Channel Five Freesat Launch Announced

Freesat have today announced the forthcoming addition of Five onto the platform on Tuesday 18th November 2008.

Since launching in 1997, Five has developed a strong reputation for a wide mix of entertainment, documentaries, features, news, sport and children’s programmes. The channel’s Autumn schedule includes Paul Merton in India, 1968 Unseen, Dangerous Adventures for Boys, Unbreakable and Axe Men.

Commenting on the addition of channel Five to the service, Freesat Managing Director Emma Scott said;

We’ve been looking forward to welcoming Five onto Freesat since we launched – and we know viewers have too. Five is a fantastic addition and we’re thrilled that the large number of homes that have already chosen Freesat will now be able to enjoy Five alongside around 140 other channels available without a subscription or contract.

Charles Constable, Channel Five’s Director of Strategy, said;

I am delighted that Five will be available to Freesat viewers. Our launch will support three of Five’s objectives: to be universally available throughout the UK, to let viewers watch our programmes on the platform of their choice, and to enable as many people as possible to watch Five free of charge.

Five (channel 105) will automatically be added to Freesat digital boxes and integrated TVs.

Update: A number of you have asked about Fiver and Five US, the official statement from Freesat is:

Due to lack of availability of appropriate satellite capacity, Fiver and Five US are unable to join freesat currently. However, we are exploring options to secure capacity to enable these channels to join freesat at some time in the future.

79 thoughts on “Channel Five Freesat Launch Announced”

  1. Will the launch of the new Astra 1M satellite help capacity problems with the UK satellites?
    According to various sites, the successful launch of 1M allows Astra SES to relocate Astra 2C to 28.2° East “to provide additional capacity to meet the strong demand in the UK and Irish markets”.

  2. @PeterHB

    Actually Peter I don’t know about Freeview but I watched Aston Villa vs Slavia Prague on Thursday on ordinary analogue on Five.

    The picture was so bad you could see pixellation on the entire picture and square edges on the players. The slightest movement of the camera side to side caused the entire pitch area to break up into artefacts, it was practically unwatcheable.

    Worst broadcast I’ve ever seen.

    Heaven knows what the bit rate / level of compression was.

  3. No capacity for Fiver or five US huh? So has Freesat filled up all the space already? Well, that was a waste of money then!

  4. I think 5 is a welcome addition to Freesat and it will deff help future sales ..
    i will prob be interested in watching about 20 % of its content witch is no different than any of the other main channels..
    As for the space filled up on Freesat well its a joke if they didn’t have so many SPAM channels as others have put it, there would be a lot more room for decent channels that more than 2% of us will watch ..
    WILL THEY HAVE ENOUGH ROOM FOR CH 4 HD ?? and other hd channels when they eventually are available ???

  5. The ‘spam’ channels as some of you call them haven’t just been added by Freesat; they’ve been there all along. And, in fact, the bulk of them aren’t on 2D anyway, which is where the main capacity issue lies.

    Whether or not these channels were on the Freesat EPG, they’d still be broadcasting – they’re on Sky too, and being on Freesat’s EPG doesn’t take up space that someone else could magically have.

    The issue is that the Astra 2 is a cluster of satellites; some have a footprint that means channels can be received in most of northern europe; 2D is more focussed, with a largely UK footprint. Many broadcasters accept that if a channel is carried on 2D, it won’t be picked up by many people outside the UK, and so encryption is not needed. On other Astra 2 satellites, it is, and so encryption is necessary.

    Most shopping channels are not on 2D; they don’t have the same copyright issues, and so they’re not stopping things like FiveUS and Fiver from getting space on 2D.

  6. @ Nigel Whitfield thanks for making that clear ..
    so who gets to decide witch channels are on ASTRA 2 satellites ???
    and especially 2D ???? DOES ANYBODY KNOW ???

  7. Maybe its time for the regulator to step in and force Sky to move some of its channels off 2D to the other Astra’s to free capacity. After all Sky has the encryption capability already.

    As to the new Astra satellite, I hadn’t heard of a proposed launch, but anything that increases capacity has to be good especially with a HD / Super Hi Vision future ahead.

  8. I think the only people who really know are SES Astra, who own the satellites. Some broadcasters (like the BBC) obviously have contracts that specify that they want space on 2D, so they can broadcast in the clear. Others may just rent a transponder, and be happy to take what they’re given, on any satellite in the cluster.

    Whether or not channels can be moved will depend on the contracts – can Astra tell Sky, for example, to swap some of their transponders from 2D to 2A? No one really knows, unless they’ve seen the contract. Sky’s obviously a big customer for Astra (probably their biggest, for the UK market); does that give them clout with Astra? Or the other way round – it would cost Sky a fortune if they had to switch to a different satellite provider, after all.

    Personally, I’m not sure that a regulator would be able to do much about this. And which one, anyway? SES Astra is in Luxembourg, so I’m not sure Ofcom could do much about unpicking any contracts there.

  9. This is great news
    as the Wright Stuff on Five at 9PM
    is great with Politics and Jokes Live each day.

    Good to be able to watch that on 576i freesatHD.

  10. I wish ITV could up the video res to 720 x 576, would be far better for upscalling or just have ITV HD ‘on’ 24/7 as 4HD do

  11. Scott – Subtitles (888) don’t seem to be available whilst Five is testing as “6335” – I expect they’ll appear, along with the EPG, when it goes properly live on the 18th…

  12. dont worry folks, the other 2 5 channels will be on soon, there’s bound to be some shopping channels going bust soon, they can go in those slots.

  13. Obviously Kevin you’ve looked at Five a lot, lol.

    No cops shows at all tonight, non tommorrow, Several CSI shows Tuesday albeit the worlds most popular TV program but fair enough if you don’t like it, No US cops shows Wednesday night (1 UK cop documentary – Police Interceptors which happens to be very good – think UK Special Police Unit driving souped up 200BHP+ rally cars), No cops Thursday, some shows Friday (NCIS and Law and Order) and same Saturday.

    So even for a US cop show hater such as yourself, I make that US cop shows on for 3 nights out of 7 (Tue, Fri, Sat) and even then, they’re not on ALL the night, there are many other top shows as well!!!

  14. OK. This may sound a bit cynical, but if Freesat can find space for limitless shopping and travel channels how come there’s no space for Fiver and Five US? If the space on Astra 2D is limited then why do Freesat still seem able to add so many channels that practically no sane person will ever watch?

    OK. Grumble over. I’m still going to dump Sky+ and go to Freesat+. At least I can delete the 90% of channels from the Freesat EPG that I’ll never watch.

  15. Andy – your not understanding how it works, none of the shopping channels are on Astra2D, they are on other beams such as 2A, 2B and 2C. 2D is used by UK broadcasters to ensure they remain difficult to access outside of the UK, it’s a ofcom requirement. As it stands, all the slots on the 2D beam are taken, most by the likes of BBC, ITV and C4, but some by Sky for their programming. It’s suspected that because those channels held by Sky are encrypted subscription channels anyway, that they will be moved, but that might take time.

  16. @andy clayton
    Like you I will delete all the ‘rubbish’ channels from Freesat.
    presently using a Humax HD box and have configured a number of non Freesat channels.These have to be on a separate list. Would be nice if we could put all our ‘favourites’ onto one list, both Freesat and non Freesat.

  17. Also Andy, Freesat don’t find space for these channels – they’re all already being broadcast long before Freesat appeared. All Freesat allows you to do is access them through a shiny new EPG.

  18. Alan in reply again to subtitles, on the Humax receiver subtitles are available by pressing subtitles then pressing up to teletext or just text, then punching in number 888 on the test channel “6335”, or with a normal FTA receiver using text/videotext. (don’t know about the other freesat models)

  19. Post 51 – “Will the launch of the new Astra 1M satellite help capacity problems with the UK satellites?
    According to various sites, the successful launch of 1M allows Astra SES to relocate Astra 2C to 28.2° East “to provide additional capacity to meet the strong demand in the UK and Irish markets”.

    No. Astra 2C is already at 28E – and has been for about a year. All the scrambled five channels currently use it. Astra 1M will be replacing Astra 1H at 19E. 1H will be redeployed to 23E.

  20. BBC did a wonderful job covering the games in China
    I was one of the lucky people able to watch it in HD and analoge having purchased a HUMAX HDCI-2000 I was able to compare the picture quality from each transmission, watched on my HD ready tv, the difference between the two
    was hard to notice, and all coming down my twenty two year old LOW LOSS
    cable embeded in the walls of my flat The only thing I could notice the nets across the Tennis Courts the pattern could be clearly seen.
    BBC I wish you well, keep up the wonderful progress

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