Freesat to be available to 98 per cent of UK homes
Freesat, a satellite television service launched today by the BBC and ITV, will provide viewers with over 80 digital television and radio channels and will be available to 98 per cent of UK homes.
The service, available to almost all UK residents, provides HD programming and carries no contract and no subscription. Both the BBC and ITV will be hoping that the introduction of free-to-view HD channels will play an integral part in increasing interest in HD programming.
Though the UK's already-available Freeview service plans to offer HD channels from 2009, it isn't readily available in all areas.
Emma Scott, from Freesat, said: "Unlike Freeview, you can receive Freesat across the country, which means that in those areas that at the moment can't get access to free digital television this is the first time that you can get free digital TV."
"It's only homes that really don't have a clear line of sight to the satellite that can't get it, or certain listed buildings," she adds.
Freesat, it should be noted, isn't the first satellite television service to be subscription free. In 2004, BSkyB launched its own Freesat service, "Freesat from Sky", providing customers with over 200 free digital channels and the option to upgrade to any subscription-based Sky digital package. However, ITV's forthcoming HD channel, ITV HD, will launch exclusively on Freesat.
Though the BBC Trust has guaranteed that Freesat will remain a free service, customers will be required to make a one-off payment of £150 for a digital box, satellite dish and installation. Similarly, a HD-ready television will be required to view the HD channels available.
Freesat is now available to order in-store or online at Argos, Comet, Currys, John Lewis and other retailers.
Official product page: Freesat.co.uk