Following on from the discussion below of 230 channels by early 2009, we questioned what the ‘technical issues with Sky’ could be causing for channels to be added in batches. Without requesting a reply, Freesat’s PR agency (whom have been absolutely fantastic since taking over) kindly sent over an explanation, which to be honest, shocked!!! This is what we received:
Due to Sky’s position in the satellite TV transmission, Freesat’s services have to pass through a Sky-controlled stage. In order for Freesat services to be acceptable to Sky at this stage in the broadcast chain, Sky requires all Freesat services previously to have passed through another technical process, managed by Sky, called ‘configuration’. This ensures that the Freesat services’ components meet Sky’s technical specifications.
For the ‘configuration’ process, Sky have specified limits on:
- the number of services they will configure in a month
- the type of services they will configure
- the grouping of services by transponder, and
- the frequency with which they will work on each transponder.
Freesat is obliged to plan its forward launch schedule within these requirements.
So this suggests that Sky have incredible control even over FTA channels becoming available on the Freesat EPG, and should this measure not be in place, its highly likely that all the signed-up FTA channels would already be available on the Freesat EPG. We can only hope that channel FIVE will be fast tracked to take up its position soon, but how do Freesat possibly make the decision on the running order of channels to be added, do they even have a choice, is it first come first serve or at the discretion of Sky? One things for sure, putting all technical issues to one side, this is a good way for Sky to control the market and not allowing Freesat to gather pace too quickly.
What does everyone else think?