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FreesatWelcome to joinfreesat.co.uk, the unofficial Freesat news site. Find out the very latest information on the Freesat satellite television service, available throughout the UK. This site includes all the latest news, reviews and product details, plus where to buy online at the best price...

Freesat is a UK digital satellite TV service from the BBC/ITV which launched in May 2008. Freesat has no monthly subscription, just a one-off payment for the digital box, satellite dish and installation. It even comes with subscription-free, high-definition TV programmes. As Freesat is broadcast via satellite, it’s available to almost every household in the UK.
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Aug 07 2009

ITV have today announced the planned launch of ITV1 HD, which is said to be in place by the end of the year when Freeview switch-over begins. The channel has also been confirmed as being available from the off on the Freesat platform, whilst no agreement is yet in place with Sky or Virgin Media.

ITV1 HD will run in a similar manner to how C4 HD currently is, with simulcast programmes and up to an expected 50% of peak-time programming in native HD by 2010, and 70% by 2014.

This channel is said to replace the current red button ITV HD service, although no definite date has been given for this. We’d like to think that our post helped make this decision, although we suspect it had been planned for some time. ;)


Jul 22 2009

Lets hope so, as nothing appears to be happening in the world of Freesat at the moment!

We just wanted to let you know we are still here, still pushing for little nuggets of information to share with you.

It would seem that Freesat are presently spending quite a lot of time assisting in the Digital Switch-Over (DSO), which happens this year in the Granada, West Country, Borders and Welsh regions. Freesat’s primary aim is to ensure that those areas without access to terrestrial reception via Freeview have another option to avoid a blank screen come the end of analogue.

BBC iPlayer continues in its development and an Autumn launch still seems likely, although we’d expect a late Autumn launch given that beta testing is expected in August; of which we are hoping to be part of.

There appears to be a lack of additional FTA (free-to-air) channels coming forward on the Freesat platform of late, with talkSPORT the last to be introduced back on the 19th May. BET HD made an appearance most recently but only for the BET Awards 2009; but it gave us an insight into the potential opportunities for broadcasters that don’t have permanent high-definition channels in the UK to showcase specific events.

We await the latest quarterly figures for Freesat sales, although it has been hinted that 500,000 has been surpassed which is a fantastic achievement in little over a year.

ITV HD appear to be retaining a fairly regular appearance of programmes in high-definition, although still far short of that of the BBC with 9 HD hours per day. ITV sadly continue to avoid wanting to make comment on our fairly conclusive poll of 94% of voters (2,130 to date) longing for a proper ITV HD channel rather than the current red button.

As soon as we get just a sliver of news on Freesat we’ll be sure to let you know. In the meantime, please do continue to visit other parts of our site including the digital box and television product pages, plus polls, channel listings and ITV HD schedule.


Mar 04 2009

ITV have today announced a 41% drop in profits for 2008. It comes as no surprise that ITV profits are down, they’ve struggled for a number of years now, but with an expected 600 job cuts and £65m sliced from the budget, it poses the question what influence this will have on Freesat.

ITV are joint owners of Freesat with the BBC, and whilst funds will already have been allocated and taken into account for further development of the platform, you have to wonder how far their budget will go, and whether Freesat is as much a priority to them as their other projects, after all, Freesat is a ‘not for profit’ platform.

In addition, many will be concerned about high-definition; ITV whilst building on their existing content are still struggling to achieve more than 5-10 HD hours per week, via their red button service exclusive to Freesat. We can only hope that this severe drop in profits won’t damage their ability to think to the future.

If we can get a response from ITV on Freesat and HD specifically, we’ll let you know.

What do you think? Do you feel that this will have any impact?


Feb 26 2009

The BBC has launched a public consultation on Project Canvas, the proposal for an online catch-up service, which would allow viewers to watch on demand content from the BBC, ITV, plus many more directly through their television sets.

The service, expected to roll-out in 2010 will be available through both Freesat and Freeview platforms, although it’s believed new equipment will be required, costing in the region of £100-£200. iPlayer, which launches in the Autumn for the existing Freesat customer base will require a new receiver for the full Project Canvas setup.

Project Canvas in many ways combines the efforts of multiple on-demand services all accessible through your television set, and is expected to be opened up to more than just the main channels such as BBC and ITV, but also NHS Direct, YouTube, plus many more web based video services, the possibilities may be endless.

Project Canvas is seeking to be transparent about what the service will deliver and how it is structured, in order to avoid the same fate of Kangaroo, the broadband pay-TV venture backed by BBC Worldwide, ITV and Channel 4, which was scrapped earlier this month after falling foul of competition regulators.

The BBC has applied to the BBC Trust for its permission to form a joint venture partnership, which would set and promote a common standard for delivering on-demand TV and other internet content through a broadband connection. The BBC Trust, which will have the ultimate say on the proposal, will publish it’s interim conclusion by 8 June 2009 and final decision by 24 July 2009.

It is expected the project will cost partners £24m to get up and running, with the BBC expecting a four way equal split funding (assuming four partners) at £6m each. The proposal is for the venture to include the Freesat platform; the total cost including Freesat over a five-year period is around £16.6m. It’s believed ITV’s £6m contribution to the service has already been accounted for and will not represent a new outlay at a time when their finances are under severe pressure.

The project is expected to be run as a “not for profit” organisation, which is usually the case when the BBC are involved, same as BBC’s Freesat joint-venture with ITV.

On-demand programming, particularly catch-up TV services such as BBC iPlayer, has proven to be massively popular on TV services such as Virgin Media’s cable network, which could be part of the reason for such interest in combining television and Internet services.

Speaking about Project Canvas, Emma Scott, Managing Director of Freesat said;

Freesat is already fully behind the Canvas proposal and know from our own experience that its mix of free-to-air channels, HD, IPTV and EPG innovations will be an attractive proposition to consumers.

Our research shows that a third of viewers watch more programming once they see it in HD and we also know that the launch of iPlayer to Freesat this autumn is hotly anticipated.

Canvas now has the potential to continue the UK’s tradition of great free-to-air TV.

So what do you think, do you believe Project Canvas will get approval from the trust, or vetoed in the same way Kangaroo did?


Jan 09 2009

Every day we receive a number of enquiries into why a specific ITV region is not available; when entering a postcode on setup with a Freesat digital box. The reason being that ITV must broadcast all their FTA (free-to-air) channels/regions from the tightly focused Astra 2D beam, to avoid over-spill into other European countries (OFCOM ruling). Unfortunately at this time ITV don’t have enough space available, and therefore specific regions are encrypted on another beam, not accessible to Freesat.

The regions include:

- Anglia west
- Central South West
- Meridian North
- Meridian South East
- Tyne Tees South
- Yorks East

Hopefully this will be resolved soon but for now, you will be defaulted to a nearby region if your postcode is within one of those areas.

Freesat don’t control the allocation of postcode regional assignment, so if you wish to make a complaint about this, you will need to do so directly with ITV.


Nov 02 2008

It has been announced that ITV4 will have a timeshift channel, ITV4+1 by the end of the year.

The channel, which will begin BARB reporting on December 1st 2008 will appear on Freesat channel 118, as well as Sky channel 180, but won’t be available on Virgin Media, just like the other ITV timeshift channels, making this an exclusive satellite channel.

There will be no GMTV2 content on ITV4+1. GMTV2 will continue to be carried on ITV4, but this will not be stagger cast on ITV4+1, which will simply carry a caption between 07:00 and 10:24 stating that programming starts at 10:25.