Freesat Launches In The U.K.

It sounds like a great idea, a satellite system with a set-top box that allows users to access 2000 channels without paying a monthly fee. All they’ll spend is $100 for the box ($240 if youwant to go HD), and another $160 for the dish and installation.   That’s the ethos between Freesat, a joint venture from the BBC and rival ITV. Initially 80 channels will be available, but that figure will quickly rise. But if it sounds so good, why has theimmediate response been underwhelming, especially when England and Wales will go all-digital by 2012?   A lot of that is due to Freeview, another set-top box that works via the house TV aerial.There the set-top box costs anywhere from $5-30, and that’s the sum total of the expense. Nor is that the only other option. Satellite company Sky already hasa service quite similar to Freesat.   What will set Freesat apart are the facts that it will carry HD channels for those 10 million people who’ve bought high definition TV sets, and thefact that it will reach 98% of the population, a greater penetration that Freeview, which will not be available to some homes.   Freesat’s Emma Scott told the BBC:   "It’s onlyhomes that really don’t have a clear line of sight to the satellite that can’t get it, or certain listed buildings. But unlike Freeview, you can receive Freesat across the country, which means thatin 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."

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