back to article 3 million Freesat receivers now out there, and boxes to get YouTube

Freesat is celebrating the sale of three million reception-capable devices, and will be showcasing an HTML5 YouTube client on its new "<free time>" boxes really quite soon now. The free-to-air satellite provider hasn't got three million viewers: that's the number of devices sold and will include TVs with integrated Freesat and …


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  1. hokum

    No Dave!

    Used Freesat up until recently, and it is great, but it's shame you still don't get Dave.

    1. Captain Hogwash

      Re: No Dave!

      Not on Freeview either if you are fed by a local relay.

    2. Timmay

      Re: No Dave!

      Dave? You mean Top Gear TV, right?

      Don't get me wrong, I love Top Gear, and when I was on Freeview, Dave was one of my most watched channels, so I thought I would miss it when switching to Freesat a few years ago, but actually, there's only so many Top Gear repeats one can watch. I'd love it to be on Freesat, but it's not a factor anymore.

      1. Vira

        Re: No Dave!

        Who needs Dave for Top Gear? All 18 previous series are on Netflix and BBC's iPlayer has the current series.

        I cancelled my Sky subscription in December and the only thing I miss is the ability to record programmes so I'm looking at a Freesat box to do just that. Freesat + Netflix = all I need.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No Dave!

      And have you signed the petition to stop the evil Murdoch and his UKTV contracts that prevent it appearing on Freesat?

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: No Dave!

        I thought there were valid technical reasons Dave wasn't on Freesat due to not being able to limit it to the UK?

        Anyway it's not just TopGear... Red Dwarf and Man V Food too ;)

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Re: Red Dwarf

          Essential viewing

    4. MJI Silver badge

      Re: No Dave!

      Luckily there is on Freeview.

      But would make life easier it is was on Freesat as well.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Luckily there is on Freeview."

        Problem is, vast swathes of the country only get Freeview "lite", which it's not shown on (nor are loads of other channels).

        UKTV seem oblivious to the fact millions of UK viewers aren't watching their channels, because they aren't on Freesat and aren't in the Freeview lineup in large parts of the country,.

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Re: "Luckily there is on Freeview."

          Hmm, well I have had digital TV since 1999, got an aerial on a main transmitter whereas most neighbours are on sky.

          Until switchover I officially had no Freeview reception despite being able to get Ondigital (I still have the CAM and card).

          No matter where I have been I have been able to get digital TV in our caravan, using a Pace Twin (POS)

          BTW do NOT buy anything Pace - lack of software support, hardware can take DSO but the software can't, I have phoned them up but they are not interested. So I always advise Humax now.

  2. AndrueC Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    will include TVs with integrated Freesat and customers who've discarded old kit when upgrading to the latest <free time> hardware

    ..also Sky customers who want another DVR to take some of the load off the Sky box tuners. It doesn't make a huge difference these days since for me it's a pretty small %ge of my viewing but it helps a bit.

  3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    Freesat is on a different frequency

    No, it isn't. Freesat is an EPG (Electronic Programme Guide), no more, no less. When you tune into BBC1 on a Fresat box you're tuning to exactly the same signal that someone with a Sky box is using. The Freesat EPG only includes those channels which have chosen to be unencrypted, which for the most part are the ones on a satellite whose footprint is narrowly focussed on the UK/Ireland, so the expense ofencrytpion to protect viewing rights is unnecessary.

    Freesat-from-Sky covers the same channels, Sky push it because they want to try to persuade you to upgrade to a full Sky subscription, which requires only a phone call, no new equipment.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Freesat is on a different frequency

      "No, it isn't."

      Ahem. It's not always the case that Freesat and Sky frequencies are the same. I'm reliably informed that, for example, Sky carries Babestation Apprentice on a non-Freesat frequency. There's a full list here.

      I've ever so slightly tweaked the article for the comfort of the more pedantic among us.


      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Freesat is on a different frequency

        There's only one reference to Babestation Apprentice on that Lyngsat page...

        Technically Sky is only responsible for the Sky channels, all the others are uplinked by their respective providers. There's no reason that Babestation couldn't pay for two identical unencrypted uplinks, one for Sky and one for Freesat, but it would seem to be a pointless extra cost.

        > I've ever so slightly tweaked the article for the comfort of the more pedantic among us.

        1. AndrueC Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Freesat is on a different frequency

          Technically Sky is only responsible for the Sky channels, all the others are uplinked by their respective providers

          Mostly yes but some third parties are now using Sky to do the carriage and uplinking. FOX (Formly FX+) do that.

      2. AndrueC Silver badge

        Re: Freesat is on a different frequency

        Ahem. It's not always the case that..

        That's true. I wasn't aware of the Babe Station difference but if I remember correctly C5 used to be broadcast on two frequencies as well. Or was it C4 HD? Something to do with lack of capacity on the old Astra 2D satellite meaning they had to use Eurobird. Then when another broadcaster (the BBC?) lent them some of their 2D capacity the contract on Eurobird continued.

        The reason Freesat can't use capacity on Eurobird is because it covers all of Western Europe (maybe into Eastern as well?). Broadcasting unencrypted on it means writing a big cheque to the rights holders. With Astra 2D the footprint is more or less restricted to the UK so rights holders don't charge as much.

        Edit:Wow. Obviously I'm too busy working to keep up with these discussions. I posted almost the same thing as someone else an exact hour later.

      3. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Freesat is on a different frequency

        "Babestation Apprentice" - Thanks for that. I now have a mental image of LordSur Alun leering over young ladies like a beardy Sid James.

    2. Andrew Jones 2

      Re: Freesat is on a different frequency

      I don't know about now - because I have stopped following it - but -

      When Freesat launched - there were actually duplicated channels - because:

      1) Various channels had contracts with Sky which meant they could not suddenly switch off Encryption - so those channels (Ch4) launched a second copy of their stream with encryption turned off specifically for freesat.

      2) In order for channels to appear in the Freesat EPG they had to carry additional data in their MPEG streams (stuff related to the Freesat EPG) but Sky were not particularly keen to allow the channels to add this data - claiming that it would interfere with the way the Sky EPG works (which is technically as I understand it - true since there is a published standard with regards to how the EPG systems work on digital broadcast mediums) and IIRC Sky had to change something on their end to allow the Freesat metadata and Sky metadata to co-exist on the same stream - but they were imposed a limit of X channels a month that they would do that for - so in the meantime many channels launched a simulcast that carried the Freesat data and not the Sky data.

      This has likely all been tidied up now and both systems are happily co-existing. But for a time - yes it was true that Freesat channels were a separate stream from the Sky version.

  4. Patrick 17
    Thumb Down

    The annoying thing is that Humax released their Freesat HDR1000S Freetime box with the Ch4 & Ch5 icons on the packaging yet both are still unavailable for in the past viewing. The box is littered with bugs including missed recordings. I wouldn't recommend it until they get serious about sorting out the bugs. If you mistakenly purchased one, you can add to the list of bugs here:

  5. Pessable
    Thumb Down

    EPG, SchmeePG

    Please correct me if I'm wrong, but the problem for me with all these EPG services is that they are quite tightly controlled. In particular, I would like to reduce the EPG to the few channels that I would ever watch (about 10) and I know plenty of older people that are quite happy with 2. But as far as I can tell, the "catch" for having an EPG (which gives access to PVR, easy recording, series links, etc.) is that you have to have the entire EPG. So tryuing to find what you want is like wading through garbage. I'm pretty sure that this is the case with Sky, Freesat from Sky, Freesat, Freeview, and Youview.

    Honestly I just want an easy way of watching and recording BBC HD channels, for which I already pay. I've got crap Internet (~2.5Mbps) so iPlayer HD is out too. Anyone have any suggestions? I just want an HD version of my old UK TiVo back.

    1. TheTor

      Re: EPG, SchmeePG

      Have you tried sticking a freeview tuner card into a pc, and hooking up to your TV?

      I currently use MCE on Windows 7 (and have done for a number of years now, it's actually pretty nice), and a blackgold dvb-t2 card so I can record those HD channels - no problems whatsoever, can add channels in the EPG to a favourites list (and then only show my favourites!). It has series link, recording at a touch of a button (although recording seem to be uncompressed, so can take up a little space) but on the plus side, all I have to do is minimise MCE to have access to a fully functioning PC :)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: EPG, SchmeePG

      True. Ofcom legislates for the first 5 slots, and companies pay more for "better" EPG positions, so they get upset if you can re-organize them.

      The Sky "favourites" list works if you have no more than 50 channels that you watch. I find that for the half-dozen channels I watch most, I just remember the numbers.

    3. Adam Trickett

      Re: EPG, SchmeePG

      The EPG on my Sony FreeView tuner and my father's Toshiba FreeView TV allows you to reorder and hide any channel you want. I wouldn't buy a TV or PVR that couldn't manage the same task. Without hiding and sorting it is as you suggest a nightmare.

    4. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      Re: EPG, SchmeePG

      You can, with Sky at least, by defining which channels are your "Favourites", then you can skip through them on-screen using the blue button. Also, when in the EPG, pressing the blue button will display only the programme listings for your favourites.

  6. frank ly

    A cave dweller writes:

    "...Brits average six viewing devices per household, including PVRs, TVs and set-top boxes, ..."

    I ought to get out of my cave more and learn about this stuff. I haven't watched television for six years; not since I packed the tv away when I did a major redecoration of the living room and never got round to unpacking it.

    (iPlayer on my laptop gets used about once a fortnight when I'm bored and desperate for diversion.) Have I missed much?

  7. Philip Cheeseman

    I'm still waiting for working iplayer...

    Got a Sagem Freeview HD box a while back. It got a single update to support iplayer but its never worked (It always skips forward during replay for no reason). Sagem seem to have given up with it. I thought 'freesat' where supposed to be tightly controlling of hardware released with the freesat logo... I guess the software part is more flexible however. I'm not holding my breath my box will ever support youtube!

  8. Stephen 2

    Samsung Freesat

    I bought the Samsung SMT-S7800 about a year ago. Cost me around 250 quid at the time. It's a freesat box with built in HD for recording/pausing and all that jazz. The interface is absolutely wank and very slow. It has an ethernet port and a way to watch Youtube videos but again its dog slow and hard to navigate.

    I paid a premium for the Samsung unit because I expected a decent interface, I was very wrong!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Samsung Freesat

      Mines brilliant. WAY faster than the Humax and it's rock solid in operation, never once rebooting or failing to record. Something my Sky box was notorious for..

      The SMT7800 is a fantastic box, they sorted out all the quirks in the latest firmware.

    2. Eponymous Cowherd

      Re: Samsung Freesat

      Agreed, the SMT-S7800 is a pile of wank juice.

      Multiple bugs:

      Guide keeps jumping back to the original channel.

      Keeps losing recordings, requiring a system reset.

      Said reset loses all timer settings.

      Timer becomes increasingly flaky over a couple of months (won't record what its set to) requiring another reset.

      Trying to rewind live tv invariably results in jerky stop-motion playback.

      Randomly freezes, requiring reset and subsequent loss of timer settings.

      Selecting a programme on an SD channel prompts if you want to record the HD version, but it only records whatever is on the HD channel at the same time.

      Pile of junk IMHO

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Samsung Freesat

        The fact you have copied and pasted a REALLY old bug list, suggests you either work for Humax, or havn't switched your sammy on for 2 years.

        All them bugs are long since eradicated. My box is faultless in operation, and WAY faster than a Humax, which feels like navigating your way thru glue.

        1. Eponymous Cowherd
          Thumb Down

          Re: Samsung Freesat

          "The fact you have copied and pasted a REALLY old bug list, suggests you either work for Humax, or havn't switched your sammy on for 2 years."

          Nope, in use and current firmware. Only last night I fast-forwarded over some ads, overran, rewound, hit play and it went into its weird freeze-frame mode.

          Had to do a reset a couple of weeks ago because recordings selected in the guide weren't added to the timer list and weren't recorded.

          As I said, pile of shite.

          Do you work for Samsung?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    What about Freesat TVs - no update of the UI ?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Very pleased with Freesat

    With Freesat and a £7/Month Loveflim subscription that gives me Love Film Instant AND Disks by post (2 at a time, unlimited a month), I have more than enough to watch, infact I watch more now than when I did when I had Sky and was just finding crap to watch.

    The only thing missing is half the F1 races. And a RTL/R5Live simulcast sorts that out...

    I don't have the dirty feeling of funding that evil b@stard Murdoch, and I am £400 a year better off...

  11. Peter Sommer

    Non Freesat FTA channels on Freesat boxes

    Not only does Freesat receive exactly the same channels on 29E as Sky but put them on their own EPG it is also possible (through rather awkward menu functions) to see other Free to Air channels on 29E which are not on the EPG. Out-of-region rebroadcasts on terrestrial channels (if you prefer to see BBC1 East Anglia but live in Manchester) but also the religious and other oddities services. Oh, and Sky News, which is not on the freesat EPG. You can do this both on Humax and Bush models.

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      Re: Non Freesat FTA channels on Freesat boxes

      Sky News is now on the Freesat EPG (channel 202), along with PICK TV (used to be Sky 3) and the 5 USA & 5 star channels.

  12. dave 81
    Thumb Up


    For me, Netflix is a replacement, for paying for virgin or sky.

    So now when i am too busy to watch netflix's admittedly limited content, its not as bad as paying £50-£60 for TV that I just wasn't watching.

    However, there is still plenty on netflix I want to watch, the daughter loves netflix for kids, and I can be anywhere and watch it. No slingbox needed.

  13. MJI Silver badge

    How many are Humax HDRs?

    Most used Freesat box among people I know.

  14. zaax

    freesat-by-sky <> freesat+

    I'm moving off sky+ because it costs too much, but I have to get a Freesat+ box as down grading to freesat-by-sky does not include recording etc. So sky won't getting me back for a while (I might have gone back next winter but I won't because I have had to fork out £250+ for Freesat+ box).

    1. stu_ekins

      Re: freesat-by-sky <> freesat+

      Have you found/needed to find an alternative to cartoon network? It's all that's holding me back from ditching sky; i don't want to become even less popular by losing marvel cartoons and Ben10, even if i^my son thinks omniverse is weird.

  15. Cliff

    500 quid a year?

    Blimey I feel such a tightwad by comparison. If it's 'for the films', a cineworld unlimited card is cheaper and you get to see films fresher in a real cinema. If it's 'for the sport', turn off the TV and play some sport. I just don't get it!

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: 500 quid a year?

      Films - I wait until the BDs are cheap in supermarkets

      Sport - can't afford to do it, very expensive hobby, I looked into it once (I had a suitable car as well), that reminds me I still need an LNB for Astra1 to get RTL for F1

  16. adrianww

    Funnily enough...

    Following a recent house move, we found ourselves with no TV reception at all. The house has an aerial, but it's either broken, disconnected or the household wiring to the aerial sockets is all defunct. The house also has two satellite dishes attached to the wall, but they've both had their cables cut at the dish end. Meanwhile, the neighbours inform me that TV reception is rather poor in the whole area anyway, due to a large industrial plant sitting a few hundred yards away, right in line of sight to the nearest transmitter.

    The practical upshot is that in spite of having at least 5 or 6 things in the house that are capable of receiving a FreeView signal (for example) we've now gone a month with no TV at all. So the number of boxes, etc. sold certainly bears no direct or simple relationship to the number of viewers, as has already been pointed out by others.

    Meanwhile, on a purely personal level, we don't miss it a bit. I'll admit that I am considering getting a BluRay player with built-in Smart/IP TV for the occasional thing that we might want to watch on iPlayer or 4OD or whatever, but finding one that covers all the UK streaming TV services seems to be tricky (iPlayer is common, but 4OD, ITV Player, etc. are harder to find all in the same box). Although, the fact that we haven't even used iPlayer, etc. very much on the assorted computers in the house suggests that we're not really all that bothered anyway. Aside from the occasional DVD, the various TVs no longer get used and it does seem to have improved our general quality of life and ability to get on and do other, more interesting things.

    In fact, I'd even go so far as to recommend the experience

  17. Christian Berger

    I have a VDR

    I can't get Freesat branded devices in my country, so I'm using VDR with the eepg plugin. It works reasonably well. The upside is of course that I have a fully open source solution, so I can record and store anything I want however I want.

    With normal DVB-S compliant receivers (like the one inside my TV) you only get "Now and Next" as well as Ceefax. Your country is weird in that it doesn't carry TV listings on Teletext, only subtitles.

    1. stu_ekins

      Re: I have a VDR

      After we invented teletext, we did put listings on there for a while. Then things moved on, for better our worse. Does anyone have a link to that last ceefax page?

  18. PeterM42

    We got rid of Sky because.....

    1) The box was CRAP. Nearly every time it rained heavily, the box went titsup. We know it was the box because the same aerial feeds the Freesat box.

    2) The cost was totally unnecessary (we ARE weird, we don't watch football). Cost savings paid for the box in under 9 months.

    3) We finally stopped being a Sky (Phone and Broadband) customer altogether because Sky tried charging us extra "because we were not using their TV service"!!!!!

    Stuff Murdoch.

  19. Chris Evans

    Viewing free to air channels not in the FreeSat EPG?

    If anyone can tell me how to View free to air channels not in the FreeSat EPG without losing the EPG my wife will be over the moon if she can watch Horse and Country!

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