menuMENU    UK Free TV logo Freesat



Click to see updates

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 - - launch update - Freesat Launch: brilliant for everyone -

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?
What can I do when my Sky Digibox says 'No Signal' or 'Technical fau1
Can I receive UK TV in Ghana?2
What is a CA module?3
My box says "No Satellite signal being received"4
Is there any way I can get free channels via satellite and have the kind of hard5
In this section
Freesat adds a plethora of new channels in time for Christmas including channel 1
A tale of a two Freesat boxes2
Yesterday, Drama and Really joining Freesat this month3
PBS America joins Freesat for Halloween4
Fixing the Freesat Freetime internet connection problem5
Satellite TV operators FRANSAT, TIVUSAT and our Freesat launch FreeTV Alliance 6

Thursday, 3 February 2011

4:44 PM

Les Nicol: Yes, I'm just trying to write an article about this. Given that I have been going on about it to people for the last decade.

link to this comment
Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag

5:12 PM

Les Nicol/Mark Aberfan Aerials: I've stuck the information up on Karen Murphy scores against the Premier League and Sky | - independent free digital TV advice .

link to this comment
Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag
Saturday, 5 February 2011
Les Nicol

10:29 AM

Brian - Jordy. Do either of you know the position as regards the legal status of pubs in the Irish Republic on this one?

link to this comment
Les Nicol's 991 posts GB flag

1:02 PM

Les Nicol: The Single European Market (remember "1992") provides the same provisions for all EU countries.

I suspect the RoI doesn't have the obscure (and not illegal) copyright provisions of the earlier 1998 UK Copyright and Patents Act.

link to this comment
Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag
Wednesday, 23 February 2011
Les Nicol

9:43 AM

Brian - I bought a 24" Philips LCD TV from Costco (for a relative)just over 3years ago - warranted for 3years then but I they now offer a 5year in house warranty.

The set stopped working a couple days or so before the warranty was out. I contacted Costsco's Conceirge services support line (which seems to be in the US) and they wre sraight onto having a repair effectd by TVRS in Blantyre.

The fault was dry jointing but a new power supply PCB board was fitted and the set returned reasonably quickly considering it's 150mile round trip.

Unfortunately it was discovered that the back cover on the set had been broken and cracked at the top edge where the covers top corner screws were located - It obviuosly hadn't been put back square.

Contacted Costco Conceirge services again and they organised aresponse from TVRS where they eapidly responded and supplied a new rear back cover with full apologies - not their usual standard of service - fitting same at location.

Given some of the negative service posts I have seen in relation to others eg: Comet and Curry's thought this was worth some applaud to Costco's support Conceirge suppoert from the US !!!

link to this comment
Les Nicol's 991 posts GB flag
Les Nicol

9:46 AM

P.S. The Repair was given 90 days Warranty

link to this comment
Les Nicol's 991 posts GB flag
Thursday, 24 February 2011

7:10 AM

Les Nicol: Yes, that is almost shockingly good.

Or, if you live in the USA, totally normal.

It does say something about the level of corporatism in this country that "the market" doesn't usually deliver for the customer.

link to this comment
Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag
Tuesday, 1 March 2011
Les Nicol

8:06 PM

Brian - Manhattan to launch HD and HD DTR receivers to compliment their SD entry to "Freesat",

link to this comment
Les Nicol's 991 posts GB flag

8:24 PM

Les Nicol: Yes, I saw something about that earlier. It should be good news for Freesat.

link to this comment
Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag
Wednesday, 2 March 2011
Frank Croom
3:14 PM

Not sure if this is the right place but here goes.
As my wife is disabled she qualifies for the digital assist scheme run by the BBC. We opted for having Freesat fitted at the subsidised payment of £209. The engineer arrived on time and completed the installation of a Sagem dtr94250 receiver/recorder. Everything went well for few days then the problems started. A warning box appeared on the screen saying that the receiver was having a problem and the HDD needed reformatting. My remote was also having problems as well with certain buttons not functioning.I phoned a helpline and was told someone would come and relace the box. The next day it was replaced with a dtr94500 model, but after he left I noticed that the packaging had red faulty stickers on it and somehow had originated in Jersey!!.
Another phonecall resulted in a third box being installed, this time a dtr94320. Almost immediately the same problems arose so I phoned Sagem. Their helpline is in Austria by the way.They were very helpful and talked me thru a procedure over the phone to correct the fault. But this was short lived and I had to phone them again yesterday and again I was talked thru. The problem started again after a few hours.
I really don't know what to do now, I feel like throwing the box in the skip. Three boxes,three different models and all had what appeared to be Argos catalog numbers on them. I know It's subsidised but I've still paid out £209 for faulty equipment. Any help or comments would be welcome.

link to this comment
Frank Croom's 1 post GB flag
Select more comments
Page 2

Your comment please
Please post a question, answer or commentUK Free TV is here to help people. If you are rude or disrespectful all of your posts will be deleted and you will be banned.

Privacy policy: UK Free Privacy policy.