Freesat Sales Pass 750,000

Freesat has announced that sales have passed 750,000 units since the service launched in May 2008, and the targeted one million mark could be hit during early 2010.

At the iPlayer conference yesterday, Emma Scott, Managing Director of Freesat, confirmed that the company sold over 200,000 units in the three months up to the end of September. These results surpass Sky’s reported 94,000 new subscribers for the same period, making Freesat the fastest growing TV platform in the UK.

Emma Scott said that 80% of Freesat sales are for high definition equipment, half of which are receivers manufactured by Humax; whilst surprisingly only 20% have PVR functionality.

83 thoughts on “Freesat Sales Pass 750,000”

  1. derek: so there is no way I can see C4 HD with new equipment, only 2nd hand? How much does it cost for a sky HD box and a viewing card?

  2. @Lee b

    What evidence do you have for saying the BBC reduced their bitrate to make way for ITV1 HD? I think ITV HD will continue as a red button service on Freesat but with more programmes when their Freeview HD ITV 1 similcast begins in December.
    I think the BBC reduced their bitrate because they could no other reason.

  3. I must admit,I think Derek’s continued trolling of these threads is actually putting people off reading them now.

    Free speech is one thing, but I can’t understand why admin allows one disruptive person like that to dominate threads and constantly promote sky here.

  4. Looking at my posting no 45 I realise I should have written that C4 is not FTA. How much is a second hand Sky HD box? I doubt that it would be worth shelling out £20 plus just for one HD channel which could turn up on Freesat next year. Channel 4 upscaled looks pretty good on my current TV.

  5. @derek500.

    No problem with my eyesight matey. All my family think the picture quality via our TechniSat box is better that the crappy Sky box we were using up to a couple of months ago.

    Suggest you get back to your SKY forum!

  6. I just wonder how many of these 750,000 units have got trashed by the appalling mishandling of OTA updates.
    Just remember, the number of people who read this site and have found help/comfort/information/advice here is a tiny proportion of the customer base for the various units.
    The average member of the public who bought a unit that has now failed have had little or no widely available public information about why their box is sitting there no longer working correctly, or not working at all.
    Those whose boxes were in warranty and who contacted their retailer might well have been faced with the problem that the retailers had no official information about what had happened for far too long, and frequently denied that there was a common problem across the country.
    And sadly, those whose boxes were out of warranty may well have assumed that there was nothing they could do about its inexplicable breakdown, and either gone (back) to Sky, or bought another box.
    The powers that be at Freesat have little reason to crow about the success of their enterprise. Yes, I know Freesat is not responsible for manufacturers’ failings, but Freesat does not exist in isolation – it is entirely dependent on the boxes which deliver its product, and should have brought immediate pressure to bear on the manufacturers to make public statements in the press and on TV/radio about the nature and scale of this debacle as soon as it happened so that everyone, not just those who visit helpful websites, could get their product working again at no cost to themselves.
    Instead of this, the whole affair has been a sad tale of evasion and incompetence and reflects the total lack of care these companies have for the customer.

  7. @ 53 Where have I been disruptive?

    @ 55 Less than £100. I’ve been saying for nearly two years now that C4 HD is a long way off coming on to Freesat. I’ve been proved right, but that seems to make me a pro-Sky-Freesat hater that I’m not.

    It’s all down to economics. FTA HD channels don’t gain anything by going HD. They still get the same number of viewers, watching the same programmes. But it costs a load more to broadcast them.

    With E4 HD now testing on Sky and no doubt C5 HD going down the Sky route, a second hand Sky HD box and viewing card is IMO a good investment, if you want to increase your free HD viewing and who doesn’t?

  8. You know exactly how you have been disruptive.

    Derek, you may have been proved right about 4HD but you certainly weren’t right about ITV HD when you said, on the million forums you post on, that ITV HD would not be freesat exclusive at launch.

    To claim that you are not anti-freesat is just bizarre. That is what you do on every forum. And now it seems you subscribe to sky from spain???

    There are posts of yours on digital spy which show exactly your agenda. Posts like “Freesat users are the type of people to get excited about piss poor movie channels like movies4men”.

    Do you deny you say these things?

  9. I have found the specific post Derek, here is what you said about freesat users:

    “Considering Freesat customers are the sort of people who get excited over p**s poor 4:3 movie channels like True Movies, Zone Horror etc. I would think, cropped to 16:9 would be par for the course.

    How was Wimbledon shown on ITV HD? Sky Movies showed the 2.35:1 version.”

    See? Criticising freesat and its customers AND bigging up sky in the same post on the digital spy FREESAT forum.

    Why do you do it Derek? Genuine question.

  10. OK, but that was more a dig at the cheapo FTA channels (that are of course available on Freesat and Sky) and the showing of films in the wrong aspect ratio and at a very low bitrate. I’m surprised that anybody would want to watch such poor quality TV, whether through Sky or Freesat.

    That’s my only agenda. I want quality and now BBC HD has gone AWOL the only way to get it is by paying.


  11. How exactly do you pay for such quality when you are in spain????

    BBC HD hasd not gone AWOL. The picture quality is only marginally worse than it was. Still looks great on my TV.

    ITV HD certainly hasn’t gone AWOL, it is about to drastically increase it’s output and already gives top quality football coverage of at least 40 matches per year as well as the world cup next year. All FREE.

    Freesat is a great option, it gives free HD from the BBC and ITV, and the world cup alone will justify the cost for many people, and it allows free satellite users to record free from a good epg, aswell as giving people the option of adding non epg channels.

    The figures speak for themselves derek, freesat is the fastest growing platform in the UK.

    I am sure you will try and tell me that the 200,000 buyers in 3 months were just getting it for a second room, but you will, as always, sound a little bit silly.

  12. @derek500 are you paid by sky? I can’t believe anyone would spend the hours you do bigging up sky and negative about freesat on the various freesat forums.
    You also have access to lots of sky sales data and seem always prepared to argue the sales numbers. You even argue the wording the news papers use to describe sales, seems very suspect to lots of people.

  13. @ Derek post 58.

    I cannot see value for money paying out approx £100 just to get C4, E4 and Five in HD when I can already watch those channels in SD (albeit scaled up). I note that Five having a HD channel soon is just an assumption on your part.

    I also question your logic about the channel not wishing to output HD on Freesat due to cost. Surely it costs as much to show HD content on the Sky platform? At the moment TV channels are desperate to retain viewers. HD is a very useful marketing tool to retain and increase viewers, otherwise Sky would not be plugging HD so much in TV ads.

  14. @ Kevin Ver1 C4 HD and the forthcoming E4 HD are broadcast by Sky, who no doubt make it financially attractive.

    If they move to 2d they will have to foot the bill themselves.

  15. @ derek500

    E4 HD is not broadcast by Sky at present. However if your assumption that Sky is making it financially attractive to C4 for C4 HD not to move to Freesat then I believe that Sky is guilty of an abuse of power.

  16. @AndrewM

    That Ofcom document is interesting and makes it clear that Five HD is not a certainty. Five have said that their service will be limited to the evenings and also dependent on finding a partner for the mornings. the three main commercial companies have financial problems at the moment. It looks as though if Five HD was to launch on Freeview it will have very limited HD content. Transmiting HD on freeview is quite expensive and so Five might choose to go with satellite only. On satellite I think Five HD might make it a pay tv channel if they go on satellite at all.

  17. @Lee B

    The red button service is not secure. Sky boxes with the new EPG can receive ITV HD and so is not a long term solution. Also ITV HD will become an upscalled version of ITV 1 and so the red button would be more difficult to manage. My guess is that the BBC will sublet part of their transponder to ITV. ITV is reducing the number of regions they have which could free up space. Also if ITV2, 3 and 4 go to pay tv these could be transfered off 2D.

  18. @66 It’s free market, they can do what they want. It’s pretty obvious that C4 and now E4 (currently testing) found it more advantageous to let Sky handle their HD transmissions, rather than rent their own transponder as they do for their SD channels. And of course they can’t move to Freesat even if they wanted to as there’s no room on 2d. But as they’re already in the vast majority of HD enabled homes I don’t suppose it’s top of their spending list.

    The BBC handle C5’s FTA channel on 2d, is that an abuse of power? I’m sure it’s more financially advantageous to let the BBC do it for them than by doing it themselves.

  19. Sky offer an option to these broadcasters that is very tempting, as cash incentives at a time when broadcasters are struggling is very attractive. The problem is however that space on 2D is limited because Sky hold many of the slots for their encrypted channels that don’t need to be there, but ofcom don’t seem interested in forcing them to move; presumably because they have no legal right to ask them too, or no pressure is coming from the FTA broadcasters.

  20. Bit monopolistic of Sky to have a stranglehold on Astra 2d and also “hack” into the freesat exclusive ITVHD, thus meaning the red button service is no longer secure. Maybe the BBC and ITV should extend the spec for freesat HD boxes to use the lan port to access some sort of encrytion or location check, thus solving rights holder issues and blocking Sky boxes from “hacking” the service.

  21. @ 74 The ‘red button’ ITV HD hasn’t been secure, as you put it, since it launched. Way before Sky released the new EPG, generic FTA boxes were able to pick it up,

    It’s never, ever been a ‘Freesat Exclusive’!!!

  22. if I were Freesat I would be careful about flaunting their success. Sky are actively criticising the BBC at the moment. I would hazard a guess that they envy the Beebs position re the coffers of licence fee.

    Does anybody remember the demise of the OnDigital set top box system. The viewing card codes issued every month were leaked by a software house. As a result their income all but drained away and they went bust.

    Anyway in the meantime I wish Harvard would get their act together and sort out my Bush freesat box update

  23. The sooner ITV ditch the red button, the better it will be for users. It is clumsy and an irritant as it takes time to switch over and switches back before the credits have finished.

    Getting back to the stanglehold that Sky has on Astra 2D, I think the main reason Ofcom do not challange Sky is because News International is so powerful none of the political parties have the guts to do anything that might lose the support the Murdoch family.

  24. @ardy I remember the fuss over the ondigital boxes. Didn’t they put it down to industrial sabotage? Surely you’re not suggesting that your freesat box has been nobbled by the opposition?

  25. Kevin Ver1
    On what basis could they challenge Sky. They were on 2D before Freesat.
    ITV have made it clear today that the red button will continue even though there is a standalone ITV HD on Freeview from today in London and the North West.
    However there are no boxes available yet so no one can watch it.

  26. The point is that Ofcom is a government agency and should in theory be neutral in its dealings with the media, however I would suspect that their political masters make it plain that News International should be treated with kid gloves in case Murdoch uses his considerable influence to discredit the Government.

    There are signs that the Government is starting to take a harder line against Sky by insisting that Test Cricket should be on FTA terestrial TV, however it is too little too late as there will be a change of Gov’t next year and Cameron will have favours to return.

  27. It remains to be seen if there will be a change of government next year.There could be a hung parliament with Labour still in power until there is a vote of no confidence.

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