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back to article Freesat launches in UK

Freesat, the UK's latest package of free-to-air TV channels, this time transmitted from a satellite, has now gone live, allowing comsumers access to standard-definition and HD broadcasting for a single, one-off payment. What the company couldn't say today is precisely what that payment will be. SD-only kit will be priced from £ …

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Anonymous Coward

Any box?

Won't this service now let us use any box? (Assuming it supports the standards etc).

Or do we need a "subscribers card" still?

If any box we want, we can choose whatever bloody channel number we want, and delete QVC from the listings, yay!

Oh wait that seems too sensible, mmm... probably not the former then :(

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Wow,

What a lot of sky employees here today.

You can tell them straight away, they are the ones who haven't read other peoples comments before writing their own.

You shills just make it too damn easy.

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How can so many people miss the point so widely ?

Only a couple of commenters so far have seen what this is about !

With Sky you use a SKY box, with SKY software, that does what SKY allow you to do<period>. With freesat you get to use a receiver of YOUR choice and it will "just work".

Yes, you CAN knock up your own system - but Mr Average from Anytown just wants a box like you can get for Freeview. Plug it in, switch it on, see an EPG on screen.

Give it a while and you'll be able to walk into a high street store and walk out with a multi-tuner, high def, PVR - and as long as you already have a dish (just like Freeview requires you to already have a terrestrial aerial) just plug it in and go. Want different features, simply buy a different box - you aren't locked into what Sky limit it's manufacturers to.

THAT is the point. It's free as in OPEN specifications.

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At last...

I have an HD Ready 42" plasma, with a Sony Freeview DVR plugged in (which has Series Link on it). I also have Sky Freesat, for BBC2 Wales & S4C (for the rugby).. what I don't have is any HD source to feed my HD ready TV.

With Freesat I can sort this out - bye bye Sky Set top, hello freesat DVR (when they are available), and I can receive, experience and record HD content. The Sony DVR gets moved into the kids playroom and tidies up the box count under the telly in there

I can see a good sales pitch developing for my wife...

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Heart

TiVo

hmmm, when TiVo launches a new box that records Freesat HD without an external box. Meantime I'll stick with the trusty Series 1 with Freeview box.

I "heart" my TiVo.

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Flame

Here's a 2 tuner PVR - now stop you're B*tchin

http://www.topfield.co.kr/eng/product/detail.asp?idx=188&page=1&lang=1&tn=satelite&code=p_00001

Oh no, but wait, it's around 500 pounds so you 'I don't get out of bed for anything more than the price of a RyanAir ticket to Alicante' crowd can start your b*tchin again.

http://www.sateuropa.co.uk/product_overview.asp?id=1783&catid=1&subcat=56

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Linux

Let's play spot the Sky PR team

I see that Sky has rallied the troops into an all-out propaganda battle, that alone tells us that Sky are really frightened by FreeSat and so they should be.

As William said though, they are making it just too obvious, you can spot the Sky employees a mile away. No-one is that big a fan of Sky, you are overplaying the part guys ...

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Go

I don't work for sky...

Google my name, Tony Paulazzo or company, PED Computers. I'm a local computer engineer (for local people, natch), but if you do not yet have a dish or any type of box, and live in a Freeview-less area then check your options:

Freesat: £80 for SD installation (actually, I'm assuming you do get a box with this offer, but the Argos website doesn't actually say this); and for HD installation (which for now means four (4) hours of BBC programs in the evening and that's it), plus an extra £150 for the box... compared to:

Sky 'Pay once watch forever' includes:

http://www.digitaluktv.com/sky-pay-once-watch-forever/

SD box, dish install, 6 months free viewing of 'Entertainment Mixes, Variety Mix and Knowledge Mix, worth £102 at normal subscription prices', at a one off fee of £75 (with maybe a 10% discount code at Dixons - might be finished tho', was working yesterday 'sky10'), you have to ask yourself, which is the better deal - considering you can swap the box out at a later date.

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EDIT: Argos Freesat installation

Sorry, with the Argos offer, no box included, £80 for the dish and cabling install. The other three partners, John Lewis, Curries & Comet have no information on their websites yet.

@ Freesat: Brilliant launch guys!

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Freesat is only an EPG

Sky has a restrictive EPG. If you don't pay Sky you don't get on their EPG. Freesat has a restrictive EPG - unless you pay Freesat a substantial sum you don't get on the Freesat EPG. What's the difference?

Sky equipment is proprietary. Freesat equipment is proprietay. In both cases you can't see their EPG's unless it says Sky or Freesat on the box. What's the difference?

Well one difference is Freesat is installing the old fashioned large ugly 60cm dishes for reception. After a decade of the neat Sky mini dish that is a real retrograde move.

And ITV, in a move that suggests they may be French, has adopted an HD transmission codec that is completely different to the industry standard and will ensure they have a viewing public measured in hundreds and most will be geeks.

The real challenge is take up of HD - 'HD is answering a question the consumer isn't asking'. After years of pushing HDTV Sky has under 500,000 customers which is 6% of their customer base. The problem is it's the content that counts, watch rubbish in HD isn't much different to watching it in SD.

Freesat equipment is also very overpriced. A Freesat HD box costs almost as much as a Sky HD box which includes twin tuners and a PVR - goodness knows how much a similar Freesat product will cost.

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Paris Hilton

Pffff!

Until they get Dave and Five US they can go and whistle.

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Same Shit ..........

Different toilet

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An interesting launch

An interesting launch - almost no hardware out there, and very little press coverage - however, a great service (so far). There's coverage in a short podcast, including a review of the Humax Foxsat at http://www.frequencycast.co.uk/freesat.html

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Does this change anything for ex-Sky subscribers?

I never got around to paying the £15 for the "Freesat from Sky" card when I cancelled my subscription to move to NTL (yes, I know. Still, the broadband is ok.) The old box has been giving me BBC channels which has been handy for the odd emergency recording when I don't trust or can't use iPlayer. Does this mean I won't need the card to start getting ITV and Ch.4 on there as well, or do I need to spend get either the £15 card or an £80 box still?

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PVR

Coming "soon" estimated to be around July/August time and will be a Humax product as they have a 6 month exclusive on it.

As per Sky you will need a minimum of a twin LNB on your dish if you want to "record one whilst simultaneously watching another" channel.... which is a pain for me as the flat i live in had Sky cabled for a single run ages ago... grrrr, irritating that Freeview can manage it with just one aerial feed!!!!

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It's a start...

Still a long way to go, but at least it will offer some competition to Sky and if nothing else will force their prices down. I have SkyHD but have stopped paying the £10 HD tax. I wouldn't be surprised if that doesn't go the way of the "use the PVR that you paid for as a PVR" £10 Sky+ tax. Nonetheless, you'll still have to pay the 20-quid odd minimum Sky subscription to access either facility.

There may not be much HD content on BBC-HD, but what content there is I find to be of a very high quality (content quality, production quality and broadcast quality). Despite the hundreds of "channels" available via the various platforms, the reality is that most people are happy with a mix of original good quality content. Having had access to Sky off and on for years the only thing I miss when I don't have it is the opportunity to watch the occasional football match. But I baulk at the extra cost and the ad-soaked presentation. I've learned to live without Sky Sports. Sky Movies doesn't have the ads, but even the HD channels' quality seems only on a par with DVD. And subtitles on the SkyHD platform are clunky and unreliable (unlike on my freeview TV). A lovefilm DVD subscription service offers a much better experience to me for films.

I would happily pay £20 a month for a subscription to a single ad-free channel loaded with a good mix of drama, comedy, documentaries, films and sport. Kind of BBC One HD on steroids.

Sky+ is an abomination. It's not intuitive, the series linking is a joke, it's chronically unreliable. My 7-year old TiVo p!sses all over it in terms of functionality and ease of use. Sky's PVR facility is a case in point of what happens when you have a monopoly provider - complete lack of development. Freesat may be the start of an alternative PVR even if it's a pity the PVR boxes won't be available at launch. Assuming Humax don't make a complete dog's breakfast my SkyHD and £20 subscription will be going at the end of the Summer.

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Standards

Why have the Freesat boys decided to not use the DVB standards for EPG data? which would finally have allowed people to use one of the excellent STB/PVR's out there already in the european market.

As many people have already said on here, people should be able to source their own hardware, not have to pick one badged by some 'standard' that has been made up, be it either SKY or FREESAT ,especially as Freesat receivers seem to be rarer than rocking horse shit at the moment, and I can go out and buy a very good twin tuner DVB-S PVR very easily.

I know I will be able to use one of my DVB-S standards compliant satellite receivers to get these freesat channels (as I already do), but I still won't be able to view their EPG data from it because that is in a proprietry format, exactly like sky's is.

If this is a move to 'Open' up the satellite TV market in the uk, then it fails.

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A £ of Sky != A £ of Freesat != A £ of Virgin+

Duh! Sky equipment isn't cheaper. It's subsidised so they get it back a month at a time through your contract. Just like a cheap/'free' mobile phone isn't free.

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Yes, Freesat is an EPG...

...and almost the only thing we MythTV users have been lacking in the UK up to now. Currently we're stuck with XMLTV which is fine when it works, but frequently breaks. Hopefully the Myth developers will be willing and able to use the EPG soon. We are also now able to get Channel 4 FTA so all in all...see icon.

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Happy

Wot no ....

Discovery, no History, in fact nothing actually worth watching at all. Never mind: every time it rains hard the signal from the satellite disappears anyway. Fortunately there are always books to fall back on.

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@Footprint

You can pick this up with cheap standard equipment (60-80cm dish) all over Europe. You might need a 1m+ dish out on the footprint edge, in Portugal for instance. Or 1m dish plus high gain LNB. So I have heard....

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@bluesxman

Exactly... No DAVE and no UK History...

Ummm... I think they're the only non terrestrial (analogue) channels I bother watching.

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Stop

I'll be getting it, I want free HD

It's very very simple, sky shafted broadcasters into exlusive deals they have to get out of these to launch on Freesat. This will be the only free HD platform for a very long time...

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I've got a standard Sky satellite dish...

...if I plug in a Freeset HD box, will I get HD?

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Channel bundle bollox

It's about time the channel bundles were ditched and we are allowed to subscribe to the individual channels we actually want. SKY is like buying a drink at a cinema. £3 for 250ml, £3.25 for 500ml. This supersizing is just a way to get us to pay for stuff we don't need.

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whats new??

whats new about this? Looks like the range of free channels that have been available on Astra for years. Same channels, same satellite.

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Anonymous Coward

@Ben

But sky you are fixed to a receiver. With this, depending on the card encryption (if any?) you will beable to pick it up with any receiver.

Which includes loads of HD boxes, HDD/Dual Tuner recorders, networkableu units, PCI DVB-S cards etc etc... so 100x better than monopoly sky. Also the ability to "detune" worthless channels so they never appear in your listings, change the order sorting (and your own channel numbers etc, we rely too much on "channel numbers").

But does anyone know what card/cam encryption this will use?

If it has no encryption then any unit will work with it (supporting the codecs etc).

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Interesting for now. Let's see in December

Like most things the announcement is interesting, but the service is a bit lacking.

Assuming new channels are added and more of the content goes to HD then it will become compelling.

For now I’ll stick with my PVR Freeview, but if the content arrives it might be an interesting Christmas upgrade.

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Alert

So is this the only way to get Free HD TV??

got meself a big new HDTV ready for Euro 2008 come on Engerland!!

Ehh waht do you mean they aint....

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Anonymous Coward

Old news

Channels - http://www.lyngsat.com/28east.html

Hardware - http://www.maplin.co.uk/Search.aspx?MenuNo=11746&MenuName=Sateliite+Receivers&FromMenu=y&doy=17m5

And there always has been an EPG, it's the same as freeview, DVB carries its own EPG alongside the main signal, whether that's DVB-T or DVB-S or DVB-C.

I've been using free DVB-S for around 2 years now, in my truck. Takes 5 minutes to set up, and you get a guaranteed signal (as long as you can work out which way is south). I used this system http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?TabID=1&ModuleNo=48737&doy=17m5 which was £60 back when I got it.

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