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Jul 29 2009

Channel 4 HD

With today’s announcement that C4 HD will launch on the Virgin Media cable platform in the next few weeks; questions are being asked of whether Channel 4’s high-definition service will also be available on Freesat.

We are trying to find this out, but from what we understood from previously conversations with Channel 4; the contract with Sky ensured an exclusive agreement on the satellite platform, but not others such as cable and terrestrial aerial. If this is the case, then we have a while longer to wait yet; but if not, we could indeed see C4HD making an appearance on Freesat very soon.

As we find out more information, we’ll be sure to update you.

61 Responses to “C4 HD Joins Virgin Media Line-up”

  1. Dominique Says:

    I’d really love to see this happening before the end of the year. It would be a major bonus to the HD (poor)line-up. That being said, it took them a good while to get it on Virgin.
    Hopefully we’ll get some news in the weeks to come.

    Big thumbs up for Joinfreesat for letting us know what’s going on.


  2. glyn Says:

    No one network should have exclusive rights to any channels .


  3. Alex Says:

    Especially when its a free to air channel!


  4. admin Says:


    Except C4HD is presently an FTV channel, not FTA. Sadly money rules, and many channels cannot refuse offers from the giants of Sky to either be FTV or subscription. Hopefully for C4 HD that will be ending soon.


  5. Lee B Says:

    I’d like to think C4HD won’t be long, after all they are going to launch a freeview channel soon!


  6. Jon Says:

    Channel 4 is a British public service channel, its shocking that Sky are allowed to effectively buy exclusivity to its HD channel for about 2 years now.


  7. darnall 42 Says:

    at the moment 4HD Is sky’s Bitch 😉 murdoch wont let it go FTA


  8. glyn Says:

    The sooner sky is brought to heel the better, But i think ofcom is sky’s bitch.


  9. Lee B Says:

    This is not looking good, looks like Virgin customers will get C4HD for free, freeview HD customers (when launched) will get C4HD, Sky get C4HD….but nothing for us freesat viewers. I wonder if Ofcom should be looking into this, after all it should be a public channel. Ofcom seem to be getting some teeth recently so Sky better watch out.


  10. glyn Says:

    I hope you’r right.


  11. Trevor Harris Says:

    Everyone seems to be blaming Sky or Ofcom for the agreement with Sky when in reality it was Channel 4 who chose this arrangement. At the time channel 4 was FTV aswell and so I suspect that transmission rights had to be considered. Channel 4 HD use Sky’s transponder so I suspect Sky offered a good deal. If people are desperate for channel 4 HD they can always get a Sky box with a sky card. I suspect they do want to go FTA but probably do not want to spend the money in the present economic climate.


  12. derek500 Says:

    “According to a C4 spokesman: “Launching HD on Freeview or Freesat involves significant additional cost and would not increase revenues. In the current economic situation, our number one priority is to protect our content budget so any new launches will have to be weighed up very carefully.”

    With Sky adding 291,000 more HD homes in the last quarter, which is more than the number of Freesat HD homes since launch, there’s not much incentive for C4 HD to give up Sky’s help.


  13. Tony Hales Says:

    Big Brother in HD. I can’t wait (not).


  14. Lee B Says:

    Trevor, if Sky were to offer their Sky HD boxes so I could use the recording functions without paying a £10 monthly recording charge on top of the box cost from Tesco I would be happy to, it would make for a good freesat box, I’d even be happy to pay for the £10 HD pack alone, but Sky don’t seem to want you to have just this pack you have to pick another and the cost starts to add up.


  15. Lee B Says:

    derek500, I think with the recent price drop of the Bush HD Box (£67) and Grundig HD (£49.97 Pc world instore) boxes making HD even more affordable, we should see the number of freesat HD sales enjoying a boost. At less than £50 where available you have HD for life for the price of less than 2 months Sky HD subs.


  16. derek500 Says:

    @ Lee B. What’s the point of an HD STB if you can’t record in HD? What do you do if BBC and ITV are both showing HD programmes at the same time, record one in SD? Surely, that defeats the object of having HD?

    HD without a PVR is not really viable for a serious TV watcher and they’re going to be the majority of HD customers.

    I wonder how many early adopters’ Freesat HD boxes are now gathering dust as they upgraded to PVRs when they became available?


  17. Lee B Says:

    @derek500, Why should HD material require a recorder any more than SD Programs?, recording a program is good but not everyone can afford a £300 HDR recorder. If only HD recorders were available what do you think Freesat HD numbers would be like then. I personally think it’s fantastic that everyone with a budget of around £50 can now enjoy the benefits of HD without a subscription. I know I’ll be buying a £50 HD box for my parents, who would neither understand or bother using a Humax HDR, but enjoy the picture quality of HD material.


  18. Raymond B Says:

    I would have thought that a win-win solution would be for Freesat to offer ITV HD to Sky in return for C4HD.


  19. Lee B Says:

    That would be ideal for us, but I think ITV want payment for their HD service, and I think they are enjoying it after Sky messed up ITV/Virgin merger deal.


  20. admin Says:

    We are being sent unofficial reports that C4HD will be on Freesat mid-August. We cannot validate these rumours at this time.


  21. Lee B Says:

    Would be the best thing to happen to freesat if its true, and might even spur ITV to launch a dedicated HD/upscaled SD Channel!.


  22. Les Says:

    Good news admin, unless your unofficial contact is the same one that said Jacko is alive & well and partying with Elvis!!


  23. admin Says:

    haha, these reports are coming through sources we don’t know, so need to verify them first.


  24. ChrisA Says:

    Virgin Media orignally said they were going to get C4HD on the channel line-up nearly two years ago, so if that’s anything to go by we might actually see C4HD on Freesat in July 2011 :)

    In all seriousness though it should be on Freesat before the end of the year I would have thought now that it will also be available on Cable and Freeview HD by then, subject to enough space being available to carry it on Astra 2D – which I think has been the main problem for about a year anyways.


  25. Ross Says:

    I emailed channel 4 saying that C4 HD is going onto virgin media, when will it be on freesat and this was there response:

    The HD simulcast is initially only available to subscribers to Sky HD, but
    will also be made available on other platforms in future; although at
    present we have no further information as to when this will be and on what
    platforms. In the meantime to receive Channel 4 HD you will need a Sky HD
    box and a HDTV.

    The Channel 4 Group is committed to increasing its investment in HD
    production and the proportion of its schedule transmitted in high definition
    over time.


  26. Night Owl Says:

    There is talk of C4 getting some of the TV licence money in the future.
    If this is the case they should not be allowed to have an exclusive deal with sky.
    In fact HD on freesat must be part of the deal if we are subsidising them with the licence fee.


  27. Dominique Says:

    Those rumours will sure revive some hopes. Channel4 would be a major addition to Freesat. Not to complain or anything but I would have prefered Film4 to be in HD. As previously said, Big Brother in HD….mmm why bother!


  28. derek500 Says:

    @ Dominique.

    Don’t worry, Big Brother isn’t broadcast in HD. It took them about seven seasons to go 16:9!!


  29. Al Catraz Says:


    presume you’ve seen this article:

    It seems to be saying the c4 tie-in to $ky is finished but the author doesn’t say whether he knows this for a fact or is just speculating:

    “With the period of exclusivity now lifted the publically owned broadcaster is now free to secure further agreements”


  30. admin Says:

    Hi Al, yes, seen this, but that appears to be one persons opinion, no evidence of fact as yet. Hopefully it’s right.


  31. Bert Allsop Says:

    BBC should stop SKY tranmitting the BBC HD channel for free, then SKY may act fairly, OFCOM please take action


  32. derek500 Says:

    @ Bert Allsop

    Sky don’t transmit the BBC HD channel. The BBC do!!!!


  33. derek500 Says:

    @ Al Catraz

    “With the period of exclusivity now lifted the publically owned broadcaster is now free to secure further agreements”

    Nothing has been lifted. Sky look after the DSAT transmissions for C4. Apparently, Virgin receive it by fibre optic and aren’t using the DSAT transmission.

    The C4/Virgin agreement is totally separate to the C4/Sky one.


  34. glyn Says:

    Have you heard the latest from of sky,They say they’ve added thousands of new subscribers ,everybody i talk to say they are taking sky out because because of the high cost and the poor customer service.


  35. stuart A Says:

    calm down kids its only TV
    how did we manage years ago with only four channels.


  36. Lee B Says:

    Dixons online selling Humax HDR’s for £222.30 delivered (use the 5% discount code as per hotukdeals today).


  37. roger Says:

    channel four hd will be real addition for the plaform. i was going to hold out until ch4hd was launched, after hearing the that freeview hd channels will be broadcast on low bit rates 7mb.sec i have opted for freesat.
    Lets hope bbc shows the championship football matches in hd!


  38. Brian Says:

    I see that CH4 HD joined Virgin cable today! Available now….


  39. ChrisK Says:

    I gave up Sky last year but still used the Sky HD box upto 3 months ago for CH4HD but got fed up with a stack of sat receivers under the TV.

    HDR, Sky HD, FTA and a Freeview recorder something had to go so it was the SkyHD box and CH4HD went with it and the truth is I have not missed CH4 but if they come to FreeSat then I will only be to happy to view their adverts and programmes again and help boost their dismal viewing figures.


  40. stuartA Says:

    Cmon freesat you showed a lot of promise over the past year but your going a bit stale now.
    you have news and sport in the EPG but no sport.
    HD is good but not enough( a hd movie channel would be a start then maybe a sports channel etc etc) trust me its what the people want.
    you have the potential to make the big money spenders think twice about being the only kids on the block.
    grow freesat grow.


  41. admin Says:


    As a response to that, where do you expect Freesat to get a movie or sports channel from, especially in HD?


  42. Tony Hales Says:

    Movies are HD anyway so BBC HD could show some instead of their preview waste of airtime.


  43. Peter Piper Says:

    I don’t think we’ll see 4hd this year. I hope I’m wrong

    Freesat got smaller today with the Audi Channel closing down from midnight and being removed from the epg.


  44. admin Says:

    @Tony Hales

    BBC are restricted to 9 hours of viewing per day, hense the preview the rest of the time.


  45. Tony Hales Says:

    Restricted by what? Some arbitary rule that can be changed when it suits their agenda no doubt.


  46. joe Says:

    Channel 4HD should of gone on freesat before it went on virgin Cable company then go on BT vision then virgin


  47. derek500 Says:

    @ Joe Don’t forget Sky pay towards C4 HD’s running costs and it’s encrypted on a pan European beam.. Virgin receive it by fibre optics and no doubt there is some sort of financial arrangement in place.

    Freesat can’t pay Channel 4 for their HD channel.


  48. ChrisK Says:

    Tony @ 42

    The BBC seem to have spent most of our money on HD sport of late and therfore only show in house movies.

    According to the BBC HD blog site, Sky has plenty of HD movie channels so we cant be bothered with movies and of corse Sky does not cover sport.



  49. derek500 Says:

    @ ChrisK The BBC seem to have spent most of our money on HD sport of late and therfore only show in house movies.

    I must have missed all that sport!! Since the Olympics nearly a year ago BBC HD has only shown Six Nations Rugby, Masters Golf and Wimbledon.

    Have I missed something?


  50. Chris K Says:

    derek500 @ 49

    It may only be a few events but it’s a lot of air time.

    Looking at the BBC blog of late they only seem to be blagging on about all the sport they have coming up over the next year bearing in mind that at least 50% of none sport programmes on the HD channel are repeats.


  51. Oyodi Says:

    To Admin
    When you say “where do you expect Freesat to get a movie or sports channel from, especially in HD?” to StuartA; Surly the answer is Film 4, movies are made in HD anyway, so surly the only cost to them is transmitting HD content instead of SD.


  52. admin Says:


    That may be so, and would be greatly received no doubt, but StuartA was suggesting that Freesat should have more HD but in reality Freesat cannot be responsible for this, only the broadcasters can.


  53. Tony Hales Says:


    Indeed. Freesat is little more than a electronic programme guide.


  54. Jimbo Says:

    Admin: Any further ”unofficial” news regarding C4HD on freesat since your post in July??? sky can now add myself to the list of cancelations – just cancelled today – sky putting the fees up again from september.. Another question for you: what Mb’s per sec does the BBC HD channel broadcast on Freesat?


  55. derek500 Says:

    @ Jimbo

    BBC HD doesn’t broadcast on Freesat. It broadcasts on Astra 2D.

    It runs at 16mbs, which is higher than most channels, but the BBC are using old encoders that aren’t as efficient.

    I have full pack sky and it’s only going up by £1. Hardly a cancelling issue!!


  56. Jimbo Says:

    @derek500. but this seems to be a reguar thing with Sky each & every September. there customer service has not improved over the years nor has there channel content (unless you pay extra for the sports/movies). Freesat I think holds an important key for the future. As soon as 4HD becomes free I think sales will improve and more people will make that Sky –> Freesat switch.


  57. stuartA Says:

    I thought we were going to have 200 channels by the end of the first year .


  58. Al Catraz Says:


    You seem to be so in love with your $ky package, so why the interest (and so much negativity) in a freesat forum? a $py in our midst, perhaps?


  59. Tony Hales Says:

    Is this about Freesat or about commenting on other posters posts?


  60. Al Catraz Says:

    Point taken Tony. My apologies to derek500 – I was having a bad day!


  61. Ross Says:

    “I thought we were going to have 200 channels by the end of the first year .”

    That was revised downwards, and with the current economic climate the number of channels can only decrease – if ITV sends ITV’s 2-4 pay thats six channels gone in one go!


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