Freesat to offer Channel 4’s HD Paralympic Channels

Channel 4 to launch 'Project Shuffle' channelFreesat will be the only subscription free TV platform to carry all three of Channel 4’s extra live HD Paralympic channels, C4 Paralympics Extra, throughout the London 2012 Paralympics. The channels will offer an extensive range of live coverage, giving viewers three extra video feeds of action from the London 2012 Continue reading Freesat to offer Channel 4’s HD Paralympic Channels

Channel 4’s 4seven now on Freesat channel 127

Channel 4's 4seven coming to FreesatFor those of you that don’t already know, Channel 4’s new channel, 4seven launched today (4/7/12) on Freesat channel 127.

The channel, originally discussed here and here allows you to catch up on programmes you might have missed from the past 7 days across the Channel 4 suite of channels. The programmes selected to be shown are those that Channel 4 deem are the best from the past 7 days. Continue reading Channel 4’s 4seven now on Freesat channel 127

Channel 4’s 4seven coming to Freesat

Channel 4's 4seven coming to FreesatFollowing on from our previous post about Channel 4’s new “project shuffle” channel, we can now confirm the new channel, now called 4seven, will be available on Freesat, when it launches later this year.

Announced today, it is the first new channel for Channel 4 since 2005. It will give viewers another chance to catch up with the most popular and talked about Channel 4 content from the last 7 days. Continue reading Channel 4’s 4seven coming to Freesat

Channel 4 to launch ‘Project Shuffle’ channel

Channel 4 to launch 'Project Shuffle' channelChannel 4 have today announced they plan to launch a new television channel around June, allowing viewers the opportunity to catch repeats of its best shows; effectively offering a television version to complement their existing 4OD (on demand) facility.

The new channel, referred to internally as Project Shuffle, will allow viewers who missed the first live broadcast of Channel 4’s most popular shows multiple opportunities to catch up with them over the next seven nights. Continue reading Channel 4 to launch ‘Project Shuffle’ channel

4OD and Demand 5 Expected

One of the most commonly asked questions we get asked (apart from where’s Dave!!!) is whether the on-demand services from Channel 4 (4OD) and Channel 5 (Demand 5) will be coming to Freesat.

We know that discussions have been ongoing between the broadcasters and Freesat to increase the number of interactive services and it appears that Freesat are now finishing their email news announcements with the following tag line: Continue reading 4OD and Demand 5 Expected

C4HD To Launch On Freesat

Channel 4 and Freesat today announced that Freesat HD viewers will soon be able to enjoy C4HD when the channel launches on the subscription free satellite TV service in April.

C4HD becomes the fourth HD channel on Freesat joining BBC1 HD, BBC HD and ITV1 HD. Freesat currently offers over 170 TV, radio and interactive channels to its 1.5 million customers, alongside BBC iPlayer, with ITV Player imminent (for most). Continue reading C4HD To Launch On Freesat

C4HD Satellite Capacity Delays Launch

Speaking with Channel 4 today, we have found out that C4HD is free of its original contract with Sky but lack of space on the appropriate satellite beam is the cause for the high-definition service not being available on the Freesat platform at this time.

As a UK broadcaster, restrictions mean that Channel 4, along with BBC, ITV and Five can only offer their channels in-the-clear if they are broadcast from the tighter 2D beam on the Astra2 satellite; either that or by means of restricted access such as ITV HD.

The high def simulcast is currently available to subscribers of Sky HD and Virgin Media HD, but will also be made available on other platforms including Freesat in future; unfortunately, there is no satellite capacity for our HD channel on Freesat at present.

Unfortunately the 2D beam transponders are already full, with some broadcasters such as BBC reducing the quality of their HD offering in the hope of gaining more space for potential future channels and services. Channel 4 currently lease two of the transponders but are already at full capacity using them for their range of channels already FTA (free-to-air), such as Channel 4, E4, More4, Film4 plus the 1 hour time-shifts and regional variants.

Unless more space can be made available, or channels are moved around, it will be extremely difficult for C4HD, as well as Fiver and Five US to launch FTA on the Freesat platform. The channels currently filling the 2D beam include the following, no surprises that Sky have encrypted/subscription channels taking up valuable space, but they lease it, so are entitled to it:

At The Races (encrypted)
BBC 1 (all regions)
Channel 4 (all regions)
Channel 4 +1 (all regions)
Channel TV
Current TV
Disney Channel (encrypted)
Disney Channel +1 (encrypted)
Disney Cinemagic (encrypted)
Disney Cinemagic +1 (encrypted)
E4 +1
Film 4
Film 4 +1
FX UK +2 (encrypted)
ITV 1 (all regions)
ITV 2 +1
ITV 3 +1
ITV 4 +1
Men & Motors
More 4
More 4 +1
NDTV 24×7
Playhouse Disney (encrypted)
Playhouse Disney +1 (encrypted)
RTE One (encrypted)
RTE Two (encrypted)
Scottish TV (all regions)
Sky Box Office
Sky Real Lives (encrypted)
Sky Real Lives +1 (encrypted)
Sky Real Lives 2 (encrypted)
Sky Sports 2 (pubs – commercial) (encrypted)
Sky Sports Active
Sky Travel Shop (encrypted)
Sky Travel Shop (encrypted)
TG4 (encrypted)
TV3 (encrypted)
Ulster TV

Channel 4 are working to resolve this matter, and have been carrying out tests over the past few weeks since we believe their contract with Sky ended in July 2009. Lets hope that something can be sorted and C4HD can be fairly distributed across all platforms, especially given they are a UK public broadcaster.

Update (24th August 2009)

Official response from Freesat:

Although capacity on the Astra2D satellite is currently in short supply, the situation can change. Other capacity is available although it may not be suitable for some broadcasters depending on the rights they hold with content owners.

Freesat continues to talk with broadcasters about bringing HD content onto the platform and is confident of being able to offer more HD in the future.

C4 HD Joins Virgin Media Line-up

Channel 4 HD

With today’s announcement that C4 HD will launch on the Virgin Media cable platform in the next few weeks; questions are being asked of whether Channel 4’s high-definition service will also be available on Freesat.

We are trying to find this out, but from what we understood from previously conversations with Channel 4; the contract with Sky ensured an exclusive agreement on the satellite platform, but not others such as cable and terrestrial aerial. If this is the case, then we have a while longer to wait yet; but if not, we could indeed see C4HD making an appearance on Freesat very soon.

As we find out more information, we’ll be sure to update you.

C4 HD This Year?

It seems that Channel 4’s contract with Sky is the worlds best kept secret, no matter how much we try, we cannot get an indication from anywhere as to what the detail of that contract might be.

At present C4’s high-definition service is encrypted, requiring a Sky+HD Digibox and viewing card to view, even though it’s not a subscription channel.

We are constantly pushing Freesat, Channel 4 and Sky for an answer, but the closest we’ve got so far has definitely got to be our last two responses from Channel 4. We were told by email;

The HD Channel 4 service is currently not avaiable on Freesat, but we hope this will be added in the coming months.

We then responded to ask whether they could give anymore indication than that, which was responded to with;

We have no further information as to when Channel 4 HD will be avalable via Freesat, but hopefully it will be available at some point this year.

This is by far the best information we’ve had so far from them, helped no doubt by our mention of the current poll running which has you voting 51% in favour of C4HD being the most wanted service next from Freesat.

We’ll continue to chase…