Freesat comment on Freeview announcement

Further to the news announcement today that Ofcom has awarded two licenses for HD channels on Freeview from 2010, Freesat wish to point out the following:

– Roll out of Freeview HD channels will be linked to digital switchover, which means that HD will only become available in the UK on a region-by-region basis from launch until 2012. See this page for information.

– In order to view HD channels on Freeview, consumers will need to replace their existing Freeview receiving equipment (either a set-top box or television with Freeview receiver built-in) by purchasing entirely new equipment.

– Freeview coverage in the UK currently stands at 73%. Even after digital switchover there will still be a proportion of UK households which will not be able to view Freeview and it’s HD channels whilst Freesat reaches 98% of UK homes now.

Quote from Freesat concerning today’s announcement:

With Freesat, subscription free high definition (HD) is already a reality for the UK. We believe our no strings offer of over 130 channels plus great HD programmes from the BBC and ITV, for a one off payment of as little as £120, is leading the way in making HD the standard that viewers will come to expect in the future.

Due to the way we broadcast our service, via satellite rather than traditional aerial, HD is available now to 98% of UK homes via Freesat. Freesat homes don’t have to wait until Digital Switchover reaches their region to get HD for free – which for large parts of the country is still over three years off.

Freesat Reaches 100,000 Sales Since Launch

Freesat, the free digital satellite television service has reached 100,000 sales within just five months of launching on 6th May 2008, having maintained strong, steady growth throughout what has been a tough summer for high street retailers.

In a tough economic climate Freesat are delighted with the figures, suggesting the uptake is a result of free high-definition driving sales, as well as live HD sporting events both on the BBC and ITV channels.

With an autumn schedule boasting UEFA Champions League, England World Cup qualifiers and FA Cup football on ITV HD exclusive to Freesat, and first class dramas and entertainment including Heroes and Strictly Come Dancing from BBC HD, strong sales are set to continue.

Emma Scott, Managing Director of Freesat commented,

There’s no denying how much people enjoy watching in high definition once they see it for themselves and the success of Freesat proves that. Unfortunately there are still a lot of people out there who think they’re already watching in HD because they have an HD ready TV – but they aren’t.

We want to help everyone understand that HD Ready is not the same thing as HD now. Without an HD digital receiver connected to an HD Ready TV or an integrated TV with Freesat HD built in you can’t watch an HD TV programme. It needn’t be complicated or costly. For those people that already have a satellite dish installed, they may simply be able to take their Freesat digital box or integrated TV home and plug it straight in.

So what does the future hold for Freesat?

The introduction of Freesat+ (their words, not ours!), a digital television recorder (DTR or HDR), due for release by Humax in November (confirmed).

An increased number of manufacturers, including some leading brands whom are already in discussions with Freesat, plus a larger supply chain.

Freesat are also continuing with it’s plan to offer 200 channels by early 2009, with channels being added to the EPG every week or two. Channel Five is said to be just a few weeks away, with an exclusive Freesat channel (presumed RTE, not official) expected by the end of the year.

Commenting on the future of Freesat, Emma Scott said,

We’ve done a great job so far, and we’re delighted that so many people are now satisfied Freesat homes. We look forward to continuing to work with all our partners to build on our success for Christmas and into 2009

Proms on BBC HD

Whilst the viewing figures might not reach that of King Kong the other day, it’s worth noting that Saturday 13th September sees the pinnacle of the UK’s classical music season, Last Night of the Proms, on BBC HD.

The finale of the Proms season, which has played host to some of the finest classical talents from around the world, is to be broadcast in high-definition, showing every mini-Union Jack flag and violin stroke in picture quality five times that of standard definition television.

BBC HD’s broadcasting of the Proms also means that music lovers will be able to listen to some of the performances in Dolby 5.1 sound, transforming living rooms up and down the country into symphony halls.

Commenting on the Proms being broadcast in HD, Emma Scott, Managing Director of Freesat said;

The annual Proms season is a British, and BBC institution. Free high-definition coverage of these events via Freesat means that music lovers can immerse themselves in the amazing experience that high definition and digital audio gives you.

REVISED: ITV HD Programme Schedule

ITV HD schedule static page now available here

It seems that no matter where you look, its impossible to find a schedule of programmes due to be shown on ITV HD. ITV’s own TV guide is useless, not even showing Harley Street as in HD, which is odd considering its their first weekly drama and they made such a big deal of it when it first broadcast.

What we’ve decided to do is post below the HD programmes we know are scheduled to be available (in the coming weeks), and was hoping with the participation of our readers we’d be able to get as complete a list as possible, so if you are aware of any more, please post a comment and we’ll update this post…then we’ll consider building a static page around it.

ITV HD schedule static page now available here

Britain From Above – BBC HD Sunday 10th 9pm

Britain From Above

Not to be missed! Britain From Above, a new documentary hosted by Andrew Marr which begins Sunday 10th August at 9pm on BBC HD and BBC One.

An epic journey revealing the secrets, patterns and hidden rhythms of our lives from a striking new perspective.

Join host Andrew Marr as he discovers how each and every one of us is interconnecting making Britain what it is today.

Britain looks very different from the skies. From a bird’s eye view of the nation, its workings, cities, landscapes and peoples are revealed and re-discovered in new and extraordinary ways.

Cutting edge technology allows you to see through cloud cover, navigate the landscape and witness familiar sights as never seen before.

We have been lucky enough to see a preview of this in high-definition and it was nothing short of stunning, the best we’ve seen from BBC’s high-definition service so far. Do not miss it.

Visit BBC’s Britain From Above website for more information.

High Definition Olympics set for Freesat

Freesat have today announced the Olympics will be in high-definition on the BBC. Now of course we already knew this, but the fact that Freesat have made an official statement is a good indication that everything is set for the start of the games. Emma Scott, MD of Freesat said

The Olympics is the ultimate global sporting event, and viewers will be astounded by the quality of the BBC’s HD footage; every drop of water falling off the oars of a rower to the sand erupting from the long jump pit will be beautifully clear. At Freesat, we’re committed to bringing brilliant HD programming to as many UK viewers as possible, for free. The scope of BBC’s HD coverage of the Beijing Olympics is testament to the exciting future of HD broadcasting in this country.

Lets all get behind Freesat and the BBC on this one, it should be an amazing spectacle.

It’s expected that the first broadcasts will be of the football starting tomorrow (6th) and its been confirmed that all interactive channels will be standard-definition, with the exception of BBC HD of course.

Don’t forget to receive the Olympics in high-definition you’ll need a Freesat HD receiver from Humax, Grundig, Goodmans or Bush, or alternatively a Panasonic Plasma with Freesat built-in. More information on the receivers available, plus price comparisons can be found here.