Howdy everyone, I just installed FTA (free to air) at the Lodge and decided it would be worth posting about the topic. There are some new developments that are worth looking at for us Jasper folks.
First, my favorite is to pick one of the several satellites with FTA programming, point the dish and enjoy free television with no bills. However, these satellites have limited content compared to the commercial services such as Dish or DirecTV. Another great aspect of FTA is that the equipment is very inexpensive with receivers costing as little as $25 on eBay or Amazon. We try not to spend a lot of time watching TV while in Jasper so this isn't much a problem but it's still nice to have some news and occasional show or cartoon for the kids to enjoy. Fortunately, having satellite internet solves most of these problems for us. There are quite a few satellites up there with all kinds of stuff but these are my favorites:
SES-3 at 103.0 W has NBC programming including lots of raw news feeds
AMC-21 at 124.9 W has PBS, Create and a few others, great for kids!
Galaxy-17 at 91.0 W has ABC, CBS and FOX from Grand Junction
Note that the KU programming is what's available from a small dish.
Next which has me intrigued is a new low-cost service called OrbyTV which can be self-installed and costs either $40 or $50 per month depending on the package. I personally haven't tried the service but it basically works the same as FTA but uses encrypted signals. When you pay the $40/mo it activates a key for your access card which is inserted in the receiver. For those who watch a lot of TV and want to save some money, this could be a great option. However, the biggest problem is getting local channels because OrbyTV uses "over the air" antennas to receive local broadcast TV. As you probably know, there's no broadcast TV available in Jasper so you won't get any local news and such.
Finally, the obvious satellite TV options still apply, Dish and DirecTV. These are typically installed by professionals and a lot more expensive but do provide a level of TV entertainment that you may be accustomed in the city. For those of us who have these services at home, it may be as simple as setting up another dish and bringing the receiver with you. I don't think this is consistent with the usage agreement but it does work so far as I know.
For the record, I do not represent any TV service nor do I endorse any product but I am a fan of FTA which is 100% legal, ethical and free. If you're interested, drop me a line and I can point you in the right direction (pun?).