BBC / ITV approve Freesat

Analoguesat

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#1
The BBC Trust has given BBC executives the go-ahead to launch Freesat, a guaranteed free-to-view digital satellite proposition.

Freesat will be made available to consumers on the basis of a one-time initial payment with a guarantee of no further or ongoing subscription charges. It will be future-proofed, by designing in standards for high definition and personal video recorder functions to end-user boxes, and is expected to launch in time to ensure that any licence fee payers not covered by the Freeview digital terrestrial footprint and do not wish to subscribe to pay TV services are still able to receive the BBC's services subscription-free. Set-top-box distribution will also follow the Freeview model, with third party manufacturers designing boxes to common standards and to be sold in shops.

Freesat will be managed by a not-for-profit joint venture company to provide coherent marketing and technical leadership. The proposition will be open to other broadcasters, with the BBC particularly expressing hopes "that other public service broadcasters will also wish to participate in the venture." The BBC Trust has said that the BBC should retain "sufficient control over the decisions taken" by the Freesat company "to ensure that the BBC's public service objectives are not undermined" and furthermore, that the company's funding arrangements should be such that other broadcasters "are not being subsidised by the licence fee".

The BBC Trust's decision not to apply a public value test to Freesat drew criticism from Sky and Virgin Media. Both pay TV companies called for a PVT to be applied due to the designed-in capability of Freesat to carry HD content. In response, the BBC Trust said that it would be "inappropriate" for it to pre-judge the potential market impact of BBC HD, which "will be examined" during BBC HD's own PVT process starting in May. It added that a number of responses to its consultations had expressed concern about the public becoming reliant on Sky - in particular Sky's existing "Freesat from Sky" offering, which is made available for a £150 one-off payment. Addressing that point, the BBC Trust said that "BSkyB is under no regulatory obligation to provide subscription-free access and we think it reasonable to conclude that it does so as a commercial choice," and added: "...there is no guarantee that there would remain a subscription-free route to access BBC services in the future."

The BBC Trust said that it received an "overwhelmingly" positive response to Freesat during consultations with individuals and the Audience Councils. 86% of responses said the Freesat proposals "were valuable to all licence fee payers", and 93% "considered the proposals to fit with the BBC's public purposes."

The BBC had hoped to start rolling out Freesat by September 2007, when the first digital switchover trial will begin in Whitehaven. However, because approval has been so long coming, the rollout has been pushed back. It is hoped, however, that the service will be available during some portion of the digital switchover process.

SDO
 

Analoguesat

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#2
And Channel 4:


Channel 4 has expressed interest in joining the Freesat proposition, which was approved by the BBC Trust and officially announced by the BBC and ITV today.

In a statement, the broadcaster said: "As a public service broadcaster we are committed to offering our innovative, high-quality content to UK viewers across all meaningful platforms. We note with interest the BBC and ITV's announcement to launch an independent, free-to-air satellite platform, and we are open to discussing our possible involvement in due course."

Channel 4 is currently party to an exclusive digital satellite carriage deal with Sky for its entire bouquet of channels, with the exception of the free to air Film4.

"Under the Communications Act we would expect to become subject to obligations to ensure the availability of the core channel on all satellite platforms, which would require that Channel 4 was available on Freesat," the broadcaster explained

SDO
 

Leee

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#3
I like the focus on HD; my S3200 awaits a new signal or three from 28e (or 19/13 ;))
 
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#4
The problem here is capacity.
As Freesat is going to stay free-to-air all main channels including HD will always have to use Astra 2D.
It looks like there's only space left for one HD channel.
It's unlikely in the future we'll have BBC1HD,BBC2 HD and others,it's strange as even the Trust said HD features would have been essentials for the success of Freesat.
 

Mad Rat

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#5
If this is true just watch Sky start to close normal channels like they did with analogue when sky digital was launched )(-red :-Nooo 'O' 'O'-red
 

Analoguesat

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Mad Rat said:
If this is true just watch Sky start to close normal channels like they did with analogue when sky digital was launched )(-red :-Nooo 'O' 'O'-red
It will be many years before Sky are in any sort of position to start closing SD services in favour of HD.

You also need to remember that in any case sky do not run 85% of the digital channels - they are all run by other companies, so sky cannot close them anyway!
 

Mad Rat

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#7
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