Freesat from Sky

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This article is about the free-to-view satellite service from BSkyB. For the similarly named free-to-air service from the BBC and ITV, see Freesat.

Freesat from Sky is a British satellite television service from BSkyB. It offers over 240 free-to-air (FTA) channels in its EPG.[1] This is a greater number than its competitors, Freesat, which has 180+, and Freeview, which has 50+.[2][3] It also has up to six HD channels and Sky Active interactive data service.

Despite the benefits, BSkyB does not promote Freesat from Sky (FsfS). BSkyB also has a pay TV service which is heavily promoted and is the UK's most popular pay TV service.

Service reach[edit]

As of April 2011, the number of households with free-to-view satellite television is estimated by Ofcom to be 2.045 million, or 8.0% of households with television.[4] (This figure includes households with BBC/ITV Freesat, Freesat from Sky, and 'churned' Sky subscribers who kept their Sky Digiboxes to access free-to-view channels.)

Reception equipment[edit]

This service requires use of the proprietary SkyHD or SD set-top box, to receive the FTA channels. Sky's boxes use the proprietary OpenTV EPG for interactive television services. The boxes are limited in some regards when compared to other satellite receivers, such as digital audio, video outputs, and the lack of the ability to use a dish motor and scan for channels not carried on the EPG. They also feature an EPG that contains all Sky channels, including pay-TV services which are not available to non-subscription viewers. Sky currently include a SkyHD Digibox with new FsfS installations. These boxes receive a selection of standard definition and HD channels, but do not record. Those who wish to have Sky+ functionality (recording & time-shifting) must buy their own box, requiring Sky to 'pair' their existing viewing card to the new box. In addition, use of the recording facilities of these PVRs also requires an ongoing monthly fee.

Viewing card[edit]

Freesat from Sky differentiates itself from Freesat not just by its use of Sky equipment but by offering both free-to-air and free-to-view channels. A card is included with installation or can be purchased direct from Sky. For security reasons[5] the viewing cards are deactivated from time to time and reception of the encrypted free-to-view channels disabled. This requires the user to purchase a new viewing card at the current standard charge. Sky viewing cards used to access subscription services revert to acting as FsfS viewing cards upon cancellation of the subscription. The viewing card also ensures the correct region for regionalised services for BBC One, BBC Two, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.[citation needed]

Extra channels[edit]

The following is a list of free-to-view channels on the FsfS platform. A viewing card is required to watch them. None of these channels are available on Freesat. BT broadband subscribers can also receive BT Sport using a FsfS viewing card.

  1. ^ Not all local TV channels are available on the Sky platform and only the relevant channel for the user's postcode is shown in the EPG.

Other features[edit]

Competition[edit]

Freesat from Sky is a competitor to the BBC and ITV's Freesat service which also broadcasts from 28.2°E and 28.5°E and the DTT service Freeview. FsfS has seven free-to-view channels which are not available on Freesat (see above) and a large number of free-to-air channels which are not directly listed in the Freesat EPG and need manual tuning to receive them.

FsfS has over 240 free-to-air channels on its EPG, (which do not require either a viewing card nor a Sky receiver to watch), including Bloomberg Television and the Travel Channel, compared to 198 free-to-air channels on Freesat EPG.[6] with the remaining free-to-air channels not available through the main EPG, and needing manual tuning by the user.[citation needed] Freeview digital terrestrial television has over 50 free-to-air channels[7] but cannot be manually tuned into the free-to-air channels available.[citation needed] FsfS also pre-tunes the boxes to the correct regional services of broadcasters who offer regional services such as the BBC, ITV and Channel 5.[8] which on Freesat requires the user manually to enter their postcode during set-up for these correct regional services.

Conversely, there are some TV channels that are on Freeview but are not on the Sky EPG, including The Big Deal, Blue Kiss TV (Blue Kiss TV was removed from Sky on 12 October 2011 but continues on Freeview) and Top Up TV Anytime downloads.[citation needed]

Many adult-category channels on Freeview (such as the SmileTV channels) are simulcast on adult-category channels on Sky, but frequently have different channel names and broadcast times.[citation needed]

Other Freeview channels can be received on satellite, but may be subscription-only on some or all satellite locations, and therefore cannot be received via FsfS. These include Yesterday, Dave, Dave ja vu, Really and Quest.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ List of Free To Air channels broadcast from the UK
  2. ^ Why choose Freesat from Sky
  3. ^ "Channels" (Website). Join Freesat. Retrieved 11 March 2012. 
  4. ^ "Digital TV, Q1 2011" (PDF). The Communications Market: Digital Progress Report – Digital TV, Q1 2011. Ofcom. 11 December 2011. pp. p3. Retrieved 11 December 2011. 
  5. ^ "Why choose Freesat from Sky?" (Website). The Communications Market: Digital Progress Report – Digital TV, Q1 2011. BSkyB. 11 December 2011. Retrieved 11 December 2011. 
  6. ^ "What can I watch?". BSkyB. Retrieved 1 September 2014. 
  7. ^ "Channels". Freeview. Retrieved 11 December 2011. 
  8. ^ "Why choose Freesat from Sky?". The Communications Market: Digital Progress Report – Digital TV, Q1 2011. BSkyB. 11 December 2011. Retrieved 11 December 2011. 

External links[edit]