In a discussion between Humax’s commercial director Graham North and digitalspy, he’s suggested that Humax will be the first and only manufacturer of a freesat HD receiver from the launch of freesat.
Whilst most information has been kept under wraps by the manufacturers, Graham has said that he expects the HD element of the freesat service to be the key selling point over the existing terrestrial Freeview platform.
“There are so many HDTVs being sold now and there is so much demand for HD content,” said North. “There will be quite a lot of Freeview customers who might take up Freesat, I don’t think they will drop Freeview altogether, perhaps keeping it in a different room, but they will take it. Mainly because of the HD on offer.”
Freeview current enjoys a large share of the digital market, with an staggering 27million digital set top boxes in homes across the country.
One other hint of a suggestion from Graham was that consumers negative attitude towards Sky might fall into freesat’s favour, “Also, not everyone wants to be a Sky customer for whatever reason – financial or anything else. There is definitely an opportunity in the market.”
Humax will not produce an standard receiver and it was confirmed that a HD personal video recorder would follow “in a few months” after launch (we currently believe this to be July). Humax would consider producing televisions integrated with freesat receivers in the future, he added, as it already sells similar digital satellite combinations in other countries around the world.
“We would look at it, we have done it in other markets. We have decided not to before in the UK, because there wasn’t a driver.”
North also said its set top boxes would contain DiSEqC controllers, which can be used to control equipment such as motorised dishes. An interest prospect indeed for all those consumers looking to access alternative countries channels through the one receiver.
Early indications suggest that Alba and Humax will lead the way with the first receivers available from launch. This information has been provided to us:
– Standard receivers from launch (manufacturer: *alba)
– HD receivers from launch (manufacturer: humax)
– HD receivers from may/june (manufacturer: *alba)
– HD/PVR receivers from july (manufacturer: *alba and humax)
*alba receivers are likely to be badged as grundig, goodmans and bush.
Its also beleived that the receivers will start hitting the shelves of those selected suppliers for purchase at the end of April, with installations / official launch happening early May.
Sorry for the lack of updates, but not much is being ‘leaked’ by the BBC or ITV at this time. We have however noticed a discussion taking place on Digital Spy which has some information worth sharing, although it might just be pure speculation, but certainly generates a good talking point!
According to the information supplied, the retailers for the freesat product will be:
Phase 1 – Argos, DSG (Curry’s), Comet, John Lewis
Phase 2 – CIH Euronics, M & S, Tesco
Phase 3 – non-Euronics independents in 2009
From previous reports we beleive Phase 1 will cover 6 months from launch, followed by a further 6 months for Phase 2, then a free-for-all in Phase 3. We have been told of retailers trying to obtain the rights to sell that BBC are not yet considering ‘general’ retailers, just those already hand selected!
The target prices, which were discussed in a recent meeting suggest:
Freesat non-HD (box only) £35
Freesat HD (box only) £99
Freesat HD PVR (box only) £149
Note the absense of a non-HD PVR? As suspected its unlikely they will make one, expecting those wanting to record to pay up for the HD version.
Should you require installation, its hoped to cost around £50, which when you do the sums, is a great deal for a full setup, no matter which digital receiver you pick. We had concerns that the prices would not compete with existing Sky deals, but fortunatly it looks like if they meet these targets, they will, good news.
The freesat receiver manufacturers are beleived to be Alba, Sagem, Panasonic and Humax. Alba and Sagem were look after the SD receiver market, Panasonic the in-built receiver market (see previous post) and Humax the high end HD PVR unit, however, it would seem that Sagem might not be involved after all. Details are still unclear, but suggestions are that it might be down to costing issues, i.e. freesat wanting to sell the boxes cheaper than Sagems production will allow to gain a profit.
Information has come to light that Goodman might be in the frame for some of the freesat cake, whether the two are linked, who knows!
Do you get the feeling things are going more backwards than forwards! 🙂
Panasonic have announced that they will be including freesat receivers within their 2008 plasma/lcd’s due out later this year. Similar to how they’ve done with freeview, the new plasma’s will have the freesat service built in, meaning you won’t have to have a seperate box to enjoy the ‘soon to be launched’ new service.
The PZ81 model in sizes 37″, 42″ and 50″ will benefit first from this addition around august time, followed by the LZ81 32″ and 37″ later in the year.
This can only put the point across about how serious manufacturers are about the new freesat service, with Panasonic willing to work towards inclusion of this technology as early as summer this year.