Millionth customer for Freesat

Monday, March 29th, 2010

IMPALA delighted at MHEG’s role in Freesat success

LONDON, UK — IMPALA, the International MHEG Promotion Alliance, is delighted at the success of Freesat, who this week announced that it had passed the one million customer mark. Freesat has used MHEG as its iTV middleware since launch and is now leading the way with the beta rollout of a hybrid service using the MHEG Interaction Channel.

Freesat, which is a joint venture by ITV and the BBC, is a free-to-air satellite service which requires only a one-off satellite dish installation charge. Alternatively, those homes that already have a satellite dish can use that to view the service along with the appropriate iDTV, PVR or set-top box. Freesat claims that many of its customers are ex-pay-TV.

Freesat is the first service in the world to deploy the hybrid broadcast/broadband MHEG Interaction Channel. It is currently allowing the beta rollout of the BBC iPlayer. January saw Freesat and the BBC start expanding access to BBC iPlayer on the free-to-air DTH platform by officially releasing the code needed to access the service. ITV has announced that its ITV Player service will also be deployed on the platform.

Initially available on Humax boxes, the beta release is now available on Humax Foxsat-HD boxes, Humax Foxsat-HDR boxes and Sony Freesat TVs, according to the Freesat website. Once connected to the internet via Ethernet cable or wirelessly, users will then need a 1 Mbit/s minimum connection speed and to type in a four-digit code.

Bob Lamb, Founder Member of IMPALA, says, “The growth of Freesat has been supported by a vibrant receiver retail marketplace which in turn is enabled by the use of MHEG as the middleware. We welcome its success and the groundbreaking deployment of the MHEG Interaction Channel.”