Jul 13 2012

Astana Internet Choices

Category: Internet Connections,KazakhstanChrisM @ 5:31 am

Recently a few people have asked me for advice about living in Astana, either because they are new to the area, or have not yet actually arrived. Some of the older posts (the key ones are linked to on the Kazakhstan 101 page) are still useful, but where prices have risen, or locally available technology has moved on, new advice is sometimes needed. So, without further ado, here are your choices if you want to access the internet in Astana. As ever, I’m happy to receive suggestions/corrections, so do please feel free to leave a comment below.

Megaline – The main ADSL internet company here in Astana. You will sometimes find that VISPs (virtual internet service providers) exist, where they take Megaline’s connection, and feed it out to a few blocks of flats, but I have not yet come across a true competing ISP. Compared to five years ago, the speed, price and reliability has improved greatly.

ID TV – I had originally thought this was a combined internet and TV package that was from a different company than Megaline. However, it turns out that ID TV is from Kazakhtelecom (the main telephone company here in Astana, who also provide Megaline’s ADSL services). The channel selection seems to be slightly wider than that offered by AlmaTV (assuming their website is up to date, as AlmaTV lost quite a few channels I liked recently), however there are some inconveniences, related to the delivery method. IPTV is used, so instead of a special wire (cable TV), normal aerial (standard TV, no DVB-T in Astana yet), or satellite dish (Hotbird, NTV Plus (though we are well out of the range of Astra and therefore UK Sky channels are impossible to receive conventionally here)), ID TV (the company, IPTV is the transmission method) uses your phone line. This means that you will probably see a slight dip in your internet download speeds and that changing channels apparently takes 10 seconds each time! It looks as though you choose from Megaline’s broadband packages if you don’t already have an internet connection set up, then select which TV channel package you want.

Internet TV Packages

There are other choices here in Astana, for example there was a WiMax system being trialled a few years ago, and I know of at least one business that uses this for internet access and voice over IP (telephone calls), as they have no land line. I will try and find out more about this, though it will not be for a couple of months at least.
If your internet access needs are more mobile, then a USB 3G Dongle could be what you need. You plug the device (with a SIM card in it) into your laptop, and use the mobile phone network to access the world wide web. As with Britain though (see this BBC article), coverage in Astana is not 100%, and even when 3G network coverage is displayed as available, the speeds can sometimes be closer to Edge, if not 2G!

Similar to this, but without the requirement for new hardware, is tethering your mobile phone to your laptop (basically using a USB lead, WiFi or bluetooth), and using your existing mobile phone account to access the internet on your computer. However, you do need to make sure your current choice of account does not charge a lot per Mb used, and it is probably worth checking whether your mobile phone company (KCell, Active, Beeline etc.) offers any bundles, where you pay for a fixed amount, that expires after a month.

Finally, should you find yourself without a mobile phone, dongle, or ADSL-enabled phone line, you could always go old school and use a dial up modem. The speed will make you weep, the phoneline will be engaged should anyone try and call you, but if all else fails those screeching tones, that indicate a handshake is taking place, can be a godsend.

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Mar 26 2012

At AlmaTV sorting cable out. N…

Category: TweetsChrisM @ 11:06 am

At AlmaTV sorting cable out. No decent Eng HD channels yet, but getting HD box for future.

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Jul 09 2010

AlmaTV Analogue Frequencies

Category: KazakhstanChrisM @ 11:54 pm

I fully realise that this post will attract (if at all) somewhat of a niche audience, however if this information had been available previously, I would have saved a lot of time, and not got quite so bored and frustrated with various technical hitches.

Anyway, the following information will be of use if…
You subscribe to AlmaTV’s cable package
You are in Astana (I’m assuming other cities may have different frequencies in use?)
You want to watch their channels via a TV capture card on your PC (to pause live TV, record programs, timeshift etc.)
Your TV card’s program(s) autoscan feature either fails to pick up some channels, or simply refuses to work at all.

If you meet the conditions above, the frequencies and (approximate) channels names below should help you tune in. Don’t forget that if you are watching the analogue broadcasts of channels, you won’t be able to switch languages – there is only one audio stream, unless of course you have a Digital Cable TV card amd can therefore pick up the digital broadcasts (mine covers analogue aerial, DVB-S, DVB-S2 and DVB-T, but digital cable didn’t get included.)

If you are scanning for channels and find that less than 69 or so appear, you may want to tell your TV card software program that you are in Australia, and scan for cable channels. At least in a couple of applications, this made it check the frequencies with smaller gaps between each potential station location. You may then end up with problems hearing or locking onto the sound. Most likely this is a problem with variant of PAL used on cable channels with Alma TV and whatever they use in Australia. If you’re lucky, you can set Australia to pick up all the channels, and then maybe edit each channel afterwards with to use PAL I/G/M/whatever they are using here.

The frequencies are all in Hz, and I’ve written the channel names in Latin characters, rather than Cyrillic as this blog still won’t display non-Latin alphabets. Where feasible I have included what the channel name looks like on the screen by representing Cyrillic letters with Latin ones. Please don’t cringe too much Oleg, if you’re reading this 🙂

If you are entering these frequencies into your programs manually, you may find you need to fine tune them a little, and don’t forget if the TV program accepts frequencies in KHz to knock three zeros off the end of each figure, if MHz is required, just move the decimal places three steps further left. So 109250000 Hz is 109250 Khz or 109.25 MHz.

83250000 to 85250000 Asil Arna (somewhere between the two figures, different programs locked onto different areas)
109250000 Khabar
119250000 El Arna
151250000 Hit TV
165250000 Rahat (Paxat, though logo shows (CTB (STV)) bad quality signal
175250000 Channel 31 (Logo looks like 3U)
191250000 Astana
199250000 Channel 7
215250000 KTK
231250000 Muzzine (Can’t seem to find this one on digital cable)
238250000 1 Eurasia
247250000 NTV (HTB)
253250000 Ren TV (PEH TV)
271250000 RTR Planet (PTP – Russia is show in logo)
287250000 NTK (HTK)
295250000 RTR Planet (PTP – Russia is show in logo) – better quality maybe
303250000 RBK
319250000 TV-3 (TB3)
327250000 TV 1000
335250000 TV-1000 Russian Cinema (Pycckoe Kino)
343250000 Our Cinema (NTV Hawe Kino)
351250000 Home (?) Cinema (Dom Kino)
359250000 TV-ts (TVCI u)
367250000 Mnogo TV
399250000 India TV
503250000 Comedy (Komydiya)
511250000 Feniks+ Cinema (Kino)
527250000 TV-1000 Action
543250000 AXN Sci Fi Ru
559250000 Fox Life
567250000 National Geographic
583250000 Animal Planet
591250000 Discovery Channel
599250000 Discovery Science
607250000 Viasat Explorer
615250000 Viasat History
623250000 Eurosport-2
639250000 Eurosport-1
647250000 Sport 1
655250000 Sport 2
663250000 Alma TV Info
671250000 Drive
679250000 Boxing Channel
687250000 Jetix
695250000 Cartoon Network
703250000 Nickelodeon
711250000 Universal Channel Russia
719250000 TellyNana
727250000 Muzika Channel 1
735250000 Muz TV (My3 TB)
743250000 Mezzo
751250000 MTV Russia
759250000 TDK
767250000 Mir
775250000 Nostalgia
783250000 Hunting & Fishing
791250000 Summer House (Gardening etc.)
799250000 Health TV
807250000 Cooking TV
815250000 World Fashion
823250000 TNV (THB)
831250000 Spas
839250000 KZ. Sport1
847250000 Comedy TV
855250000 Euronews

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Dec 19 2007

Internet Reports

Category: In The Media,Internet Connections,Kazakhstan,PersonalChrisM @ 4:25 am

The ISP we now have our internet connection with is called Megaline. Unfortunately, since swapping to their service, everyday sees some downtime for connectivity. Even when all is apparently working, packets are often lost, and I can no longer as open as many simultaneous pages, without time outs occurring. That said, it is a lot cheaper, and although only 1/2 the speed, I do get an allowance of 10Gb/month before they throttle me down to 32Kbit/sec, from 128Kbit/sec.
Anyway, we first have a report on the UK’s lagginess (puns will stop now, sorry), when it comes to very fast internet connection availability. This is no great surprise really, given our history with BT’s (formerly part of the GPO) previous monopoly at nearly all stages of communications. Great investment will be needed to push beyond the current 24Mbps ceiling, and even that sort of connection is only really possibly if you live on top of your local exchange. Until we drop twisted pair copper lines as acceptable, the days of fibre optics into every home are a long way off, unless someone like Richard Branson decides that it is economically viable in areas when other Cable TV operators have avoided.
Globally Maximum Advertised Speeds For The Internet

On a more positive note, here we have an article detailing how broadband internet connectivity (even if it isn’t globally breath-takingly fast) has rapidly become the preferred speed, compared to just four years ago, when most people considered dial up speeds acceptable. No pretty table to illustrate the point this time, sorry.

Finally, on a semi-related matter, the BBC News site had details on how some European nation’s citizens are rejecting land lines altogether, in favour of mobile phones. Although this may sound surprising at first, if you take into account that some of the nations, that were unable to develop as quickly under USSR rule, never had high rates for phone lines into every house, and how competitive some mobile phone network companies are in these markets, to try and get, then keep loyal customers, you can begin to see why having no land line number is becoming more common in some areas. Whether these figures include those that only use phone lines for internet usage, and use mobiles for cheaper evening calls etc, I couldn’t ascertain.

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