Freesat Overview Kent

 

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Freesat is a free-to-air digital satellite television  joint venture between the BBC  and ITV plc , serving the United Kingdom. The service was formed as a memorandum in 2007 and has been marketed since 6 May 2008. Freesat offers a satellite alternative to the Freeview_(United_Kingdom) service on digital terrestrial television, with a broadly similar selection of channels available without subscription for users purchasing a receiver. The service also makes use of the additional capacity available on digital satellite broadcasting to offer a selection of high-definition programming from the BBC, ITV plc Channel 4  and NHK
Freesat's main competitors are Freeview  and Freesat from Sky
The BBC and ITV, the two biggest free-to-air broadcasters in the UK, make their services available digitally through three routes: free-to-air via digital terrestrial and digital satellite, and subscription-only via digital cable.
On digital terrestrial the channels have always been available free-to-air  with the appropriate equipment. Freeview was then available to only 73% of the population After analogue TV  services are replaced in the planned for digital switchover this will increase to 98.5% for the public service channels_service_broadcasting_in_the_United_Kingdom and 90% for the full 'Freeview' service. In order to provide more widespread coverage and a larger number of channels, a digital satellite alternative was felt necessary.
Initially, both the BBC's and ITV's channels were encrypted since the original Astra satellites used for Sky broadcast to most of Europe but the broadcasters' rights for premium content such as films and sports typically covered the UK only.
The use of encryption meant that any viewer wishing to view the channels had to purchase equipment from Sky and pay for a free-to-view  viewing card in order to decrypt the channels. Similarly, in order to use the Videoguard encryption, the broadcasters needed to pay a fee to NDS Group
Move to free-to-air
In May 2003 the BBC moved most of its channels from the Astra 2A satellite to Astra 2D , which has a footprint that focuses more tightly on the UK. This move allowed the BBC to stop encrypting its broadcasts while continuing to meet its rights obligations. It dropped the encryption two months later. Two months later, ITV, whose channels had already been located on the Astra 2D satellite since launching on the Sky platform some years earlier, also made their channels free-to-air.
The free-to-air channels can be received using any standard digital satellite (DVB-S  receiver.
On 18 November 2008, Channel 5  joined Freesat.
Managed service
However, the Freesat project aims to provide a more managed service with an Electronic Programme Guide or EPG and interactive  features similar to the Freeview service launched three years earlier. Unlike Freeview, however, these features would only be available to approved receivers manufactured under licence from Freesat.
The initial plan was to launch the service in early 2006. This was postponed to Autumn 2007 as approval from the BBC Trust  was only received in April 2007. However, the service was further delayed and was officially launched on 6 May 2008
Channels
Freesat channels list
Main article: List of channels on Freesat  
Currently, Freesat offers a line-up of 182 television, radio, on demand and text channels.
Launch channels
The service launched officially on 6 May 2008. From the launch, Freesat advertised all national television channels from the BBC  and ITV  as being available on the platform (excluding ITV2 +1), as well as all national BBC radio networks. Channel 4  also managed to make most of its channels free-to-air in preparation for the launch. In addition some channels from other broadcasters such as Chello Zone , CSC Media Group, Al Jazeera English  and Euronews were included on the channel list.
High-definition
BBC HD </wiki/BBC_HD> was the only high-definition channel available on Freesat from launch day, with ITV HD added as a 'red-button interactive' service from 7 June 2008. On 12 March 2010 it was announced that ITV HD would change from a red button interactive service to a full time channel called ITV1 HD  on 2 April 2010, simulcasting the main ITV1 channel. BBC One HD, a high-definition simulcast of BBC One, was made available on Freesat and other platforms on 3 November 2010. Channel 4 HD  also became available on the platform on 19 April 2011. NHK World HD  was added to Freesat on 9 May 2011, the channel shared its EPG slot with its standard definition counterpart and was therefore only listed on high definition receivers, which were unable to access the standard definition channel via the EPG until it closed on 1 October 2011.
Regional variations
Some channels (notably BBC One and ITV1) are transmitted in regional variations and the appropriate services are selected by the Freesat receiver from the user's postcode. In March 2010, ITV altered several of their regions from free-to-air transmission to free-to-view  (because they were moved to a satellite from which transmission covers a much larger area than just the UK and content licensing means that they had to be encrypted). As a result, a few Freesat viewers (who cannot receive free-to-view, encrypted content) were moved to regional variations not corresponding to their actual location.
Future channels
Freesat continues to add channels, with recent additions being (including but not limited to) Chart Show TV +1, Channel 5 +1 5USA  and 5* The BBC also began to roll out a beta version of BBC iPlayer  for Freesat devices in early 2010. BBC iPlayer is an internet based service with around 400 hours of television being available on demand. ITV Player  and BoxOffice365  are available in beta for Humax  devices, with support expected to be extended beyond over the coming months.[ Freesat does also intend to launch a Freesat receiver with YouView  within it and 4oD  and Demand 5  are under consideration.
Electric Sofa Media announced plans to launch Film GB, Sofa Screen and Sofa Stars on Freesat in 2011, but as of November no broadcasts have taken place.
On 7 September 2010, Richard Burrell - director of media operations for QVC , confirmed that QVC HD would launch on satellite in about two years (2012). The standard-definition version of QVC has been available on Freesat since the launch of the service.
STV  is keen to make STV HD available on Freesat and are working with them to make this happen as soon as possible. In November 2008, Irish public broadcaster Raidió Teilifís Éireann announced a delay in launching its new international channel RTÉ International due to financial cutbacks. RTÉ had hoped to launch the new channel, which would possibly have been carried on Freesat, by the end of 2009 but to date there has been no launch
During July 2010, Emma Scott revealed that Freesat are considering moving into pay television, and offering users the chance to subscribe to Sky Sports 1 and 2. Its board is debating the option of taking advantage of the reduction in wholesale prices forced through in April on British Sky Broadcasting  by Ofcom . Emma Scott said "We are looking at pay television. There is a lot of discussion around the Freesat and pay television issues taking place at board level. We haven't taken a final decision." Freesat is not however a part of the interim agreement between British Sky Broadcasting and Ofcom to supply Sky Sports 1 and 2, which only applies in respect of BT, Top Up TV and Virgin Media
On 28 July 2011, the BBC Trust approved proposals to introduce the listing of pay content delivered on-demand via broadband. The trust will allow the BBC to continue to play a part in Freesat as the plans did not represent a significant change to the approval previously given in 2007. There was no need for a Public Value Test or for further regulatory process. Under the plans some pay content, such as films, would be added to the Freesat EPG alongside the existing free-to-air content. However, there would be no adult material or live streamed sports coverage. Freesat itself will not supply any of the on demand content, but will allow third parties to do so through its EPG. Some content will also be made available through existing channels using an on-screen prompt that would take viewers to an on demand environment. Pay-TV sales would be handled by a third party, with Freesat operating the conditional access system that would underpin it. The plan is to use the upcoming launch of G2 spec receivers to add support for Digital Rights Management and where technically possible on existing receivers.
On 29 November 2011, a beta trial for the subscription based on demand movie service BoxOffice365 was added to the Freesat EPG.
Reception equipment

Receivers
Reverse of a Humax  Freesat HD box
At the launch of the service, there were two types of Freesat receivers available —standard definition-only receivers and high definition-capable receivers. As of July 2010 there are eleven companies licensed to produce Freesat boxes and televisions. Humax launched a Freesat recorder, Freesat+, which became available to the public in November 2008, and which received reviews.
Televisions
Following the initial launch, Panasonic introduced three plasma televisions with integrated HD Freesat receivers. At the end of October 2008, Panasonic brought out 2 more sizes which are the 32" and 37".
In April 2009 LG  launched 4 LCD TVs with built-in Freesat receivers. The LG series is the LF7700 (discontinued mid-2010), with screen sizes of 32", 37", 42"and 47". Sony have released two televisions with Freesat receivers, the W5810 and Z5800 series, available from sizes 32" up to 52" and in 100 Hz and 200 Hz alternatives.
Satellite dish
The service makes use of the same fleet of satellites as the popular subscription satellite service Sky Astra and Eurobird 1. This means that any satellite dish which is positioned to receive these services will be capable of receiving Freesat, with the addition of a suitable receiver (or Television with receiver built in). Providing the LNB (Low noise block-downconverter ) has sufficient outputs, the one dish will be able to receive multiple services (i.e. Sky and Freesat).
For users who do not currently have a satellite dish, Freesat offers an installation service which is made available through retailers and which is advertised in a leaflet included with Freesat receivers. It is also possible to buy a satellite dish and install it yourself.

Outside the UK and Republic of Ireland
It is possible to receive Freesat outside the UK and Ireland, although a larger dish may be required as the Astra 2D footprint is mainly focused on the UK and Republic of Ireland. Freesat receivers ask for a postcode during installation, but this is just to determine which regional services to select. However, Freesat is a UK television service, designed for use in the UK, and a British television licence should be purchased if used in the UK. There is no facility for people outside the UK to purchase a UK TV licence. Overspill reception is covered by UK and Ireland MOU of TV  and also EU TV without Frontiers directives.
Technical details
Freesat broadcasts from the same fleet of satellites (Astra 28.2°E  and Eurobird 1) as Sky. Channels are broadcast using DVB-S The Freesat electronic programme guide is broadcast from the Eurobird 1 satellite situated at 28.5° east. Freesat's role is not broadcasting or availability of channels (although the BBC and ITV are substantial broadcasters in their own right) but instead providing a platform for receiving the channels and the EPG.
All of the standard definition channels broadcasting to date are broadcast using DVB-S, ITV1 HD and NHK World HD also use DVB-S while Channel 4 HD uses DVB-S2 . BBC One HD and BBC HD used DVB-S until 6 June 2011 when the satellite transponder carrying them was upgraded to DVB-S2. Standard definition channels are broadcast using MPEG-2, while high definition channels are broadcast using MPEG-4. Since the channels are broadcast in-the-clear, they can also be received by non-Freesat receivers and, most commonly, Sky Digiboxes.
Interactive television is done using MHEG-5 rather than the proprietary OpenTV  platform used by Sky.
The specification for Freesat boxes includes having an Ethernet  port on the back. This is to allow on demand programmes provided by the BBC iPlayer </wiki/BBC_iPlayer> or ITV Player  and streaming services from the BBC to be viewed directly on the customer's television.
Freesat's next-generation G2 spec will include features such as: DiSEqC 1.2  support; MoCA (Multimedia over Coax Alliance) support including single cable routing; core support for iPlayer-style hybrid TV  services; HTML , JavaScript  and CSS  internet technologies for broadband-delivered interactive services; DRM for online content; and payment mechanisms for broadband services like LoveFilm . James Strickland, Freesat's director of product and technology development, explained that G2 is a hybrid between Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV  (HbbTV) and MHEG-5.

As Installers of Freesat, Freesat HD and Freesat plus or PVR’s in Kent we offer a free advice service on our freephone 0800 567 7907 number and will try to answer any questions you may have and help in any way we can.

For more information on Freesat Services in Kent Please contact our Free TV Help Line on 0800 567 7907