Join Freesat

Aug 21 2009

Speaking with Channel 4 today, we have found out that C4HD is free of its original contract with Sky but lack of space on the appropriate satellite beam is the cause for the high-definition service not being available on the Freesat platform at this time.

As a UK broadcaster, restrictions mean that Channel 4, along with BBC, ITV and Five can only offer their channels in-the-clear if they are broadcast from the tighter 2D beam on the Astra2 satellite; either that or by means of restricted access such as ITV HD.

The high def simulcast is currently available to subscribers of Sky HD and Virgin Media HD, but will also be made available on other platforms including Freesat in future; unfortunately, there is no satellite capacity for our HD channel on Freesat at present.

Unfortunately the 2D beam transponders are already full, with some broadcasters such as BBC reducing the quality of their HD offering in the hope of gaining more space for potential future channels and services. Channel 4 currently lease two of the transponders but are already at full capacity using them for their range of channels already FTA (free-to-air), such as Channel 4, E4, More4, Film4 plus the 1 hour time-shifts and regional variants.

Unless more space can be made available, or channels are moved around, it will be extremely difficult for C4HD, as well as Fiver and Five US to launch FTA on the Freesat platform. The channels currently filling the 2D beam include the following, no surprises that Sky have encrypted/subscription channels taking up valuable space, but they lease it, so are entitled to it:

At The Races (encrypted)
BBC 1 (all regions)
Channel 4 (all regions)
Channel 4 +1 (all regions)
Channel TV
Current TV
Disney Channel (encrypted)
Disney Channel +1 (encrypted)
Disney Cinemagic (encrypted)
Disney Cinemagic +1 (encrypted)
E4 +1
Film 4
Film 4 +1
FX UK +2 (encrypted)
ITV 1 (all regions)
ITV 2 +1
ITV 3 +1
ITV 4 +1
Men & Motors
More 4
More 4 +1
NDTV 24×7
Playhouse Disney (encrypted)
Playhouse Disney +1 (encrypted)
RTE One (encrypted)
RTE Two (encrypted)
Scottish TV (all regions)
Sky Box Office
Sky Real Lives (encrypted)
Sky Real Lives +1 (encrypted)
Sky Real Lives 2 (encrypted)
Sky Sports 2 (pubs – commercial) (encrypted)
Sky Sports Active
Sky Travel Shop (encrypted)
Sky Travel Shop (encrypted)
TG4 (encrypted)
TV3 (encrypted)
Ulster TV

Channel 4 are working to resolve this matter, and have been carrying out tests over the past few weeks since we believe their contract with Sky ended in July 2009. Lets hope that something can be sorted and C4HD can be fairly distributed across all platforms, especially given they are a UK public broadcaster.

Update (24th August 2009)

Official response from Freesat:

Although capacity on the Astra2D satellite is currently in short supply, the situation can change. Other capacity is available although it may not be suitable for some broadcasters depending on the rights they hold with content owners.

Freesat continues to talk with broadcasters about bringing HD content onto the platform and is confident of being able to offer more HD in the future.

176 Responses to “C4HD Satellite Capacity Delays Launch”

  1. Oneguy Says:

    So the problems doesnt exist for SD? TT on 4 label is on an widebeam and completly encryption free…


  2. derek500 Says:

    If their contract with Sky ended in July, how is it that Sky are still doing the work for them. Is it now a daily, weekly or monthly contract?


  3. Lolo12 Says:

    Are all those +1 channels really necessary in the age of the PVR?


  4. Nathan Says:

    Look at all those +1 channels, if they got shut of them, there would be loads of room for HD services!

    Who needs a +1 service now anyway? If you missed a show, just watch it on-demand (iPlayer, 4oD etc).


  5. Ian Says:

    Time for the encrypted channels to be booted onto a wide-beam satellite!


  6. admin Says:


    Don’t know for sure, but given Channel 4 have no real options at the moment (without huge expenditure) I’d suspect their agreement with Sky continues on an on-going basis…after all, it will continue to benefit Sky until things change.


  7. Lee b Says:

    I think this is poor planning by freesat, could they not see this coming, they either needed to have got the space on 2d in advance or the service should have had an encryption card option for a nominal one off fee for uk viewers problem would have been solved. I wonder if ofcom could push sky off 2d onto a wider beam, as I don’t see sky doing freesat any favours. Losing the plus one channels would also work. Hope the BBC help solve this problem as the service could be crippled otherwise.


  8. admin Says:

    I think this is poor planning by freesat, could they not see this coming, they either needed to have got the space on 2d in advance

    Freesat don’t lease any space on the transponders other than the EPG on Eurobird so they would have been unable to help, plus at the time when Freesat was in the planning state, Channel 4 didn’t have so many channels assigned and space was available on 2D as a whole.


  9. Lee b Says:

    Freesat could expand the specification of freesat to include the option of an encrytion card, the humax hdr could cope straight away and the other boxes may cope with a firmware update and external cam. Then if cards are only sold for cost price to uk addresses a bit like sky freesat cards the problem could be resolved as only the uk would receive the channels so a wide beam could be used. Just a thought might be holes in the idea?


  10. admin Says:

    @Lee b

    Plenty of holes in the idea unfortunately; whilst, Freesat is a free platform, so paying any amount of money over and above the cost of a receiver and installation would be against their initial proposal that got approved. Also, the specification to include this would have resulted in much more expensive development and manufacturing costs for the brands available, so all products would have been more expensive. And most importantly, development of a card, with encryption, and the level of expertise and the team behind it to cover the costs and workload would be in the millions of £££’s, resulting in higher EPG inclusion costs so we’d probably be looking at even less channels available. Sky get away with offering this because FTV cards are a mere fraction of the sub cards they have, and the infrastructure if already in place.


  11. Lee b Says:

    I appreciate it’s a free platform but it’s a platform that’s ran out of space to grow already, extending the specification would give it all the room it needs for hd or any channel. People already pay for higher specification boxes with extras like the hdr so why not an encryption option. Encryption has been around for ages now and cams and cards are very cheap, just lease an existing encrytion, or the BBC tech teams make one after all they limited the service at launch by the need for 2d narrow beams.


  12. Lee b Says:

    I’ll see how this plays out but what I thought was unlimited sat bandwidth for channels has turned into a service more restricted than the freeview hd service. I don’t think the BBC creating a hd light service by restricting bandwidth is any kind of solution either. Very poor planning freesat, I can’t see sky shifting channels to make room on 2d, could be checkmate already.


  13. Derek Says:

    The number of +1 channels in these circumstances is clearly absurd. Someone has got their priorities wrong.

    However this ought to be an issue for Ofcom and the Office of Fair Trading. Who is actually regulating these guys? As the country goes digital some subscribers in more remote areas or with difficult Freeview reception will need appropriate reception from Freesat.


  14. Wouter Says:

    Move all the encrypted channels to another beam as there are no geographic limitations due to encryption (from what I understand), that way this narrow beam can be solely used for FTA stuff.

    why didn’t they resolve this matter in time for CH4 contract to expire….


  15. Malcolm Says:

    Aug 12th. Freesat call for more HD channels. Is this a joke? We are now told there is no space for more channels. I guess that means we won’t get ITV HD channel on Freesat when it launches either.


  16. Peter (bobmarleypeople) Says:

    This is bad news indeed. It now all depends on one of two things:

    1) Sky moving its encrypted channels over to Eurobird or other wide band satellites
    2) Other broadcasters moving/removing unnecessary channels (considering the prices of freesat PVRs, I like having timeshift channels).

    I can’t see either happening any time soon. The only reason Sky won’t want to move the channels is because it will give room for some real competition (i.e. Freesat). That and the fact that all boxes will need re-tuning to the new satellite, but that’s not a big issue. Who knows, Sky might be friendly and move them over. Now we need to know when Sky’s lease runs out on the transponders…


  17. Lee b Says:

    The BBChd 40 percent reduction in bandwidth could help make room for itv hd, but I don’t think they have any more room to play with. Some plus 1 channels might need to go or ofcom need to show sky some teeth and move them off 2d.


  18. stuartA Says:

    All these +1`s why?, there repeated the next day anyway.
    Get rid of the driftwood and make some space for some repeats in HD.


  19. Trevor Harris Says:

    According to Greg Dyke it was the BBC that made sure that freeview and freesat used dumb boxes in order to make it difficult to get rid of the licence fee. In fact the Humax PVR does have a common interface and can support encryption. Freesat don’t need to develop their own encryption system as one can be bought of the shelf. So it is really the BBC to blame here.

    Ofcom have no right to throw Sky off 2D. The satallite is owned by a private company and Sky leases from them. Freesat is also dependent on alot of Sky’s infrastructure and without Sky Freesat would not be viable.

    A more serious consequence of the BBC free to air policy is the massive 40% reduction in bit rate. The picture quality of BBC HD has dropped to an all time low.


  20. Denis Says:

    Yes this does seem like a negative but it is a major positive. This is the first time that Channel 4 have openly said that they are trying to get 4HD on Freesat. Yes there are problems at present but at least they are working to resolve it. It may take time but I believe it will be resolved sooner than we imagine.

    “The glass is half full not half empty”


  21. Guy Says:

    Its not the +1’s that are the problem – It is all the Regions. ITV 1 currently has about 14 different regional channels, which (for 90% of the day) are showing exactly the same program. Just the news and adverts get changed, yet each is taking up a full channel.


  22. Deano Says:

    I am shocked totally shocked .
    For months we have been craving for more hd channels and now we have the chance to get more hd there is no room !!!
    someone must have seen this problem coming why was it not sorted out before?


  23. Lee b Says:

    Ok possible solution – all the freesat boxes have Ethernet right, and the BBC has code within the iplayer to check what country you are watching from and only display to a uk address. Could the boxes have a simple firmware update to check for the uk location and dish out an encrytion code only if you are in the uk. No further hardware is required and the program makers would be happy just the uk can receive the channels, then even wide beam could be used.


  24. glyn Says:

    Listen everybody ,the best thing to do is switch it all off at mains and read a book or listen to music ,cos the broadcasters don’t give a damn.


  25. Expat Says:

    Maybe it is time for broadcaster to think about switching to DVB-S2 MPEG4. This could free up room, even Sky must see the benefits, there own SD receivers are past the sell by date, their EPG is full. Broadcasters could save money, the benefits are obvious.
    Put all HD channels on one transponder in DVB-S2, move the BBC regions on any 2D transponder where there is space.
    A software update with card free encryption, this could solve all the issues.
    Freesat should not market DVT-S only boxes, this is not the future.


  26. Paul S Watts Says:

    Ref: Trevor Harris’ posting.

    I agree Trevor. The picture quality of BBC HD is now appaling. I watched the Tudors last night and other than a few of the external scenes, there was little difference between Freesat and the SD offering on Virgin. Very, very diappointing.

    I am beginning to wonder why I bothered.

    But then again, I look at Luxe HD and see what could be………………………….


  27. Tony Hales Says:

    If Freesat does not have any space for more channels (allegedly) because of a lack of narrow beam capacity how could they possibly have had space for the 200 channels they were boasting about when the service started?
    Something does not add up here.


  28. Tony Hales Says:

    Luxe HD looks good because they do not encode on the fly, the lighting conditions are ideal and there is very little motion.


  29. jason Says:

    Well i have spent money on freesat boxes and i am thinking why did i bother, the whole idea of the bonus of freesat was that it had a lot more scope for more channels than freeview, yet in a year or so time when the switch over happens then freeview has its scope opened up and seemingly more channels with the chance of hd channels, so freesat has to sort these issues or fall on its face and after spending over 200 notes on 2 boxes then i cant help but feel a little cheated after all the promisses.
    if you are thinking of getting freesat then i would hold on for a while and see how it plays out .
    just my personal opinion, especialy after bbc reduced the output and quality of its hd service.


  30. Ross Says:

    It does make me wonder what the solution will be for SES when they start replacing satellites – the current Astra 2’s are due out of service by the middle of the next decade……

    @Tony – post 27 – I suspeect FS were expecting a lot of the low budget Eurobird 1 channels to sign up – if all the religious & shopping channels had signed up we could have had another 30 channels on air no problem. Also a lot of the radio channels didnt sign up – you could add in another 20 or 30 no problem just from them.


  31. Jon Says:

    Why can’t C4HD just go as a red button service until they can find room for them? Also where did the room come from for the BETHD “event” or was this also on the red button (didn’t interest me so I didn’t watch it)?


  32. Al (Original) Says:

    @Nathan, many people find the +1 services very useful for resolving recording conflicts.

    More to the point look at all those encrypted services clogging up 2D – 18 channels of encrypted services.

    This is where the government or SES should step in and re-order the channels so that 2D becomes UK only non encrypted and encrypted channels are moved over to Eurobird.

    Its ridiculous that Sky are being effectively allowed to block FTA tv expansion by occupying 2D tightly focused beams that they simply do not need when there’s space available elsewhere at 28.2E.


  33. m o malley Says:

    i have watched dvdaudio, sacd, lps dat, cassette all but die, now cd is slowly dying as well, it now looks as if freesat is doomed as well,—-oh well cant wait
    untill 3d tv takes off as next big thing


  34. Conor Says:

    Why not remove all the Channel 4+1 channels and replace with CH4HD delayed one hour?


  35. Bob Says:

    I think all the above posts say it all. It is really wrong that Freesat are in this ridiculous position when a bit of thought and forward planning could have resolved the lack of space on 2d. I do feel let down having invested in a Pvr. If a solution is not found Freesat is effetely a dead platform.


  36. admin Says:

    @m o malley

    Well if you intend on taking up 3DTV, you probably are happy to pay a significant premium for it, therefore maybe Freesat was never the service for you?


  37. Jason Says:

    Some body should be sued over this Freesat debacle. How can you launch a HD platform without knowing there’s bandwidth ? How did they convince high profile electronic consumer goods manufacturers that it was a good idea? Don’t Freesat have an obligation to those manufacturers to provide a certain level of service and therefore demand for the products which cost R&D resources? Freesat should be examining their position very carefully in my opinion.

    The government should force all those Sky and encrypted channels to move over to wide beam. Yes FORCE. Sky have had it too good for two long and this ‘squatting’ on those transponders sounds anti-competitive to me. No surprise there from a company who’s allegedly profited from monopolistic practises for so long.

    To be honest I’m sick of all these governing bodies – it just means no-one is responsible and nothing useful gets done. Some decisions are handled better by one central body – often the government. It’s their job. When costs for running parliament are spiralling, it begs the question –‘what are they doing for the money?’.


  38. derek500 Says:

    @ Jason

    Freesat is only an EPG. The Astra satellites are owned and run by a Luxembourg company.

    It is nothing to do with the government who goes where on the Astra satellites.


  39. Al (Original) Says:

    @admin / O’malley, I was looking into Sky 3D tv this morning – it seems that to receive 3D Tv you’ll require an entirely new type of 3D tv with a circular polarising screen of which there are non currently on the market, so if you want 3D you’d better be prepared to fork out a couple of grand for a new tv as well as your Sky 3D subscription.

    Link for you:

    @derek, it has everything to do with the government when it becomes a monopoly or competition issue and Sky potentially (even if by accident rather than by design) blocking competition through preventing the expansion of a rival free service when there’s free capacity elsewhere in the same fleet is a likely to be a public interest issue.


  40. videoimp Says:

    The plain fact is that Rupert Murdoch is a much better businessman than are the UK broadcast industry’s ivory tower dwelling engineers and other planners.

    Remember the BSB debacle? Sky beat them but transmitting in PAL so viewers did not need to buy a new TV as well as a set box and dish.

    Similar muddled thinking has compromised Freesat and Freeview.

    I doubt that Ch4’s advertisers would agree to drop +1 channel as most viewers had PVRs. The would relaise the ease with which the adverts could be avoided!

    It was thought the Ofcom would release more bandwith for HD on DTT but it wants to sell the space to mobile operators so one can watch the footie whist at work or driving.


  41. Brusselsman Says:

    Why couldn’t Freesat persuade SKY to drop the encryption on C4HD, add a Freesat EPG slot – problem solved or am I missing something? Surely it would be no different from BBC HD feed for SKY and Freesat. The bandwidth is too precious and expensive for unnecessary duplication.

    BTW – agree entirely with the +1 debate – I have deleted them from my programme list.


  42. Jason Says:

    @derek Exactly my point – Freesat isn’t responsible – it’s pathetic. It did however somehow attract consumers, broadcasters and manufacturers, and come up with the marketing strategy for this with no commitment/requirement to deliver. They’re either geniuses or idiots.

    Had someone explained the narrow beam bandwidth limitation at the outset it would have been obvious that this system (EPG if you like) is almost worthless. Basically it just satisfies those who cannot get freeview while allowing limited HD – it doesn’t seem this is the HD panacea everyone had hoped for, and it certainly doesn’t justify spending close to a thousand pounds on Panasonic’s BluRay burning machine. Panasonic must be absolutely fuming – as will be the people who have purchased one.

    I feel for the public in all of this who are constantly misdirected about the future of HD broadcasts and the technology required to receive it in the UK. Shame on all those involved. The UK public are spending hard earned and limited funds on these half baked offerings. It makes me mad. We deserve respect and consideration in all these matters, but we’re treated like ignorant sheep. Someone needs to be accountable. Step up those with a conscience and be counted. Also step up those who aren’t in fear of Sky when making national decisions and take the reigns in the public’s best interest.

    “It’s nothing to do with the government..”. Really? They are meant to handle siutations when availability of resources can distort the market, such that the best public interest is maintained. Also, they take my license fee and give it to people to make programs who sell them to Sky who then make me pay to watch them. They setup DigitalUK who have to remain so impartial that they cannot advise the consumer on planned future changes to the broadcast system regarding terrestial HD. They set up Ofcom who have decided that DVB-T2 will be the standard for terrestial HD despite NONE, repeat NONE, repeat NONE, repeat NONE of the HD TVs sold so far being capable of receiving that format. An absolute shambles, and how the British public keeps taking this abuse amazes me.

    It seems a lot of these contracts made and licenses given are in fact distorting what’s best for the public/consumer. Perhaps they should be made illegal.
    @Brusslesman – this is the reason they can’t drop the C4 encryption – the beam also covers Europes and licenses/contracts prevent them from broadcasting there as far as I understand.

    I’ll calm down now – but really we shouldn’t.


  43. Brusselsman Says:

    @Jason – Yes I expected that would be the reason but thanks anyway.

    But those of us who actually live in near Europe can and do already watch CH4 and all the other main offerings from Freesat.

    BTW many of my non UK colleagues tell me they already take steps to watch BBC iPlayer via proxy services……


  44. Esepee Says:

    Classic example of how not to run a business/service. This is pathetic. Why does this country ever bother doing anything. I just cannot believe that space has run out already. Surely HD was supposed to be the future. No HD on Freeview because there is no space and now no more HD on Freesat because there is no space. If this was any other business, heads would roll.


  45. LJ Says:

    Bin the +1s then increase the bit rate on BBC HD back to something decent and there’ll be plenty of space for some of the promised HD channels…


  46. Lee b Says:

    I think we deserve a comment by freesat to explain what the heck is going on, if the service is full after one hd channel then it was miss sold to the public. I’ve just invested in a hdr and think I’ve now wasted my money. I was happy waiting. For more hd channels but if no more can launch I’ve purchased a dead duck. I feel even more for the panasonic. Blue ray purchasers.

    I think dixons will need to drop the price of freesat hardware not increase it, I can feel a sale sticker coming on!

    A full time itv channel in the space cleared by the BBC bitrate reduction will not make me happier either as crippling one channel to squeeze another crippled hd channel in is less than ideal. We need a long term solution to the problem possibly by incorporating a basic encryption in the spec and using the Ethernet port to receive the decrytion codes rather than a cam and card.


  47. 2wayman Says:

    Same old story I´m affaird, this country comes up with a brilliant service to rival Sky and then they get it so so wrong!! Why o why does the powers that be get their fingers out their backsides and sort it all out!! Come on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  48. John Says:

    As a Freesat fan I too am very disapointed at this shambles in failing to secure C4HD .
    I feel Channel 4 a missing an oppertunity here, in these recessionary times i’d have thought advertisers would want to target audiences with money to spend.
    I would imagine there are plenty of people like me who went out and bought a hdtv only because freesat launched, I was happy with my crt television but one sight of HD and that was it- had to have it. And although I’ve money to spend and love the HD I would never pay £30- £40 a month for sky. so at present I’m not being advertised to…. if you’re advertising to me in SD I’m not interested.
    So here we are- a consumer with cash to spend wanting to be supplied with HD programming-
    Having viewed this forum for some time it is clear to me that some posts are put up by people who greatly admire sky- good luck to them- and who are quick to point out Freesat flaws, and will have their predictable opinion of this post but hey it’s ok. Those who love the concept of Freesat with it’s FREE HD will wait patiently for the commercial channels to wake up to a previously undiscovered group of consumers- perhaps a Join Freesat Poll would reveal to Channel 4 what They’re missing


  49. Tony Hales Says:

    There seems to be two instances of BBD HD.
    6945 is BBC HD.
    Drop this and hey presto plenty of room.
    Personally I think its just spin. Room will be found or I’ll eat my hat.


  50. darnall 42 Says:

    C4 Dont want 4HD to be on freesat or else they would have done something about it sooner,lets face it-freesat is going down the pan ;(


  51. Paul Says:

    Ran out of bandwidth! it beggars belief! What the hell has been going on? I have been a champion of freesat since it was launched, believing the BBC to be a highly proffessional broadcaster who would take freesat the way of the BBC website,i.e probably the best in the world…now i find out that there is no expansion possible due to a lack of foreward thinking so obvious to anyone in my world , that to have asked “is there enough space” would have seemed to be insulting their intelligence! Did they seriously think that $ky would play fair,and simply hand over space when asked nicely! not a chance in hell! The BBC has a lot of pull and should now use it,don’t let this great idea for FTA HD ,a consumer led service,fall into farce.


  52. Richard Crichton Says:

    ’12th August Freesat calls for more HD channels.’
    ’21st August C4HD Satellite Capacity delays launch.’

    Do you see anyrthing wrong with those posts?
    Why would Freesat call for more HD channels to join if there is no satellite capacity?
    It simply does not make any sense. C4 are being less than honest in my opinion.
    First it is the politicians now the broadcasters are at it. They all seem to treat the British public like mushrooms.


  53. Matt1692 Says:

    Why don’t they just use the post code and the ethernet port as a coded system which cannot be changed making a new type of encryption which is probably cheaper, attracts channels to pay for epg (simply because they are paying for something more than a slot on the epg, like sky) and channels don’t have to worry about their footprint because they are encrypted.


  54. Deano Says:

    Richard Crichton wrote
    “2th August Freesat calls for more HD channels.’
    ’21st August C4HD Satellite Capacity delays launch.’

    Do you see anyrthing wrong with those posts?
    Why would Freesat call for more HD channels to join if there is no satellite capacity?
    It simply does not make any sense. C4 are being less than honest in my opinion.
    First it is the politicians now the broadcasters are at it. They all seem to treat the British public like mushrooms.”



  55. Lee b Says:

    Think we need an email address at freesat. ..anyone?


  56. rich24 Says:

    Completely agree the points made above about people possibly being mis-sold on the vision of freesat HD. If this story is true seems likely freesat knew no more channels were coming.

    I did get freesat more through lack of freeview avalibility rather than for the HD but this casts doubt about the mainstream future of the service once freeview reception improves post switch-over.


  57. monkeymaniac Says:

    Well there you have it Freesat, from all the comments above, the canon’s have been fired across the your decks and its time listen because people need honest answers.


  58. Trevor Harris Says:

    Channel 4’s statement is a bit of a smoke screen as they could easily find room on 2D. Just had a look at what is on 2D.

    11 out of 16 transponders are free to air. More importantly channel 4 uses nearly a whole transponder for 7 +1 channels. If channel 4 was to get rid of some of thier +1 channels they would have plenty of space for an HD channel on 2D.

    As far as I remember Freesat has only ever marketed BBC HD and ITV HD. They have just expressed the hope that other HD channels will join. As has been pointed out Freesat is an EPG service and plays no role in providing satellite space.


  59. Jason Says:

    Looking at the LyngSat site I see that 46 channels are sending identical content from just 6 channels (pretty much the same I expect – maybe adverts and occasional programming differences) . How on earth can we justify using all that bandwidth for regional variations?! AND they’ll be duplicated again over the terrestial system. When bandwidth is limited, this is just NUTS!!!!! Eliminate the regional variations for Pete’s sake – people can tune into those over terrestial transmitters (regional ones) if they need to. Who on earth thought that satellite broadcasting was good for regional distribution? It beggars belief!!

    The channels are: BBCOne,Two, ITV1, STV,Ch4 and CH4+1 which take up a total of 52 channels.

    I beleive some US channels are in fact regional : East and West… that’s for a country larger than Europe, and with the SAME LANGUAGE.


    If you’d been clever you’d get the boxes to switch to terrestial transmitters’ content when regional differences occur. Or buffer a constant stream of regional content from one or two dedicated channels and slot it into the right place. Duplicating the broadcasts….. what were you thinking?

    PS. I decided not to calm down. We need to keep up the pressure.


  60. Trevor Harris Says:


    Regional variations is nothing to do with Freesat. The BBC and ITV are Public Service Broadcasters and it is a condition of thier licence that they broadcast regional variations. ITV could give give up their PSB licence but they would loose large financial benifits. ITV made a loss last year so they are very reluctant to give up PSB status. I understand that Ofcom has agreed to reduce the number of ITV regional variations. Regional variations is not a problem with Freeview as each transmitter only transmits one region and there is no duplication.

    I think peoples expectations as to the number of HD channels on Freesat is far too high. I think the biggest constraint is financial not shortage of space. The BBC is struggleing to provide one channel and ITV HD is just a joke.


  61. Bob H Says:

    The individual broadcasters have arrangements with either Astra or an uplink provider, these arrangements will be long term contracts and only by trading slots could anything along those lines be achieved. Freesat don’t manage the bandwidth on the satellite, the commercial deals with manage themselves and co-ordination is only a sideline to the very expensive, very delicate contract process.

    Calling people idiots isn’t productive, especially without the facts.


  62. Dean smith Says:



  63. Lee B Says:

    If the service was full at 1 HD channel and a few hours a week from ITV we should have been told up front. Every one expected including the admin of this site other HD channels to come along. I fully expected the freesat service to be superior to what ever freeview HD could supply as it was so limited in bandwidth.

    Deleting +1 channels and swapping slots is not ideal and could be long winded, so to guarantee the unlimited bandwidth of wide beams some form of encryption needs to take place. Without it the service will be effectively be replaced by HD freeview.


  64. admin Says:

    @Lee B

    We also expect more HD channels, and they will come, but the allocation of space around which we are discussing C4HD isn’t Freesat responsibility, they have no control over what allocation of transponders are given, this is entirely down to SES.

    Over the long term, Freesat should remain superior to Freeview due to as you say, bandwidth, but for now, Freeview will be able to easily cope with 4-5 HD channels but no more unless dramatic structural changes are made.

    C4 will not remove +1 channels; they offer a very good revenue stream through advertising and popularity; the only chance of resolving this would be moving channels around on 2D to make space; this would have to be an agreement between all parties, but will happen eventually.


  65. Jason Says:

    to Trevor and Bob

    You are quite right – and are describing in further detail (yes I lack the detailed knowledge) the mechanism I’m saying is flawed. Perhaps it’s because I attempted to apportion blame with my emotive comments. Sorry for that.

    I guess my question is – how can we the public get an optimal broadcast system that is an effective use of scarce bandwidth across the different transport mediums. I don’t think it’s by having these different bodies, each of which can reasonably defend their position with ‘it’s nothing to do with us’. That can’t be right can it?

    I think we’d be happy to accept some design imperfections, but to be so fundamentally flawed is intolerable in my book.

    Have we got to take this to the government? Would anyone be interested in a petition to remove regional variations from satellite transmission? Is that the right mechanism? If not, what is?


  66. Peter Piper Says:

    You can start a petition on the Prime Minister’s website. If it gets 500 signatures by the time it’s finished – it will be looked at by the relevant department.

    Mybe we could set one up to see if the government could influence Sky to move their channels to the other satellite.


  67. TheDukeOfHunslet Says:

    Yep – lots of choice there. You can complain about all the pleb channels but the plebs can complain about the snob channels so it evens it out.

    Its the regions blowing it really. BBC1/2, ITV1, Channel4 all have several identical versions bar 30 minutes of regional news or region specific adverts. Solve that one and we’ve got our much needed C4HD…


  68. Tetchmeister Says:

    Red button for regional variation…….


  69. John Says:

    Is anyone in the know wether more satellites are planned to be launched or new transponders ? if spaces can be allocated then the problem would be solved.

    Freesat should at least make a public statement on what’s happening with CH4HD- and explain itself over this. I’ve e-mailed channel 4 and will do same to ofcom .

    Also it’s being said that BBC HD is reducing the quality of it’s signal – why ! This is possibly more annoying than the failure to get CH4HD . Surely if they can transmit at a high Bitrate last year they can do it now. I get the feeling we are being let down.


  70. admin Says:


    We requested an official statement from Freesat today; it must go through the appropriate channels but we hope for a response soon and will let you know when we have one.


  71. Jason Says:

    Thanks admin. Could you apologise from me at the same time!

    Peter, I looked at the ePetitions on there and it doesn’t inspire you to go further. Just looks like it’s an opportunity for the government to give the official stock answer from the few responses I looked at.

    I’d really like to find out what we as the public would need to do in order to put into effect a change in the licensing of PSBs and their regional requirements over satellite transmissions. Who should we ask? Is it Ofcom?


  72. Lee b Says:

    Cheers admin I hope we don’t get any spin, a frank and honest reply from freesat is needed.


  73. admin Says:

    Spin unfortunately; but such is the limitation that Freesat have in resolving this matter; they are confident of assisting in the resolution of such matters, after all, ITV HD will have to do the same if they want to launch their ITV1 HD channel at some point in the future:

    Although capacity on the Astra2D satellite is currently in short supply, the situation can change. Other capacity is available although it may not be suitable for some broadcasters depending on the rights they hold with content owners.

    Freesat continues to talk with broadcasters about bringing HD content onto the platform and is confident of being able to offer more HD in the future.


  74. Scott Says:

    I don’t have a PVR and like the plus one channels, helps me plan recording especially that Kangaroo didn’t go ahead. Why 4HD can’t use the same transponder as BBC HD where I beleive it is possible to compress up to 3 HD channeels and 2 SD channels.

    Channel 4 and 4 +1 have so many regions but programs are the same, using region or red button technology already there, they could run an HD Service and SD service together and stream regional adverts and news, Make more sense really. I think this should also go for BBC and |ITV who’s regional news are at different times, they could use the same transponders space cutting down on satellite capacity required, freeing loads of space, but that is up to the broadcasters, and again up to the broadcasters if they will pay more money for broadcast rights and transmit full beam, after all we can receive German TV and Major Sports on ARD, ZDF and RTL.

    I was under the impression that a lot of Channel 4 programmes are home grown, surely they own those rights, so why not remove encryption on these program slots.


  75. Lee b Says:

    So the freesat answer translates to yes no space for c4hd and no current work arounds. The rest is spin. What’s the point talking about other capascity ie wideband it’s no good for freesat channels due to rights issues. I would imagine we will see a dedicated itv hd channel soon though and bet it’s the reason for the bbchd bitrate reduction.


  76. Martin Says:

    Why cant we utilise the ethernet capability of the Freesat+ boxes to access iplayer etc over the internet?


  77. Ross Says:

    Post 49:

    There seems to be two instances of BBD HD.
    6945 is BBC HD.
    Drop this and hey presto plenty of room.

    Wouldnt make any difference whatsoever as they are using the same pids. 6945 is just a test label of some sort mapped to BBC HD


  78. admin Says:


    You will be able to access iPlayer via Ethernet within the next few months.


  79. Oyodi Says:

    This is surly the death kneel for FreeSat, We have been sold down the river, I brought in to FreeSat because of the HD promise, But now we learn that there is no capacity for any more HD channels, we are suppose to be happy with 1 and a bit channels.

    This is the final straw. I will be putting my FreeSat box in the bedroom and will be phoning sky tomorrow, I now realise that there is no alternative to Sky if I want even Ch4HD, and I wish I had put the £300 I paid for this FreeSat box towards the Sky package.
    I have been a loyal fan of FreeSat since lunch, being taken in by the promise of free HD channels, but now we learn this has all been a lie. This will be my last post as I abandon the FreeSat platform.


  80. Lee B Says:

    I still think the encryption idea is the way forward, White Knight on Digital Spy had the idea of broadcasting the decryption code on 2D (uk footprint), that way only the UK could decrypt the broadcast and all the rights holders would be happy. Also no need for cards etc. Then any sat could be used and freesat would have unlimited bandwidth.

    I’d like to think the freesat boxes have the power to decrypt as they were designed with project Kangaroo in mind, so have some unused ability.


  81. John C Says:

    What a waste of money, bought Freesat box as advised by salesman in John Lewis as it would give my new TV HD performance. Feel totally missled and cheated now. Will be removing it and just using Freeview. Will now stop reccomending to friens and neighbourours. Will also be getting sky reconnected. Again what a waste of £150.00


  82. Brian Says:

    Oyodi@ post 79 …your views reflect my feelings exactly! I’m rapidly running out of patience with freesat, having bought my HDR in Nov 2008.


  83. John C Says:

    PS – Just been reading that some HD channels are comming to Freeview early next year so what is the point of Freesat anyway.


  84. Brettski Says:

    Because some of us will only get minimal channels on Freeview when switched over and are unlikely to ever see HD on Freeview.


  85. wezo Says:

    @ 83 john c. how many more times does this need explaining FREESAT IS FOR PEOPLE THAT CANT RECEIVE FREEVIEW DUE TO THEIR LOCATION simples!


  86. Allan Says:

    Freesat if becoming a joke. After the bitrate drop on BBC HD, and now they have no more space for any more HD channels.


  87. Al Catraz Says:

    79 Odoyi – you could have given it a bit longer than your lunch mate 😉


  88. Dominique Says:

    It’s a real shame. People are feeling let down.
    There are far too many regional versions of same channels in the UK.
    Most people didn’t buy a HD-PVR to actually watch them.
    I never watched the +1 channels. Although I can understand why people
    appreciate them.
    I hope FS is gonna make a real move to reassure consumers.
    I will keep my box,
    Removing +channels?
    Removing regional channels?
    If they want this platform to go somewhere, decisions will have to be made.


  89. Martin Says:

    I think there are a lot of people who don’t seem to understand the point of Freesat, and who unfairly expect it to be a free version of Sky HD.

    Freesat’s main aim is to supplement Freeview for people who have difficulty accessing Freeview. HD content is really just an added bonus in advance of launch on Freeview. In time HD broadcast will become the norm and I fully expect C4HD to arrive on Freesat sonner rather than later (I would hope this year – but if not it’s hardly the end of the world).

    C4HD has never been promised as far as I know (just mentioned as a hope) – @ launch BBC HD & ITV HD were, and Five was always flagged as comming soon. After that the only other promise was the 200 channels – which I think was always a bit of a stretch.

    It’s a shame if BBC HD are reducing quality, but I’m inclined to agree with an earlier post that the glass is half full.


  90. Derek (original) Says:


    Yes, I’m sure we are all aware that the original aim of FreeSat was to provide a free from subscription, digital service to those unable to receive a satisfactory Freeview service. However, I don’t think the manufacturers of FreeSat capable equipment would have made the investment they have, purely on the basis of that minority. Of the little advertising there has been for FreeSat, it certainly doesn’t make it clear that it is being aimed just at that minority. The temptation of free HD programming has been the main thrust of the advertising and promotion of FreeSat. I suspect most consumers will have purchased their FreeSat capable equipment for the free HD, so understandably they will feel somewhat let down at present.

    @Admin. Perhaps you could set up a poll to establish, within the membership of this group, which of the above two main reasons prompted people to buy their FreeSat equipment.

    On the subject of the reduced bitrate that the BBC HD service is now using, the difference between the broadcast BBC HD picture and an upscaled BBC SD picture from my Panasonic Freeview PVR, is now minimal. For anyone who has not yet bought FreeSat HD, I would suggest they ask the salesman to do a side by side comparison with upscaled SD before parting with their money.

    Unlike some, I won’t be making any hasty decisions and abandoning my FreeSat HD receiver. I’m sure in time we will be provided with the service we are expecting, and deserve, for supporting FreeSat from its inception.


  91. Lee B Says:

    Although i’m not a fan of reduced bitrates, i’d like to think the BBC HD service is still far better than an upscaled SD channel, at least on my Sony 40″.

    I also purchased into Freesat on the promise of free HD channels, as I could already receive every freeview channel perfectly well. I think by the sale figures of HD freesat boxes rather than the SD freesat boxes we can see this is the case for many purchasers, and how the advertising was ran.

    I think we might have to wait this one out a bit and see what happens, who knows maybe sky will move off 2d…. I will be looking for some good freesat news soon though, it’s all getting a bit depressing currently.


  92. Derek (original) Says:

    @ Lee B
    I did a subjective comparison during the last ‘Rivers’ program presented by Griff Rhys Jones a couple of nights ago. My Panasonic Freeview PVR does a great job upscaling SD to my Full HD 37″ Panasonic TV, and yes, there is still a discernible difference in picture quality between BBC HD and upscaled BBC SD, but the gap is narrowing. All I am suggesting is that new purchasers would be best informed by seeing that comparison for themselves if possible, before parting with their money.


  93. Brian Says:

    several folk have indicated that the “…. original aim of freesat was to provide a free from subscription, digital service to those unable to receive a satisfactory Freeview service”. This is the first I’ve heard of that! Even on the freesat website it says “freesat was set up to ensure that everyone can access the best of free digital TV, no matter where they live in the UK” – note it says everyone and not just those that cannot access freeview. If it was meant only for those areas that cannot receive freeview then why are freesat boxes sold everywhere?

    Personally, I bought into freesat for a way into HD content, on the basis that more HD content would be added. But the way things are going, then freeview HD is going to be the way ahead, it also looks as if Crystal Palace will commence HD transmissions in Nov this year! Just need an HD freeview box now, well, when they eventually get into the shops!


  94. Deano Says:

    The main reason i got freesat was because my freeview reception was poor @ FREE HD but if i knew that there would only be 1 and a bit HD channels and not more as promised i would have gone and got a bigger aerial ,booster or something.

    Many people have brought this solely for the free HD and the promise of more HD channels in the future.

    If Freesat does not sort this problem out before freeview starts getting HD channels then a large majority of Freesat user will just go back to freeview and Freesat will be dead in the water ..


  95. Alex Says:

    Just to add my opinion

    I got freesat for the HD service. Not because i cant get freeview (as i am in a very strong freeview area where i live)

    Freesat has been a let down (so far) , hopefully people will praise it for when on-demand content from the bbc comes to it. (Hopefully running like BT Vision and Virgin Media)

    I will feel very disappointed if we dont get any more channels or C4HD by the end of the year when freeview gets it. Espically if BBC HD are lowering their Bitrate to make space (or whateva reason they are doing it for)

    I guess we will have to see…….


  96. Paul D Says:

    Some people here are going to be extremely disappointed when CH4HD does arrive on freesat. It is crap.

    I have had it for a month and most stuff is upscaled and the films are poor. There is also no HD sport whatsoever.

    ITV HD is far better than channel 4 hd.


  97. MrMojoRisin Says:

    I bought into Freesat because we cannot get a Freeview signal and it is likely to be poor after switchover. It does the job for me. More HD would be good but it is quality of programming that is more vital. I can now get Channel 5, which I couldn’t before, and that is an absolute waste of space – utter drivel. And please, can’t people spell properly – computer program, but television programme.


  98. Jannik Says:

    I don’t see what all the fuss is about regarding space on Astra 2d for C4HD. If ITV HD can be transmitted unencrypted to only Freesat boxes from Eurobird why not transmit C4HD in the same technical manner from Eurobird just making it a regular channel like the planned ITV HD channel? Or it could be a red button service like ITV HD is now.


  99. Lee b Says:

    A red button c4hd would be a good start until a dedicated channel can launch when 2d is clearer. Could this be a possibility?


  100. MJ Says:

    Some of these posts are quite strange. Talking about dumping Freesat and moving to Freeview and so on.. Why? Purchase a Freeview HD box if you must (actually if you can!!), but why get rid of the Freesat box??? It costs you nothing to keep it there.

    As for the reason behind purchasing my HD box, I bought it mainly for the EPG. I also went for the HD box because of BBC HD and the HDMI connection.

    Thats it, if more HD channels come, then that would be great. If not, then so be it. TV is not the be all and end all for me.


  101. Derek Says:

    Does anyone know if the change to the quality of BBC HD is permanent, or is it a continuing experiment?

    Like others I agree that it is better than upscaled SD (just) on my Panasonic, but there is still a difference from the previously excellent picture quality.


  102. rogercr Says:

    I’ve not read all the lengthy comments here so I apologise if this has already been mentioned. My thoughts are what a waste of space the LUX channels are. They are fine for testing the quality of your equipment but hardly entertaining to watch day in and day out? It would be good if LUX HD would share their HD channel with either 4 or 5 perhaps?


  103. admin Says:


    LUXE HD is broadcast from Eurobird so has no influence on the availability of C4HD; we are talking channels on Astra2D only that requires space for such UK broadcasters.


  104. Tony Hales Says:

    ITV-HD is not on Astra2D according to
    so what’s the problem? Just put 4HD on another bird and use the red button facility.


  105. Oyodi Says:

    In answer to some of the replies to me,
    We have a strong Freeview reception, so I brought into FreeSat at launch solely because of the promise of more HD channels to come, which is now not happening. We in the South West will have Freeview HD from next year, so I thought FreeSat would be jumping though hoops to get CH4HD to get a march on Freeview, and I must disagree with some of the posts above, CH4HD is great, even the up scaled SD, in fact CH4HD is doing what 92% of people in the last poll want, a simulcast HD channel. Which it seems FreeSat can’t accommodate!!!!!!!!!! . I am lucky because I did not get rid of my Sky HD box when I brought into FreeSat, In fact I downgraded my package to FreeSat from Sky, which still enabled me to watch CH4HD & BBC HD and now even ITV HD.

    Secondly I am not getting rid of my FreeSat PVR box, In fact by putting it in the bedroom; I do not have to pay for muti-room from Sky.

    Also the red button service is no longer exclusive to FreeSat, with the new EPG from Sky; I can now watch ITV HD on the Sky box. So this is not the answer of how to make room on FreeSat.

    I bet the manufacturers of FreeSat are shaking their heads in disbelief, also at the amount of sales they may loose if FreeSat is now aimed at just the minority that can’t receive Freeview.
    For this scenario to happen I think heads should roll at FreeSat.


  106. Jimbo Says:

    **105 posts on this subject** (so far) – just goes to show the british public’s desire for this channel. I do think it is a fair comment to say that if this channel is added to late people who are split into which way to turn when looking at new set boxes (freesat v freeview) are likely to head the freeview way simple due to the channel selection plus the addition of 4/5 HD channels (providing they can get reception and also when the new freeview HD boxes arrive in the shops).

    Regarding the longer term I think it is fair to say freesat will never be as widely used as the freeview platform, As an alternative for people to use who can’t get freeview – Freesat does what it says on the tin ! and to a certain extent it has allowed many thousands of households to access HD programming for F.R.E.E. – as we start to come out of the current climate I think its key Freesat continue to look for addtional ways to increase its HD program portfolio. it needs to at least mirror the same HD content expected for freeview for next year which I’m sure it will.

    I know freesat is far form the perfect platform but if it was not for them we would be forced to pay for HD programming. I know 1.5 channels is not much but keep the faith !

    4HD will be live mid autumn !


  107. Lee B Says:

    If the red button service will satisfy the rights holders (seems to on ITV) I do feel it’s worth C4HD launching that way now. Then when the red button is pressed you get the HD or upscaled version of the show.


  108. Tony Hales Says:


    I am well aware that ITV-HD can be recieved on a SKY box now but only because SKY went to some considerable trouble to change the firmware of their boxes.
    That does not alter the fact that ITV-HD is not on Astra2D.
    Put C4 HD on another bird like ITV HD is using the red button facility.


  109. Jimbo Says:

    @ Lee B I’m certain channel 4 will not adopt that idea. 4HD is a stand alone channel on all other formats and therefore the goal here is to achieve the same on Freesat.

    *To a certain extend I honestly believe representatives from freesat must view this blog as well as sky reps*.. So… I really don’t want to buy a bulky sky box which will break within a year just to view 4HD Therefore – Please sort 4HD Now !


  110. Lee B Says:

    @Jimbo, yes we all want stand alone channels in an ideal world, but if the space on 2D will not allow it what can we do. ITV was a stand alone channel format but went red button, so why not C4HD. I’d rather a red button service now, than waiting a year for a dedicated channel.

    I wonder if all our calls for a dedicated ITVHD channel has caused the bit rate reduction on the BBC to allow for it….


  111. Tony Hales Says:

    That’s a given but until Astra 2C comes back there is no capacity on 2D. Once 2C is back the encrypted ‘Sky’ and Irish channels can be moved from 2D. Until that happens lets have C4HD on red button.

    ‘ In March 2009, SES Astra announced that in April, Astra 2C was to be moved to Astra 31.5°E to temporarily take over the mission of Astra 5A which had failed in orbit, and to remain at Astra 31.5°E for about one year until Astra 3B is launched to Astra 23.5°E, when another craft at that position can be released to Astra 31.5°E and Astra 2C returned to 28.2° east.[3]. The move of Astra 2C was started in May 2009 and completed on May 11[4].’
    (From Wikipedia)


  112. Richard Crichton Says:

    The last sentence is very interesting.

    ‘Following the launch of ASTRA 3B in the fourth quarter of 2009 and its subsequent deployment, another in-orbit satellite will be moved to 31.5 degrees East, permitting the return of ASTRA 2C to 28.2 degrees East and to enhance capacity at this orbital position.

    Ferdinand Kayser, President and CEO of SES ASTRA, said: “The move of ASTRA 2C demonstrates our strong commitment to develop 31.5 degrees East into an important position, especially for Central and Eastern Europe.

    “At the same time our fleet flexibility allows us to redeploy ASTRA 2C at 28.2 degrees East after the launch of Astra 3B in order to serve the growth in the UK market, particularly coming from High Definition (HD) broadcast services.”


  113. Tony Hales Says:


  114. footy Says:

    Both Oyodi and Wez are correct. I have a friend who works for the BBC. He told me a long time ago, that the reason freesat was brought in was for people who could not get freeview (we cannot). The right in UK to access free programmes had to be met, and this was the only way to do it. However Freesat have been selling the idea of HD content, obviously a political lie! I recently watched an HD BBC prog, it was no better than my SKY Freesat offering. Get a good TV, with good connections, and there is very little difference now. I wanted HD, but not now.


  115. Lee B Says:

    footy should have gone to spec savers 😉 …the picture difference between SD and HD is amazing, at least on my Sony 40 1080p LCD linked via HDMI. The only time SD and HD might not look so different is on a Plasma or you connect via Scart not HDMI, Plasma just seem to handle SD material really well. (My previous TV was a Panasonic Plasma).


  116. Oyodi Says:

    After all the hopes and excitement, where are we now? No room for CH4HD and after reading that BBC HD are cutting the bit rate on FreeSat Transmissions (I assume this is because of the transmitting HD content standard on the Freeview platform from the end of this year) that the old adage of “You get what you pay for” is very true, and that real and stunning HD programs will only be available via Sky, e.g. Sky 1, Sky movies, Euro sport, Discovery etc.

    After all the hopes and excitement of a FREE HD service, where are we now, it seems we will all be receiving an inferior HD service, via Freesat and in the future, Freeview? But as some people point out, Its Free! Well OK, but this could have been so fantastic.

    All very gloomy!


  117. Tate Says:


    It’s not the be all and end all for anyone it’s just a discussion. You seem to have the impression that everyone is on their computer all day long and keep worrying about how many channels there are. Most people just leave their opinion and move on. Just because their opinion is passionate, doesn’t mean they have nothing else to do.


  118. John Says:

    For me this is about Trust.

    Hd on BBC was magnificent, now they’re lowering Bitrate and a reduced quality picture – I trusted BBC when I bought into Freesat.I never once thought HD would be compromised-

    Freesat too I trusted to push hard and get more free HD channels. the next 4 months will be critical in wether the Freesat platform maintains it’s credibility.

    and Finally the proposed Freeview HD , Following what has happened here I shall not be investing in that as who can say if they will reduce their signal after a year . Once trust is lost it’s difficult to get back.
    To end on a positive note, when BBC revive the HD signal, ITV HD launches full time and C4HD joins up I shall be very very Happy and Freesat will be the best thing since TV changed from Black and White to Colour (yes i’m that old)


  119. m o malley Says:

    ive said it before freesat is going the way of beta-max and the dodo,,
    i cant see it survive the way things are looking
    sky is on the up up up as there is plenty to watch
    in hd,, freesat cant hope to compete with sky imo ..


  120. Al Catraz Says:

    m o malley – depends on whether you want to give your hard-earned money to the murdoch empire or spend it on things of value.
    there are plenty of people who are quite content with free tv who will help to keep freesat and freeview viable alternatives.


  121. Paul D Says:

    Freesat are not trying to compete with sky!

    SKY are a pay service, freesat are not.

    Freeview does a pretty good job of “competing with sky” and it isn’t even trying.


  122. Alex Says:

    I am giving freesat until the end of the year (December 2009) before i make my mind up what i am doing.
    I would like, on Demand content such as the iplayer by christmas, and maybe even ITV catchup.
    I would like C4HD with the added channels of fiver and five US (to be confirmed coming to freesat)

    If not, i am in the lucky position to get freeview HD, as my area switches at the start of 2010. Or i can just go back to a basic deal with sky hd – with all their new year deals they do.


  123. Davey Says:

    Let’s face it – Freesat is never going to be able to compete with Sky!

    I bought Freesat for HD and have been very pleased with the quality, even with just 2 HD channels.

    Just watched the Arsenal game on HD and it looked brilliant, definitely better than freeview.

    Let’s not forget the Q word – not quantity, but quality of programmes on HD.

    If you want to see HD at its best, watch Yellowstone on BBC HD on Saturday – breathtaking.



  124. sam Says:

    I’m with Alex.

    I will give Freesat until the end of the year. Having bought a PVR in late November I was under no illusion that this is simply a means of the government ensuring when it switches off analogue that there will be no one without TV and therefore it was never going to be a Sky substitute.

    I did however hold out some vague hope we would see C4HD and at least some half decent attempts at HD from ITV within the year.

    It is so dissapointing to see that the public has been let down by bureaucracy and short sightedness by our glowing British corporates once more – I simply cannot believe that after a year of no information from C4 and continous pressure we find that now the sky issue is gone there is another matter blocking the way !

    Even more dissappointing, particularly after the ongoing blogs from whoever she is at BBC, is to hear that the BBC HD offering has been devalued with reduced quality.

    I always said i saw the £300 for the box as a 1 year gamble – if it didnt pay off its back to Sky in the January sales (sure we’ll see free boxes / free HD at some stage from them) and it loks like i am heading that way.

    I have been a huge pusher of the Freesat platform but I am now embarassed to visit friends and family who i persuaded to move over, come January it could get worse when I am sporting my 30 HD channels on Sky and they have 1+1/24 channels !!!

    Ps – is anyone from Freesat / C4 / anywhere going to comment on this latest issue ? if they really wanted to be on Freesat this would have been resolved prior to the end of Sky contract. I guess I was wrong to assume that FTA / Freesat would be a different beast to the closed door, poor service not customer focussed operation that is Sky.


  125. Oyodi Says:

    I agree with Sam above, I too was a big pusher of FreeSat to my family and friends, and I too and now embarrassed about persuading them to change over to FreeSat. I was completely taken in by FreeSat’s advertising spill, I honestly can’t believe that their was no foresight and planning to make room for CH4HD, They surly could see this public disaster story coming. On all other blogs I have read, this latest disaster has it seems completely achieved an own goal by alienating the very core of their supporters, No more recommendations from me!!!


  126. Al Catraz Says:

    Come on guys, stop all the whinging.
    If you don’t like the free offering, pay your money and move on.
    I, like Davey (123), am very happy with BBC HD content – it’s still stunning on my TV despite the drop in bit rate (whatever that means) – and the footy on ITV last night was excellent!


  127. Robert Langdon Says:

    I’m also with Davey & Al Catraz. I have a back log of good quality programs still to watch, a lot in HD. I’ve only just got round to watching “The lost land of the Jaguar” in HD.
    How much TV do some of you out there need to watch in a week ?
    Get a new Hobby or get Sky simple. I think some people think watching Sky sports & movies is a hobby :)
    Personally I am very happy with my 1Tb HDR, BBC HD & HD footy with the odd movie from ITV. After all it is free, it would be nice to have 4HD now, but I’m sure it wouldn’t make that much difference.
    Now I have to get back to my novel.


  128. Tony Hales Says:

    It’s not Freesats fault that Astra 5A failed in orbit and Astra 2C had to be moved away from 28 degrees. That is the only reason there is no room for C4HD at present. Once Astra 2C is back on station there will be plenty of room.
    Direct you complaints to SES-ASTRA for having insufficient backup not Freesat.


  129. Lozarithm Says:

    There does seem to be a disparity between FreeSat’s plea for more HD providers and C4’s problems in getting C4HD onto FreeSat. This seems to be because a number of different bodies are responsible for different aspects of the jigsaw puzzle that puts HD onto our TVs. The government don’t seem especially adept at co-ordinating all this. FreeSat have expressed a confidence that in the long term these problems will be resolved. As they will have a clearer picture of what is going on behind the scenes than any of us, I for one will not be throwing my toys out of the pram. I like BBC HD and I like the upscaling that the Humax brings to the SD channels. My TV viewing has never been better and will continue to get better, even though not as swiftly as we might hope.


  130. Denis Says:

    Agree BBC HD is still stunning on my TV. Do not see what the fuss is about the drop in bit rate. It is probably because people know about it they look for it instead of just enjoying the programme.

    Given time other HD channels such as 4HD will be on Freesat. Patience is what is needed, many people seem to forget the financial turmoil that has happened in the world over the last couple of years. I personally am enjoying my viewing and am sorry for those who ignore the content of the programme and just have this obsession with HD. It will happen in the meantime enjoy the programmes for what they are.


  131. Oyodi Says:

    Can any one tell me if the drop in BBC HD bit rate is just on FreeSat or have they dropped the HD quality on Sky as well?


  132. Tony Hales Says:

    BBC HD is BBC HD. It’s just a different EPG.


  133. Peter Piper Says:

    I can’t believe there’s still people saying have Patience.

    How can you say waiting over 1 year is not Patient? People have waited a year for 4hd to end their contract with sky and are now being told they can’t join anyway because there’s no satellite space. So people have waited a year for nothing and you’re saying be patient agian – unbelievable

    4hd have always said that they expect the channel to come to freesat at some stage. This has kept people hanging on to see what happens.

    This credit crunch excuse keeps getting used as well but have freesat done anything to help? Maybe they could have lowered their epg inclusion charge to encourage channels to join.


  134. Denis Says:

    I think peoples expectations have been unreasonable. The Freesat service is only 16 months old and has done remarkable for a fledgling organisation.


  135. peterhb Says:

    Sorry but I find the BBCHD quality much poorer since the degrading.
    I have a Humax FoxsatHD box, which has wprked extremely well over the past two years, the BBC HD was always superb quality – not any more there is now very little difference between it and upscaled SD.

    Isn’t it time that some heads were knocked and the allocation of a proper bandwidth made to ALL of the main channels ( i.e. BBC, ITV, 4, 5) We get some pretty crummy quality at the moment on some of the channels due to unbelieveably low bitrates. Time something was done or our TV standards are going to be also ran on a global comparson.


  136. Alex Says:

    If i am honest, i can see freesat going the way OnDigital went.

    In reality if we had C4HD and iplayer, more people from sky would come to freesat. Even just having channels like Dave, 4music and the other free to view music channels all helps.


  137. Peter Piper Says:

    @the troll

    I don’t think expecting a public service channel to come to freesat is unreasonable.

    I also don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect a few more channels to join the epg – another channel was removed today – that’s 2 removed over the last few months and none added – freesat’s going backwards not forwards. I know it’s not their fault that channels leave or close down but they should never have said there would be 200 channels by the end of 2008. I bought freesat based on this claim.


  138. Jannik Says:

    If you are feeling starved of more free HD while waiting for C4HD, turn your dish to Astra 19.2 degrees east. From September 4th to 9th the two German main channels will be running their first HD productions on Das Erste HD and ZDF HD. During this period the channels ARTE HD and 1 Festival HD will be broadcasting loads of HD programming. All channels in the clear. The reason for this is the radio and television exhibition i Berlin. So expect top quality without reduced bitrate!


  139. Duncan Says:

    While waiting for CH4 HD I can recommend veiwing ch4 “hd” programmes on Freeview (often higher bit rate than sat for SD) as the quality of sd pics seems to be much better when the source material for a given sd channel originates from an HD video source – or am I imaging this and going round the twist? Don’t think so as noticed this for some time now. Maybe the upscaling has an easier time when upscaling a downscaled hd source.

    I agree with people such as Denis who are happy with Freesat HD content at present as BBC quantity ,quality and variety are just great and ITV bonus of films and footy is icing on the cake.

    Therefore I am a happy bunny as long as the BBC can tell us that the reduced HD quality is a temporary measure only until more sat space found.

    One prog really enjoyed was a proms celebrating MGM musicals – imagine a dance band inside a symphony ochestra complete with a guy who looks and sings like a young Frank Sinatra and you will begin to get the drift . BBC repeating on Monday if interested.


  140. Alex Says:

    In response to Duncan, Do you find and is it correct that Freeview SD, has a higher resolution or better bit rate than freesat SD?

    As when i watch freeview though my pioneer kuro plasma tv, I always find the inbuilt freeview tuner gives a better picture in SD.

    It might just be me, but i remember someone saying something about it once.


  141. John C Says:

    Have now stopped recommending Freesat to friends and neighbours and have stopped using it myself. Feel conned ito parting with £150 + dish for yet another service that is now dying on its feet. Its just another ONDigital service wont see out 2010 unless it gets its finger out.


  142. Duncan Says:

    I believe some Freeview channels are higher bit rate than satellite and vice versa.
    Therefore don’t assume Freeview is always better or vice versa.
    Clearly ITV 1 is better on Freeview.

    The upscaling ability of your tv or box comes into the mix as well so obviously just select the best one subjectively for your favourite channels.

    Very impressed with the upscaling ability of Humax Foxsat HDR on lower bit rate channels.

    If anyone can supply a link to Freeview/Satellite bit rates comparison I am sure it would be of interest to some of us.


  143. Richard Crichton Says:

    By your command. Sorry no comparison. You’ll have to do that yourself.

    Freeview bitrates
    Satellite bitrates


  144. Oyodi Says:

    I also find the BBC HD quality much poorer since they reduced the bit rate, in fact so much so that last night I was watching an old episode of Hotel, and the picture was so inferior that I kept checking the information button just to make sure that I was in fact watching BBC HD !, I was really shocked at how bad the quality was, I remember when Hotel was first screened on BBC HD, as the picture quality was so remarkable on my Pioneer kuro 50 inch plasma TV, that it really blew me away, it was real eye candy, but now, as I say, I had to make sure that the banner did in fact say BBC HD.

    I have also noticed the same as Alex that some Freeview channels have much better picture quality when viewed on my Pioneer.


  145. Marko Says:

    having read most of the above comments, i feel i have to make my own.

    i Have just tested the itv picture that i get, on normal anagloge tv, virgin cable (digital), freesat, and an old sky box. the old analoge channel picture was trash as we have a poor signal where i live, and cannot get freeview. The virgin pic was ok, the old sky box pic was about the same, but the freesat pic is absolutly awful, how can this be ?? If freesat is a joint venture BBC and ITV why is itvs pic the worst on its own service ???

    As for the +1’s well sometimes i use these, so wouldnt want to loose them !

    Regional – does anyone really care that much for local news, if its important it would be on national news, i dont care about someone who has got 15cats and 2 dogs look after them !, but if i did want local news i could always go online (bbc website) and look at the local news there, or heaven forbid buy a local newspaper, or even read one of the 3 local free papers that get pussed through my door.

    i bought freesat purley for HD content as i get all the freeview channels on my virgin sub (basic package free tv with my phone and broadband), and didnt want to fork out ever month for it. Freesat promised this and i expected great things, perhaps too much ?

    i was always impressed with BBC HD, only really watched it when something was on that caught my eye, but have just checked that and agree that it doesnt look HD anymore, more like just a good reception and tuned in tv. In fact flicking between BBCHD and BBC4 they look very similar quality !

    i feel like most on here that i have spent £150 on 1 channel that has now been reduced by 40%, oh dear i feel they saw me coming, and took me for a mug !


  146. Nat Says:

    I had Freeview and a bulky non HD TV and used to get annoying interference on the picture and sound, but I invested in a Panasonic Freesat TV and even as its stands today its FANTASTIC!

    The picture and sound are now clear all the time.

    The BBC HD channel is brilliant – content, picture and sound.

    ITV HD chips in with a decent footy match or movie now and then.

    The iPlayer is coming soon!! – seriously, thats some clever forward thinking.

    There are some decent channels on the “other satellite services” list – they weren’t on my Freeview box – another extra bonus.

    When the guy hooked up the neat satellite dish, I got him to take down the wobbly ugly mess that was the TV aerial – YES!

    I can’t honestly see a time when Freeview will ever catch up to Freesat in terms of quality of service delivered – HD on Freeview? – yeah right! I can see some seriously expensive aerial/coax upgrading to get that to work as well as satellite.
    As Freesat users at the moment, we’re all ahead of the game and already enjoying a better TV experience than when we were “Freeviewers” anything else like C4HD just adds to an already superb product.


  147. davemurgatroyd Says:

    The whole problem here is that too many people are interpreting the wishes and hopes of the many freesat fans (and even freesat’s marketing dept) as promises of services to come. Freesat was only ever set up as an alternative means of reception for the five analogue channels that will disappear on DSO for those areas with poor or limited Freeview reception and anything else would be a bonus. There will be NO government or OFCOM intervention to help it along it has already achieved what it was set up to do. Any such intervention would be challenged in every court from here to the EU as illegal commercial intervention by Sky, Virgin, BTVision and all the other players. It was NOT set up nas competition to Pay TV and never will be anything other than a free alternative. Any commercial support by the BBC or intervention by them on freesat’s behalf would very soon see the BBC Trust being thrown out and possibly the license support being withdrawn.

    Get real people, what you want and what you imagine you have been promised are totally different from reality. In this economic climate free TV is struggling to survive yet alone expand how you want it to. Where is the money going to come from to pay for all these hoped for channels when advertising revenue is sinking faster than the Titanic? Channel 4 HD only initially launched with a great deal of assistance from Sky.


  148. Oneguy Says:

    Wow some people here are either relly thick or just plain stupid im not impressed.

    Admin: Can you check the ip numbers of all the complainers… let’s see if every comment is from a different person, i have some doubt


  149. footy Says:

    Interesting scenario yesterday. Although not directly Freesat related. I have Sky Freesat, saw they are now replaceing these cards as well as subscription ones. (free) Ordered same. I removed card to read number, and forgot to replace. We know C4 went Free to air a few months ago, BUT it appears C5 as well! now. (Sky3 went as expected), BUT C5 remains-perfect. I understood that C5 was to move on the platform to the BBC?ITV Freesat site, if this has now happened does this free up another space for Freesat?


  150. footy Says:

    Just Googled C5-confirmed is now free to air. Might help Freesat.


  151. sam Says:

    Going back to an issue mentioned earlier which is BBC HD quality, does anyone know if they have changed anything with BBC1 as well. I am sat watching the Breakfast program and can’t decide if I am going crazy or not but the picture just doesn’t look as good as it did last week – it may be the hangover but i am not sure.

    Guess i wait for the F1 on Sunday because that has always looked great but its a big disappointment if they are reducing quality of broadcasts – surely thats a step backwards ?


  152. Tony Hales Says:

    150 Footy
    Ch5 has been free to air since the 18th of November 2008 when it went on Freesat.


  153. Robert Langdon Says:

    Infact CH 5 was free to air for quite a while before it got its place on the Freesat EPG.


  154. Jason Says:

    to DaveMurgatroyd who wrote:

    “Get real people, what you want and what you imagine you have been promised are totally different from reality. In this economic climate free TV is struggling to survive yet alone expand how you want it to. Where is the money going to come from to pay for all these hoped for channels when advertising revenue is sinking faster than the Titanic?”

    I just wanted to say I don’t really view them as ‘free’ channels since we pay a license fee and we buy products as a result of advertising. TV licensing has collected historically £3.4bn a year from 25 million licenses – it’s probably more now. I’d like to think together we could have some influence how the 3.4bn gets spent, and where the advertising money goes by saying what type of service we’d really like to have.


  155. davemurgatroyd Says:

    To Jason

    Considering that HD households only amount to around 5 to 6% of UK households in total (on all platforms freesat, Sky and cable) that influence to both how the license fee and advertising revenue is spent would be very small taking into account that you can also view all the other FTA SD programming that is broadcast that is paid for from the same pot. Considering HD broadcasting (and initial setup) is considerably more than for SD I reckon in this present economic climate we are certainly getting a fair crack of the whip. You seem to delude yourself (along with many other posters here) that because you have spent a considerable amount on a set top box that you should have a greater influence than the other 95% of viewers.

    Until the HD freesat audience expands to a much larger extent (and the economy recovers considerably) then you are highly unlikely to see a large expansion in HD channels. At present the only way people will see a larger amount of HD is with pay TV (Sky or Virgin) which can fund their expansion from their subscription income.

    I personally believe that freesat will expand its channel lineup by a great deal eventually BUT this will almost certainly take two to three years. My own viewing consists approx 40% Sky subscription channels, 35% Freeview/freesat channels and 25% non UK channels. I have Sky HD, Freeview PVRs and a multi-satellite PVR.


  156. scoobie Says:

    ** Off topic..
    Can we have a news article about the recent reduction in picture quality on BBC HD and ITV HD please?
    There may not be much new news to report as getting information out of the channels is like getting blood out of a stone, but at least it would give us a place to air our grievances.
    From reading above it sounds like there are a lot of us disappointed in what’s happened with respect to degrading picture quality in the past few weeks. Both ITV HD and BBC HD on Sunday night were awful. (Apart from the film which was letterbox so doesn’t need as much bitrate)


  157. Denis Says:

    Nat – I agree with you. I have a Panasonic Freeview TV but play a Goodmans Freesat HD box through it. The picture is fantastic and have not experienced any problems regarding a reduction in quality of HD pictures. SD pictures are also of a very high quality.


  158. Brusselsman Says:

    Also off topic but agree with Scoobie.

    I was watching an old recording of South Pacific last night (pre coder change) and was blown away by the quality.

    With the new coder I am very very conscious of ‘flapping’ foliage – areas of high detail high contrast that seem to flash from frame to frame and some dreadful ghosting images in deep shadows. If you watch the same broadcast on SD you rarely see these effects.
    In fact how about a poll on what do you think of the New BBC HD encoder

    • It is fantastic!
    • Notice no difference
    • Disappointing drop in quality
    • Dreadful


  159. Denis Says:

    Brusselman – If there is a difference, it is not noticable to the human eye on my Panasonic TV.

    My son has an LG TV and have to admit any deteriation in picture quality is very obvious on that.

    I think because the Panasonic picture in general is so fantastic you just get lost in the programme and the quality is not an issue as you just take it for granted.


  160. Alex Says:

    Brusselsman – I agree with you, The Quality is dreadful compared to watching a recording of Later Live with jools that was recorded much earlier this year.

    My Pioneer Kuro Plasma is one if not the best plasma tv (except there Elite Range) there is for picture Quality, and compared to bluray 1080 the bbc hd and itv hd just look like standard dvd format.

    I watched The bill the other night, and the quality was dreadful from ITV, the only difference i noticed was dolby digital 2.0 instead of normal Linear PCM.

    Something needs to happen, as we cant live with this poor picture. BBC need to answer a few questions


  161. Denis Says:

    I think some people are just being very picky. I can just imagine them sitting there analysing the picture all night long without even having a clue as to the programme content.

    Yes the picture on my TV is great and I have no complaints. My first priority is the quality of the contents and it is in that area that I do have issue with some channels.


  162. Derek (original) Says:

    Having written an email to the BBC with respect to the drop in picture quality of their BBC HD transmissions, one of the statements in their response left me amazed…

    “I raised your concerns with our Reception Advice team who advise that less bitrate is now required to transmit content due to the use of more modern and improved coders. The aim of this change is to keep the technical quality of BBC HD the same for less bitrate rate”

    If the aim is to keep the technical quality the same, then the BBC have missed the target completely!! To give them the benefit of the doubt, maybe their ‘aim’ will improve over time and the picture quality will revert to that which we were used to receiving.


  163. Denis Says:

    Derek – I really don’t understand what you are grumbling about. I have not noticed any reduction in quality of my BBC HD picture quality. I think it is a case of because you know the have made some changes you are looking for problems.

    I would hate to watch TV in your household, picking up faults with the picture all the time. Just enjoy the programmes for what they are.


  164. Derek (original) Says:

    You are in no position to comment on my household’s viewing habits, so I suggest you keep those thoughts to yourself. For your information, the deterioration in the HD picture quality reduction I and many other members of this and other internet forums have noticed, was being commented on by us well before knowledge of the reduction in transmission bitrate came into the public domain.


  165. Denis Says:

    Well to me the quality is just fine. So at least I can watch contented.!!!


  166. scoobie Says:

    Well said.


  167. David Tutton Says:

    I enjoy watching the regional ITV news items on Freesat and my Grundig box gives excellent HD pictures on BBC HD and ITV HD (especially the footie). Although I live in Granadaland I have thoroughly enjoyed watching Meridian South and seeing a fantastic traction engine rally at Blandford Forum in Dorset. All this on a box that cost only £99. I could spend that in 2 months on SKY!
    Freesat is a great platform and I am very happy with it at present and anticipate it will get better as time goes on. Stop knocking Freesat. Together with Freeview we have an abundance of channels and my Freeview PVR is great too. TV has never been so good and so varied.


  168. Denis Says:

    David Tutton – Well said, my sentiments exactly.


  169. Dan Reed Says:

    David Tutton – Well said indeed!!


  170. Dean smith Says:

    We have to remeber that diffrent programs in hd were sometimes bad and some times great . Its just the prgrams that differ as one program could be set in darker lits rooms eg the tuders.But if you watch wild life with the bright colours ,you see a big differents . Watch blu-rays and see how they differ.

    I agree with freeview sd channels are better, itv is the worse on freesat.
    Its a fact that freeview has better bit rates as in the home cinema mag they did a report into it with compared the two in a table.

    Why is freesat always a waiting game and we get to the date and its still waiting game.

    On a happy note i love the bbc hd channel and well done to them for this service i have not notice any drop in quality as watching on pionneer plasma. May show up more on cheaper brands of tv.


  171. Mike Says:

    One of the biggest selling points of Freesat is that you can’t get any of the Disney Channels, with their non stop pre-teen American crap. These are encrypted, kick them off!!!!!


  172. John Says:

    Is there no further news from Freesat or Channel 4 about this ‘problem’.


  173. Spare Slots Appear On Astra2D Transponder | Join Freesat Says:
  174. Freesat Fred Says:

    There are two main issues in play here.

    1: Regional Variations

    Since Digital Sattelite launched in late 1997, the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 have been broadcasting regional variations of their channels on the narrow-beam sat. They broadcast an entire channel for what amounts to a few hours of regional programming a week. While it might have made sense somehow in 1997 when bandwidth on Astra 2D was plentiful, today this practice is utterly ludicrous and an enourmous waste of bandwidth.

    The broadcasters and Freesat need to take a close look at how they provide regional programming on FTA as the current system is madness, especially as viewers already receive their own regional channels via Freeview.

    Removing these regional variations would allow at least a dozen HD channels to occupy the freed-up transponders.

    2: Sky broadcasting encrypted channels on Astra 2D.

    While the Satellite is partially owned by Sky they do have the right to do this, but really OFCOM should step in and demand they move all encrypted channels to a wider-band sat, on which there is more than enough available bandwidth to house their channels.

    Sky removing all encrypted channels from 2D would free up enough bandwidth for dozens of HD channels.

    Sadly Sky are just too big to be pushed around, so problem 1 is the most viable to fix.


  175. Anonymous Says:

    There are some ways in which space can be made. Here are my ideas…
    If the BBC, ITV and C4 can’t remove the regional variants, why not have BBC1, ITV and C4 England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland like BBC2? Also, Teachers TV is leaving very, very soon this month. If all this happens, around 30 channels will be removed, making space for more. Teletext is just a waste of space now because you can only use Teletext Holidays, however, jobsite is available on Teletext now.
    What do you think? Please do correct me if I’m wrong about anything…


  176. Russ Says:

    The fact that BBC has launched BBC1 HD on Freesat is proof that the lack of space issue that CH4 keep using is just an excuse. At least ITV were honest about it.


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