Freesat’s the first TV platform to launch children’s On Demand player Hopster

Freesat is excited to announce the launch of Hopster on Freetime, its award-winning connected TV service. Hopster is Freesat’s first dedicated children’s On Demand player.

Freesat already has ten dedicated children’s TV channels, including CBBC, CBeebies and CITV. The new pay player, created for Freetime by Hopster, provides customers with additional choice as they can now top up their free offering with on demand children’s shows.

From today, Freetime users can access Hopster’s On Demand app for £3.99 a month ensuring access to even more children’s programming and allowing adults and children to enjoy a wide range of popular shows in a fun, safe and visually engaging environment. In addition, at launch Hopster is also offering Freetime viewers access to all its programming completely free of charge, with a special 30 day free trial for everyone who signs up in the first month from launch.

Freetime customers will have the option to top up with hundreds of episodes of On Demand children’s programming across a range of popular titles with new episodes coming onto the service every week. Some of Hopster’s most loved titles on Freetime at launch include Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom, Super WHY!, Babar and Paddington Bear.

Freetime’s expanded On Demand line-up now offers viewers a dedicated choice of film, news, sport and children’s entertainment as Hopster joins Curzon Home Cinema, BBC News and BBC Sport as well as the UK’s most popular catch up players BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD and Demand 5.

Emma Scott, Freesat’s Managing Director, said:

We are thrilled that Freetime is the first TV platform to launch Hopster. This is our first dedicated children’s On Demand player and shows just how committed we are to giving families the programmes they love, ready to watch when they are. We already offer families a great range of children’s telly and introducing Hopster provides even more choice, from classics like Bob the Builder to the much loved Angelina Ballerina.

Nick Walters, Hopster’s CEO, added:

Our mission is to make screen time better for kids – and the TV is still the number one screen in many family homes. Freesat provides an amazing experience to its customers through Freetime, and we’re really excited about adding to its stellar line-up with the Hopster app. Freetime families can now access all the best shows on-demand in a completely safe, ad-free environment – with a juicy launch trial offer to boot!

76 thoughts on “Freesat’s the first TV platform to launch children’s On Demand player Hopster”

  1. Admin,can I please make a few last comments?
    First,i understand that some people prefer freesat to freeview. What I don’t understand are some of the Elitist,commments made about freeview.
    If you have freesat and a freeview HD tv ,for example,whats the point of not using your freeview tvs tuner to watch those channels that are not available on freesat. Why would you watch ch4+1 in sd and not HD if you had the option to do so ,that is plain stupid and elitist.(post 41)
    Freesat was set up for those who couldn’t receive freeview after analogue switch of,not an alternative.Should you be able to receive both platforms and prefer freesat that’s fine,but the vast majority of joe public don’t.If you can receive both and have the equipment to use both then why not use both?.Are there really people who don’t watch uktv channels just becaude they are not on freesat even though they can watch them on there freeview tvs?Anyone care to comment on that ?

  2. david said:
    Admin,can I please make a few last comments?
    First,i understand that some people prefer freesat to freeview. What I don’t understand are some of the Elitist,commments made about freeview.
    If you have freesat and a freeview HD tv ,for example,whats the point of not using your freeview tvs tuner to watch those channels that are not available on freesat. Why would you watch ch4+1 in sd and not HD if you had the option to do so ,that is plain stupid and elitist.(post 41)
    Freesat was set up for those who couldn’t receive freeview after analogue switch of,not an alternative.Should you be able to receive both platforms and prefer freesat that’s fine,but the vast majority of joe public don’t.If you can receive both and have the equipment to use both then why not use both?.Are there really people who don’t watch uktv channels just becaude they are not on freesat even though they can watch them on there freeview tvs?Anyone care to comment on that ?

    Welcome to comment as much as you like, this is a debate, not an argument, so it’s fine 🙂

    Can’t you see the irony in what you say though? You talk of “elitists” yet there are more on here willing to slam Freesat, than there are doing the same about Freeview. Considering this is a Freesat website, where there should be a bias towards the platform (no different than a football team forum for example), the opinions are actually very much against the platform which I find odd.

    In terms of the rest, well yes, if the option of using both is available, why not, but I certainly wouldn’t go out of my way to pay for an aerial install just for certain channels, but it has nothing to do with not liking the platform, just isn’t a considered value in it for me.

    As for watching uktv, now that is just silly, why would anyone watch those trashy repeat channels 😉 (I hate them, but appreciate your point)

  3. Irrespective of what Freesat was set up to be, the fact is the platform quickly evolved into an alternative in it’s own right, with large numbers of people preferring the reliability of satellite transmission over terrestrial.

    david said: Thanks Lee,you did the right thing,Freesat is dying a slow painful death as youview gallops towards the finishing line freetime hasn’t even got past the first hurdle.

    The big issue with Freeview as I understand it, is a lot of it’s current channels are using bandwidth “borrowed” from 4G and this is going to be lost back to the mobile phone networks, circa 2018, resulting in the loss of many of the extra HD channels and SD channels it’s gained – around 40 or so channels I believe, unless in the meantime codec improvements are made that allow those extra channels to be contained within the previous bandwidth.

    Also, what is Freeview going to do with 4K / 8K when they launch, given that it’s got very little bandwidth to play with and all the extra bandwidth it gained last year is going to be lost circa 2018?

    I understand a 4K transmission takes more bandwidth than HD even with H265 (HEVC) encoding (which results in around a 50% bit reduction) – 4K is around 4 times Full HD in pixel content and 8K is around 4 times as large as 4K ie 16 times Full HD. So how is Freeview going to cope?

    Maybe people on sat aren’t so stupid after all.

    Yes there is talk of internet transmission for 4K / 8K but personally I think this should be resisted for 2 reasons:

    1. If you internet goes down, so does your tv, leaving you with no entertainment

    2. It shifts the cost effectively to a pay tv service as you’re almost certain going to need a fibre service to receive 4k / 8k because of the transmission rates. So, if you can’t afford fibre or a broadband / telephone service, then you’re going to have no tv!

  4. Al,i never accused people on sat of been stupid. Barbed comments about DTT by many who use this forum suggests the opposite.
    Will DTT carry 4K? we don’t know, as u say improvement’s in codecs may make that possible,maybe not.Even sky are hanging back on 4K due to the cost of broadcasting.4K on freesat for free?,i don’t think so.4K will probably be internet/streamed/subscription only. As for not watching via broadband in case your internet goes down is no different to saying don’t watch sat in case of heavy rain and you lose your picture altogether. Had that much more often than my broadband going down.
    You may wish to head over to Ofcom and read there recent report in to the future of DTT. You will see that they consider DTT to remain the bedrock of free tv until at least 2030, which is the earliest date for which switching from DTT to IPTV is seen as practical.,Freesat is seen as only a stopgap, not a replacement as technology improves and we march towards all tv been delivered by the internet. It may not suit you and many others but it will happen within the next 20 years and until that day comes DTT will be as popular as it is now.

  5. Al (Original) said:
    Irrespective of what Freesat was set up to be, the fact is the platform quickly evolved into an alternative in it’s own right, with large numbers of people preferring the reliability of satellite transmission over terrestrial.The big issue with Freeview as I understand it, is a lot of it’s current channels are using bandwidth “borrowed” from 4G and this is going to be lost back to the mobile phone networks, circa 2018, resulting inthe loss of many of the extra HD channels and SD channels it’s gained – around 40 or so channels I believe, unless in the meantime codec improvements are made that allow those extra channels to be contained within the previous bandwidth.
    Also, what is Freeview going to do with 4K / 8K when they launch, given that it’s got very little bandwidth to play with and all the extra bandwidth it gained last year is going to be lost circa 2018?
    I understand a 4K transmission takes more bandwidth than HD even with H265 (HEVC) encoding (which results in around a 50% bit reduction) – 4K is around 4 times Full HD in pixel content and 8K is around 4 times as large as 4K ie 16 times Full HD. So how is Freeview going to cope?
    Maybe people on sat aren’t so stupid after all.
    Yes there is talk of internet transmission for 4K / 8K but personally I think this should be resisted for 2 reasons:
    1. If you internet goes down, so does your tv, leaving you with no entertainment
    2. It shifts the cost effectively to a pay tv service as you’re almost certain going to need a fibre service to receive 4k / 8k because of the transmission rates. So, if you can’t afford fibre or a broadband / telephone service, then you’re going to have no tv!

    It works both ways though. Even if 4K transmissions are made available for free by certain channels (its not even 4K, but I wont go into that), are people without a satellite dish willing to purchase new equipment just to make this transition?

  6. I like the better PQ from Freesat and have just had a new dish fitted and bought a new Manhattan recorder. It is unfortunate that no progress has been made this year with additional HD channels as I consider this is the only way to move people from pay TV to Freesat. Everything else is moving to the internet.

  7. Hi Keith, I am currently using the Freeview system but have also used Freesat, I have seen a few posters stating the Freesat PQ is superior. However after using both systems I cannot see any difference in PQ between the two systems at all, maybe I am in a good Freeview signal area (Pontop Pike transmitter). Also I have to add I purchased a Manhattan HD pvr & had nothing but trouble with it & sent it back.

  8. My Panny G20 has a Freesat tuner but I bought the Manhattan to also record in HD. I had to have a new dish and second cable to achieve this and so far so good. The other reason I upgraded is because I have bought an Optoma HD141 projector and needed to have the best signal possible. I now use the projector more than the Panny for TV and films. The best £500 I have spent.

  9. I see Sainsbury’s are now promoting their own “On Demand” service, which is available on a few different platforms. I’ve just emailed them to ask if they’ll put it on Freetime. If you’ve got a spare minute drop them an email too 🙂

    https://movies.sainsburysentertainment.co.uk/

    I also dropped Blinkbox an email. If one of them bites it might encourage others.

  10. Al (Original) said:
    Irrespective of what Freesat was set up to be, the fact is the platform quickly evolved into an alternative in it’s own right, with large numbers of people preferring the reliability of satellite transmission over terrestrial.The big issue with Freeview as I understand it, is a lot of it’s current channels are using bandwidth “borrowed” from 4G and this is going to be lost back to the mobile phone networks, circa 2018, resulting inthe loss of many of the extra HD channels and SD channels it’s gained – around 40 or so channels I believe, unless in the meantime codec improvements are made that allow those extra channels to be contained within the previous bandwidth.
    Also, what is Freeview going to do with 4K / 8K when they launch, given that it’s got very little bandwidth to play with and all the extra bandwidth it gained last year is going to be lost circa 2018?

    Freeview has not borrowed frequencies from 4G at all. Freeview is using frequencies assigned to TV on UHF since the 1960s. 4G has taken the top of that frequency band. The mobile phone operators now want the 700 MHz TV band for what Ofcom has referred to as 5G services from next decade.
    4K test transmissions took place during the summer via Freeview and IPTV using HEVC on Freeview HD. It is however more likely that 4K transmissions will be delivered via internet & satellite. DVB-T2/HEVC is being deployed in Germany where they hope to deliver 7 HD channels per multiplex – currently German DTT mostly delivers 4 SD channels per multiplex. In the UK, the newer technologies will ensure that the current selection of Freeview channels will continue to be available to most viewers, but using DVB-T2.
    Freesat obviously offers a great alternative, but I do hope that some broadcasters who have their satellite signal migrated from Eutelsat 28A/Astra 2A next year to Astra 2G do take up the option to switch to UK spot and go FTA once any current agreements with Sky expire. (Unlike Eutelsat 28A/Astra 2A, Astra 2G has the option between the two beams, the Europe beam on 2G only just covers the top corner of the UK and Ireland!)

  11. For the more successful pay online services isn’t it the responsibility of the equipment manufactures to gain access to them and pay licensing fees?

    They don’t tend to be available on base models, and only available from major manufactures!

  12. Mike said:
    Freesat obviously offers a great alternative, but I do hope that some broadcasters who have their satellite signal migrated from Eutelsat 28A/Astra 2A next year to Astra 2G do take up the option to switch to UK spot and go FTA once any current agreements with Sky expire.

    Which channels?

  13. I am happy for those viewers who have found other satisfying TV options elsewhere although I do question their need to continually slag off Freesat on this site.

    Freesat is a godsend for people in remote and Freeview-lite areas and it still offers more viewing choice overall than Freeview. It is also the UK’s fourth most popular TV platform after Virgin Media so it’s not doing at all badly.

    Nevertheless, there should be no room for complacency and the current Freesat management team should be out there proactively trying to recruit both new linear channels and extra Freetime options such as Netflix or Blinkbox.

  14. Freeview will move to the 600MHz band whilst increasing bandwidth by using and developing new compression technology.

  15. Lee S said:
    Freeview will move to the 600MHz band whilst increasing bandwidth by using and developing new compression technology.

    Will require new TV or STB.

  16. Just noticed that ITV player has now appeared in on demand on my HDR-1000s. I use a borders postcode so I can get BBC Sc HD and ITV HD but never had ITV player until now. Unfortunately it just bombs out when you launch it.

    Perhaps an unintended side effect of the new firmware but could also suggest that borders are about to get an ITV player of some description.

  17. People living in Scotland are being short changed by STV/ITV on Freesat as far as catch up is concerned yet both STV and ITV players are on YouView.

  18. DaveW I believe it is a mistake. Border Scotland has never had ITV player on freesat due to postcode issues. They could have worked on it.
    Richard it is up to STV if they want to launch their service on freesat. on youview they were one of the first partners, they are not a freesat partner. although more people do use satellite in Scotland, due to reception, so perhaps short-sighted. last time I spoke to them (high up), the numbers did not add up. But that could have changed.
    on sky, they pay itv to provide their player across the uk. STV could do this, perhaps.

  19. JamesB, STV do not provide ITV 2,3 and 4 (there is no STV equivalent) so why can’t we have ITV player for those channels in Scotland on Freesat like on YV? ITV’s excuses don’t seem to hold water and it’s driving people to other providers. Can’t believe they have shares in Freesat.

  20. JamesB said:
    last time I spoke to them (high up), the numbers did not add up. But that could have changed.

    Interesting, but what numbers have to add up? Would STV have to pay Freesat an ongoing fee and therefore make that back from increased ad revenue?

  21. Dear Admin with Time Ticking and Christmas less than a month away I’m asking if you’ll join me in encouraging anyone new to the platform to take action if they want to be ready for the biggest tv festival of this year remember installers of satellite dishes will shortly stop taking orders for this side of Christmas assuming that they don’t already have a satellite dish.

  22. Dave said:
    Hi I’ve found usually this time of year freesat suprise us with something!!!

    I think the best you could hope for is ITV Be+1! The days of mass channel additions seem to be over as pretty much every channel wanting to be on the platform is on it.

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