Sunday, 3 February 2008

Non Subscribtion HD TV A.K.A Freesat

The BBC and ITV are creating a brand new freeview service offering free HD TV content without having to pay a monthly subscription. There is just a one off payment for the digibox, satellite dish and installation

On the freesat webpage it says there content will include "a huge choice of content including; movies, music, sport, lifestyle, children's, shopping, news and more" but it does not go into any more detail so who knows what they actually have to broadcast in HD (it could be all quiz shows and shopping channels for all we know)

It seems reasonable to believe that all BBC channels as well a ITV1 ITV2, ITV3, ITV4 and CITV will broadcast in HD.

Currently both Channel 4 and five have agreements with Sky which require their channels (with the exception of Film4) to require the use of a "Freesat From Sky" card. This means that you currently need to purchase a card from Sky Subscriber Services Ltd for £20 to watch Channel 4, five, Five US, Five Life and Sky Three.

As for the other non-public service Freeview channels:
1. Ftn, The Hits, TMF, UKTV Bright Ideas, UKTV History are locked into Sky subscription agreements, but obviously it would be to the benefit of Freesat if these channels could be made available to the extra 2.5 million homes.
2. Sky Sports News is a subscription service

Channel 4 told the Guardian that the channel "currently has exclusive [digital satellite] carriage deals in place with Sky Digital for the majority of its channels (other than for Film4, which is broadcast free-to-air). Under the Communications Act we would expect to become subject to obligations to ensure the availability of the core channel on all satellite platforms, which would require that Channel 4 was available on Freesat."

So will C4 and Five be available from launch? It doesn’t seem likely! It is believed that the existing C4 contract, which includes C4, C4+1, C4 HD, E4, E4+1, More4 and More4+1 means they are tied up in contract until Autumn this year. Five, Five Life, Five US and the pending Five HD are in agreement with Sky until early 2009

Freesat is due to launch spring 08

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