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Champions League, FA Cup and England Internationals Coming to UK in HD

bbc-itv-logo.gifBBC and ITV have teamed together to launch a free digital TV service called FreeSat, which will offer its programming in high-definition (HD) including Champions League, FA Cup and England internationals.

While the service will be available for free, a one-time fee of £200 will be required for equipment and installation. You will also need an HD TV.

The digital channel will be in direct competition to Sky, which offers HD programming with a subscription fee.

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  1. Jeff Hash

    May 8, 2008 at 11:34 pm

    Actually, Sky’s free service has been around for a while now (though to be honest, they haven’t put much into it until, as you may guess, now). And the new BBC/ITV service, launched this week, is a little late to the table. According to Ofcom (Britain’s communications regulators), nearly 90% of British homes have already switched to a digital TV source of some sort (be it cable, freeview, or Sky). So, in that area, they are behind the curve.

    However, what it does have is the HD programming. Sky’s Freesat doesn’t offer it (and from the looks of it, doesn’t plan to), Freeview is a year away from offering it, so that leaves paid Sky or Cable. Being the only free HD option, even if it’s only the two BBC and ITV channels, could certainly attract customers.

    Another knock on Sky’s Freesat is that it offers none of it’s movie or sport services, and only one or two of Sky’s own channels. It does offer more channels overall right now, but if the plans pan out, the BBC/ITV version will be equal by the end of this year.

    There’s one more thing the BBC service offers (though it’s coming later): with it’s broadband port, you’ll be able to hook an internet connection into it. That will allow you to access the Beeb’s iPlayer service and it’s 7 day replay archive to watch whenever. That could be huge.

    We’ll see how it pans out. Freeview exploded out of the gate, so it can be good. Of course, ITV Digital absolutely collapsed, so it could be bad.

  2. Kartik

    May 8, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    Wow, Jeffy that is some move by Sky. How do you think they will fare in such a venture? Freesat has the market cornered from everything I’ve read.

  3. Jeff Hash

    May 8, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    I should mention that Sky has launched it’s own free satellite service against the Freesat service of BBC and ITV (also with a one-time fee), but at this moment it doesn’t offer any HD programming.

  4. Jeff Hash

    May 8, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    Davie, here is the channel page on the official freesat website. My guess would be that these channels will be the ones available initially. You’ll notice ITV HD is not listed. That has not been launched at this time, but it is planned to happen soon.

  5. davie

    May 8, 2008 at 11:13 am

    what are the channels you can get with freesat, and what are the ones comming, at the end of the year.

  6. Kartik

    May 8, 2008 at 7:42 am

    Good to see the UK joining the HD age. I’ve watched MLS this year in HD on Telefutura and it is amazing. It transforms the experience, and TF has better camera work than most soccer broadcasters which makes it even more enjoyable.

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