BBC One HD Launches This November

Following on from the announcement made back in May of BBC One going high-definition, we can confirm that the BBC expect to launch this channel on the 3rd November 2010, if the expected frequency changes are accurate.

BBC One HD will mirror the standard-definition version with any programmes native to HD being available in that format, whilst all others will be upscalled.

This channel will join BBC HD (a mix of BBC Two, Three and Four) and ITV1 HD in the Freesat HD line-up.

Product Placement On Hollyoaks!

Are Freesat making the most of product placement opportunities on television? Well the Freesat HD logo was certainly very obvious on a recent episode of Channel 4’s soap Hollyoaks.

Freesat HD on Hollyoaks

The packaging suggests to us the product is the LG LF7700 LCD television, which is now discontinued and is currently causing much discussion regarding the introduction of iPlayer, or lack of!

Freesat HD on Hollyoaks

What do you think, product placement?

Thanks to omnidirectional (digitalspy) for spotting this.

STV Launches HD Service

STV Launches HD Service

News taken from STV website

STV is to launch its first High Definition service, STVHD, bringing viewers Scotland’s most popular peak time TV schedule in crystal clear clarity, making programmes brighter and sharper than ever before.

STVHD will be a completely separate channel on Digital Terrestrial Television/Freeview on channel 51 and on Virgin Media on channel 113. It will be available in time for the World Cup launching on 11 June.

STV HD brings football games to life, adds more energy to entertainment and offers drama in all its gritty glory. The channel will feature all of the 2010 FIFA World Cup games exclusive to STV throughout the tournament in High Definition, bringing viewers closer to the most exciting sports event of the year like never before.

Viewers can get closer to the action of all their favourite shows, such as X-Factor, Coronation Street and the new series of Taggart, as this cutting edge technology presents STV in amazing detail.

Bobby Hain, managing director of Broadcasting at STV, said;

We’re thrilled to be bringing viewers a brand new STV HD service, offering our programmes in crystal clear vision and incredible clarity. We’re particularly pleased that we’ll be offering all of the STV World Cup games in HD for our nation of football fans on both DTT and Virgin Media.

STV is currently working with Sky, Freesat and ITV Network with a view to making STVHD available via satellite as soon as possible and will provide an update on this in due course.

Freesat Launch World Cup Focused HD Campaign

Official Freesat press release

Freesat, the free-to-air satellite TV service, launches its latest integrated marketing campaign on 1st April. The campaign incorporates TV, press, digital, social media and PR and focuses on Freesat’s HD offering ahead of the World Cup that Freesat will show in HD nationwide and subscription-free on BBC HD and ITV1 HD channels.

The TV campaign, produced by Farm, focuses on the familiar interplay between a husband and wife as he tries to win ‘brownie points’ so he can get Freesat to enjoy the World Cup in HD. The ad opens with a family stuck in their car in a traffic jam in a spring shower. Dad sees a billboard at the side of the road which reads ‘GET THE FOOTBALL IN FREE HD’. He looks over at his wife and in an attempt to win ‘brownie points’ casually and nervously suggests “why don’t we have your Mum over for lunch on Sunday” to the obvious surprise of everyone else in the car. You can watch the ad here.

The 30″ TV advert will launch on ITV1 on the 1st April and will be supported by a 10″ as well as print, digital, PR and social media.

Freesat has also created a dedicated World Cup section of its website incorporating a range of new content designed to help people get ready to enjoy the tournament in HD on Freesat. From now until the climax of the World Cup in late June Freesat.co.uk will offer visitors a comprehensive match planner, World Cup Twitter aggregator and blog featuring guest blogger, pundit Lee Dixon. Traffic will be driven through to the site via social media activity including a viral ‘Brownie points’ game and a major World cup themed competition.

Will Abbott, Freesat Marketing and Communications Director comments:

Our new campaign comes at a particularly exciting time for Freesat as we recently passed the 1 million milestone – a fantastic achievement in such a highly competitive market. Being able to get the World Cup in HD, subscription free and across the whole country – no matter where you live – is a brilliant story for consumers. The TV commercial brings humour and a clear voice and personality to Freesat. The website content we’ve created and the social media activity we’re running will help us talk to as many world cup fans as possible and give them a chance to participate.

We’ll post up the campaign advert as soon as possible…

TechniSat HDFS Freesat Group Winner

TechniSat HDFS

The TechniSat HDFS has been awarded ‘group test winner’ in a recent feature review in What Satellite Magazine.

The magazine tested the existing range of Freesat HD single tuner receivers against each other, including the TechniSat HDFS, Humax FOXSAT-HD, Sagem DSI86HD and Metronic SATHD100, with the TechniSat winning by some margin, though not really a surprise to most (we are unsure of the absence of any of the Harvard range – Grundig, Goodmans and Bush).

The final review scores were:

TechniSat 86%
Humax 80%
Metronic 75%
Sagem 69%

Freesat Sales Figures – Q3 2009

Courtesy once again of AndrewM (the first!), updated sales figures/ratio’s for Quarter 3 – 2009.

Ofcom recently released their Digital Progress Report for Q3 2009 (http://www.ofcom.org.uk/research/tv/reports/dtv/dtv_2009_q3/).

Including the information you previously published (http://www.joinfreesat.co.uk/index.php/freesat-sales-sdhd-ratio, http://www.joinfreesat.co.uk/index.php/freesat-sales-sdhd-ratio-update and http://www.joinfreesat.co.uk/index.php/freesat-sales-figures-q2-2009), here are the updated Freesat sales figures as they stood at 30 September 2009:

Freesat unit sales – 2008

Q2 2008: 39,000 units (15,000 SD and 24,000 HD) (61% HD) [1]
Q3 2008: 69,000 units (20,000 SD and 49,000 HD) (71% HD) [2]
Q4 2008: 125,000 units (26,000 SD and 99,000 HD) (79% HD) [3]

Total sales for 2008: 233,000 units (61,000 SD and 172,000 HD) (74% HD) [3]

Freesat unit sales – 2009

Q1 2009: 117,000 units (26,000 SD and 91,000 HD) (78% HD) [4]
Q2 2009: 98,000 units (79% HD) [5]*
Q3 2009: 193,000 units (79% HD) [6]*

Total sales since launch:

643,000

As expected, Freesat sales figures showed a big increase in this quarter, with total unit sales by the end of the quarter standing at 643,000 and setting a new quarterly sales record of 193,000 units, nearly double the previous quarterly sales figure. Ofcom reports that the proportion of HD receivers is still constant at 79% (see note below). And as you reported in late November (http://www.joinfreesat.co.uk/index.php/freesat-sales-pass-750000), Freesat said that sales had by that point surpassed 750,000. Given these figures, I definitely think that Freesat is on track to pass the million mark sometime this current quarter.

[1] http://www.ofcom.org.uk/research/tv/reports/dtv/dtu_2008_q2/q2_2008
[2] http://www.ofcom.org.uk/research/tv/reports/dtv/dtu_2008_03/q3_2008.pdf
[3] http://www.ofcom.org.uk/research/tv/reports/dtv/dtu_2008_04/q42008.pdf
[4] http://www.ofcom.org.uk/research/tv/reports/dtv/dtu_2009_01/q12009.pdf
[5] http://www.ofcom.org.uk/research/tv/reports/dtv/dtu_2009_02/q22009.pdf
[6] http://www.ofcom.org.uk/research/tv/reports/dtv/dtv_2009_q3/dtv_2009_q3.pdf

*Note that starting in Q2 2009, Ofcom only reports the percentage of HD receivers sold, rather than giving a number of units, so it isn’t possible to give the units breakdown of SD and HD receivers. Also, it’s not completely clear if the percentage they give is for total sales or quarterly sales; I have assumed the latter.

ITV HD Christmas Schedule Released

ITV HD Schedule

ITV HD have announced their Christmas programme schedule and must say that if you are in to your films and dramas, you are going to love the content on this festive season.

Films include the sixth Star Wars films, Return of the Jedi (if you work that way around, it’s the third to me!); also on is Gorillas in the Mist, The Nutty Professor, Love Actually, Bridget Jones The Edge of Reason, Gladiator and so much more. There is also a Take That special allowing you to enjoy their sell-out ‘Circus’ tour from the past few months.

Settle in this Christmas with ITV HD, visit the full schedule of 48 programmes here.

BBC HD’s schedule for the next 9 days can be found here.

BBC iPlayer Beta Testing To Begin This Month

BBC iPlayer’s long-awaited beta testing is finally expected to start this November.

According to Rahul Chakkara, Controller of TV Platforms at BBC FM&T, the MHEG-5 compliant version of the interface will begin Beta deployment “by end of November” on the Freesat platform.

I expect to start a Beta deployment by the end of November using capable Freesat devices.

As we had suspected, it seems that BBC might have been holding back to introduce the service across both the Freesat and Freeview platform at the same time, though Freesat is still expected to be the first to offer in HD.

The DTG (Digital Television Group) supported by BBC R&D, has extended the MHEG-5 standard to use the interaction channel for handling Internet video. This standard has been adopted by Freesat and incorporated into the DBook 6.1 used in Freeview HD devices. Finally now the resulting MHEG-IC service will allow both platforms to access additional AV content via the Internet. This will include BBC iPlayer of course, as well as other VoD (Video On Demand) and Catch-up TV services, plus much more in the future including real-time programme interaction.

Every Star Wars Movie In HD On ITV HD

This message is a direct press release from Freesat

Jump aboard the Millennium Falcon and prepare to fight the Death Star as the entire Star Wars movie franchise is coming to a living room near you, in High Definition and subscription free, on the ITV HD service from Freesat, starting 24th October.

Running throughout the month of November and December, the entire series will be airing on ITV HD in consecutive order, beginning with Episode I: The Phantom Menace on 24th October, culminating with Episode VI: Return of the Jedi in December, and including the terrestrial premiere of Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. A favourite of film fans of all ages, this franchise has to be seen in digitally remastered HD.

The Star Wars have generated a universe of their own, from books to video games and has made stars of actors such as Harrison Ford. Originally released in 1977 with Star Wars, followed by The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, director George Lucas returned to Star Wars in 1999 with The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, prequels to the original series.

Other ITV HD highlights on Freesat include films such as Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, and Champions League and FA Cup football.

Freesat Sales Figures – Q2 2009

Courtesy once again of AndrewM (the first!), updated sales figures/ratio’s for Quarter 2 – 2009.

Ofcom today published their Digital Television Update for Q2 of 2009 (news release: http://www.ofcom.org.uk/media/news/2009/9/nr_20090929). Including the information you previously published (http://www.joinfreesat.co.uk/index.php/freesat-sales-sdhd-ratio and http://www.joinfreesat.co.uk/index.php/freesat-sales-sdhd-ratio-update), here are the updated sales figures:

Freesat unit sales – 2008

Q2 2008: 39,000 units (15,000 SD and 24,000 HD) (61% HD) [1]
Q3 2008: 69,000 units (20,000 SD and 49,000 HD) (71% HD) [2]
Q4 2008: 125,000 units (26,000 SD and 99,000 HD) (79% HD) [3]

Total sales for 2008: 233,000 units (61,000 SD and 172,000 HD) (74% HD) [3]

Freesat unit sales – 2009

Q1 2009: 117,000 units (26,000 SD and 91,000 HD) (78% HD) [4]
Q2 2009: 98,000 units (79% HD) [5]*

Total sales since launch

448,000

So a drop in sales from Q1 to Q2 (the impact of the recession and poor availability of boxes?), however given the recent announcement of 600,000 units sold (http://www.joinfreesat.co.uk/index.php/freesat-achieves-600000-sales-since-launch), it looks like Q3 sales are on track to set a new quarterly record of more than 150,000 units (even higher than the quarter which included last Christmas!). As for the percentage of HD receivers sold, it looks like it has reached a plateau for the moment at almost 80%.

[1] http://www.ofcom.org.uk/research/tv/reports/dtv/dtu_2008_q2/q2_2008
[2] http://www.ofcom.org.uk/research/tv/reports/dtv/dtu_2008_03/q3_2008.pdf
[3] http://www.ofcom.org.uk/research/tv/reports/dtv/dtu_2008_04/q42008.pdf
[4] http://www.ofcom.org.uk/research/tv/reports/dtv/dtu_2009_01/q12009.pdf
[5] http://www.ofcom.org.uk/research/tv/reports/dtv/dtu_2009_02/q22009.pdf

*Note that for this quarter Ofcom reports the percentage of HD receivers sold, rather than giving a number of units, so it isn’t possible to give the units breakdown of SD and HD receivers.