Spare Slots Appear On Astra2D Transponder

It would appear that some channels have been removed from one of the Astra2D transponders (10921 H) today; the channels removed seem to be pay-per-view channels serviced by Sky.

Whilst not major news, it has been a long time since 2D slots have opened up so the question will be, what for?

For those not aware, UK broadcasters wishing to broadcast ‘in the clear’ (i.e. FTA) must allocate their channels a slot on the Astra2D beam which is more UK focused to limit access outside the UK; a previous post on this subject can be found here.

With any luck, Channel 4 may be able to buy one of the slots for C4 HD when it comes out of contract with Sky (again) and also Channel Five may be able to grab a few for Fiver and Five US which are presently encrypted (FTV). There may even be space for Five HD!

This is purely speculation though, for all we know, the pay-per-view channels may return or the space may still be rented by Sky and used for other channels they intend launching; but if there is any opportunity for the UK broadcasters to use as a reason to actively pursue the slots, now is the time.

Thanks Rich for alerting us to this development.

50 thoughts on “Spare Slots Appear On Astra2D Transponder”

  1. This could be potentially good news for Freesat, if those channels mentioned are inclined to expanded their viewing audience and maybe generate some much needed revenues. However, I’d be quite surprised if this was the case, I can’t see the Murdoch monopoly releasing these precious slots to another platform and more than likely they will become something else within it’s own setup.

    That said, if these slots did become free for renting, would Freesat approach the said channels and make a case for them to pursue the idea so they could gain their services. I think it goes without saying Freesat needs some kind of injection into it’s platform as quite frankly, apart from the iplayer, it needs it.

  2. Let’s hope this will affect Freesat in a positive way. Personally I am unsure what I would like. In a list of importance for me

    Full time ITV1 HD
    Better HD Image on BBC HD
    CH4 HD

    I guess we will find out.

  3. I absolutely agree with ste Rush
    Ch 5 HD
    Ch 4 HD
    Full time ITV1 HD
    Better HD Image on BBC HD
    Five US

    But I have a funny feeling that Sky will not give up these slots so easily and probably has something planned for them.

  4. sky wont give up the slots without a fight so i doubt weither channel 4 or Five will get the space for freesat channels

  5. maybe one of the adult channels will pick up the slot…. (although I do hope CH4 HD, 5HD, 5er/5US…)

  6. I quite frankly cannot see any logic in moving encrypted channels off astra 2d, just to replace them with further encrypted channels. Lets hope this will free up space for Ch 4 HD, Ch 5 HD etc. An offering from the uktv stable would also be nice.

  7. Would love some more HD and it does fit with the Freeview roll outs but does anyone really, honestly, think it will be anything other than Sky / subscription channels ? !

  8. “For those not aware, UK broadcasters wishing to broadcast ‘in the clear’ (i.e. FTA) must allocate their channels a slot on the Astra2D beam which is more UK focused to limit access outside the UK; a previous post on this subject can be found here”

    Not for long, though. A recent EU directive has stated that from Dec 09 any EU member must broadcast indiscriminately to all other members of the EU. Was in the local newspapers here in Spain. This means we’ll be able to shrink from our working 2.4m dish to about 1m! Not sure how they’ll collect any licence fees from all the EU people?!

  9. high just got a humax freesat box from richer sounds 50 pounds im buzzing ,, just got to wait untill feb 4th to use it , sky runs out then ,they ripped me off and thats it now

  10. This simply comes down to economics … the tp’s are brokered … Sky has already started to transition contracts to remove brokers from the equation. I would check who owns the rights to it and see if they are infact in favour with Sky currently. CH4 will not look to rebroadcast it’s HD channel especial for FTA market. Someone would need to pay for it for them … I am not sure if politically Freesat or anyone would be able to or will to do so without some form of financial stake in 4.

  11. Re Phil C (10). Sadly I think he may be mistaken. The requirement is that no EU member sate is allowed to block transmission from another EU member state. IE The Spanish broadcasting authorities would not be allowed to build a kind of broadcasting firewall that would prevent French or Portugese transmissions appearing on Spanish TV. I do not believe it is a requirement for any EU broadcaster to transmit it’s programmes simultaneously across all member states of the EU.

  12. As the consensus appears to be that C4HD will not be on Freesat any time soon because it would cost them a lot of money, why are they listed as going to be available on Freeview HD?
    Presumably no one is going to pay them any money for this!

  13. I have just had a look at the Flysat website. It lists 14 channels for 10921 H. These consist of 12 Sky Box Office channels, ND TV 24/7 and Current TV UK.

    I would imagine Sky Box Office are pay per view.

  14. C4HD should come off Sky and broadcast into outer space until Freeview HD comes along, and only go back on Sky if Sky can find them a slot on Astra2D.

  15. Would this be the planned shutdown of one of the TPs, to allow the others to run at full capacity, while 2D is nearing the end of its lifespan?

  16. Kevin Ver1: that’s how it used to be, only ndtv 24/7, current tv uk and like 6 other box office left. hardly enough space for anything ! this just improves the picture quality on the box office service…

    anonymo: also possible, don’t think it used all capacity the first few years so they might last abit longer.

  17. peterhb Says:

    ‘As the consensus appears to be that C4HD will not be on Freesat any time soon because it would cost them a lot of money, why are they listed as going to be available on Freeview HD?’

    I was going to say that freeview has a 9 million viewing base but this is not true as the HD settop boxes are not available yet so it would be starting from zero. Good question!

    With the freesat HD figures approaching the 1 million mark, maybe they would move as soon as the contract with sky is up and there is space on 2D?

  18. These slot that have become available, i would put money on Sky launching there 3D TV, This in due in2010
    I cannot see Sky giving up slots for Channel 4 hd ,five ,etc


  20. after having my freesat humax for 3 months now. i now wonder if there is a future for freesat lets be honest the channel content is very poor towards freeview ie no dave channel no yesterday channel no sky sports news its definetly playing second fiddle to freeview,i honestly bought it because i thought it was something different but all it is really is a service for people who cant recieve freeview and must pay a premium for a digital service.

  21. That is exactly what Freesat is there for, to fill in the gaps. HD is only just begining, more will come. I doubt if this transponder is for FTA channels, we can always hope. Sky have no interest in Freesat gaining more channels.
    More likely, that a BBC transponder will move to DVB-S2 for the HD channels.
    Shame they don’t start using using MPEG4 and DVB-S2 for SD channels, they could free up a lot of space.

  22. Lets hope that this 2D transponder *could* be freed up for more FTA stuff but, and like others have all speculated, you can bet your bottom dollar that Sky will find something to stick on it simply to keep Freesat growth suppressed, another reason I hate $ky!

    Saying that, I’ve heard that Astra 2C is likely to return to 28.2E this year once it’s DR operations at 31.5E are finished with. Sky could be told by SES to move those 5 TP’s on to 2C which has a mainly Northern European footprint thus freeing all the Sky TP’s on 2D. SES must be under considerable pressure from broadcasters all wanting space on 2D which they must be acutely aware of.

    Lets remember that Sky only provide them with Encryption licensing and EPG allocations, they don’t neccesarily uplink all these FTV Encrypted channels so their contracts for uplinking could be with their carrier and not neccesarily Sky!

  23. I’m sure that because of the limited space for HD channels and even SD channels that have to transmit “in the clear” on FreeSat, that a combined FreeSat/FreeView HD PVR as people are voting for in the poll, is a must have item.
    To have the benefits of both platforms will give us as many free to air channels and HD channels as is possible, remember, there is no conflict between FreeView and FreeSat as they are not in competition with each other!

  24. Having being one of the many thousands of people who went out & brought a freesat box as a way of recieving HD programs without having to subscribe to sky ,boy have i been disapointed with both the quantity & quallity of the HD content ,let alone the fact we dont have a dedicated sport’s channel ,maybe this space now avalable could be used for a channel such as Eurosport in ether sd or hd ! .

  25. Would it not be a good idea for freesat to put more online content on the box such as itv, eurosport players and 4od? However I would realy love some more HD.

  26. @1 & 21 Sky 3d is already testing on one of Sky’s HD transponders on Astra 2a north.

    I’m sure ITV would like to save paying Sky encryption fees and take their six sub-regions off Astra 2b north and move them to 2d.

  27. The FreeviewHD Boss on TV News
    a month back confirmed Ch5 HD and Ch4HD.
    I assume we in the better FreesatHD will get them at the same time.

    Also whe can we not have SkyNews HD
    when they start up doing HD soon.
    Its wrong only having the one UK’s BBC and not Sky.
    More News stations is better
    and Freesat has some great International News Ch.

  28. @32 Freeview channels don’t always match Freesat ones.

    Commercially funded HD is still a premium product, so I would expect Sky News HD to be pay.

  29. Why do all these posters assume that Freesat are in control of any of the channels that become available via their platform? It is a choice of the broadcaster whether they want to make themselves and their programming available via the Freesat EPG. This has to be costed and especially about the possibility of HD content requires considerable investment. Just because a service is not there does not automatically make it a viable proposition for anyone interested. Therefore, it is pointless speculating about channels that may or would like to be seen arrive. The average punter for Freesat will not understand about or want to tune non-EPG channels. As for sport, Sky have pretty much sewn up any rights to anything interesting that’s not on the protected list. The pay model is the winner here, especially in these difficult times. The rest of TV is so fractious and could do with some rationalisation to make it practical.

  30. At the moment Sky is doing very well picking up new subscribers, however after the election and when the promised cuts in public spending take place I can forsee many people cancelling their subs. Many of those folks will switch to either Freeview or Freesat.

  31. @36 If they cancel their subs, they’ll still get more channels both SD and HD with a non-sub Sky box. No need to waste their money (if they have any) on buying new equipment. Also, more than likely their TV will have Freeview already.

  32. @ derek500,

    most tvs most likely will have built-in freeview but they will not have the capability to pick up the hd channels without a hd set top box.

  33. @derek500
    My parents have a Sky box without the sub. I have not noticed that they have more channels. There does seem to be a lot of encypted channels. However you do have a point about needing to get a new box. I am sure there are people who would feel it would be worth while purchasing a Freesat or FTA receiver for other TVs in the house rather than purchase a Sky box. Especially if it gives acces to BBC HD without a sub.

  34. now channel4 have 5 test channels on it’s 12480 V .. & also removing 3 channels guessing they are making room for 4HD on the astra 2d craft 🙂
    pressumably they’ll remove some of the channel4 +1s

  35. @sdsa:

    any more information on this coz i really want 4HD… and this is just my bigest wish 🙂 … the channels on 12480V is encrypted? and will they really remove channels on astra 2d to get this space for 4HD ? 😀

  36. Turns out is the channel4/bauer music channels moving to 12480V and they are encrypted, guess no 4HD for us then 🙁

  37. Don’t forget that the BBC have TWO transponders each showing the BBC HD service. I do not see the point of that.

    Surely one of them will be reallocated to broadcast a different channel in the future. ???.

  38. Is it the case that on one transponder is used for the Freesat BBC HD but the other is on Sky being the BBC HD promo channel? No doubt someone will have an answer.

  39. If we don’t get 4HD on Freesat soon I shall be leaving and going else where.
    It has been promised for to long now. As ITV HD is now getable on SKY’S HD box I may have to swallow my pride and go there

  40. In reality it’s unlikely that great deals of new channels are going to appear it a massive wave over night. However the more people who buy freesat and use it will greatly increase the number of channels on freesat.
    Channel 4 HD
    Five HD
    Five USA
    Virgin 1
    UKTV Channels (Dave, Eden, Brightly, Alibi … so on)

  41. They are sky box office channels, either the removed ones are returning or its a transponder move… the total number of 24 hours feeds is now the same as before the removals from this transponder..

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