back to article Sky gets Five HD

Five may not be coming to Freeview HD any time in the near future, but it will show up on Sky. The two broadcasters today said Five HD will debut on the satellite service in July. Sky said the deal is an important step toward reaching its target to present 50 HD channels by Christmas. Five HD is the forty-second channel it …


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  1. MJI Silver badge

    I suppose it is on Freesat HD then

    Same satellites so we may get a third HD channel.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge

      Not necessarily

      It depends whether Five goes FTA or FTV.

      There are two satellites in use for the UK. One of them (Astra 2D) only covers the UK and that means channels can broadcast in the clear. The other (Eurobird) covers all of Western Europe and that means channels either have to buy pan-European rights (ouch) or use a card based encryption system to restrict access.

      That's the difference between FTA and FTV.

      FTA = Free to Air. Means no charge to watch and no encryption.

      FTV = Free to View. Means no charge but channel is encrypted.

      Unfortunately the UK only satellite is nearly full - it would certainly be difficult to find room for another HD channel. There's loads of space on the other satellite but unfortunately Freesat doesn't have any kind of card based decryption system.

      I suspect that Five HD will be broadcast from Eurobird which means it will be FTV which means you'll need a Sky-compatible CAM to decode it. That means either a Sky HD box or (if you're a bit naughty) a bodged up PC-based solution with a gizmo that-ahem-leverages the technology.

      1. MJI Silver badge


        Thanks, looks like the Freesat customers are being screwed then. Hmm however there is a CAM slot on my HDR.

        Now where can I get a FTV Sky CAM and card from?

        1. AndrueC Silver badge
          Big Brother

          Good question

          I couldn't possibly comment. However if you Google for an abbreviated version of the name of a very well known meat-eating dinosaur and add two obvious keywords you might find some answers :)

          Note the icon :D

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          Sky uses NDS (recently changed to NDS3).

          There are boxes that can use SoftCams to do it all in software, so you don't need separate cams for different cards.

  2. z0mb13e

    HD for the rest of us?

    Anyone else get the feeling that HD on freesat and freeview will just limp along for the next few years until all the main stream channels catch up on producing the majority of their content in HD?

    Makes me wonder why HD TVs are being pushed so much when (unless you are willing to pay the £30+ for sky HD or be dicked around by Virgin Medias billing department) there is so little content.

    1. Greg J Preece


      Nuff said. Not many channels are in HD but most telly is shite anyway. My LED telly is used for games and movies. Try out the Final Cut transfer of Blade Runner - I bought the briefcase edition from America and it's stunning.

      1. MJI Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        PS3 as well - but BBC HD is nice

        Blurays and gaming as well, but there are plenty of good looking documentries on BBC HD, not to mention some good dramas, enough for my 1 hour a night non news TV watching.

        OK occasionally 2 hours but I can't stand soaps and ITV weekend TV is terrrible.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Five HD?

    Rather than spending money on an HD channel wouldn't it make more sense if Five spent some money on content. Nobody watches the crap they show, so what's the point of putting out in HD?

  4. John 211

    Oh 5ive..

    that mean's I won't be able to watch........erm.......

  5. David McMahon

    Freeview HD

    Makes me wonder why HD TVs are being pushed so much when (unless you are willing to pay the £30+ for sky HD or be dicked around by Virgin Medias billing department) there is so little content

    Answered your own question I think. :(

    I'd like to see Freeview HD catch up depends on how much the broadcasters "get on" with Ofcom...

  6. Tom 7

    neighbours nobodys got good neighbours


  7. Anonymous Coward

    Suzi Perry in HD that's going to be worth it - Gadget Show and Fifth Gear are probably the only things I watch Five for so I'll be happy.

  8. Chris 3

    Anyone know...

    Whether you can use an old Sky dish for Freesat?

    We have one on our house courtesy of the previous occupants, so just before I unbolt it... can it be reused?

    1. Richard 120
      Thumb Up

      Think so

      It's a dish, it uses the same sort of LNB as other dishes (dual, quad or oct depends on what your old occupant had in terms of decoding equipment) point it at your sattelite, hook up the coax to your media PC with a DVB-S2 card (and maybe a smart card reader for those pay channels ;-) and Bob's your mothers brother.

      Not done it myself, spent a while contemplating it, but decided to save my time and just get sky.

    2. Chris Rowson
      Thumb Up


      Yes you can use the old dish. I'm flogging a Freesat HD box!

    3. RichyS


      Yes you can. Same sat too, so no need to realign your dish.

    4. Nadjau

      Old Sky dish

      Yes. A dish is just a dish and this one will be pointing in the right direction to pick up FreeSat channels. Suggest you check the FreeSat channel listing though; just because the likes of Five announce an HD channel via Sky that doesn't necessarily mean the channel can be viewed on a FreeSat box, as many are encrypted using the Videogard system.

    5. MJI Silver badge

      Sky dish reuse

      Yes you can, but you may need a new LNB if the LNB on the dish is only a single one, as you really need two for Freesat HD, otherwise recording is difficult.

    6. AndrueC Silver badge

      You shirley can :)

      Freesat is actually just an EPG in the same way that a DNS server doesn't serve web pages.

      A Freesat box alongside a Sky box tuned to the same channel is decoding the exact same datastream from the exact same satellite.

      In fact at its heart Sky is just an EPG. The only differences are that Sky also broadcast their own channels and their system includes support for encryption. A lot of the equipment in the uplink chain is owned by Sky but that's basically because they got there first. Most channels are being broadcast independently and have just chosen to pay Sky and/or Freesat to be listed on their guide.

  9. Secretgeek

    And also.

    "...the channel was apparently unable to satisfy the broadcasting watchdog's scheduling and launch requirements." whilst also being unable to satisfy the "What reason do I have to watch this crap?" requirements of almost anyone with half a brain.

  10. Dazed and Confused

    Re: Sky dish and Freesat

    I believe that you can use the Sky dish and even the SkyHD box to watch Freesat.

    I recently pulled the Sky+HD box out of the mother in laws (she never watches it and doesn't even ever use the digital on her TV either). When I cancelled her Sky contract the very helpful woman in their call centre said she could continue to use the box and dish to view freesat.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Satellite is not Sky

      Note that "freesat" is a free package from Sky - if you discontinue an old card it will decode the channels that are free (FTV Free to View).

      This new "Freesat" is just a box that can watch FTA channels (free to air)... and get a 7 day EPG if it supports Freesat EPG (otherwise the standard is Now and Next, although with a good networkable satellite box you could get the EPG via xmltv etc).

      Technically it's not a Sky Dish, it's a satellite dish.

      You can use any dish with sky, down to around 45cm...

      If you wanted further sats you need a larger dish. Unless you really think a dish is ugly, get a standard 60cm dish which will let you use a few other sats and give you a better signal in bad weather. Some places out of the "hot spot" of Sky on Astra 28.2E need a slightly larger dish... north of scotland etc.

      There are peeps in Spain that use huge dishes so they can pick up the "Sky" signal from abroad...

      Remember - sky is just a package (the card) with propriety hardware. Satellite in general is great as you have a huge choice of boxes, no need to pay for recording abilities, you can have 1 2 or 4 tuners as you wish, some boxes will mix mode with DVB-T cards too so you have Digital Terrestrial and Digital Satellite (oh, and DVB-C...). Choices of so many more packages too.

      Sky broadcast at a lower resolution than BBC use (BBC is DVD res), sky channels are so so so poor.

  11. Dave 17

    To clear a couple of things up

    We won't be getting anymore Freesat channels any time soon.

    This is because the Astra 2D satellite which has a UK only beam is FULL. (Mostly with many variations of BBC and ITV regional channels)

    Astra have in their plan to launch more satellites in the next 2-5 years, including a UK only beam one (at least one)

    This means we'll be able to broadcast other channels in the clear, the reason they don't do it now is the copyright holders would have a fit if it was to the whole of Europe!

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Not fair

      We pay for these channels they are also Free to Air so why should Sky encrypt them?

      I have a Freesat PVR which is much nicer than the Sky HD box, and I do not have to pay Humax rent to use it.

      This is actually very unfair, good job that there is so little worth watching on C5.

      1. AndrueC Silver badge

        Don't blame Sky

        It's not Sky's fault. They only support the encryption - it's up to individual channels whether they use it or not.

        Channels often have to do it because otherwise the channels would be watchable by all of the EU. That would mean the broadcasters having to buy the rights to do that. You really, /really/ don't want to know how much that would cost.

        Astra 2D is generally accepted to only cover the UK(*) and the rights holders therefore charge significantly less. Unfortunately as a couple of us have said, it's pretty much full right now. C'est la vie. It's not Sky's fault (they were their first) and Freesat should have known that when they launched (there's been a capacity problem looming for several years now).

        Sky /could/ move some of their Pay stuff onto Eurobird but then why should they risk damaging their service. When Sky launched no-one else wanted to use 2D.

    2. AndrueC Silver badge

      Beware of geeks bearing gifs

      Although Astra need to launch a satellite soon anyway because 2D is nearing the end of its life. It might be that the proposed 'new' satellite is just a replacement. Some people have said that its spot beam was an accident anyway and that Astra would replace it with a 'proper' wide area beam.

      I'm not much into the satellite side though so I could well be spouting utter crap. It does happen sometimes :)

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Five SD

    Given how poor the SD is on "Five" (ironically The Gadget Show is one of the worst for picture quality) I'm really not sure this is going to be worth while.

    It's also possible (as Five seem to be in bed with Sky) they'll soft encrypt like Channel 4 HD... so no Freesat.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Not even SD

      I think C5 is actually sub SD, we have a BT Vision box (A nice Freeview PVR for £30) and the BT Replay streaming picture is nicer to watch than Frreview.

  13. MJI Silver badge

    What about Channel 4?

    I'd rather see a High Def version on Channel 4, I am sure there must be enough Satellite bandwidth for it.

    As to Channel 5, they brought back their stupid logo, they really ruined their Freeview picture, and no when I set up a Freesat series timer I only want to record ONE of each not every repeat.

    Personally I gave up and use BT Vision TV Replay, no logo and shockingly the streamed version is more watchable than Freeview.

    However I only watch the Gadget Show, and Fifth Gear seems to have vanished.

    I own too many PVRs.

  14. bert Plucker

    had enough nearly

    As soon as feeble ofcom assign a HD channel to some shopping channel or history of the nazi's drivel im kicking my telly in.


    I've had enough of BBC 'behold the majesty of our history/british isle's ' toss as well...

    They should just put up a still banner stating ' we kept slaves ,got rich and now its all over , the end'

  15. Mark Aggleton

    Am I the only one...

    ... but WTF is SyFy?

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