ITV Turn Their Back On Freesat?

With the announcement made today that ITV intend on launching their ITV2, 3 and 4 high-definition service on Sky only, you’ve got to question how much involvement ITV really have, or want, in this Freesat joint venture agreement with BBC.

Many of you will be aware that ITV have been close to financial ruin in recent years, with a £105mil loss last year alone, so you can excuse them a little for wanting to take the option which will see the biggest return, but judging by the number of emails we’ve received today, this is seen as a clear sign that ITV are turning their back on free-to-air (FTA) satellite television and as such, their own joint venture platform.

ITV have said that whilst they plan to offer ITV2 HD, ITV3 HD and ITV4 HD as part of Sky’s HD pack (£10 per month on top of £18-£48 per month), their standard-definition versions will continue to be available FTA, along with ITV1 (SD) and ITV1 HD.

If you’ve not read the full story, it is availale on the BBC News website here.

What are your thoughts on the news, do you see this as a kick in the teeth for Freesat, or that ITV’s programming is so poor in terms of content and quality that this makes no difference to you other than the obvious additional exposure for Freesat. One things for sure, the team at Freesat are no doubt unhappy with this announcement!

On better news (depending how you look at it), ITV do intend on launching ITV1+1 at the beginning of 2011, and this should be FTA.

246 thoughts on “ITV Turn Their Back On Freesat?”

  1. @ Bigal 199

    I know of many people in the past getting this sort of treatment. I do believe however that things have got alot better with them now , but the point I was actually getting at that football in them days seemed to mean something to the players. It doesnt anymore , Putting more money into the game by the way of subscriptions has been a disaster … trying to keep up with european jones’s springs to mind. Players are now over paid and play worse than school kids!
    No commitment , what happened to likes of stuart pearce for example? Do you ever see a player now with so much enthusiasam now , I think not .

    Give them less money and make them want to win again !
    The only way to do this is get the whole football league back on terrestrial tv !

  2. Ofcom should release extra bandwith on digital terrestrial. This would allow both BBC3 & BBC4 to become 24/7 channels. Daytime programmes will be able to carry both UK and WORLD sports on BBC3 and Open University on BBC4.

    The evening slots of the children’s channels could carry BBC drama & films and joint productions with world producers.

  3. @ 202 Tony

    Sorry Tony I seem to have missed the point of your original post.

    I do agree with you though. I would give players a basic wage and a bonus for winning a match, That might do the trick.

  4. Loads of people on this forum slag off ITV 3 and 4, but yesterday I watched an episode of the Prisoner which despite made in the 60’s had very high production values and a brilliant script. I also watched an episode of the Sweeney which again I thought was excellent. Both these series were made on film and the Prisoner has already been remastered for HD.

    I know that I frequently watch programmes on ITV 3 and 4 but I cannot recall watching ITV 2. Maybe it it because most of ITV 2 seems to X Factor which I cannot stand.

  5. @206 Kevin ,
    I have to agree with you , I watched an old benidorm last night on ITV4 and laughed my socks off . As mentioned in one of my other posts , it seems programming on ITV3/4 is getting better by the week , Tarrant on tv was good to see again too !

    I don’t mind watching repeats if there pretty good.
    Well done ITV for the work your doing on these channels even if we don’t agree with what your’e doing with SKY .

    Keep up the good work.

    For the record , my sd versions of these channels through my panasonic tv (sat reciever) is very good. Not too bothered about them in HD after all. I must say the quality does vary a bit with freeview though .

  6. @ Tony 207

    Yep, I watched Tarrant on TV as well 🙂 . Strange coincidence I also own a Panasonic TV and the picture quality via Freesat is excellent.

  7. @ Jack..
    I was feeling pretty down last week about the ITV channels but look on the bright side .. things can only get better.. Freesat now has the band width where freeview doesn’t right now.. So Freesat will always have the edge when HD becomes the norm…

  8. I think OFCOM should look at this situation.

    I think we have got to look at Freesat as it was originally intended, to ensure that the people who live in a Freeview black spot can still receive the main free channels without having to pay Sky or Virgin Media. We then need to decide what these main channels are. I would suggest that the channels currently availible on analogue would be classed as these main channels, BBC1, BBC2, ITV1, CH4 and CH5.

    Then I think we should ask what I asked in my comment @196, do the people in a Freeview black spot not have the right to be able to receive the main HD channels too, without having to subscribe to Sky or Virgin Media? Tony @197 said It depends on how you define main HD channels. Well if we agree that the above mentioned channels are the main SD channels then I would say it would be fair to say the HD variants of these channels, BBC HD, ITV1 HD, CH4 HD and CH5 HD would be classed as the main HD channels and if in the future the BBC do a dedicated BBC1 HD & BBC2 HD channels then these too. If you would class ITV2, ITV3 and ITV 4 channels as main channels even though they are not availible on analouge, but because they are ITV channels then that would be a matter of opinion.

    I honestly think that OFCOM should step in here and stop SKY from hijacking the whole system and in effect stopping Freesat from offering the people in Freeview black spot areas a decent choice of HD content.

  9. There is no such thing as Free Tv in the UK……….
    You need a valid TV Licence if you use TV receiving equipment to watch or record television programmes as they’re being shown on TV. ‘TV receiving equipment’ means any equipment which is used to watch or record television programmes as they’re being shown on TV. This includes a TV, computer, mobile phone, games console, digital box, DVD/VHS recorder or any other device at a fixed address or mobile home…
    Sky subscribers pay twice, licence Fee plus Sky fee

  10. That was aimed a@ 211 Paul..
    Youre so right !

    @ 212 Paul ,
    Its up to SKY viewers if they want to pay a subscribtion….It’s their choice..

  11. @212 Paul

    Yes you are right we do have to pay a licence fee, that has always been the case going way back to black and white and when there was nothing else but the BBC. It also always used top cover your radios too and it is where the BBC gets its revenue from and it is why the BBC has never been allowed to sell advertising space nor offer sponsership of programs.

    Even though you have to have a TV licence, even if you were only using your TV as a PC monitor, the channels I mentioned are classed as free channels because you do not need to subscribe to watch them, they are not pay per view they are among what is called free to view channels and are classed as the main ones because they are availible via analogue terrestrial TV.

    @214 Tony

    Yes you are so right Sky viewers pay a subscription by choice and it is always what has annoyed me with Sky. Sky charge you the subscription yet they also get revenue by selling advertising space on their own channels, Sky News, Sky Sports 1 & 2, Sky 1, Sky 2 etc.

  12. @ 181/184 Kevin Ver1
    Thank you for your correct understanding.
    10m (your figure) is an awful lot of people to continue paying if they DON’T
    think they are getting value for money.

    @ 180 Chrislayeruk
    Your concern was well meant and thanks.
    Talk to an MP – now there’s a thought.

    @ 196/211 Russ
    All Sky Boxes work without a subscription card, albeit reducing the number of channels to what is fondly referred to as free channels
    (Quick check more than 240)
    Think there’s more if you purchase the £20 card, a one off payment for Sky.

    My HD Box with card removed, as expected, the record/replay function is not available. It does however, retain BBC HD (Channel 140), Luxe TV HD (Channel 273) and although not on (Channel 178) the normal channel for ITV 1 HD the HD can be seen via the add channel function (latest EPG required) which comes up with channel number 10510
    (details: frequency 11.427 – V – 27.5 – 2/3)

    These boxes (without subscription) provide more (free !) TV channels than Freesat does and I suspect ever will. As for Radio – Freesat lists 37 (recently added Smooth – 38 ?) this falls short of the more than 70 Radio channels any Sky Box (without subscription) will give you.

    @183 Tony
    Yep the good ole days ! mixed feelings about that.
    I’m a back street kid who has been lucky enough to work all his life. And like yourself have seen a few changes, but for something that has it’s origin in a wireless fee of 50p (equivalent in today’s money) and grown to £3.5 BILLION each year, demanded from 98% of households using an archaic law, producing 100.000’s of prosecutions each year (majority women) all for the BBC gravy train. Their luxury spending knows no boundaries – 100’s of executives – Director General £838.000 renumeration package,
    North’s Director £193.000 for five months in post,
    Taxi £638.73 and the expense accounts…….. (fed up of the figures)

    The last time anyone brave enough to rattle the Government/BBC cage must have pricked somebody’s conscience, because what followed. A couple of concessions. (75 years or over – you may be eligible for a free TV Licence). But the biscuit of all biscuit’s – you may qualify for a 50% concession if your BLIND. Say that again ! you may be eligible for a half price TV Licence if your blind).

  13. Freesat ITV. Cheat on the public at your cost.
    The novelty of HD with so many low quatlity plus repeat programes will not work.

  14. @217 Dave Leek,

    Yes I know my sister and brother-in-law have had that for about 5 years or more, and it is what Sky decided to call Freesat from Sky when Freesat was first launched. The reasons I opted for a Humax Freesat box was because I wanted a PVR which I could use as a PVR without having to pay Sky £120.00 a year to be able to record programs plus I preferred the proper Freesat EPG as opposed to the Sky EPG which includes all the channels you can only watch with a subscription.

    This thread was originally about ITV’s announcement that it’s HD versions of ITV2,ITV3 and ITV4 will only be available as pay per view on Sky and it has gone slightly off topic and started talking about the HD content on Freesat in general. Normally when we talk about the HD content (or lack of it) on Freesat some people come to Freesat’s defence by saying Freesat was only ever intended as a free platform to ensure that people in a Freeview black spot can receive the main free channels after the digital switch over is completed and it is fulfilling that obligation. The point I was making is, do people who can’t get Freeview have the right to a fair choice of free to view HD channels as those who can get Freeview do? If the answer is yes then in my opinion Freesat has to take the responsibility to ensure they do have that choice and in my opinion those HD channels should be the HD versions of the channels available on analogue terrestrial TV, BBC HD, ITV1 HD, CH4 HD and CH5 HD.

    Now we have had with CH4 HD that it is coming to Freesat, then it isn’t because there is not enough room on Astra 2D. Then it’s coming to Freesat and then it’s not because there is not the room on Astra 2D and we have people saying that is BS there is plenty of room on Astra 2D it is Sky paying CH4 to stay encrypted.

    OK let’s say it is true there is not enough room on Astra 2D for CH4 HD and CH5 HD as they are now saying the same thing. The problem could easily be solved by Freesat working with Sky and Sky making available at a one of charge, a CAM and viewing card for Freesat users to plug into their box so as they can receive the scrambled free to view channels including the HD ones. Or they could come to an agreement that the makers of Freesat boxes such as Humax could make a Sky compatible CAM under licence. As a certain animal in a certain advert says, “Sinples.” That is not likely to happen because the more HD content there is available on Freesat the more attractive it will be and Sky won’t want that. That is why I say it is time that OFCOM stepped in and sorted it out before it is too late.

  15. @ 217 Dave Leek

    If you have a decent Freesat box like the Humax etc you can perform a Manual Tune and then switch between Fresat and Non Freesat mode.

    All the channels and Radio stations are then available So The Dirty Diggers Sky Box is not giving people anything extra.

  16. I have Virgin HD , Sky HD
    and FreesatHD I use a Humax box and I like the ease of Control
    BBC1HD will be good meaning BBCHD original channel
    can start showing Films more.

    Ch5HD is on Virgin and Sky
    but only with some in HD so far.

    I use all three systems on many TV’s

  17. @ Dave Leek 217

    No such thing as a one off payment with Sky. I paid £16 a few years ago, was asked recently for £20 keep my free channels.

  18. @219 Russ
    Freesat as I understand it was launched to complement Freeview so that, as a consequence of the DSO, everyone, well almost everyone would have an option to continue receiving SD TV. That achieved the obligation has been met.

    HD on a free platform is surely a bonus. Something which may or may not influence the decision (if you have one) which digital direction you adopt.

  19. @ 222 ASK
    Sorry poor choice of words.
    Payment (oops ! now £25) lasts for duration of issue. (2 – 3 years) although
    the predecessor (Blue) of the current White card was much longer. I saw it reported the hackers in 2003 caused one of the changes.

  20. Roll on next year when the Digital Switchover comes in, and I can get Freeview.
    I thought Freesat was a deal between ITV & BBC. The Beeb are doing okay, but as for ITV,Rubbish! I certainly won’t be paying for ITV.

    Oh, What happened to ITV Iplayer on Freesat?

  21. Personally i see that freesat will go the same road as OnDigital, in other words it has no future.
    Its channel lineup is poor to say the least, channels available on Freeview still not on Freesat.
    HD well, two channels is that the best they can do and whats the point of simulcast stations, if its going to be HD have something different give the viewers something to watch other than the same old rubbish.
    As for ITV2/3/4 HD they can shove it. I notice that ITV2/3/4 are showing a few more films lately, just a ploy to get the paid subscribers to part with money, then switch back to the old s**t.
    For me i’ll pay the £20 fee to FreesatFromSky, at least i’ll get the xtra channels which should be on the Freesat lineup.

  22. just so i no whats the cheapest it costs to get ch4 & ch 5 hd on sky
    dont have sky at moment. and would not want any other channels either

  23. @Terence

    All you need is a Sky HD Box, you can pick a cheap one up on Ebay then get a FreeSatFromSky card at a cost of £20.

  24. @226 SKYDOER
    Freesat has a very bright future ! It has a far better platform than freeview , due to lack of bandwith freeview won’t be able to expand much more until more space becomes available.
    As for SKY , its totally in a different position to Freesat. SKY will always have the better choice of channels., but’s its up to the viewer if they want to part with their hard earned cash.
    When HD channels become the norm which they will eventually Freesat will have more room to take them up (not like freeview).
    SKY will always have the edge but if you want a good variety at no cost then Freesat is a very good alternative . As for ITV 2/3/4 the SD picture quality is pretty good on the Freesat platform so it’s not such great loss missing out on them in HD.
    As for freesat from SKY there isnt a great deal of difference , maybe a few extra music & shopping channels but that’s about it and if you have a decent freesat box you can do a manual scan and tune most of these in anyway !

  25. @ SkyDoer – You don’t seem to be able to grasp that Freesat was setup so that people that won’t ever be able to receive Freeview will still have access to the PSB channels, which are the BBC channels, ITV (only ITV1) and Channel 4 which are all available on Freesat. That is all it was setup for and it provides.

    Anyone thinking that all of a sudden loads of free HD channels are going to be show are mistaken. HD channels are more expensive to run, but don’t get any extra advertising revenue which is why they stay on Sky where they get extra money from subscriptions.

    In years to come Freesat may come into its own as channels start moving to being HD only when people start expecting a channel to be HD rather than as an add on to an existing channel as Freesat will have the extra bandwidth for this which Freeview will never have.

    But at the moment Freesat soes what it does and in my opinion it does it well and I am very happy with it and have no complaints.

  26. @186 Roger, if you can’t see a difference between SD and HD then you either have bad eyesight or a very small tv. On a 42″ (now the most popular size) the difference is very visible on most programmes. On 50″ or above, which are increasing in popularity even more so. The main thing you notice about HD is the sharpness not just close up but in the sense that HD enjoys a much better Depth of Field. ie the picture tends to be razor sharp front to back unless the background is deliberately thrown out of focus by aperture settings. SD by comparison is softer on the item thats the subject of focus, and then rapidly loses sharpness throughout the entire depth of field meaning that most of the picture is blurred. TBH it was even more visible befoer the BBC reduced BBC HD’s bit rate and quality allegedly dropped along with it.

    As for 3D being another load of rubbish, we’ll have to wait and see.

    But have you actually tried it before rubbishing it? I test drove a 50″ Panasonic 3D tv with shutter glasses at my local Panasonic dealer using their demo disc “Canyons”. It was totally amazing.

    The glasses much to my surprise were totally comfortable and the experience was immersive. It wasn’t so much about 3D gimics coming out of the screen at you as a 3D stage stretching back into the wall. Nothing like the old red and blue glasses stuff. The 3D effect was 1000 times deeper and more realistic. I went there critically minded expecting to hate to and came away loving it!! I’d definately buy into it if the content was there.

    @190 Tony, we agree!

    @206 Alexander, “Why don’t they release more bandwdith for Freeview to use..”

    – because they haven’t got any!!!!

    Most of the bandwidth spectrum is taken up with other services such as Emergency services, Commercial radio, Air Traffic Control etc etc. The terrestrial spectrum has been jam packed for years. The only spare bandwidth I’m aware of being available was that being freed from analogue tv post switch over, and the government sold that off to commercial radio broadcasters to make money.

    Thats why I understand there’s only Freesat thats able to expand. The only real gains available to DTT are through more efficient codecs or quality (bit rate) reduction but at the current rate of HD expansion and with SuperVision and 3D on the horizon, these are unlikely to keep up with the demand in my opinion.

  27. as someone in their 50s who has become completely disenchanted with >90% of TV programming, this is inconsequential to me.

    Where I live, TV is only feasible on satellite. I had an old Sky set on freeview only, and replaced it with a Humax Freesat.

    I record the very few programmes that I watch for convenience. Since they are usually wildlife or historical dramas (the only things that the BBC still do well, ), it came as no surprise that I only needed one LNB.

    ITV has almost always been an irrelevance. The few quality programmes they produce don’t last as it is a channel of populist twaddle.

    More and more I rely on dvd/bluray rental companies, not only for film but also for TV series devoid of adverts and mockney voiceovers.

    I look forward to the day when I can replace my TV with a monitor, rip out my satellite dish and cancel my TV licence – I have yet to persuade my wife, unfortunately, but I feel sure the day will come.

  28. I think that this news from ITV regarding HD channels exclusively with Sky, confirms my thoughts that, as a Freesat user, the enterprise is now doomed. We are going to be stuck with only BBC1 HD and ITV almost/sometimes HD and no more. Unless something is done, there is little chance that there will be any new HD channels appearing. I would suggest that people, when they realise this is the case will cease to buy Freesat equipment and Rupert Murdoch will have won again !
    I welcome a response from someone in authority in the Freesat organisatiion, who can refute my claims. I will take a non-reply as an admission that I am right


  30. @236 Eric – Freesat was setup so that people who could not receive Freeview even after the digital switch over were still able to receive the PSB TV stations. This aim has already been acheived – HD channels will always be a bonus and not something to be expected. Also Freesat is not designed to rival Sky and never will do so there is nothing to win or lose.

    Expecting someone from Freesat to reply to you on here and saying that if they do not reply means you are right just gave me a laugh this evening as it’s just such a daft thing to say! 😉

  31. There have been many statements made in the preceding comments that may or may not be true. The only statement that is undeniable is that Freesat, and Freesat HD were intended to allow all viewers in the UK access to Digital TV.

    I understand that the BBC lowered the Quality of Freesat HD to match the quality of Freeview HD.

    Stations like Luxe HD seem to be shut out of Freesat HD because they will never be available via Freeview HD.

    Because of the lack of available Bandwidth to Freeview HD, it is highly unlikely that there will be available Bandwidth to accomodate ITV2, ITV3 and ITV4 on Freeview HD.

    If Freesat were to become a carbon copy of Freeview wouldn’t that be an opportunity missed? I think that if the free to air TV is available outside of Freesat by re-tuning to a standard DVB configuration, shouldn’t Freesat be striving to make it available within Freesat too?

  32. @ 236 eric

    One way to put ITV in shame is to ensure that state owned Channel 4 and daily express owned Channel 5 place HD versions of all their channels on FREESAT.

    The same goe’s for the BBC, in that it can place HD version of all their channels on FREESAT. Another benefit is that 24/7 versions of BBC3 & 4 and evening slots after children being used for Open Ununversity, BBC Sport, BBC Drama & Film and learning on trial on FREESAT.

  33. #240 – alex

    Do you live in cloud cuckoo land? What on earth is the point of putting ITV to shame? They are a commercial organisation without a viable business plan at the moment. If they don’t find some way of balancing their books they could go out of business. Or be taken over by $ky.

    All they have done is to give exclusive rights to $ky to a few HD channels which do not exist yet. When they come into being, it looks as though they will offer HD simulcasts of SD channels which will continue to be available to us. They are mainly multi-repeats of “mature” programmes or American imports with no obvious HD pedigree. Would you want to watch The Professionals yet again, simply because it has been upscaled? And, when you see what the Daily Express owner does to Channel 5, you might not even want to watch it in SD.

    Get real, fellas! More HD will come to Freesat when the providers see commercial benefit in doing so.

  34. Bang goes my access to the BTCC coverage in HD. Virgin SD box SA4200 is the only virgin box that you can record programs from (on my Pioneer DVR-545LX) and it’s downstairs where my Mum watches it, I have freeview upstairs and no SkyHD. Was hoping to have it on FreeSat. Very dissappointed.

  35. What’s to stop Sky contracting exclusive deals with all the channels and leaving us with almost nothing that is included/’free’? It seems only BBC Channels are all we’re entitled to with the license fee. Doesn’t seem right to me. Doesn’t advertising pay for these channels any more so they need to make these deals? Pay for the channels AND watch adverts? No thanks.

  36. Having just built my house with inwall cabling for 5 x wall mounted Freesat televisions, I have read all the comments on this site with great interest ! I had hoped to be future proofing the property (as I did in 2001 with a Sony integrated ‘On Digital’ set). Last week I purchased 3 x LG Freesat LF 7700 sets but now understand that LG is happy to either refund them or offer a free Freesat box as the future proof promise of possible iplayer on the t.v will not happen. I too cannot understand the logic of paying for subscription t.v and having to watch an increasing number of adverts.
    LG appear to now be in bed with £ky and have ditched Freesat in favour of Freeview.
    Bottom line is I fear Freeview HD integrated sets may be less of a financial risk for me.

  37. someone mentioned something about ‘why would someone get freesat hd over free view hd’ well i cant get a signal for freeview and what i get on freesat is better than freeview hd or not. agree on more hd channels needed though. i dont care about itv 3/4 but itv2 would be nice.

  38. Personally, I’d dump the ITV channels to the bottom end of the EPG on Freeview and Freesat – see how much they enjoy their darl alliegence with Sky then. If ITV want no part in the FTA market then fair enough, down the EPG you go to be replaced by others who do.

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