Freesat Launches 

6 May 2008

Freesat Website

Freesat officially launched at 12.30pm today, and here are a few points that may be of interest:

– No sign of Channel 4 HD yet even though the standard definition Channel 4 is (now) free-to-air. It may appear fairly soon when the Sky encryption contract supposedly finishes

– The only HD channel available on Freesat to begin with is BBC HD, with ITV HD (and presumably others as well) soon to follow

– There are 72 channels at launch (roughly half of SkyDigital’s 140 unencrypted channels), with “many more to follow” in the coming months

– Channel Five is mentioned in Freesat promotional material but isn’t yet free-to-air via satellite, so expect Five to lose its satellite encryption fairly shortly

– The Digital Spy rumour was right: ITV HD will be Freesat-only to begin with, which will be interesting from a marketing perspective

– Sky was almost reduced to slagging off the BBC for spending “licence fee money” on the project, which shows that it must be really worried about Freesat

– No Freesat PVR (personal video recorder) box to rival Sky+ is available yet, although Humax has one in development which should appear before the end of the year

A Transdiffusion Presentation

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