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Apr 03 2014

Freesat announces new Freetime partnership with VestelVestel, a major player in the consumer electronics industry, and Freesat, the subscription free TV service, have announced a strategic partnership to provide Freesat’s Freetime service via satellite on a range of Vestel’s new smart TVs and set top boxes. The third largest TV manufacturer in the world, Vestel makes TV’s for a variety of major Japanese and European brands as well as own brand TV’s sold by major UK retailers including Argos, Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s.

Owners of the new Vestel manufactured TV’s and set top boxes will be able to use Freetime to roll-back the TV guide for the past seven days, access all the major On Demand services including BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD, and Demand 5, and watch Showcase, Freesat’s great programme recommendation service. The Freesat mobile companion app will also work in conjunction with the Vestel Freetime range, offering the ability to plan, record and manage programmes to watch and directly control the TV.

Freetime has been extremely successful since launch in September 2012, with Freetime boxes now accounting for over 40% of all Freesat set-top box sales.

As the biggest volume supplier to major retailers such as John Lewis and Dixons, the Vestel agreement increases even further the number of viewers that will be able to enjoy the Freetime service.

Emma Scott, Freesat’s Managing Director, commented:

We are extremely pleased to be able to announce today’s partnership with Vestel, which further builds on the strong momentum for our award-winning Freetime service. This is an exciting time for us – we announced the Freetime Panasonic VIERA TVs range last month and we look forward to extending our reach further with Vestel. Through the new agreement, viewers will be able to enjoy Freetime on a whole new range of leading brands.

Iskender Diker, Vestel’s Commercial Director, commented:

The television market needs a free smart TV platform that retailers can buy to sell under their own brands. The own brand TV market represents more than 50% of the UK TV market, which makes this partnership between Freesat and Vestel so vitally important. Retailers need to be able to sell high quality TV’s with great TV services like those offered by Freesat. Consumers are quite savvy – they don’t need to pay for what’s free.

46 Responses to “Freesat announces new Freetime partnership with Vestel”

  1. stigbeater Says:

    it’s very good that freesat are getting them self’s out there and putting this onto other electrical’s. now they just need to add more to there freetime on demand area to keep up with others, or maybe even jump in front of what others offer.

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  2. Dave W Says:

    Excellent news, especially now that Humax will have some competition!

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  3. Ken B Says:

    Copied from Freesat announcement dated JAN 10th 2012.

    >>Manhattan confirmed as Freesat partner for next gen receivers

    Freesat today confirmed it is partnering with Manhattan as a manufacturer of its next generation set-top boxes due to launch early this year.

    In September last year, Freesat confirmed that Sagemcom and Humax would also be producing the new boxes.<<

    What happened with Manhattan and Sagemcom?

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  4. admin Says:

    Ken B said:
    What happened with Manhattan and Sagemcom?

    They had delays outside of their control. Believe Manhattan are working on it, not sure about Sagemcom.

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  5. Ian Vallender Says:

    not sure if they’ll be able to but they could do with getting some boxes and tvs ready for the world cup from brands like Goodmans, Bush, Hitachi and other brands they make set top boxes for looking at what the prices for equipment Set top boxes I’m assuming prices wouldn’t be that much different from what they are now I would have thought either Sagemcom or Manhattan would have had a freetime product in stores by now since they did sign up a while back. not forgetting that in the Summer theres a huge football tournament the World cup so i’ll keep my eyes open as I need a box with a huge hard disk drive as my 250GB sagem freesat+ box gets full rather quickly.

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  6. Lee S Says:

    From what I have seen / know about Vestel set top boxes etc, they aren’t the prettiest designs you may come across. However in terms of being able to offer the functionality of Freetime but in an affordable array of devices, most importantly budget supermarket / retail brands, this will look very attractive to the money conscious consumer who wants loads of free channels and catch up tv. As Youview turns more and more down the subscription tv route, surely Freesat Freetime will become the best free tv platform available in terms of features and value for money.

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  7. Barry Says:

    I may get a “slap” for this but, do some of the subscribers to this Forum ever read back to themselves what they have written?
    It certainly is not “English language” as I have been taught.
    It is soooo difficult to understand the point that they are trying to make, “punctuation” must be as a foreign country to them!.
    Anyhooooo:
    I have a Manhattan HD-S freesat box and experience a lot of “out-of-sync” audio with it.
    The + – settings in the delay menu will not correct this.
    Any suggestions for a remedy or is it a fault common to this box?

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  8. Neil Says:

    This is good news and just the sort of thing that’s needed to push the product further. Yep, Vestel do manufacture low-end budget TV’s for various manufacturers but cost-savvy consumers will go down this route to purchase new products and Tesco/Sainsbury’s and other retailers shift a lot of their own branded products.

    The press release mentions “to provide Freesat’s Freetime service via satellite on a range of Vestel’s new smart TVs and set top boxes”, I presume by that the TV’s will have a DVB-S/S2 ‘front-end’ Satellite tuner as well at DVB-T/T2 DTT one? This will certainly help shift products in the medium term, depends whether it’s the high, mid/high or low/mid/high end products they plan to integrate them in to?

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  9. Lee S Says:

    Barry said:
    I may get a “slap” for this but, do some of the subscribers to this Forum ever read back to themselves what they have written?
    It certainly is not “English language” as I have been taught.
    It is soooo difficult to understand the point that they are trying to make, “punctuation” must be as a foreign country to them!.
    Anyhooooo:
    I have a Manhattan HD-S freesat box and experience a lot of “out-of-sync” audio with it.
    The + – settings in the delay menu will not correct this.
    Any suggestions for a remedy or is it a fault common to this box?

    Watch out Barry…. the word ‘so’ only has one ‘o’ in it ;)

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  10. admin Says:

    Barry said:
    “punctuation” must be as a foreign country to them!.

    Indeed! ;)

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  11. Two Pen'orth Says:

    As does “anyhow”.

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  12. Andrew Says:

    This is really solid progress for Freesat coming on top of the Panasonic deal. Will Vestel use Freetime for catch-up services on DTT like Panasonic did? If not, what will it do?
    Vestel’s move is interesting as it has avoided the UK satellite market until now. However, with a stagnant UK TV market, lots of Sky households with no aerials and a reduced Freeview PVR/receiver market it makes sense for Vestel to enter the satellite market. Harvard seems to have neglected the satellite market recently and its View 21 Freeview range seemed to be a distraction for the company.

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  13. Andrew Says:

    admin said: They had delays outside of their control. Believe Manhattan are working on it, not sure about Sagemcom.

    If I was the site owner I would probably say that. However, I’m not! The fact that Humax has and Vestel will be producing Freetime boxes shows that companies can produce Freetime boxes. If it’s outside Manhattan’s and Sagemcom’s control, how is it that Humax and now Vestel have not been effected by these delays too?

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  14. Barry Williams Says:

    Ok with the additional “ooooo”
    It’s a colloquial term here in the west of Ireland.
    Also, well spotted there on the surplus full stop after the exclamation mark.
    Anyhow—any help with the bad sync,problem

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  15. admin Says:

    Andrew said: If I was the site owner I would probably say that. However, I’m not! The fact that Humax has and Vestel will be producing Freetime boxes shows that companies can produce Freetime boxes. If it’s outside Manhattan’s and Sagemcom’s control, how is it that Humax and now Vestel have not been effected by these delays too?

    Manhattan and Sagemcom were using the software developer assigned by Freesat initially until Freesat fell out of favour with them and got rid; this effectively put Manhattan and Sagemcom back to the start again. Humax on the other hand produced in-house so didn’t suffer the same delays. Vestel may indeed beat Manhattan to market, but that isn’t so much a reflect on this delay, but the fact Vestel are a huge company with much resource to overcome delays and development.

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  16. Lawrence Pearce Says:

    Good news and a sure sign that the Freesat / Freetime platform is here to stay. The competition from Vestel will keep prices down for the consumer, though I note that the Humax HB-1000S is now being offered by two retailers – Co-op and Amazon – for less than £90 delivered.

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  17. pollensa1946 Says:

    “Vestel are a huge company with much resource to overcome delays and development.”
    So we might get many of the bugs and issues in the Freetime s/w fixed sooner than we think? Perhaps not.

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  18. Neil Says:

    Freesat appointed a new marketing and separately a development manager which from these press releases we can see is paying off dividends for them.

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  19. Ken B Says:

    I have only just noticed that Sagem boxes have disappeared as current models, and are now listed under discontinued.

    Does that mean they have lost interest in producing Freesat boxes?

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  20. RichardC Says:

    Good stuff for Freesat Freetime. BBC iPlayer is going 30 days instead of 7 days from this summer. Presume that means Freetime will go back 30 days on the BBC channels?
    STV HD is testing non Freesat for launch on the 28th April.

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  21. Andrew Says:

    admin said: Manhattan and Sagemcom were using the software developer assigned by Freesat initially until Freesat fell out of favour with them and got rid; this effectively put Manhattan and Sagemcom back to the start again. Humax on the other hand produced in-house so didn’t suffer the same delays. Vestel may indeed beat Manhattan to market, but that isn’t so much a reflect on this delay, but the fact Vestel are a huge company with much resource to overcome delays and development.

    Thanks for taking the time out to explain the situation fully. I hope Manhattan and Sagemcom are able to launch as well. Sagemcom has the Philips licence which could be useful on a Freesat PVR.

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  22. pollensa1946 Says:

    admin said: …Humax on the other hand produced in-house so didn’t suffer the same delays. …

    That’s interesting, because every time there is a s/w problem with the box Humax swipe it over to Freesat, saying that they are only following instructions from Freesat. The current black, blank screen, no audio, when backing out of a recording is an example where Humax simply deny knowledge and refer complaints to Freesat.

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  23. Andrew Says:

    Ken B said:
    I have only just noticed that Sagem boxes have disappeared as current models, and are now listed under discontinued.
    Does that mean they have lost interest in producing Freesat boxes?

    They’re still appearing on the company’s website. http://www.sagemcomdigital.co.uk/set-top-boxes/freesat/

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  24. roger mellie Says:

    I’ve used Vestel Freeview pvr’s in the past, to be honest they were pretty buggy and unreliable in use.
    Can only hope they’ve upped their game for Freesat.

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  25. Ian Vallender Says:

    Admin just thought every one would like to know music channel Stars launched today it is on channel 505.

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  26. Digiwatcher Says:

    Ian Vallender said:
    Admin just thought every one would like to know music channel Stars launched today it is on channel 505.

    Good to see that they are starting to fill the epg gaps

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  27. Neil Says:

    Digiwatcher said: Good to see that they are starting to fill the epg gaps

    That gap was only created a couple of weeks ago though. It would be good if CSC got Scuzz back on 507 as would help fill the 507/508 EPG void.

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  28. RichardC Says:

    The 119 gap (in Scotland) will be filled on the 28th by STV HD at long last.
    Think it’s Starz with a z on 505.

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  29. Neil Says:

    RichardC said:
    The 119 gap (in Scotland) will be filled on the 28th by STV HD at long last.
    Think it’s Starz with a z on 505.

    Yep, will be good for you all north of the border to finally get STV in HD. Sky viewers will get an LCN swap with 103 for those in Glasgow and the west region on Sky, surprised Freesat didn’t do the same now the BBC have LCN swapped, same for UTV in NI too.

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  30. RichardC Says:

    Neil said: Yep, will be good for you all north of the border to finally get STV in HD. Sky viewers will get an LCN swap with 103 for those in Glasgow and the west region on Sky, surprised Freesat didn’t do the same now the BBC have LCN swapped, same for UTV in NI too.

    Probably the same reason BBC1 HD isn’t on 101 in England and BBC2 HD isn’t on 102 in Scotland STV SD has regional variations.STV HD dosen’t. Is that certain that Sky viewers will get a LCN swop. How is that possible, are they using extra transponders to give HD regional variations.

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  31. Digiwatcher Says:

    Neil said: That gap was only created a couple of weeks ago though. It would be good if CSC got Scuzz back on 507 as would help fill the 507/508 EPG void.

    I wonder if 111 will ever be used

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  32. Neil Says:

    RichardC said: Probably the same reason BBC1 HD isn’t on 101 in England and BBC2 HD isn’t on 102 in Scotland STV SD has regional variations.STV HD dosen’t. Is that certain that Sky viewers will get a LCN swop. How is that possible, are they using extra transponders to give HD regional variations.

    As it’s STV West that is the default HD region then those in the west region (Glasgow) only will swap on Sky’s platform, the rest of Scotland won’t. Just wondering why Freesat don’t do the same thing as Sky in that respect, the same is the case for ITV in the four English regions available in HD.

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  33. Digiwatcher Says:

    News is that a new tv channel ‘Irish TV’ is planning to launch a round-the-clock service being launched on May 1st on Freesat and other platforms.

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  34. RichardC Says:

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  35. peterhb Says:

    Agree completely. Such a takeover would cement the lack of C5 HD on Freesat and Freeview. It seems that Sky are sneakily taking over the non BBC stations. We have the same situation in regard to ITV and Channel 4 where all HD prohrammes but the main channels are reserved for SKY!!!

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  36. Neil Says:

    peterhb said:
    Agree completely. Such a takeover would cement the lack of C5 HD on Freesat and Freeview. It seems that Sky are sneakily taking over the non BBC stations. We have the same situation in regard to ITV and Channel 4 where all HD prohrammes but the main channels are reserved for SKY!!!

    Not neccesarily – keeping C5HD behind the paywall for the fifth PSB broadcaster is increasingly, along with other issues, making C5 look a ‘second rate’ broadcaster, especially on the Freeview platform which has the lions share of viewing. Sky’s involvement with the channel was only in ad-sales and not programming, it was expected Discovery would look after programming content.

    Anyway, it’s all hot air now as Discovery have pulled out:
    http://www.theguardian.com/media/2014/apr/17/discovery-withdraws-channel-5-bid
    The only remaining player is Viacom (owner of MTV/VH1/VIVA/Nickelodean and Comedy Central etc), again Sky were going to handle ad sales if the bid was successful.

    I actually think what Desmond wants for the channel is well overpriced and if he doesn’t want to come down a peg then will keep hold of the channel. He does need to make more investments in programming though if he wants to increase value through viewer share, having it in HD on DTT (and subsequently DSAT) will help somewhat too!

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  37. RichardC Says:

    Bye bye Bid and Price Drop.

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  38. Neil Says:

    RichardC said:
    Bye bye Bid and Price Drop.

    Yep, the writing was on the wall sadly. That leaves two pretty good slots vacant at the top of the EPG, guess would be good for QVC’s other two channels.

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  39. Ralph doldrum Says:

    It might be good news for consumers but the partnership isn’t ‘strategic’ really. They’ve overstated that. Also the quote from the Vestelchap wasn’t proof read. Right, that’s enough pedantry for now…

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  40. RichardC Says:

    Off topic but welcome to STV HD now on 119 for Scotland.

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  41. Neil Says:

    RichardC said:
    Off topic but welcome to STV HD now on 119 for Scotland.

    At long last! Been a long time coming.

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  42. Keith Cobby Says:

    It’s May next week, any news of more HD channels? I read that Sky are developing 4K.

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  43. RichardC Says:

    Keith Cobby said:
    It’s May next week, any news of more HD channels? I read that Sky are developing 4K.

    What HD channels are there that aren’t already signed up to Sky apart from Community and Aljazeera?
    As for 4K If it’s anything like the Sky 3D channel it won’t be cheap. £32 per month for the Family bundle at least. I hope they make 4K the new HD standard then hopefully we can have 1080p for the SD standard without being charged extra. However 4K may well flop so nothing will change.

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  44. Lee S Says:

    3840 x 2160 isn’t 4k as the manufacturers are labelling it.

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  45. Ian Vallender Says:

    finally freesat have listened for a good while now everybody has been crying out for an HD category on freesat’s guide well when i pressed that guide button earlier the new category!

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  46. Neil Says:

    Ian Vallender said:
    finally freesat have listened for a good while now everybody has been crying out for an HD category on freesat’s guide well when i pressed that guide button earlier the new category!

    That’s good, been waiting for this for a while!

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