Freesat and Freesat HD

Freesat is a new digital satellite television and radio service that launched in May 2008 that will allow almost all UK households to receive high-definition content from the BBC and ITV for free.

About Freesat

Freesat Logo

Freesat is another joint venture between the BBC and ITV, similar in concept to Freeview but using a satellite rather than an aerial transmission system. There is no monthly or yearly charge, simply one single upfront payment required for the equipment purchase and installation.

The service should be available to virtually all UK households, the only exceptions being properties without a line of sight to the satellite's south-easterly position in the sky.

Basic, standard-definition Freesat set-top boxes are available from £50 upwards with high-definition decoders starting around £100. Installation charges vary but are typically around the £80 mark, covering the purchase and installation cost of the satellite dish at your home. Installation can usually be arranged from a retailer at the same time the equipment is purchased.

Freesat is available from Argos, Comet, Currys, John Lewis and a number of independent retailers.

The service features a line-up of around 80 standard-definition channels including the regular BBC and ITV terrestrial, digital and interactive channels with more channels being added regularly.

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Freesat HD for High-Definition HDTV

Freesat HD Logo

As a satellite based service, so not competing for terrestrial broadcast space, Freesat has the potential to offer a large number of high-definition channels. Although at present the majority of the channels available are broadcast in standard-definition, over time the new and existing channels will become available in HD.

The Freesat platform supports programme transmission in both the 720p and 1080i high-definition formats allowing broadcasters to choose format that best matches with their programme content.

As with any other high-definition service a suitable HD Ready or equivalent television will be required, but the service will offer the first free access to high-definition content to around 98% of the UK population.

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Channels Available

Below is a list of channels currently available (as of Jan 2009):

These two channels offer a limited selection of BBC and ITV conent in high-definition. BBC HD is separate channel in itself (Channel 108) while ITV HD content can be accessed via the Red Button when an ITV1 programme is available in high-definition.

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I already have a Sky dish on my house, can I use it to receive Freesat and Freesat HD?

Yes, in all probability you can. If you have received UK digital television channels previously, your dish is likely to work with a Freesat decoder box.

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Can I connect more than one Freesat digital box to a satellite dish?

It is possible to connect multiple decoder boxes to a single satellite dish, and each must be connected to LNB (receiver part of the dish) via a separate cable. A special multiple LNB my be needed if you already own a suitable dish. It's also possible to further divide the signal from the dish via a multiswitch which connects between the receiver boxes and the LNB. For more complex set-ups like these it's a good idea to discuss your requirements with an approved/independent satellite retailer who will be able to provide guidance on the most appropriate configuration.

By having multiple digital boxes connected individually to you dish you are able to watch and/or record different programmes on each. The LNB receives the 'whole' signal from the satellite so each separately connected decoder is able to tune in to an individual channel within that spectrum.

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