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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 October 2004, 11:20 GMT 12:20 UK
Sky launches 'freesat' digital TV
Sky viewing card
Sky's subscription figures have been slowing
BSkyB has launched a free digital satellite TV service which offers 140 channels for a one-off fee of 150.

The service, freesat from Sky, is being seen by many as an attempt to rival the success of Freeview, the equivalent service for digital terrestrial TV.

It has been launched with little fanfare by Sky, as the company continues to focus on pay-TV.

Viewers will get a digital set-top box, satellite dish, with free installation and a remote control in the deal.

The service will initially be only available directly from BSkyB.

The company hopes that the absence of a subscription fee will lure new customers who may eventually switch to a pay-TV package when analogue TV is phased out.

SKY'S FREE-TO-AIR PACKAGE
140 TV channels
80 radio channels
13 interactive services
All BBC digital services
All other terrestrial channels
Others include BBC regional channels on BBC One and Two

A spokesman for BSkyB said: "We think it is a really good offer for customers.

"It is not our core business. We will continue to focus our marketing efforts on the promotion of our pay-TV services."

Freeview has attracted nearly 4 million users since its launch in 2002 and has helped drive take up of digital television.

BSkyB says it does not see Freeview as a threat but will have been un-nerved by the recent slowdown in the numbers of subscribers to its pay-TV services.

Viewers can also buy a Sky Plus box - which contains a hard disc-based video recorder - without the need for a subscription to programme packages.

BSkyB charges 199 for the more advanced box, a further 120 for installation and 10 a month for subscription to Sky Plus.


SEE ALSO:
Sky's free satellite vs Freeview
10 Jun 04 |  Entertainment
Subscriber slowdown hammers BSkyB
04 Aug 04 |  Business


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