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BBC/ITV Freesat - Spring 08

The BBC/ITV service will provide a high definition "guaranteed non-subscription" digital satellite service.

The BBC/ITV service will provide a high definition  guaranteed
published on UK Free TV
Main article: All about Freesat - ukfree.tv - launch update - Freesat Launch: brilliant for everyone - ukfree.tv


We've been reporting about BBC Freesat since early 2006

The BBC's service, which is now set to launch in spring 2008, will provide a "guaranteed non-subscription" digital satellite service.

The boxes will provide a HDTV satellite version of the popular Freeview service, with a number of BBC, ITV channels in high definition plus all the existing services that the current Freesat service provides.

The BBC and ITV Freesat service will also provide an alternate (but compatible) electronic programme guide (EPG), and will provide interactive services.

Currently both Channel 4 and five have agreements with Sky which require their channels (with the exception of Film4) to require the use of a "Freesat From Sky" card. This means that you currently need to purchase a card from Sky Subscriber Services Ltd for 20 to watch Channel 4, five, Five US, Five Life and Sky Three.

Whilst this card is included as part of the 150 cost of Freesat From Sky, Sky have in the past invalidated the existing cards and demanded payment for a new one from Freesat users. Last time Sky did this the telephone number that was provided told customers that the must subscribe and mislead callers telling them no replacement cards were available!

The BBC/ITV service will have several potential uses:

  1. a box-swap replacement to upgrade an existing Freesat from Sky or Sky subscription box for a box with HDTV services;
  2. a box-swap replacement for a Sky+ box for a HDTV satellite personal video recorder;
  3. a multi-room installation with an existing dish fitted with a quad-LNB;
  4. connection to a Windows Vista Media Centre or Windows Home Server;
Mark Thompson (BBC Director-General) said "The BBC's objective in launching Freesat is to support Digital Switchover by providing another way for licence payers to receive digital television channels and radio services, subscription free from the BBC and ITV.

"Its primary purpose is to drive digital take-up in analogue homes, particularly in those areas which are out of digital terrestrial coverage. Freesat also offers a trusted free-to-view digital upgrade path that gives licence payers all the benefits of digital television (notably high definition capability) guaranteed free of subscription."

Michael Grade (ITV Executive Chairman) said "Freesat will build on the success of Freeview by offering viewers a simple and cost effective way of upgrading to digital TV. By filling in the current gaps in Freeview coverage, Freesat will ensure that a free-to-air, no strings attached option for accessing digital TV is available to the whole of the UK ahead of digital switchover. By offering HD capability we will future proof Freesat if, as expected, high definition television continues to capture the imagination of UK viewers."

What channels will be provided?

The current single-channel HDTV service for the BBC is only a test service. It seems reasonable that the BBC will provide the main channels in HD resolution. This will probably not extend to the BBC regional news services, and may not initially include the national variations in HD.

ITV1 is the only network of theirs with regional variations, so again a "Network" version of the channel will be provided in HD, with SDTV potentially regional adverts inserted. It seems reasonable that ITV2, ITV3, ITV4 and CITV will also broadcast in HD.

It seems that the other public service broadcasters, Channel 4, five and S4C will want to get on board. This will require E4, C4, More4, five, five Life and five US to change their broadcasts, or for the new BBC Freesat to simulcast these channels as HD.

Channel 4 told the Guardian that the channel "currently has exclusive [digital satellite] carriage deals in place with Sky Digital for the majority of its channels (other than for Film4, which is broadcast free-to-air). Under the Communications Act we would expect to become subject to obligations to ensure the availability of the core channel on all satellite platforms, which would require that Channel 4 was available on Freesat."

As for the other non-public service Freeview channels:
  1. Ftn, The Hits, TMF, UKTV Bright Ideas, UKTV History are locked into Sky subscription agreements, but obviously it would be to the benefit of Freesat if these channels could be made available to the extra 2.5 million homes.
  2. Sky Sports News is a subscription service on satellite and Sky Three would have to go free-to-air, which may happen to show Sky's benevolence.
  3. Sky News is broadcast free-to-air.


Help with Free satellite?
Can I stop paying Sky and use my satellite receiver to get Freeview ?1
What can I do when my Sky Digibox says 'No Signal' or 'Technical fau2
My Sky box has a "no signal message" - what do I do?3
How do I change the RF output channel on a Sky Digibox?4
Can I use my ex-contract sky digital satellite receiver to get Freeview channels5
In this section
Yesterday, Drama and Really joining Freesat this month1
PBS America joins Freesat for Halloween2
Fixing the Freesat Freetime internet connection problem3
Satellite TV operators FRANSAT, TIVUSAT and our Freesat launch FreeTV Alliance 4
An Independent Scot would still be able to watch the BBC on satellite, surely? 5
Were ... you watching UK Free TV from the Astra satellites until last week?6

Comments
Thursday, 29 September 2011
Les Nicol
3:09 PM Castle Douglas

Les Nicol: Brian Should have stated "switch modes manually" It appears that this is an auto function within "Favourites".

link to this
Les Nicol's 991 posts Gold Gold GB
Les's: Freeview map terrain plot frequency data R&TI Service digitaluk trade DAB coverage
Briantist
3:33 PM

Les Nicol: Thanks for that, it sounds very interesting. I might have to get one to see if it does all it claims to do.

link to this
Briantist's 38,757 posts Owner Owner GB
Thursday, 20 October 2011
Les Nicol
1:35 PM

Brian - Have received notification from Future Publishing this lunchtime, advising that "What Satellite" magazine has been transferred with immediate effect to My HobbyStore Ltd.

This effectively means continuation of "What Satellite" in the immediate future.

link to this
Les Nicol's 991 posts Gold Gold GB
Friday, 21 October 2011
Briantist
7:25 AM

Les Nicol: I hope that means they can keep writing articles.

link to this
Briantist's 38,757 posts Owner Owner GB
Les Nicol
7:42 AM

Brian The The letter I received states that for the most part the same Magazine Team behind "What Satellite" will remain.

link to this
Les Nicol's 991 posts Gold Gold GB
Briantist
8:04 AM

Les Nicol: I'm sure they will be happy to hear that.

link to this
Briantist's 38,757 posts Owner Owner GB
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