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Apr 23 2010

Following on from the huge response we got in the Ask Emma Scott A Question post, we have the responses.

Can we just say a big thank you to all of you for asking such a wide range of questions (and some over and over again ;)), sorry if yours is not specifically covered, but we had to condense down from approx 100, to 10, but in the end got 20 submitted.

Also can we extend the thanks to Emma herself for taking the time to answer each one; as well as the Freesat team and Borkowski (Freesat PR) for facilitating. We hope the responses give a little insight in to the future of Freesat.

High Definition

Q: A recent poll on joinfreesat.co.uk showed that 63% of customers chose Freesat for HD content above all others, does it concern you that channels like C4HD, E4HD and FiveHD all seem to have contractual agreements with Sky (whether that be through limited 2D space or financial) that will mean no chance of them appearing on Freesat any time soon? Is 1.5 HD channels deemed enough to meet the primary advertising strategy?
A: The vast majority of viewers are very happy with freesat but that doesn’t mean we’re at all complacent. I spend a lot of my time taking to broadcasters about their HD ambitions and we’ve been in on-going talks with Channel 4 over 4HD for some time. I’m confident that there will be positive news on the HD front soon – and we will continue to try our best to get more.

Limited satellite capacity isn’t the issue in this case as channel can be moved and Astra is launching new UK focussed satellite capacity next year. In the end it’s a commercial/ financial decision by the channel and the market has been tough so we’re focused on trying to make that decision easier to make by continuing to attract new viewers and maintain growth – so the economics stack up for them better.

Unfortunately FIVE has elected to go pay, which means neither Freesat nor Freeview will be adding them any time soon.

Q: Have any discussions taken place with Channel 4 (c4HD and E4HD) and Five (Five HD) into bring them to Freesat, do you envisage this being a reality within 2010? If limited 2D space is an issue, could they become a red button option?
A: See previous answer

Q: Why is so little HD broadcast in Dolby Digital, and why none in 5.1 surround? What is the point in HD video, without HD sound?
A: This isn’t something Freesat (or any other TV service) directly controls unfortunately but Freesat HD is fully equipped to broadcast Dolby 5.1 surround should the channels choose to do so. Ultimately it’s down to the broadcaster rather than Freesat and is exactly the same for all TV services. I’d also add that the HD is still enjoyable without surround sound, even though it’s obviously very nice to have!

Q: Can we be sure that the amount of HD content on Freesat will not fall below that of Freeview long term? If it does, does Freesat remain a viable option for anyone other than in areas not able to receive Freeview signals?
A: Although it’s not possible to dictate that broadcasters come onto Freesat, we will have as many HD channels as Freeview once 4HD joins. More importantly, beyond that Freesat has the capacity for far more HD services than Freeview – and given you can already receive our services across the UK, we will always be in a better position strategically.

Q: Once ITV HD goes simulcast with ITV 1 (now available) will we see an option for HD recorders to replace ITV HD as channel 103? Why has it been given channel slot 119 and not 103 or 109?
A: ITV has taken a dual channel strategy approach to ITV1HD and channel 119 was chosen as it was the first available listing with all the other ITV channels on the EPG. It wouldn’t be practical or fair to start moving channels around and would go against Freesat’s EPG listings policy.

Q: Are there any long term plans for Freesat to provide 3D broadcasts? Would the current receivers be compatible?
A: 3D is very exciting and it’s something we are actively looking at. We worked hard to make sure that the first generation of receivers were as future proofed as possible – so the great news is that all HD Freesat receivers would be 3D compatible – if you buy a new 3D TV and the specs of course! We will continue to talk to broadcasters about opportunities in this area.

Channels

Q: Have any existing channels contracted to Sky as subscription been in talks with you regarding becoming FTA, do they see Freesat as being a viable option yet to gain a potentially larger audience? CNBC went down this route in Feb.
A: We regularly talk to channels across the market and expect others to follow CNBC. As Freesat and its audience grows, it will become a more attractive option for channels because they’ll reach more viewers and generate more advertising revenue.

Q: Is narrow-beam capacity the biggest hurdle to additional channels on freesat, HD or otherwise? What steps are Ofcom, Freesat (BBC/ITV), Astra (SES) and Sky taking to ensure that narrow-beam capacity is prioritised for FTA channels?
A: It’s not an issue as there is still capacity available and moving forward there will be more capacity when Astra launches an additional satellite next year.

Q: There are many channels FTA, but not on the Freesat EPG. Are there any incentives or marketing to these channels to persuade them to join?
A: Freesat offers an opportunity to reach a large audience but will not offer financial incentives to channels. It’s important that there is a clear and fair policy that applies to all. We are working with the very best of the free to air channels market and our door is always open to other channels that may wish to be listed

Q: What are the plans for the Freesat Information Channel, should Freesat customers be turning to this channel on a regular basis?
A: The Info Channel is an exciting new development for us and gives Freesat a chance to inform viewers about service issues, enhancements, features etc so it’s worth checking to see if there are any new and relevant updates. We will continue to use it to communicate to viewers along with the website.

On Demand

Q: When will the Panasonic TV’s with Freesat built-in get iPlayer? Will it cover old and new models?
A: Over air downloads are planned for the coming months and will definitely cover all Panasonic models – so whilst it might be a bit frustrating to wait a little longer, we’ve worked really hard with our manufacturers to persuade them to address the existing base of homes

Q: When will the iPlayer beta end and is it the intention of Freesat to offer a ITV Player beta/test period for Freesat customers? Will this happen in the summer?
A: The BBC iPlayer Beta will come to an end soon. There will also be a phased launch for ITV Player beginning with initial testing in coming months.

Q: Is it Freesat’s intention to launch Project Canvas (subject to approval)? Will 4OD and Demand Five be considered in the interim?
A: Freesat does intend to launch a Freesat receiver with Project Canvas within it, pending BBC Trust and OFT approval and 4OD and Demand Five are under consideration.

Pay TV

Q: Are there any plans for CAM slots/pay tv to be introduced to freesat? Such as subscribing to individual channels without the large monthly costs Sky currently offer. Top Up TV for Freesat?
A: Freesat’s no bills, no strings promise has proven very popular. However, we will continue to consider all options for improving the service in the future and pay TV, most likely using a third party supplier, is a potential option following Ofcom’s Wholesale Must Offer decision.

Interactive

Q: Having moved from Freeview to Freesat, It is disappointing to see that the BBC Red Button service is lacking in the news multiscreens, extra coverage of music, entertainment and sports events, Comedy Extra and children’s coverage, especially as Freeview seems to get more despite having severely limited capacity for extra services such as this. When do you expect the BBC will bring Freesat in line with the other services?
A: Freesat’s worked hard with the BBC to get the range of Red Button services already on offer and we continue to discuss how these might be enhanced. Freesat has a tailored version of iPlayer specifically built for the platform so we feel on balance we’re doing rather better than Freeview.

Q: Would it be possible to support Internet applications like Skype and web browsing in the future?
A: Potentially but only on future products and not something we’re actively looking at.

Manufacturers

Q: How involved are Freesat in issues manufacturers have with software problems; a prime example being the update issues caused by Harvard and Humax receivers?
A: Freesat works closely with all our partners to make sure that customers get the best possible viewing experience but ultimately over air downloads come down to the manufacturer. That said we try our very hardest to make sure our partners learn from any mistakes made so that they don’t happen again.

General

Q: Having seen many prophets of doom, forecasting the demise of Freesat; does Freesat have a long term future? What sales figures are you expecting over the next few years?
A: Freesat most definitively has a long term future and we’d point to recent developments such as BBC iPlayer and ITV Player, as well as possible future additions such as pay TV, increased satellite capacity and 3D as evidence of that. We’re here for the long haul!

We don’t share sales predictions but we expect to continue to grow – the World Cup makes this a great potential year for Freesat

Q: Would it not be more beneficial to market the service a bit more aggressively? I appreciate that in the way Freesat is run it’s ‘not for profit’ so effectively they don’t have the financial resources of the likes of Sky etc but think take up would be improved with more awareness of Freesat products?
A: Awareness is currently over 60%, our performance has exceeded all targets and expectations and we’re currently running our biggest ever ad campaign. We spend a tiny proportion of the marketing budgets of our competitors – but we deliver many more new homes and happy customers. My Marketing Director would always like to have more money though!

Q: What were the differences and challenges between launching Freeview and Freesat? And what is she looking forward to in the future? Is Freecable on the horizon?
A: I’ve sort of done cable already from my days launching Optus Vision in Australia! Every broadcast technology I’ve worked with has its pluses and sometimes minuses, but satellite is, without a doubt, the most important transmission system in the UK at the moment. Going forward our ability to grow Freesat as a hybrid on-demand service will remain integral – and the option of pay TV may be an interesting hook (not that Freesat itself would sell those services). Above all I’m keen to ensure that all our existing customers continue to be really happy with the Freesat promise they originally bought into.

Q: What do you think of the work done by joinfreesat.co.uk to promote and encourage the Freesat platform? (honest, this was posed by a reader, not us!)
A: We’ve had fantastic support from joinfreesat and long may it continue. The team and I regularly read the site and comments and, although we’re not always in a position to comment ourselves, we appreciate how readers inform others and straighten out issues on our behalf – and for the very honest feedback we get! So, a big thank you from me and the team, it’s nice that Freesat has such a loyal and passionate fan base.

67 Responses to “Response: Ask Emma Scott A Question”

  1. HoxtonTit Says:

    Good stuff, reading between the lines it looks good for 4HD coming onto Freesat this year hopefully

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  2. Peter Shillito Says:

    I do look forward to 4HD coming soon, and the new Astra satellite on the way too!

    However, it intrigues me that she repeatedly said that there’s available satellite capacity. I’m not sure if she’s including the new satellite there, but I believe there is certainly very limited capacity at the present time…

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  3. Peter Shillito Says:

    Oh, but thanks for the replies. Very interesting lunchtime reading!

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  4. aln Says:

    well done joinfreesat, very interesting reading and the future of freesat is looking..very decent

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  5. 7nur0 Says:

    Emma, thank you for taking the time to post such a detailed reply, & thank you to this site for facilitating this exchange. However, we are still none the wiser on the arrival to Freesat of 4HD, E4HD, Fiver, Five US…

    If only Danielle @ BBC HD would come down from her ivory tower & engage with us to a similar degree!

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  6. wezo Says:

    Thanks for putting this together admin!! Im happy with what im hearing there is no question that we would love to see all the mentioned services (C4HD,ITVPlayer,and so on) and it just looks like patience is going to be the key. So at this time freesat is doing exactly what it says on the tin and im a happy freesater!!

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  7. Ste Rush Says:

    Good reading indeed although due to the upcoming election I am tired of the phrase “moving forward”.

    Thanks to Emma. Freesat, joinfreesat.co.uk and all the people who posed serious questions.

    Rhe biggest plus for me out of that was the confirmation that CH4HD is looking to come to freesat.

    Good article and thanks again.

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  8. Kevin McFarlane Says:

    @wezo “it just looks like patience is going to be the key”

    I’ve learnt that this applies to all things Freesat. It’s not for those who want instant gratification. :)

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  9. ChrisK Says:

    It maybe just me as other views here differ, but to me FreeSats future over the next 2 or 3 years looks as bleak as the economy.

    Can anybody confirm that the HD version of the Food Channel is coming to FreeSat because rumours are spending that it’s not, although it will be FTA but may not be at 28.5E.

    My Humax HDR is now out of warranty and if it where to breakdown tomorrow (much that I love this machine) then it would be binned in favour of the new, soon to be release 3view multi-media Freeview HD box so I live in hope more HD channels come to FreeSat before the box reaches the end of it’s life..

    The very minimum to a platform has to be BBC, ITV CH4 & 5 in HD.

    I have a confirmation from CH5 that they will launch HD on Freeview in 2012.

    No such statement for FreeSat thought they do say they will launch on other platforms apart from Sky which I am taking to mean Virgin Cable but hopefully I am wrong and they mean FreeSat.

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  10. John1961 Says:

    As 64% of your readers chose Freesat for the HD content it surprises me that you did not choose to include a question on the subject of HD picture Quality on Freesat when compared to other satellite providers.,
    There were several posts among the 140 listed on that subject so perhaps you would enlighten the interested viewers as to how you chose which questions to
    put to Emma.

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  11. wak Says:

    @9 Five can’t confirm that, what they have said is that they will send an application and try to get the fifth HD slot. which no doubt channel4 & ITV will also do. we’ll see in 2012… Freesat on other hand say nothing because it’s the broadcasters choice to join Freesat and by mid next year, five will no doubt have the option to chose, due to the new satellite.

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  12. peterhb Says:

    So, we now know that there willbe more HD on Freeview than Freesat. Freeview also carries Sky news, Dave, Virgin. WHen I get FreeviewHD in my region I guess I will go with that and Freesat will be no more!

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  13. C14R4N Says:

    @11, Wak
    Well Five have signed a contract with Sky, similar to what Channel 4 did I imagine. Even if more satellite capacity becomes available, doesn’t mean Five will join

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  14. wak Says:

    @12 for a period of time yes, however i think this is the first time they officially confirmed that 4HD will come to freesat !

    @13 yes that is true, but unless we know what that document say we can only speculate, Sky do 1 year contracts aswell as 5 year contracts, aswell as the option to re-negotiate… im just saying they’ll probably have a choice by then,

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  15. Expat Says:

    No mention of Fiver and Five USA :-(

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  16. brgto Says:

    @John1961

    I thought the BBC and ITV HD channels on freesat were the same transmissions that sky recievers also can see. How can the Bit rates be any different?

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  17. Jon Says:

    I’ve emailed Five in the past regarding these two channels. They have stated there is no room for them, so looks like we will have to wait until the new satellite is launched.

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  18. elo laugesen Says:

    Emma Scott said there is enough sat capacity thus if we do not get all of the freeview channels it probably means that five signed a contract not to let any other sat delivery method such as freesat carry the channels.

    Emma’s comments and their delivery is very much what I expected. No real substance, no commitments and no long term vision given to us. That does not mean she does not know what is going to happen or where freesat is going or not going. (it is her job)

    Freesat was originally for the areas where freeview could not go and when freeview grows up ie HD etc freesat is not as important to the majority of the population. I will then retire my box build into my panasonic tv and the build in freeview without hd.

    technology moves fast and what we see today will change tomorrow and the next day and the next day…… we will all move on while grumbling..

    I think I will buy an IPAD when the battery dies … buy a new one…

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  19. Neil Says:

    Emma’s responses make interesting reading and give good confidence Freesat are committed to continual expansion in terms of channels, technology and hardware.

    We have to remember, like any organisation, commercial confidentiality limits exactly what can be said but reading between the lines of the initial HD related questions does make me think more HD will be on it’s way (in the form of C4HD and possibly other channels too). As for time-scales, who knows but comments like “once 4HD joins” in one response sounds like Emma’s tried to reassure as much as possible that it will happen!

    Admin, thanks for inclusion of my question relating to marketing budgets.

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  20. Adam Says:

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  21. Robert Hudson Says:

    That’s Good News me thinks. like the idea of Possible FREE 3D or and 4HD ITV PLAYER, , And that MY and yours of course HUMAX HDR IS 3D READY and the rest, WELL What can i say.

    Well i will be telling me mates and other people about The 3D bit

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  22. David Austin Says:

    Many thanks to Join Freesat and Emma Scott for this. A lot of ground was covered, and a lot of questions answered, either fully or at least partially. It does all raise a few more questions, though, but I guess the answer to those is ‘Wait and see.’

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  23. John N Says:

    Admin. I would like to add my thanks to you for providing and maintaining this site where many of us get our freesat news from. Keep up the good work. I think we all should show a little more patience. What we are watching through our freesat boxes is free and it is only going to get better.

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  24. Brian Damage Says:

    Interesting – Thanks.

    It’s good to know that Freesat are looking to the future: more HD channels, 4OD, ITV Player, Project Canvas, 3D and perhaps even Pay TV (for those that would like to watch premium content)

    The comment about satellite capacity is somewhat confusing, given that this was reported to be the cause of the C4HD postponement last year, and of course there was no promise that we will ever get ANY of the above, or any indication as to when they might happen – but I guess that’s only to be expected.

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  25. Peter Says:

    Thanks for that Adam (Post 20). Someone appears to have read the article above. You might have tried that yourself before posting!

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  26. Kevin Ver1 Says:

    I thought that Emma’s response was generally positive. I am a fan of Freesat and I am happy to wait for further improvements.

    I know there are a number of people who knock Freesat but when I was young there were only two channels ITV and BBC. Now we have a much better choice.

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  27. admin Says:

    T3 appear to have just taken the quote from this site and published on their own without acknowledge…polite ;)

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  28. Jock Says:

    #26 Kevin Ver1

    When I was young there was only BBC. It started at about 8pm and closed down again about 11pm. The Coronation got more people watching TV, and ITV joined in a couple of years later.

    # 6 & 8

    From the great years outlined above, I have learnt that patience helps in almost everything – Freesat and Freeview included. A wee bit of tolerance goes a long way, too.

    Here endeth the first lesson.

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  29. Kevin Ver1 Says:

    It would not surprise me if Freesat pulls a rabbit out of the hat in 2012 to coincide with the final analogue switch off. In fact I believe that the switch off will help Freesat when large numbers discover that Freeview is not available to them. Analogue TV is far more forgiving of a weak signal as many will find out.

    By the way it looks as if Jock has been watching TV longer than me! I do recall watching the first series of Doctor Who. A program I’m still watching today!

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  30. Jock Says:

    #29 Kevin Ver1

    I’m interested in your statement about analogue TV and weak signals. I had long understood that Thr Freeviw digital signals were far more robust than analogue. For about 7 years I have been enjoying the full Freeview service from Black Hill although we are in a fringe reception area and Freeview is a low power service.

    I think it is a feature of all digital signals that reception degrades in the same way regardless of the source of interference. We’ll lose the ability to discriminate between a lawnmower and a car, or tell whether a plane is flying towards us or crossing the beam. With digital, the picture becomes increasingly blocky until you lose it altogether.

    In August a nearby relay is switchng to digital. Its freqencies are similar to those of Black Hill and are all mixed up in the same frequency group. As a relay, it will only transmit about 15 channels, but at full power. I am expecting problems when all of those Freeview channels arrive at my aerial.

    This is when I expect Freesat to really pay off for me. If my receivers can’t cope with overlapping Freeview signals, I’ve got Freesat. Has anyone out there got experience of what happens when you receive more than one set of full-strength Freeview signals?

    Oh – and Kevin the first programme I ever saw on TV was George Formby in “Riding in the TT Races”. None of today’s gimmicks, but it was still breathtaking!

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  31. Neil Says:

    Jock,

    Without getting in to technicalities here and speaking from within the industry, I can reassure you that Digital UK and Ofcom have planned DSO such that the scenario you are thinking about simply won’t happen.

    I think that whilst people without digital TV have probably run out to the supermarket and slapped a £15 STB underneath the TV to keep them going post-switchover (most recently South Wales as an example), once they catch wind there’s only 15’ish DTT services available on relay stations and give some thought to an ‘overhaul’ of their current set-up, they will look at the satellite option. Some people will be lured in by Sky who I’m sure will sign up a fair few subscribers but Freesat’s subscriber figures will be helped too.

    One of my main reasons for opting for the Freesat route was due to bitrates on SD channels being on the whole much better than Freeview’s. There’s also more overall SD services available without bandwidth/time-sharing (i.e. CNN as an example) which on Satellite are available 24/7.

    With Freesat’s current marketing being their biggest it will no doubt pay off in the coming Months and I expect this years unit sales to be good as a result.

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  32. jJosh Welby Says:

    I am disapointed that Freesat does not carry the following channels

    Channel 4 HD
    E4 HD
    Fiver
    Five US

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  33. Neil Says:

    C4HD very likely in the future
    E4HD won’t be here for few years due to a multi-year deal with Sky
    Fiver and Five US could arrive as soon as narrow beam capacity is made available

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  34. Richard Crichton Says:

    @Neil
    Emma claims that narrow beam capacity is available so why no Fiver and Five US?

    Quote: Q. Is narrow-beam capacity the biggest hurdle to additional channels on freesat, HD or otherwise? What steps are Ofcom, Freesat (BBC/ITV), Astra (SES) and Sky taking to ensure that narrow-beam capacity is prioritised for FTA channels?
    A: It’s not an issue as there is still capacity available and moving forward there will be more capacity when Astra launches an additional satellite next year. Unquote.

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  35. Neil Says:

    Technically there is capacity available if Sky move some of their current encrypted services on 5 TP’s however I believe they are unlikely to do this as it will create competition for them. In answer to HD in particular there IS capacity for C4HD on the BBC’s HD TP, it would mean moving one of their existing BBC1 sub-regions on to a different TP where there is also current capacity for it which, obviously unable to confirm, I assume Emma is coming from?

    There’s been a few interesting going-on’s with 10936V (2D TP56) which currently has Sky Active ‘red button’ services on it. These have been duplicated on Astra 2B TP19 since February and it’s also been spotted the NIT data shows this TP as migrating to DVB-S2, for HD services. Last week Sky changed the modulation to DVB-S2 overnight and carried out some testing but when I got round to checking it off-air it was switched back the following morning! The million dollar question is what is to go on to this TP in HD? ITV want extra HD regions so it could be for this but we don’t know and why shuffle services around to fit on 2D if it’s more encrypted HD?

    It wouldn’t be difficult for Five’s services on 2A to ‘do a swap’ for some of Sky’s 2D services in a phased manner (for one operator to use a “parked TP” to temporarily move to) but again it involves dealing with Sky! One thing Emma has confirmed reading between the lines is that SES’s Astra 1N, which is to provide backup for other 19.2E craft, will now be used in the interim at 28.2E to provide spot-beam capacity until Astra 2E arrives in 2012.

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  36. Kevin Ver1 Says:

    @Neil 31

    I have to disagree with Neil’s response to Jock that DSO has been carefully planned. I have looked at the changeover program and I was struck by the fact that the transmissions basis actually changes dramatically in 2012. Aerial recommendations also change which must mean a large number of homes will have an aerial configuration that is not suitable post 2012 despite being installed specifically for Freeview.

    Getting back to reception I have tried on a number of occasions to listen to the radio via Freeview but had to give up as the radio channel would lose the sound for periods. With an analogue radio you do get dips in the volume but it is still better to listen to than digital during poor reception.

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  37. owen Says:

    @neil. you’re right, the capacity is there but would be hard to shift things around but not impossible. from next year, it won’t be an issue. but, the biggest thing is money. as a commercial broadcaster you can take a fat cheque from sky to go exclusive or at least exclusive to pay or you can pay to go on a fta platform and make the money back in audience numbers. freeview hd actually does freesat favours because it makes the decision to go fta easier. if you’re reaching freeview and freesat customer base, it makes more sense. once you’ve made the decision to go freeview, you’ve already turned your back on the sky money and the money it costs to join freesat was never the issue, it’s the money LOST from sky.

    anyway, freesat really isn’t going to disappear. it will get stronger with freeview then really kick in in a few more years. canvas box, more capacity and quite possibly 3d. it was a tremendous effort from the bbc team to get freeview hd going and squeeze every last drop out of dtt technology but that was the end of the line. there’s no way it could cope with 3d. it would need to be delivered via a super fast fibre optic network like virgin media’s whereas satellite is ready now.

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  38. John Earp Says:

    I’m a great fan of Freesat and have just bought a Humax HD to replace my Bush SD box but wondered if there are any plans to include SKY news and SKY 3 on Freesat?

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  39. C14R4N Says:

    @38, John Earp.
    These are very unlikely to appear as Sky would have to pay their competition to be on the EPG

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  40. Neil Says:

    @36 Kevin
    There’s a potential re-jig to remove channels 61 and 62 from UHF band IV from 2012 which I assume your referring to in the sense of DSO. I don’t want to go too much in to Freeview issues as it sort of goes off topic but have a look on Ofcom’s Broadcast TV section as there’s some documentation about frequency planning etc.

    @Owen: I’d be keen to know how much Sky pay broadcasters like C4 to remain exclusive. Your right that with them on Freeview HD it makes Sky’s offering non-exclusive although still platform exclusive. I’m sure C4 are paying more money to put 4HD on Freeview than equivalent FTA cost on Satellite, time will tell if Sky’s financial incentive is keeping them but as Freesat’s numbers grow there must be pressure on C4 considering they consider themselves so called “platform neutral” !!

    All those £10/Month subs for Sky HD are what’s keeping broadcasters sweet with financial incentives!!

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  41. Fitzy Says:

    Good news ch4 hd !, it is getting there slowly.
    My only gripe is more sport please, maybe im asking to much & I should remind myself its free, roll on the world cup !!!!
    Before you moan iv provided for my girlfriend, she’s going to watch tv in the spare room on a 22″, while i watch free hd football on a 42″.
    Come on who wants to watch eastenders & corr’o in hd!!!!

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  42. zag Says:

    What a good interview, learnt a lot thanks.

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  43. Turkey Says:

    Sounds good, lets hope C4HD is here soon!!

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  44. Al (Original) Says:

    Thanks Emma, some encouragin responses there with regards to HD content and available bandwidth.

    However, there are one or two issues that still have me concerned:

    1. HD Picture Quality – no mention, acknowledgement of the problems or promise of a bandwidth fix has been mentioned in relation to this issue which sees picture quality still below that pre the encoder change and at times on some programmes below even SD standards – 2 prime examples ove the weekend – “Countryfile” (John Cravens face in the 1st item was blurry beyond even what I’ve seen on SD) to give just one example from this programme which was generally very poor and also “Tropic of Cancer” – also below SD quality.

    2. Top up TV – I have to say I’m totally against this idea. This to me is the thin end of the wedge. How many existing Freesat free channels are going to switch to pay to view if this becomes a reality? With ITV, FIVE and others reportedly in financial problems, I can see some of the best Freesat channels going pay to view if this goes ahead so top up tv becomes not only additonal programming as supporters have envisaged but also pay to view many of our existing free channels.

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  45. zag Says:

    I don’t see how freesat can do anything about the HD picture quality.

    Surely that’s up to the broadcaster?

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  46. Lawrence Says:

    “We worked hard to make sure that the first generation of receivers were as future proofed as possible – so the great news is that all HD Freesat receivers would be 3D compatible – if you buy a new 3D TV and the specs of course! We will continue to talk to broadcasters about opportunities in this area.”

    That is a load of codswallop of course. Freesat has made no real ‘future proofed’ provision for 3D TV at all. Rather, just as Sky have demonstrated, a 3D TV picture can be contained in an existing 2D frame if you are willing to sacrifice half the resolution.

    However, the long term future of broadcast 3D TV is more likely to be full HD resolution as provided today by Bluray, and already being discussed I understand by the EBU, which will require an upgrade to existing receivers (for example requiring a separate broadcast channel for each of the Left and Right images).

    The current system used by Sky is just a stop gap to get 3D off the ground. Not a long term solution.

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  47. John_M Says:

    @Lawrence #46

    Don’t take these answers too seriously. Just note that from the above answers, 3D TV is “very exciting” and the Freesat info channel is just plain old “exciting.” Perhaps this is excitement measured on a logarithmic scale.

    Bob H of Humax posted on Joinfreesat at the end of last year highlighting the reason for the 2nd generation Humax boxes was, “…because the older silicon just doesn’t cut the mustard for going forward.”

    It’s also possible to criticise the comment, “…and we’d point to recent developments such as BBC iPlayer…” because the iplayer was promised much earlier than nearly 2 years after the launch of Freesat (and we’re still waiting).

    There are multiple other “holes” in the replies, but my favourite was the question about “Freecable” – a yes, no, don’t know or maybe would have been nice, but we didn’t get any of that LOL.

    Though I am really curious how Freesat can say they are looking at the potential of pay-tv and also say that they won’t be selling it. It really is rather academic to say someone else will provide those services when Freesat will get their slice through an EPG slot payment…or will they give it away for free? I suspect not. Freesat will have a hard time trying to segment their customer base to justify the inclusion of a pay-tv cam. Then they’ll have to justify a “for-profit” activity on a “not-for-profit” EPG. I look forward to the discussions about that one.

    Just be thankful that a willingness to answer these questions shows that Freesat is “still on the agenda.” There’s not much more we should reasonably expect after that, IMO.

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  48. Jon Says:

    “I spend a lot of my time taking to broadcasters about their HD ambitions and we’ve been in on-going talks with Channel 4 over 4HD for some time. I’m confident that there will be positive news on the HD front soon – and we will continue to try our best to get more.”

    Where does it state that C4HD is coming? All I see is that they have been talking to Channel 4 over 4HD for some time. And then in the next sentence they are confident that there will be positive news on the HD front soon. This could be Food Network HD or Luxe HD or Bet HD for another one off show.

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  49. wak Says:

    @48 in another answer they say: Although it’s not possible to dictate that broadcasters come onto Freesat, we will have as many HD channels as Freeview once 4HD joins.

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  50. Jon Says:

    @49 – How stupid do I feel now? lol Thanks for putting me straight.

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  51. Ian, Bangor, Gwynedd Says:

    I really do hope that C4HD, E4HD, S4CHD and FIVE HD come onto Freesat. I just want to watch HD television for free instead of being robbed by BSkyB.

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  52. C14R4N Says:

    @51. Ian, Bagnor, Gwynedd
    C4HD- most likley out of them
    E4HD- dont expect it soon as it has a multi year deal with Sky
    S4CHD- as they havent launched yet not possible to say
    FIVE HD- also signed an agreement with Sky starting from July. Could be one year or multi

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  53. boudy Says:

    Persuade Panny…..and no mention of LG for Iplayer……..sure signed we were conned into buying a Pup!

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  54. kevin Says:

    is thay going to be sports channels comeing to freesat soonl the sky HD channels should come to freesat becouse it still in HD

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  55. Mike Chenery Says:

    I note the question about the BBC Red button services,and the lack of them on Freesat, but why is it that people with Sky receivers are able to view far more services like Election multi-screens, News multi screens, (with six screens no less) and on Fridays, the Gene Hunt “Music From The Eighties”?
    What is more none of these are on Freeview either, and seem to be specifically tailored for Sky, with a message to “Press Sky anytime to exit the service”. We are licence payers, and give our money to the BBC, not to Sky, and this seems like blatant discrimination in favour of the BBC’s arch rival!
    Some changes are necessary.

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  56. C14R4N Says:

    @54, kevin.
    The Sky channels will never be on freesat as they are pay services and freesat is also minor competition to Sky

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  57. nickb Says:

    Interesting reading Emma’s responses and subsequent comments.

    I’ve been considering freesat for sometime now as I need a replacement for an increasingly flakey Humax 9200 – and fighting against the tide of the rest of the family’s “Sky is much better, we want sky” view. I’ve been monitoring the channel line-up but it’s disappointing, without a number of the channels that are currently on freeview (ie Fiver, FiveUSA, Virgin1, Dave) it would be almost impossible to convince them Freesat was the way to go for the primary TV platform, it would have to be in addition to a freeview pvr and would probably just be used to view a few of the additional channels (CBS*, movie channels, and itv3/4 +1 channels)

    Let’s hope the new astra capacity allows some of these channels to come to freesat so that it more closely mirrors freeview and would become a viable alternative. Even for HD freeview seems to have more to offer when HD lanches.

    As for the poll on why people are chossing Freesat ….. maybe there should be an option along lines of “Alternative to sky”. :)

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  58. Jock Says:

    #57 – nickb

    With regard to your “increasingly flakey Humax 9200″ – I’ve had a lot of problems with mine since last September’s retune. Humax have got a software update almost ready for release. If, like me, you can’t wait, go to “Humax Customer Support” and ask to join Beta Testing. The software has to be downloaded to a PC and installed from that PC using a serial cable between the two.

    I’ve been running the beta software for about 10 days now and it’s great. Remember – while it’s still in beta it can go wrong and you have to take that risk. For me it has gone right.

    Freesat features a lot of +1 channels, reducing the need to record. I find that most of the Freeview channels not yet on Freesat are not worth recording anyway. If you’ve got a dish already installed you can get a simple SD receiver from Argos for £30 and judge whether Freesat is the right way forward for you. If you haven’t got a dish, try the beta update from Humax and decide whether you really need anything else.

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  59. Jock Says:

    #57

    The internet link did not come out right. Try support1@humaxdigital.com

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  60. nickb Says:

    #59 – Jock

    Thanks for your reply …. I think the hummy is getting worn out being around 4 years old ….. wiping programme lists etc ….. i will try the software update tho.

    We do tend to watch/record a few programmes on Virgin1 and FiveUSA

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  61. Chris. Says:

    Why have we got 19 BBC1 channels.

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  62. Jock Says:

    #61 – Chris

    Why not? Surely the real questions are :-

    1) Are these 19 BBC channels preventing other useful channels finding space on Astra 2/Eurosat?

    2) Is the BBC contributing pro rata for the EPG listings, giving Emma a bigger pool of money for improving the service?

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  63. mark Says:

    when will freesat be adding any new channels like dance nation tv or any new hd channels

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  64. philip smith Says:

    Why are some channels that are on Freeview not available on Freesat. If they are non subscription then surely Freesat should be able to carry them.

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  65. Doug Ash Says:

    There is only one company – Panasonic – which offers a Freesat DVD recorder. Why do those who are not on a main Freeview transmitter only get a limited terestrial service and are unable to record programmes on a DVD for the use of their children.

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  66. trev Says:

    why can i get dave,challenge.yesterday.etc. on freeview but not on freesat

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  67. Pete liivet Says:

    I have set up a 65cm dish on my apartment near Baden Baden. When I connect up the dish to the Humax box , I get a message that says that the channel cannot be viewed here contact freesat for help

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