Got a dish? Tired of paying Sky for hundreds of channels you don't even know about, let alone watch? Then why not buy a Freesat box...one payment, no subscription, plug it in and over 100 channels including BBC HD and the exclusive ITV HD.
It's been a slow start for Freesat, Freeview's fledgling big brother, but it is now starting to make an impression with over 200,000 households installing the alternative dish digital service in the latter half of 2008. Given that the all-important Freesat Personal Video Recorder (Freesat+ in other words) was only released in November and that the hardware was pretty hard to find in the run up to Christmas, that's a fast adoption rate for the new service in a very short space of time, especially as it has had very limited promotion. (By comparison, BT Vision still has only 350,000 customers and it's been around for over two years - Freesat launched in May 2008.)
According to this report in The Guardian, Freesat said that 61% of its customer panel identified HD services as the main reason for purchasing a set top box - that's a wake up call to both Sky and Virgin. The former may have overpriced its HD, the latter has, as we all know, undervalued the demand. With Freesat promising On Demand services next year, Virgin's management cannot ignore the new kid on the block. And neither can Sky - if you've already got a dish and need to save a few quid, Freesat must be very tempting indeed.