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May 25 2017

Freesat today announces strong growth in the twelve months to 30 March 2017, with 904,000 devices sold – an increase of 90% year on year – benefiting from the continuing popularity of smart and UHD televisions.

Freesat’s customer base continues to thrive with 58,000 new homes added over the course of the financial year. This brings the total number of Freesat homes to over two million, as increasing numbers of customers look to cancel their expensive pay-TV contracts in favour of Freesat’s flexible, subscription-free offering, which includes over 200 free channels, on-demand services and optional paid-for add-ons, such as Netflix, Curzon Home Cinema and Hopster.

Consumer awareness is at its highest in four years after a successful advertising campaign focusing on customer testimonials. According to a YouGov poll in February, Freesat’s customer satisfaction levels were found to be the highest amongst TV providers. This followed a campaign highlighting the extensive product offering and service which pay customers are surprised to receive from a free service. This high quality of service is delivered through Freesat’s commitment to reinvesting profits back in the business, allowing it to continually expand into new products and services without locking customers into lengthy deals. In addition, clearer communications in retail, packaging and on the website aims to reassure switching customers that free-to-air options offer much better value than pay.

Partnerships with Samsung and LG contributed to strong sales figures as a result of the continuing popularity of 4k Ultra High Definition and Smart TVs. Freesat also launched a new zapper device with Humax with the same premium look as its recorder range and which comes with built-in wifi.

In 2016, a number of new channels and services joined the platform to give Freesat customers an even greater range of viewing options. This includes video-on-demand services STV Player and Wuaki, which provides the latest films on a pay-as-you-watch basis, as well as new channels Blaze, True Crime, Talking Pictures and 4Music. Freesat is in discussions with a number of other partners to further strengthen the roster of channels over the coming year.

The Freesat app has been downloaded over 800,000 times since it was first launched in 2014, and can be used as a remote control, to set recordings remotely, or to plan viewing through the TV Guide. In March the app was adapted for Android users, with a new TV Guide interface for an easily-accessible customer experience.

Freesat continues to develop additional revenue streams which will facilitate ongoing innovation in the service. In August 2016, Freesat launched its audience measurement platform, in partnership with TVbeat, a total TV audience marketing company, which covers all of its connected services. The platform has taken on its first commercial customers, including QVC UK, as channel partners take advantage of the insights the data provides, which enables more strategic decision making in terms of scheduling and programming.

Freesat’s international business, Metaphor, is focused on developing opportunities overseas through its projects with global partners, with agreements expected in the second half of the year. As an example, Freesat is developing Saorview Connect for RTE in Ireland, and is working with other new platforms to expand their connected TV services.

Alistair Thom, Freesat’s managing director, said:

We’re delighted with the success of 2016 which saw us surpass a milestone figure of two million Freesat homes. Our increase in customer numbers is testament to the great service we offer: a viable alternative to expensive, pay TV services which offers customers a huge range of flexible and diverse content.

Freesat aims to provide an array of brilliant free content and the latest TV services to our viewer. As more and more channel partners see the value in subscription free TV, Freesat will continue to expand its content offering to bring customers a huge choice of programming, both free and pay. The user experience will also evolve as Freesat focuses on making it easier for customers to find the programmes they want to watch.

41 Responses to “Freesat celebrates a strong performance”

  1. Paul. The other one. Says:

    I can confidently predict that before long there will be six, yes six, additional channels on the EPG, one of which will be HD.

    Aye, the Red Button channels are back. 12421, H, 27500, 2/3, DVB-S, QPSK.

    Currently tagged as 6802-6 and 6811 (HD).

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  2. Lawrence Says:

    On the face of it a 90% year on year sales increase (almost doubling) is hugely impressive. But this, along with the 58,000 extra Freesat homes is I suspect a result of an increasing number of TVs (particularly LG and Samsung models) being equipped with a Freesat tuner alongside the terrestrial one. That’s good news. But what’s not so good is that many of these TVs are not sold on their Freesat capability. Indeed most owners are probably unaware that their shiny new TV need only be connected to an old Sky dish to enjoy the satellite service. I know this because my own LG model was supplied without any Freesat branding, or reference in the user guide. But a software update magically added Freesat (instead of what was a simple free-to-air HD satellite tuner) and now I can simply switch between Freesat and Freeview with a couple of remote control presses. Why do TV manufacturers spend money on a freesat license and not tell potential customers?

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  3. admin Says:

    Don’t forget that Freeview have dined out on using that as part of their viewing figures for years too.

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  4. RAM Says:

    If they are in discussions with partners about more channels, are any of these likely to be pleasant surprises?

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  5. Neil Says:

    RAM said:
    If they are in discussions with partners about more channels, are any of these likely to be pleasant surprises?

    They very much could be :)

    I think this is really good news for Freesat and having an-built tuners in more televisions is a positive step forward. Yes, I accept that as others say, not every FS tuner in every enabled TV will be utilised but the same is the case for Freeview. As admin says, Freeview use it as a sales benchmark so why not the same for Freesat too.

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  6. Dave AC Says:

    The Red Button channels will be part of the preperations for Wimbledon surely?

    Regards, Dave

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  7. Paul Ryan Says:

    My Freesat Experience is about 99.98% complete with Dave and Quest the only missing pieces to this jigsaw.

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  8. Neil Says:

    Paul Ryan said:
    My Freesat Experience is about 99.98% complete with Dave and Quest the only missing pieces to this jigsaw.

    Dave and Quest would be great additions. As has always been the case with Freesat you never know what is around the corner.

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  9. Al (Original) Says:

    I’m surprised if this is anything other than replacement boxes and / or tv’s with built in tuners that go unused. Very little decent content on Freesat anymore and why would anyone choose it over Freeview when Freeview has 13 HD channels and several SD channels that aren’t on Freesat.

    In my opinion, Freesat has been run down to keep it popularity below Freeview which seems to be the governments pet project despite it’s bandwidth failings.

    Can’t comment on Freeview content, but I’m struggling to find anything to watch at all on Freesat. In fact I watch more videos on Youtube down than I do tv as the content of all the channels is so poor.

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  10. Neil Says:

    Al (Original) said:
    I’m surprised if this is anything other than replacement boxes and / or tv’s with built in tuners that go unused. Very little decent content on Freesat anymore and why would anyone choose it over Freeview when Freeview has 13 HD channels and several SD channels that aren’t on Freesat.
    In my opinion, Freesat has been run down to keep it popularity below Freeview which seems to be the governments pet project despite it’s bandwidth failings.
    Can’t comment on Freeview content, but I’m struggling to find anything to watch at all on Freesat. In fact I watch more videos on Youtube down than I do tv as the content of all the channels is so poor.

    All of them? Every single channel including all BBC and ITV ones? I don’t for one minute think the Government has anything to do with it… more like Sky who want to be the gatekeepers of UK DTH Satellite broadcasting – they are the ones to blame!

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  11. Jacck Says:

    Neil said: All of them? Every single channel including all BBC and ITV ones? I don’t for one minute think the Government has anything to do with it… more like Sky who want to be the gatekeepers of UK DTH Satellite broadcasting – they are the ones to blame!

    Ok here we go again with the blame game! Sky are no more to blame than there customers. If it wasn’t sky it would be someone else. TV is a business driven by profit and nothing else. As long as someone is willing to pay a premium then nothing will change. Be grateful for what you get for zero pounds. Want more then open your wallet mate !

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  12. stonedimmaculate62 Says:

    Jacck said: Ok here we go again with the blame game! Sky are no more to blame than there customers. If it wasn’t sky it would be someone else. TV is a business driven by profit and nothing else. As long as someone is willing to pay a premium then nothing will change. Be grateful for what you get for zero pounds. Want more then open your wallet mate !

    Jacck! We do pay for it including none BBC channels unless you watch there on demand players. It’s called a TV License. No such thing has free.

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  13. Jacck Says:

    stonedimmaculate62 said: Jacck! We do pay for it including none BBC channels unless you watch there on demand players. It’s called a TV License. No such thing has free.

    Very true,but only the beeb gets the cash from the TV licence! No relevance to Neil’s moaning.
    If itv ch4 etc choose to charge a premium for some HD channels then it’s fine by me. I doubt they would exist at all if they were not part of a pay package. As choice from online apps increases and packages become more competitive then freeview/Sat will only become even more starved of fresh content. That’s all there is to it. The days of moaning/crying and spitting dummy’s out at sky because they have content some want for free ( i.e without subscription) is just completely pointless. Freesat has to stand on its own two feet and do what it does best. Provide a basic channel package for those who choose it over the alternatives.Extra channels is always a bonus but I’m struggling to see what’s actually left in the free to air bag except Dave and quest. It’s possible freesat has reached its peak for viewers. We all know it was never going to rival freeview for lots of obvious reasons. As it’s original mandate was to plug the gap made by the unavailability of freeview in the first place it’s doing its job well enough. What more do you want ?

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  14. Dave Says:

    I would like to see Freesat offer UKTV Play and Amazon Video. I think they would make the interactive apps even better.

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  15. Al (Original) Says:

    Neil said: All of them? Every single channel including all BBC and ITV ones? I don’t for one minute think the Government has anything to do with it… more like Sky who want to be the gatekeepers of UK DTH Satellite broadcasting – they are the ones to blame!

    There’s pretty much nothing I’d ever watch on any BBC or ITV channel. I don’t want costume drama’s, cookery or lame soaps, I get news on the internet. Although I have watched the odd Master Chef when there’s nothing else on. Not so much by choice though.

    For me I’m more interested in the other channels, sometimes watch Family Guy (exception to ITV on ITV 2), Marvels Agents of Shield, Homeland, Used to watch the Walking Dead before Sky seemed to get it exclusively, same with True Blood. Watched Person of Interest, The 100 before it went downhill this season, Sons of Anarchy before it got dropped after the last FTA season got transferred off the main channel onto another without any advertising (any wonder the figures plummeted when no-one knew it was even on). The Shield used to be excellent and Southland was the best Cop Program I’ve ever seen, absolutely sublime. Realistic, gritty and action packed:

    (probably not work safe clip due to the action) All low quality clips unfortunately::

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLqYJ_26v7Y&t=1s

    A funny traffic stop one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RhPYu5BKx4

    ..and a real hard gritty action one (very not work safe) where they’re being filmed for a documentary and then end up on a call where a guy tries to bite through the officers neck:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQh3kvhrsjg

    That’s the kind of Cop program the BBC / ITV should be picking up in my opinion. Not all the PC rubbish that’s usual like Morse or The Bill.

    I like action and US programming (the latter used to be the worst and now it’s by far the best). UK and EU cops shows just leave me dead, too much softly softly. The rest of the programming is too British and boring.

    The BBC’s one attempt to be un-pc, Mrs. Brown’s Boys goes too far the other way with every other word the F-Word just for the sake of it, and could be just as funny without it. I don’t want to watch programs aimed at the lowest of the low either which is why I pass on Mrs. Browns even if funny in places.

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  16. Al (Original) Says:

    Neil said: All of them? Every single channel including all BBC and ITV ones? I don’t for one minute think the Government has anything to do with it… more like Sky who want to be the gatekeepers of UK DTH Satellite broadcasting – they are the ones to blame!

    I won’t comment on specific broadcasters for legal reasons beyond saying that I do think it’s unfair that pay providers can simply take shows off FTA tv leaving FTA customers out in the cold. I personally think if it’s been on FTA, it should have to remain available on FTA for ever, both with the current and future series, even if also picked up by pay tv. I also think that a percentage of the top most popular premium programming owned by pay tv providers say 25%, (Premier league excluded due to it’s expensive and exclusive nature), should be made available to choose by FTA providers for free, with them having the choice of the content (the BBC / ITV, 4, 5 could meet a few times a year and agree the programs they wanted to show, from the pay providers content lists), in order to stop a total monopoly by pay providers on the best content. That still leaves pay providers with enough reasons for people to subscribe – 75% exclusivity of the best programming and exclusive premier league sport, but gives FTA providers a usable 25% shared between the 4 big free providers (6% each approx) to at least ensure some decent shows on FTA.

    Ultimately many in the government probably subscribe to pay tv, hence at least part of the reason why I think they have little interest in seeing it perform well. If they did, in my opinion, we’d have minimum broadcast quality standards (bit rates and codecs), a ban on facial softening software, a minimum razor like sharpness standard, a scrapping of Freeview in favour of Freesat due to bandwidth restrictions (which would also pool funding resources), and probably 4K channels already.

    As it is, the BBC and Freesat in particular is underfunded in my opinion and constricted by tight rules on content.

    Anyone wanting to see real quality content, should get themselves a copy of the Lucy 4K Blu Ray and watch that on a HDR capable 4K tv set, The sharpness, detail and realism is mind blowing and like being in the room. Yes it’s Blu Ray and much higher bit rate. But I watched this on my 4K tv on Freesat at HD resolution and non HDR broadcast, and it was stunning even then. The sound track also matched the picture which all goes to show what can be broadcast and produced if the will is there.

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  17. Jacck Says:

    Al (Original) said: There’s pretty much nothing I’d ever watch on any BBC or ITV channel. I don’t want costume drama’s, cookery or lame soaps, I get news on the internet.Although I have watched the odd Master Chef when there’s nothing else on. Not so much by choice though.
    For me I’m more interested in the other channels, sometimes watch Family Guy (exception to ITV on ITV 2), Marvels Agents of Shield, Homeland, Used to watch the Walking Dead before Sky seemed to get it exclusively, same with True Blood. Watched Person of Interest, The 100 before it went downhill this season, Sons of Anarchy before it got dropped after the last FTA season got transferred off the main channel onto another without any advertising (any wonder the figures plummeted when no-one knew it was even on). The Shield used to be excellent and Southland was the best Cop Program I’ve ever seen, absolutely sublime. Realistic, gritty and action packed:
    (probably not work safe clip due to the action) All low quality clips unfortunately::
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLqYJ_26v7Y&t=1s
    A funny traffic stop one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RhPYu5BKx4
    ..and a real hard gritty action one (very not work safe) where they’re being filmed for a documentary and then end up on a call where a guy tries to bite through the officers neck:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQh3kvhrsjg
    That’s the kind of Cop program the BBC / ITV should be picking up in my opinion. Not all the PC rubbish that’s usual like Morse or The Bill.
    I like action and US programming (the latter used to be the worst and now it’s by far the best). UK and EU cops shows just leave me dead, too much softly softly. The rest of the programming is too British and boring.
    The BBC’s one attempt to be un-pc, Mrs. Brown’s Boys goes too far the other way with every other word the F-Word just for the sake of it, and could be just as funny without it. I don’t want to watch programs aimed at the lowest of the low either which is why I pass on Mrs. Browns even if funny in places.

    Agree about Southland, the best cop show I’ve ever seen ,was gutted when it was cancelled, especially with that cliffhanger. UK cop shows are tame,very pc and boring.

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  18. Jacck Says:

    Al (Original) said: I won’t comment on specific broadcasters for legal reasons beyond saying that I do think it’s unfair that pay providers can simply take shows off FTA tv leaving FTA customers out in the cold. I personally think if it’s been on FTA, it should have to remain available on FTA for ever, both with the current and future series, even if also picked up by pay tv. I also think that a percentage of the top most popular premium programming owned by pay tv providers say 25%, (Premier league excluded due to it’s expensive and exclusive nature), should be made available to choose by FTA providers for free, with them having the choice of the content (the BBC / ITV, 4, 5 could meet a few times a year and agree the programs they wanted to show, from the pay providers content lists), in order to stop a total monopoly by pay providers on the best content. That still leaves pay providers with enough reasons for people to subscribe – 75% exclusivity of the best programming and exclusive premier league sport, but gives FTA providers a usable 25% shared between the 4 big free providers (6% each approx) to at least ensure some decent shows on FTA.
    Ultimately many in the government probably subscribe to pay tv, hence at least part of the reason why I think they have little interest in seeing it perform well. If they did, in my opinion, we’d have minimum broadcast quality standards (bit rates and codecs),a ban on facial softening software, a minimum razor like sharpness standard, a scrapping of Freeview in favour of Freesat due to bandwidth restrictions (which would also pool funding resources), and probably 4K channels already.
    As it is, the BBC and Freesat in particular is underfunded in my opinion and constricted by tight rules on content.
    Anyone wanting to see real quality content, should get themselves a copy of the Lucy 4K Blu Ray and watch that on a HDR capable 4K tv set, The sharpness, detail and realism is mind blowing and like being in the room. Yes it’s Blu Ray and much higher bit rate. But I watched this on my 4K tv on Freesat at HD resolution and non HDR broadcast, and it was stunning even then. The sound track also matched the picture which all goes to show what can be broadcast and produced if the will is there.

    Wow, so pay TV providers,meaning there customers, should sub those who can’t afford pay TV . What a load of elitist crap. It’s just TV ,not life or death. When will some on here realise that TV is just a business and like all other businesses it’s profit that pays the Piper. TV is not a charity, it’s not about platform equality. If your business model was adopted then pay TV providers would hemorrhage customers like a hemophiliac with a razor cut. No government,not even a left wing labour one would attempt to ‘ nationalise’ part of the pay t v market. As for scrapping freeview in favour of freesat I can see your logic there. If the people don’t want freesat then let’s force them. Imagine the millions of oaps been told they have to have a dish and a new TV operating system to navigate when many struggle to understand what they already have with freeview. Not going to happen, ever. Freeview has at least another fifteen yrs of life in it. After that broadcast TV will probably be almost unrecognisable by even today’s standard. IPTV will almost certainly be the norm then for both pay and free TV.

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  19. Neil Says:

    Jacck said: Ok here we go again with the blame game! Sky are no more to blame than there customers. If it wasn’t sky it would be someone else. TV is a business driven by profit and nothing else. As long as someone is willing to pay a premium then nothing will change. Be grateful for what you get for zero pounds. Want more then open your wallet mate !

    If there were more than one pay provider and thus some healthy competition (with sumulcrypted services) as happens elsewhere in some European Countries, then Sky would have a run for their money. Yes, if I want subscription TV I should pay for it but for HD versions of ITV2/3/4/Be, E4/More4 and Film4 then, as we’re in 2017, these should be FTA if their SD versions are. I’m convinced they all would be now if only Sky weren’t bribing them with money to stay encrypted. If Sky didn’t subsidise them then whilst I agree these channels wouldn’t have launched until a few years back (as had Sky help pay for them initially) when they finally would have launched they’d have been FTA.

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  20. admin Says:

    Neil said: If there were more than one pay provider and thus some healthy competition (with sumulcrypted services) as happens elsewhere in some European Countries, then Sky would have a run for their money. Yes, if I want subscription TV I should pay for it but for HD versions of ITV2/3/4/Be, E4/More4 and Film4 then, as we’re in 2017, these should be FTA if their SD versions are. I’m convinced they all would be now if only Sky weren’t bribing them with money to stay encrypted. If Sky didn’t subsidise them then whilst I agree these channels wouldn’t have launched until a few years back (as had Sky help pay for them initially) when they finally would have launched they’d have been FTA.

    Agree with Neil here; existing deals with Sky are resulting in the encryption of certain HD channels, which otherwise would be available free to all.

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  21. Jacck Says:

    admin said: Agree with Neil here; existing deals with Sky are resulting in the encryption of certain HD channels, which otherwise would be available free to all.

    If that really is the case then why no 4seven of ch4+1 on freesat when sky don’t even have HD versions of those psb channels. Regardless of sky,I don’t think itv or ch4 have any intention of making all there HD channels FTA. If the arrangement with sky ended today those channels wouldn’t make it on to freeview due to lack of free bandwidth. Freesat is still to small to make it worth there while to go exclusive. Personally,without sky’s support I expect those broadcasters would simply withdraw them or arrange there own sub package on the pay TV market.

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  22. Paul. The other one. Says:

    In case anyone hasn’t noticed, Red Button 2, 3 and HD are now on the EPG for Glasonbury.

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  23. Rick. Says:

    It’s also rumoured that QUEST is coming maybe few months but coming is still good news……

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  24. RAM Says:

    Hi Rick. Where did you hear that it might be months?

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  25. Rick Says:

    RAM said:
    Hi Rick. Where did you hear that it might be months?

    It’s mentioned on another forum not sure if allowed to mention but DS lol. 😄

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  26. RAM Says:

    Ah grand. I follow that site too. Does anyone know how long it usually takes for a channel to go FTA/Freesat after moving to a spot beam tp? I realise this won’t always be the same but I find it a little unusual that it would be a few months. Quest has moved to a spotbeam tp a couple of weeks now.

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  27. Shane Says:

    Quest and Quest Red now testing Freesat EPG data. So it looks like early july for these 2 channels to join on 167 and 169 positions.

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  28. Shane Says:

    Update: quest and quest red are now FTA

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  29. Ian Says:

    Admin.
    Hope you class this as news 😄

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  30. admin Says:

    Ian said:
    Admin.
    Hope you class this as news 😄

    Yes once it reaches Freesat (officially) 😉

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  31. Jay Says:

    Good News at last Quest and Quest Red coming to Freesat
    http://www.a516digital.com/2017/06/satellite-update-free-to-air-move-for.html

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  32. Neil Says:

    It’s fantastic that Quest (and now Quest Red) are both going FTA and finally joining Freesat. The platform has been missing these channels and a lot of people have asked for them. It should keep the moaners happy for a while!

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  33. Ian Says:

    Neil said:
    It’s fantastic that Quest (and now Quest Red) are both going FTA and finally joining Freesat. The platform has been missing these channels and a lot of people have asked for them. It should keep the moaners happy for a while!

    Probably only about a week Neil

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  34. Ian Says:

    Quest and quest red +1s have gone FTA

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  35. Neil Says:

    Ian said: Probably only about a week Neil

    Yep… then the “Dave” ramblings will re-emerge!

    It is good news for the platform this is finally happening as closes the gap between DTT and DSAT further.

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  36. Freemz Says:

    I think with some UKTV channels in Freesat and now Quest/Quest Red coming to Freesat, soon after would be the time for Dave to join Freesat, if there is no indication soon after Queats launch then I’m sure it will not launch anytime soon.
    I personally think Dave is probably UKTV’s biggest asset out of all their channels but I could be wrong.

    Maybe they will see how Quest goes and then take it from there.

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  37. Neil Says:

    Freemz said:
    I think with some UKTV channels in Freesat and now Quest/Quest Red coming to Freesat, soon after would be the time for Dave to join Freesat, if there is no indication soon after Queats launch then I’m sure it will not launch anytime soon.
    I personally think Dave is probably UKTV’s biggest asset out of all their channels but I could be wrong.
    Maybe they will see how Quest goes and then take it from there.

    Quest is owned by Discovery, Dave is a UKTV channel. The addition of Quest won’t make any difference if and when Dave goes FTA. I believe it will but when is anyone’s guess!

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  38. Ronnie Says:

    Freesat coming to Quest and Quest Red is what Date on two channels?

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  39. Paul. The other one. Says:

    No date has been given. Channels are not normally pre-announced.

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  40. Paul. The other one. Says:

    Freesat punters who want to watch the Tour de France live in HD can do so every afternoon from 2pm on S4C HD, channel 120 – provided you don’t mind the commentary in Welsh.

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  41. Ronnie Says:

    Not very good big problems all time on Freesat is busy again don’t understand why?

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