No Five HD For Freesat

Five HD today launched on both the Sky and Virgin Media platforms; unfortunately though Freesat isn’t expected to gain this channel any time soon.

Many, including Five themselves will tell you that the reason for the lack of Five HD (as well as Fiver and Five US) is because of space available on the narrow Astra2D beam required to broadcast in the clear as a UK broadcaster.

In reality, the reason is that Sky pay Five a nice sum of money to remain encrypted, ensuring they are the only satellite based platform with these channels. Until a time when Freesat has a sufficient number of viewers (so advertising revenue accounts for more), or Ofcom some how force Five into broadening their access, it looks like we’ll be without.

If anything changes on this, or we get an official response from our questions to Five, we’ll let you know.

137 thoughts on “No Five HD For Freesat”

  1. @98 Liamo
    Like it or not, HD is the main reason many people buy FreeSat, as can be seen in previous polls here on this forum, not because of the 140+ stations, most of which are shopping or god channels. Therefore to really succeed, FreeSat does at least have to match FreeView, otherwise what’s the point of FreeSat, is it only for people who can’t get FreeView !!!!!

  2. humax freeview+ hd with i player and sky player, “freesat is going” I’ve had it over a year and apart from bbci no improvements. in the area i live I will get far more from freeview, I just wish I’d known about freeview hd before shelling out 300 for my freesat. anyone want to buy it!!!!!

  3. 101 Oyodi, “Like it or not, HD is the main reason many people buy FreeSat”

    Which I don’t understand. When those polls were conducted Freesat had one and a bit HD channels. Why would you buy Freesat just on the strength of one HD channel?

    In any case I’m not one of those people as I don’t even have HD yet.

    “is it only for people who can’t get FreeView”

    That’s what the original rationale was whatever Freesat customers may now want. Personally I just wanted more channels than the 5 I got on my creaky analogue cable system.

    You say most of the 140 are God or shopping channels. That may be but there is still more content on Freesat than I have time to watch. There might be even more on other services but Freesat serves my needs for now.

  4. @98 Liamo, Suppose Freesat gets Ch 4 and Five HD in a couple of years time. Then I bet the HD moaners will find something else to whinge about – e.g., no 3D on Freesat. 🙂

  5. @cid 102
    Why get rid of of your Freesat equipment? It still works? Even if I switched to Freeview it would be sensible to have a reserve system in place for example if the TV transmitter breaks down.

  6. All the non-HD moaners come out of the woodwork again…!

    C4HD WILL arrive on Freesat at some point! See post 62 regarding Film4 and Channel 4’s possible contract renegotiations.

    I’m not really disappointed C4HD isn’t yet on Freesat as it wasn’t on there when I made the investment in two new Panasonic Viera TV’s + my Panasonic Viera BluRay PVR. What I did know when I purchased all of this is that Satellite has, in the lifetime of this equipment, much higher potential for increased number of channels available be it HD or SD over Freeview and in 9mths this has proven to be correct. SD bitrates are also better via Satellite than DTT which was also an important consideration.

    As I’ve said before, when BBC1HD joins in the autumn we’ll have the two most popular UK PSB channels in HD + existing BBC HD too. Knowing Freesat’s recent sales figures (confidentially) I can’t see why C4HD won’t want to be on there. Sky have helped them in HD start-up costs guess by the fact Film4HD has gone straight to Virgin Media means it’s being kept away from Sky for a reason, possibly with freeing up some 2D bandwidth too.

    Sky recently announced their ‘Real Lives’ services to close on August 19th, three of which use a 2D transponder. Whilst we know Sky don’t assist the competition, it appears ITV cut a compromise with them to free up another 2D TP for more ITV1 regions and STV HD. Maybe C4 will give Film4HD to Sky in return for C4HD carriage on 2D or better still we’ll get both if Sky cleared a TP totally (can’t see this though!).

    Lets stop all this negativity and be more positive!!

  7. @ 103 Kevin
    You say you don’t understand the recent poll, but it clearly shows 63% of voters like me brought FreeSat to be able to access Free HD channels. I have been with FreeSat since the HD PVR was launched in December 2008, and have been very happy with it, but my point is that this poll shows how important HD channels are, because if those 63% who brought FreeSat for HD were to buy their boxes now, surly they would go for FreeView, us 63% of voters are not moaners, in fact I would love FreeSat to go from strength to strength, but I believe this issue will have a big impact on FreeSat sales

  8. As referred to in the FAQ on this site, Freesat was launched on the promise of its capacity for providing future HD services. I’ve been “attached” to Freesat for two years on that basis.

    Big FAIL.

    Big SUCCESS – another dog channel. How do you feel? “Ruff”.


  9. @108
    I feel that the Freeview HD adverts could be construed as misleading as only a proportion of the country has currently or will have HD Freeview. If you can get Freesat then you are guaranteed HD (provided you have HD equipment).

    I think it is about time the Freesat doubters stop peddling negative comments as it could became a self fulfilling prophecy, which would please the Murdoch’s.

  10. There must be a lot of people who sack off Sky and once finding their Sky+ functionality is inhibited look at purchasing a Freesat+ PVR. Read Amazon’s reviews of the Humax Foxsat and you’ll see loads of comments along these lines. Buying a Freesat PVR and connecting to an existing dish is just as easy, if not easier, for a non-technical literate user than connecting up a Freeview HD+ PVR.

    Sky’s prices are going up in Sept and for the first time the whole package lot will break the £50+ price barrier, a psychological figure which I think might increase their churn. With about a 10% annualised churn that’s a lot of people (970,000) who leave per year.

    Those Freeview HD ads have actually done Freesat a favour too as, lets say, a bloke in Northampton walks in to his local TV retailer asking for a HD set top box, to be told “sorry it’s not available around here until mid next year”. “Oh”, he says, “what’s my other option then”? The retailer then points him in the direction of Freesat and thus assuming this consumer does not want to pay a subscription thus won’t have gone down the Sky route.

    There’s talk of STV possibly being added to the EPG in the coming week too although unconfirmed.

  11. #107 – Oyodi

    “if those 63% who brought FreeSat for HD were to buy their boxes now, surly they would go for FreeView”

    I doubt it! If they now accepted what has been obvious from the start – that the build-up of HD channels on Freesat would be slow – they would go for cheap(er) SD boxes. Most modern TVs do a good job of upscaling SD to suit the native resolution of the screen and give a very good viewing experience. Freesat is doing very well what it set out to do. As Freesat is only a “retailer” of channels, it cannot offer us services which it cannot attract to the platform (for whatever reason).

    As I understand the position with regard to Freeview (a cousin of Freesat), the HD channels will only be avaiable from the main transmitters. The relays will only have the capacity to carry about 15 TV channels and I do not believe that includes any HD. Freesat was set up to fill in the gaps in terrestrial cover and offered the prospect of using spare capacity in creative ways – like HD. There are still several channels missing from Freesat which have long been available on Freeview. Contractual arrangements and restrictions are powerful forces in determining what programmes can and cannot reach our screens.

    I guess it’s more fun to have the standard bleats about HD and bit rates than to use a bit of common sense and think things through!

  12. @111 – The HD Mux is available universally to all main and relay transmitters, it’s the three Commercial ‘Freeview’ multiplexes that relays don’t carry. Even when an extra Multiplex is made available for Freeview in 2012 I doubt more than main stations will be covered as it will cost the operator of this multiplex an arm and a leg to gain 98.5% coverage.

    Word is that they aim to get all five PSB channels on to the single HD mux with ‘improvements in coding technology’ from 2012’ish, i.e. reducing the bitrates! In terms of quality I believe Satellite will inevitably therefore offer higher quality HD pictures than DTT. The BBC HD bitrate brigade who’ve been complaining will, I presume, mostly be watching via Satellite anyway.

  13. So a majority of viewers joined FREEsat to get HDdid they?
    Not this old buzzard!!
    Having subscribed to Sky for 7 years (at a cost of around £3000!!) I decided that with the creeping increase in annual cost together with the aggravation of adverts on repeatedly broadcast programmes (I spent ages clicking around trying to find something new and the grandkids had all the cartoons off by heart) it was time to ditch the overpriced monthly subscription and opt for a “FREE” system.
    I would add that the SD pictures I receive via my HUMAX box (on a 12yr old Panasonic Quintrix ) are better than anything I have seen in 70yrs!!
    HD if I live to see it will be a small added bonus!!
    Keep up the good work FREEsat!!

  14. @ crislow, “I would add that the SD pictures I receive via my HUMAX box (on a 12yr old Panasonic Quintrix ) are better than anything I have seen in 70yrs!!”

    Mine’s about 8 years old. And yes Freesat + Humax gives me an excellent picture on most channels – way better than what I had previously. HD (when I get a new TV) will be a mere added bonus.

  15. Having more shopping and cartoon channels for free appears to be essential to some.

    Let’s not forget “music TV” (surely a contradiction).

    When a platform HAS bandwidth, then please Mr. Platform, NEGOTIATE to ASSIGN IT. For improved QUALITY.

    “Free” is good. But not free “shopping”.


  16. @ 113, 114
    HD quality is so fantastic, I feel sorry for you guys with old CRT tv’s, as you really seem to have no idea the differance it makes, the world cup HD picture quality was awesome, and Wimbledon was remarkable, but oh, you can’t see this!!! Well done BBC & ITV, Can’t wait for BBC1HD.

  17. One great advantage Freesat HD boxes is that you get scaled up SD. I have a TV with SD Freeview receiver and the picture quality is lower on Feeview than Freesat. I cannot justify spending money on a new HD Freeview box just to gain one more HD channel, especially if you factor in the cost of a new aerial.

  18. #116 – Oyodi

    A friend with an HD setup has let me watch some programmes with him in the hopes it will de-scepticise me. I found that. if I got interested in the programme (certainly not football!), I quickly lost track of whether I was watching in SD or HD. It was only with boring programmes, or programmes not really suitable for HD treatment, that i started to look for differences between SD and HD. It was an interesting experience but I remain a sceptic.

    #115 – aybeeseaa

    The junk channels do not use bandwidth on the satellite tightly beamed on the UK. Therefore they are not competing with, say, ITV-HD for resources. They benefit us by giving Emma £30,000pa each for EPG listings – money which Emma can use to attract prestige channels to the platform. If $ky has got channels tightly tied up contractually, ain’t no way we’re going to get them on Freesat until and unless they can get out of those contracts. Be patient. All good things come to him who waits!

  19. I’ve been waiting 2 years since Freesat’s inception.

    How much patience is needed?


  20. Well I think I’ve given up waiting now. Been with freesat from the beginning.
    Still only 2 HD channels. Popping to tesco to buy the technica freeview HD box. Wifi, iplayer, plus pay for movies online. 320gb and £200.

  21. Very interesting.

    Quote “Recently, it has come under fire for missing out on a range of channels (particularly high-definition ones) that have gone to other broadcasters such as Sky, Virgin Media, BT Vision and Freeview.”

    So Freesat “could” become a version of PaySat!

    Ah well, a noble stance initially but the virtues were not, it appears, to last.


  22. Inferior range of HD and SD channels when compared to Freeview, poor quality SD (when viewed on a 52 inch HD ready set) compared to Freeview, clunky EPG, no picture in picture to keep eye on a tv channel while scanning EPG. The only positive development has been BBC’s i Player but even here I don’t use Freesat. I use either my laptop or my PS3! So I gave my Humax HD Foxsat to my parents.

  23. Dear Alan

    Thank you for your recent enquiry regarding Five HD.

    We are exploring options to launch Five HD on Freeview and Freesat in the future, but we do not have a timescale for when this might happen at this time.

    If there is anything further we can help you with, please do not hesitate to contact us.

    Thank you for your interest in Five.

    Yours sincerely


  24. Some talking about watching TV on games consoles or on computers???

    There can be NO hope for requesting and receiving technical quality.


  25. Reading through these posts, it seems obvious to me that a gripe that a lot of people have is the lack of HD channels. Can I just remind folk, that as well as the HD that is on the main channel, there are a few HD channels available on the non-freesat menu, namely, STV, ITV1 (regional version) Luxe TV,its a crap choice, but everything has to start somewhere. There is an old saying, that patience is a virtue, more HD will come, but we will just have to wait for it if we want it for free. If you want it now, as a previous poster has said, GO TO SKY!

  26. Freesat DID start – two years ago. I’ve had patience for that two years and counting. Dunno about you.

    Notice on the top right-hand side of this page how many Freesat HD devices are advertised?

    It becomes a big why.


  27. One thing I don’t think has been mentioned . A lot of people are going on about five hd or the lack of it… Who knows in the future if sky ends up buying the channel who says they might take it off freeview & freesat altogether and make it a pay channel… Thank your lucky stars you still have it in sd for now as you cannot guarantee it in the future.. just like virgin 1 which will soon be a thing of the past..

  28. It WAS a done deal. Well spotted though.

    An organisation which publishes a particularly high standard in all its media has purchased another organ to fulfil the same high quality on broadcast television.


  29. I think the real news is that the Murdoch empire is gradually taking over all our media… this is the frightening thing – along with a Government that is in their pocket…

  30. @ Antz 132

    Surely Murdoch evil empire taking over is not news but modern history? 😉

  31. I ,too was under the impression that more hd channels would follow,but two years on and we are still waiting.Why doesn,t the television watch dog do something about sky hogging all the bandwidth?

  32. Reading all these posts, I reckon the salesmen in TV shops have got a lot to answer for! I’m sure Emma has not deliberately built up expectations to this level.

    When I bought my SD box a couple of years ago, I had to shop very carefully because, at the launch of the service, the shops only stocked HD. The HD boxes were a lot dearer and obviously it suited the salesmen to push as many HD boxes into gullible customers as possible.

    My understanding has always been that HD on Freesat was a “best endeavours” project. There are very many difficulties, not least contracts and money, stopping HD channels migrating to Freesat.

    There are plenty of HD channels out there, but you’ve got to pay for them.

  33. Both channel 4 and five should grow a set and tell sky wee are going to put our hd channels on to freesat and freeview and to stuff there mony and channel 4 and five will get stronger in long run plus people do not knoe this that sky is putting there hd sub up at end off next year to £20 a month and a ten percent rise on there sub prices during a recession plus sky is strangiling freeviewhd and freesathd sky should be band from buying any more sat space for few year to make it a even playing field for freeview freesat and virgin and others what do yous think

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