owner (in Hollywood) for distribution rights all over Europe - which is prohibitively expensive. A film with German sound is understood only in the German-speaking countries, or at least so Hollywood believes, so the channel only pays for German distribution, whether it is sent over the air or by satellite, so there is little extra cost in adding satellite distribution to the terrestial one.
Thus, Germany in particular, and partly Italy, stand apart in that all or most of the regular, over-the-air channels are also sent openly on satellite; and by extension that several smaller channels of the same, general-entertainment kind, are also available - but only with dubbed German programming.
Apart from these, the open satellite channels mostly fall into these categories:
- news and business channels
- music channels - a dozen or two
- public or state-run channels, in particular with domestic production
- regional channels, with their own programming
- a few sports channels, but mostly without high-profile events
- education and science, including some regional
- shopping channels, and promotion channels for specific companies
You will not get recent movies, US-made soaps or much in the way of fictional entertainment on these channels (dubbed German apart). Such are simply too expensive to send on a Europe-wide basis with only advertisements for income. But channels who rely on programs they themselves produce (news and education channels) have no such restriction, and such are therefore mostly sent openly. Thus, it is not true that open channels are generally second-rate; only that the kind of programs you can see are of specific kinds, and may not cover all of what you want from TV entertainment.