What Should We Expect From Freesat In 2009?

With 2009 fast approaching, what can we expect from Freesat in the new year? Our poll which continues on the left hand side would suggest that more than 50% of you want C4HD as a priority, but in reality will that happen? We know that C4HD is currently tied into agreement (encrypted) with Sky so unless they can terminate early, or the contract concludes in 2009, can we expect this channel at all in the coming year! We will continue to try and find out the in’s and out’s of the contract, but if anyone knows linked to C4 or Sky, let us know.

So what is more likely to appear in 2009? Well BBC are still promising the on-demand iPlayer, directly linked to your Freesat digital box via the Ethernet port. This seems likely to go ahead around spring time, assuming no further delays. Kangaroo looks dead in the water at this point.

Will we see more manufacturers on board? Possible, talks are on-going with a number of large manufacturers although given the current economic climate, this could be a little longer than expected. It’s certain that Metronic will have their HD digital box out soon, although retailing at £150 wouldn’t result in many sales. Metronic’s PVR receiver is also due within the first quarter of 2009, although again, this could be delayed given that the HD receiver from them already has. Alba Group are said to be developing a PVR too, but no timescale as yet, and rumours of Panasonic working on a combined PVR and Blu-ray player/recorder just won’t go away, although the official PR release at this stage is that nothing is in the pipe-line.

So what about other channels? Well Freesat’s target of 200 channels has not yet been reached, so the remaining FTA channels can certainly be expected in the coming months, although will this include FTA channels such as Sky News, we are still awaiting confirmation (don’t forget Sky News and others can be added in non-freesat mode). Will channel Five manage to find space on 2D to bring us Fiver and Five US, lets hope so. As for other channels, well many still expect that the line-up should/will match Freeview, but that’s highly unlikely, as channels such as Dave, UK Gold etc are tied into subscription contracts on DSAT with Sky, so unless these channels/networks can find ways of raising revenue through advertising rather than subscription, it’s not going to happen unless Freesat’s viewing audience substantially increases.

Most will no doubt agree that ITV HD need to drastically improve the quality and quantity of HD programming, at the very least to match a constantly improving BBC HD. Would ITV HD benefit from having a separate channel than using the existing red button facility? Maybe, but the possible downside of this would be access to the channel via Sky, which in-turn could reduce Freesat’s potential viewing figures.

Rather than expected, we hope that BBC and ITV can improve the quality of sound on Freesat, with many, if not all programmes being broadcast in stereo, rather than Dolby 5.1 allowing us to enjoy films etc in surround sound quality. This must surely be a priority?

The platform thus far has been largely successful, but lets hope for an even better year ahead for Freesat, with increased popularity and exposure.

Happy new year from all involved with joinfreesat.co.uk and thanks to all of you that have contributed over the past year.

Three New Channels Join Freesat

We weren’t going to post about the new channel inclusions as they are not the most exciting, but we’ve had a number of emails from readers wondering what the changes were yesterday.

They include the following new channels:

141 BET+1
308 Simply Movies
816 Ideal World

There is also the addition of ITV1 London on 977 for audio description and also Celebrity Shop has been renamed TV Shop on channel 806.

For a full channel line up, click here.

Smart Live Casino joins Freesat

Smart Live Casino, billed as one of the newest and fastest growing live interactive casino’s joins the Freesat EPG tomorrow, Tuesday 14th October, on channel 852.

You can find out more information about Smart Casino Live on their website at http://www.smartlivecasino.com.

Just thought you should know, in case you wonder what the new channel added is.

9XM and 9X UK Join Freesat

Channels 9XM and 9X UK have joined the Freesat line-up. They should be immediately available and update automatically on your Freesat receiver.

9XM (channel 513) – 9XM is a music channel aimed at Hindi youth. The channel will showcase the best of Bollywood music and dance, and will broadcast 24 hours a day.

9X UK (channel 662) – 9X UK is aimed at the UK’s Hindi community. The channel offers programming with enduring universal themes with modern story-telling techniques. Big stars, beautiful sets and a real connection with life today, and deep understanding of generational and social changes that resonate with today’s viewers.

Channels confirmed for 16th September

Freesat have confirmed that five channels will join the Freesat EPG on Tuesday 16th September.

Television channels include Gaelic channel BBC Alba, Asian music channel Zee Music, shopping channel Best Direct and the specialist car channel, the Audi Channel.

Award-winning music station Planet Rock will also be further strengthening the Freesat radio offering.

Commenting on the addition of the new channels, Emma Scott, MD of Freesat, said;

We are excited about the addition of these new channels to the Freesat lineup. Bolstering our specialist offering is a key part of our channel strategy, and services such as these only make Freesat a more attractive offer for the consumer.

BBC Alba – Channel 110
Audi Channel – Channel 451
Zee Music – Channel 509
Planet Rock – Channel 730
Best Direct – Channel 813

Channels set for 16th Sep inclusion

Looks like we are set for some additional channels joining the Freesat EPG on Tuesday September 16th. Planet Rock, the award winning rock radio station have confirmed their inclusion (channel 730) and we are just trying to find out of any others.

Will channel Five be available at the same time? Erm no, channel Five are still in contract with Sky until October, and given that we’ve not seen any activity by them on the Astra2D beam yet, we suspect it will be late October or November before they are eligible to join in the Freesat party! Will keep you posted.

(Thank you to Gordon Valentine for the news on Planet Rock)

RTÉ Radio and Channel 4 +1 channels

Freesat have today announced the addition of six new TV and Radio channels available on Friday 5th September.

The newest additions to the Freesat platform particularly strengthen the radio line-up, with RTÉ Radio 1, RTÉ 2fm, RTÉ lyric fm and RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta joining.

Also new are the three ‘time-delay’ channels from Channel 4, including Film4 +1, E4 +1 and More4 +1. Showing identical programmnig to the original channels, just with a one hour delay, should the times suit you better.

All channels and variants will automatically be updated via your Freesat digital box sometime during tomorrow (usually around 11am).

Commenting on the addition of the new channels, Emma Scott, Managing Director of Freesat, said,

We’re pleased to announce the addition of these new services to the platform. The RTÉ Radio stations bolster Freesat’s radio offering for listeners, while Channel 4’s time-delayed services give viewers further opportunities to watch these popular channels

Adrian Moynes, Managing Director of RTÉ Radio said,

RTÉ Radio is looking forward to launching on Freesat this Friday. Listeners with Freesat will be able to hear RTÉ Radio in high quality sound anywhere in the UK, which is good news for consumers with an interest in Irish radio

Sarah Rose, Head of VOD and Channel Development for Channel 4, says,

The time delayed channels we are launching onto Freesat will give our viewers even more opportunities to enjoy our programming

Absolute Radio channels available now

Absolute Radio (724), Absolute Class R (725) and Absolute Xtreme (726) went live on the Freesat EPG a couple of hours a go. An automatic update should have been carried out on all Freesat receivers, but if not, try unplugging from the mains power, connecting back up and leaving for 10 minutes, this should avoid having to do a full reset resulting in any FTA channels added being lost.