freesat

freesatfreesat is a not-for-profit company formed by the BBC and ITV to provide free digital TV and HD TV programming in the UK by satellite – once you’ve made the initial purchase of a freesat receiver the service is totally free to use. freesat provides over 150 TV and radio channels, a good selection of HD channels and even has a digital TV recorder called freesat+ which enables recording, pausing and rewinding of live TV.

freesat has other features very much in line with Freeview and commercial services such as Sky Digital and Virgin Media, such as an 8 day on-screen programming guide and interactive capabilities – use the red button to access news, sports and weather options (more on that below). The actual freesat boxes start at less than £30 and are available from many high street retailers – here on the right is just a selection…

freesat+

freesat+ enables you to pause, rewind and record programmes in the same way as Freeview+ – there is no monthly charge for this but you need to buy a freesat+ HD box, rather than a normal freesat box.

Sagem freesat+ HD box

freesat+ HD boxes start at around £180 – the box shown here is the Sagem DTR94500S HD which has a 320GB hard drive, which will hold around 200 hours of standard definition TV or around 80 hours of HD. Other freesat+ HD boxes are available with 500GB of storage and some companies (particularly Humax) have boxes in the range with up to 1TB (a terabyte) of hard drive.

A freesat+ box will provide the following freesat+ functions, depending on the model you choose;

  • Pause and rewind live TV
  • Record TV – how many hours will depend on the storage space (in GB) of the box
  • Record one channel while watching another
  • Record an entire series with one command
  • Record in standard definition or HD as you prefer
  • Organise your recordings into folders

freesat HD

freesat has a selection of HD channels available and to get these you need a freesat HD box and an HD ready TV. Like all freesat broadcasts there is no charge for HD content – here are the HD channels currently available;

BBC HD, BBC1 HD, ITV1 HD, 4HD, NHK World HD

ITV 1HD available in England, Wales, and to Scottish viewers in the Borders TV region.

Goodmans freesat HD box

freesat HD boxes start at around £50 to £60 for a basic model without freesat+ – the box shown here is the Goodmans GFSAT200HD, a compact box that will receive HD channels (depending on availability in your area) but has no PVR features like the freesat+ HD box above.

On Demand Content

If you want TV on demand the BBC iPlayer is available on freesat (and the ITV Player will also be on freesat soon). To get it you need a freesat HD box or a TV with freesat HD built in (it won’t work on a standard definition freesat box) and a home broadband speed of at least 1Mb (preferably 2Mb or more). You just need to connect the freesat box or TV to your broadband router with an ethernet cable and you can then access BBC iPlayer by going to BBC1 and using the red button on your remote control.

freesat from Sky

freesat from Sky

Sky Digital have their own freesat service called freesat from Sky. This works in the same way as normal freesat in that you only pay a one-off fee for the box with no monthly charges but you get more choice of channels – over 240 channels compared to the 150 on regular freesat. You can also receive Channel 5 HD and Luxury Life HD (Channel 5 needs a viewing card but that comes included in the package). freesat from Sky costs £175 for which you’ll get a Sky HD box, a viewing card and installation. Click here for more info.

While the extra channels may be a bonus for you there is no PVR functionality in the box (pause, rewind and record TV) which you could get for the same price if you bought a freesat+ HD box like the one above.

freesat Channels

Here are the general channels available on freesat followed by the different categories…

  • BBC One
  • BBC Two
  • ITV
  • Channel 4
  • S4C Digidol
  • Five
  • BBC Three
  • BBC Four
  • BBC HD
  • BBC Alba
  • ITV2
  • ITV2 +1
  • ITV3
  • ITV3 +1
  • ITV4
  • ITV4 +1
  • Channel 4 +1
  • E4
  • E4+1
  • More4
  • More4 +1
  • CBS Drama
  • CBS Reality
  • CBS Action
  • Zone Horror
  • Zone Horror +1
  • BET
  • BET+1
  • BBC News
  • BBC Parliament
  • S4C2
  • Al Jazeera English
  • EuroNews
  • France 24
  • RT
  • CNN International
  • Bloomberg Television
  • NHK World TV
  • CNBC Europe

Movies

  • Film4
  • Film4 +1
  • True Movies
  • True Movies 2
  • Movies4Men
  • Movies4Men 2

Lifestyle

  • Wedding TV
  • Wedding TV Asia
  • Food Network
  • Food Network +1
  • Men & Motors
  • Information TV
  • Rural TV

Music

  • Chart Show TV
  • The Vault
  • Flava
  • B4U Music
  • Zing
  • Clubland TV

Children

  • CBBC
  • CBeebies
  • CITV
  • POP
  • Pop Girl
  • Tiny Pop
  • Kix!

Special Interest

  • Teachers TV
  • Inspiration
  • Daystar TV
  • Genesis TV

On top of these channels there are 15 shopping channels, gaming, dating and adult channels as well as radio stations and local TV.

BBC News Multiscreen

Sports on freesatThe BBC News Multiscreen feature is also available on freesat, you can access it in the interactive area by pressing the red button. The Multiscreen, which is also available on Sky, Virgin Media and Freeview, lets you choose between a number of different video and text options, with up to six screens to choose from for news headlines, sporting events such as Six Nations Rugby and Wimbledon, weather, video choice, entertainment headlines and in-depth coverage of a top story. Highlighting each screen gives you a brief summary of the content and you can then watch in quarter screen by pressing ‘SELECT’. The service is available 24 hours a day, allowing you to watch what you want, when you want.