Freesat, the subscription-free digital satellite TV service, is a year old and has sold almost 400,000 receivers.
The Freesat service launched last May with digital boxes from Humax, Goodmans, Grundig and Bush. Panasonic then followed with a Freesat-integrated plasma TV and a Freesat integrated LCD TV in June, which were both made Which? Best Buys.
Freesat-integrated TVs from Panasonic and LG
To receive Freesat, users need a satellite dish and a Freesat tuner. Tuners can now be found in set top boxes, PVRs, and some TVs – including the new LG LF7700.
Panasonic has also included twin Freesat tuners in the newly announced BS850 and BS750, the UK’s first Blu-ray disc recorders. You can find out more about these devices in our Panasonic BS850 video overview.
BBC and ITV HD
Freesat now offers more than 140 channels, although this figure also includes radio stations and regional variants. The service also provides around 70 hours of high-definition TV per week through the BBC HD channel and the occasional ITV HD programme.
Dave Holes, Which? audio and visual expert, said: ‘Freesat has had a terrific first year, and the hardware that we have seen so far has been generally impressive. We’d like to see the amount of high-definition TV broadcast on Freesat increase over the next year.’
Freeview, the terrestrial digital TV service, will become a greater rival to Freesat this year as it plans to launch it’s own high-definition broadcasts. To receive HDTV on Freeview later this year, a new set top box will be required.
For help choosing the best LCD and plasma TVs, set top boxes and PVRs, check out our reviews.
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