Free HD TV service launched

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The Independent Culture

The BBC and ITV are launching Freesat, a digital satellite TV service, today.

Freesat will initially feature more than 80 TV and radio channels, a number which is expected to rise to 200 by the end of the year.

Viewers will be able to watch high-definition (HD) programming without paying a subscription.

Freesat will be available to 98 per cent of UK homes, including those who currently cannot receive Freeview, which is broadcast via terrestrial transmitters and aerials.

Customers will have to make a one-off payment for a digital box, satellite dish and installation.

Viewers will need an HD-ready TV in order to view high-definition programmes.

Millions of people have already got HD-ready TV sets, but until now have not been able to access HD programmes for free.

Details of the TV and radio service, available to customers from today, are being unveiled this morning by ITV chairman Michael Grade and BBC Director-General Mark Thompson.