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All about Freesat

Everything you ever wanted to know about Freesat but were too afraid to ask...

Everything you ever wanted to know about Freesat but were too a
published on UK Free TV
FREESAT LAUNCHED AT 12:30pm ON 6TH MAY 2008 - UPDATE - read about it here - Freesat Launch: brilliant for everyone - ukfree.tv


Freesat is a joint venture between the BBC and ITV plc to provide a consumer-orientated free-to-air satellite reception service. Freesat does not provide any television or radio channels itself; instead it markets the channels and receiver equipment and co-ordinates the provision on an electronic programme guide.

Is Freesat linked to Freeview?

One of the conditions of the BBC Trust approving Freesat was that there must be no linkage between Freeview (which markets digital television though and rooftop aerial) and Freesat. BBC Trust - "Freesat" closed consultation

Is this a new service?

Only partially. When direct-to-home satellite services launched in Europe, they were all free. Over time some of these services became subscription, enforced by encryption systems that rendered the signals unwatchable without an appropriate decoder box and subscription card.



When, in 1998, the digital satellite services started, many of the formally free to air channels became subscription services. This originally included those from the BBC and ITV, who mistakenly believed they had to encrypt. However, many channels realised that they did not need to pay Sky Subscriber Services Ltd (SSSL) to simply appear on the Sky Digital Electronic Programme Guide (EPG).



The Office of Fair Trading ( OFT), part of the British Government has always required Sky to provide a free-to-air alternative, and this is known as Freesat From Sky ( fSfS). The OFT understood that SSSL was positioning itself as a gatekeeper to the whole of digital satellite television, and fSfS was required as a market intervention because Sky dominates the pay television market.

Sky has blown hot and cold over fSfS since 1999. At some points it has been happy to market the scheme, at others it has almost hidden it away. Today, the majority of those using fSfS (around a million homes) do so because they have let their Sky subscriptions lapse. When the BBC withdrew from using SSSL encoding during 200X, Sky took the opportunity to cancel all the fSfS cards, and provided messages to the users that erroneously informed them that they had to subscribe once more to continue with their satellite television.

The idea of a BBC Freesat service has been floated for many years. It has always been known that there are going to be a proportion of homes in the UK where terrestrial digital reception will be over-expensive or have limited reception, even after digital switch-over is complete. In addition there are some people who do not wish to have a service, even a free one provided by a News Corporation company, often because of antipathy towards the American owner, Rupert Murdoch.

Since 1998, all UK direct-to-home satellite television broadcasts have used satellites in the 28.2 degrees East orbital position the satellites are in geostationary orbit (they appear stationary from the ground) above the equator 35,786 km over Democratic Republic of Congo (shown on the map below).


View Larger Map

There are now five satellites: four belong to SES Astra, a Luxembourg company; the other belongs to the HotBird consortium. Each satellite has a number of different transmitters (known as transponders) which these companies hire out on long-term contracts. Four of the satellites can easily be viewed from most of Northern Europe with a small (60cm) satellite dish, the other has a reception area (called a footprint) focused on the British Isles.

The transponders are listed here. You can see that many have been restricted to Sky subscribers, but many are free-to-air.



What channels are on Freesat?

Entertainment (101-199)

BBC One (101), BBC Two (102), ITV1 (103), C4 / S4C in Wales (104), BBC Three (106), BBC Four (107), BBC HD (108), ITV2 (113), ITV3 (115), ITV3+1 (116), ITV4 (117), S4C Digidol / C4 in Wales (120), E4 (122), More4 (124), Zone Romantica (135), Zone Thriller (137) .

News and Sport (200-299)

Movies (300-399) Film4 (300), True Movies (302), True Movies2 (303), Movies4Men (304), Movies4Men2 (306).

Lifestyle (400-499)

Wedding TV (402) , Overseas Property Channel (411), Men and Motors (450).

Music (500-599)

Chartshow TV (500), The Vault (501), Scuzz (502), Bubble Hits (503), B4U Music (504),

Children (600-649)

CBBC (600), CBeebies (601), CiTV (602), POP (603), POPGirl (604), Tiny POP(605).

Special Interest (650-699)

Teachers TV (650)

Radio (700-799)

BBC Radio 1 (700), 1Xtra BBC (701), BBC Radio 2 (702), BBC Radio 3 (703), BBC Radio 4 FM (704), BBC Radio 4 LW (705), BBC Radio Five Live (706), BBC Radio Five Live Sports Extra (707), BBC 6 Music (708), BBC 7 (709), BBC Asian Network (710), BBC World Service (711), BBC Radio Scotland (712), BBC Radio nan Gaidheal (713), BBC Radio Wales (714), BBC Radio Cymru (715), BBC Radio Ulster (716), BBC London 94.9 (718).

Shopping (800-849)

QVC (800), Price Drop TV (801), Bid TV (802), Pitch TV (803), JML Lifestyle (810)

Interactive (900-949)

BBCi

Regional (950-999) also accessible via BBC One/BBC Two

BBC One London (950), BBC One Channel Islands (951), BBC One East (W) (954), BBC One Northern Ireland (957), BBC One Scotland (960), BBC One Wales (964), BBC Two England (968), BBC Two Northern Ireland (969), BBC Two Scotland (970), BBC Two Wales (971).
ITV regionals accessed via ITV1 London (not listed separately) Ulster, STV Scottish East, STV Scottish West, ITV1 Wales, ITV1 Border England, ITV1 Central West, ITV1 Granada, ITV1 Anglia East, Channel TV, STV Grampian North. "Channel 5 and some other channels are not available at launch"

five, five Life (aka Fiver), five US E4, More4 UKTV History, Dave, Virgin 1, EuroNews,

NOT expected but not yet confirmed channels

Sky Three, Sky Sports News TMF, The Hits

Radio stations

1Xtra BBC, BBC Asian Network, BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, BBC Radio 6 Music, BBC Radio 7, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Radio Foyle, BBC Radio nan Gaidheal, BBC Radio Scotland, BBC Radio Ulster, BBC Radio Wales, BBC World Service, Heat Radio, Kerrang! Radio, KISS 100, Magic, MOJO Radio, Q Radio, Smash Hits! Radio, smooth fm , The Hits Radio, Heart, talkSPORT, Virgin Radio, BBC Radio 4 LW, BBC Radio London.

Full channel list...

To see the whole list: All free-to-watch channels - ukfree.tv

Where can I receive it?

Freesat is intended for UK reception, however the signals do cover a larger area, due to the nature of satellite transmission. Please click on the 'footprint' maps for more details.




How much will it cost?

Argos - www.argos.co.uk is already listing a number of boxes, such as those shown below.
The installation charge (including dish) is listed as 80 - and their 'installers will call within 48 hours to arrange a convenient date for set up and installation of your Freesat equipment and satellite dish.' - also they say to 'refer to leaflet inside Freesat digital box for more information', see Buy Single Freesat Installation. at Argos.co.uk

Argos are currently showing a 50 and 70 SD box, and a 120 and 150 HD box. All models have 'LAN port for connection to broadband, for faster return path when accessing Freesat digital interactive services.'



Other stores are available.

Do I need a card or to plug the box into a telephone line?

No, and no. But you CAN connect some boxes to your internet router to access additional material online. Access to the BBC iPlayer will start shortly on Freesat..

Will the picture quality be better than Freeview?

Yes, if you have a HD box and connect it to your television using a HDMI connector. See HD and Freesat questions and answers - ukfree.tv for more information.

What about the Interactive channels and text service?

The text services on Freesat are in high definition, and are more modern than found on other systems.

Will I be able to use a Personal Video Recorder?

Of course, and you will not have to pay a monthly subscription, as is the case with Sky+. They will be in the shops very soon.

How does it connect to my television


A HDMI lead is used to connect your HD box to the HDTV. And note, please do not be fooled into buying an over-priced one, it is a digital connection and will work, or not.


A SCART cable is used for SD reception and for connection to 'leagacy' equipment such as a DVD burner.

For more information see: Connecting it all up - ukfree.tv

Can I share a dish?

Yes, but you need a quad- LNB. For more information see: Freesat reception - all about dishes - ukfree.tv

Will there be an electronic programme guide (EPG)

The Freesat EPG is independent from the one provided by Sky and includes listings for the radio stations, as with Freeview.

What about subtitles and audio description

Subtitles: yes. Audio description: ensure you have a compatible box.

Can I just plug a Freeview box into a dish?

No. They are incompatible - do not attempt it, you risk damaging the equipment or getting an electric shock.

Anything missing? Let us know, below...

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

Comments
Saturday, 1 September 2012
R
RonC
8:23 AM

For Les Nicholl - post on "What Satellite" September 2011 issue and the Humax box. I have just switched from Sky+ to Humax and am interested in the magazine article mentioned, but can't 'spot' a downloadable copy of the article on-line. (The 'sonic' link on World Magazines doesn't connect at all.)
Do you have a link which works, please? Many thanks!

link to this comment
RonC's 9 posts GB flag
Wednesday, 12 December 2012
M
M. Partington
5:35 PM

Using a Freesat SD decoder, is it possible to obtain other stations from Europe or the free channels from Sky which are not available on freesat?

link to this comment
M. Partington's 5 posts GB flag
M
M. Partington
5:37 PM

Using a free sat SD decoder, is it possible to receive other channels such as European channels or free channels from Sky?

link to this comment
M. Partington's 5 posts GB flag
Sunday, 30 December 2012
M
Marie
4:45 PM

We live in Portugal and our 12 year old digi box has stopped working. Because of the changes that are about to occur with the satellite reception we do not want to buy an expensive box. Will any digi box connect to our satellite or do we have to buy a Sky box? At the moment we do not pay any subscription for our sky card. We do not particularly want Sky plus as we have a dvd recorder with a hard drive.

link to this comment
Marie's 1 post PT flag
Saturday, 5 January 2013
D
David Haworth
12:45 PM

Not sure where to put this query - am I alone when watching older programmes such as Frasier that the picture continually switches between 4/3 format and widescreen on Humax freesat.

link to this comment
David Haworth's 2 posts GB flag
Dave Lindsay
sentiment_very_satisfiedPlatinum

12:52 PM

David Haworth: Are you sure that it is your Humax box that is doing this and not some "smart" setting on the TV that stretches the picture (or whatever it's doing to make it fill the 16:9 screen)?

link to this comment
Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB flag
D
David Haworth
6:51 PM

Don't know but obviously it only happens with the earlier programmes - and usually happens after an ad break.
I mention Humax because that's where the signal comes from. Didn't think about the TV which is a Pioneer Plasma-still good!
Should also ask my technical advisor(son).

link to this comment
David Haworth's 2 posts GB flag
Monday, 7 January 2013
I
ian from notts
sentiment_satisfiedSilver

6:57 AM
Nottingham

david harworth, not sure why it continually switches but if you can, use the picture options menu on both the tv and humax,
try to set the display to 16/9 instead of auto.
this should stop them both looking for the 4/3 option during older programmes ?

link to this comment
ian from notts's 253 posts GB flag
ian's: mapI's Freeview map terrainI's terrain plot wavesI's frequency data I's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Monday, 14 January 2013
F
Frithe Johnson
4:50 PM

Hi, I'm getting a new hdtv soon and notice that most of them come with freeview built in. However i have freesat and no freeview aerial, can u turn off the freeview feature and plug in the freesat box or will this cause problems?
Thanks
Frith

link to this comment
Frithe Johnson's 3 posts GB flag
Briantist
sentiment_very_satisfiedOwner

5:11 PM

Frithe Johnson: If you have a Freesat HD box attached to the TV using an HDMI cable, the set will automatically detect it and show Freesat HD on-screen.

You don't need to disable Freeview to do this.

link to this comment
Briantist's 38,910 posts GB flag
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