UK Freesat closer to launch

From Colin Mann in Amsterdam

The Digital TV Group, the industry association for digital television in the UK, has moved a step closer to helping deliver a common test specification for Freesat, the subscription-free digital service from ITV and the BBC.

Freesat will offer more than 200 channels and services including high definition television to consumers across the UK for a one off payment, no contract, no subscription. Digital TV Group testing centre, DTG Testing, has been chosen to conduct the essential conformance testing for Freesat compliant receivers in order to deliver a high quality service to consumers. DTG Testing’s facilities will ensure consumers get best value and services when they buy digital television products and services.

Along with other Freesat technology partners, Siemens, Arqiva and eventIS, the Digital TV Group will work to deliver the technology required to implement the Freesat service.

Richard Lindsay-Davies, director general of the Digital TV Group, said that a common specification for service and receiver conformance was critical to the success of advanced digital services as it provided the framework for a vibrant and stable market. “In addition, consumer trust in the brand is vital and knowing that DTG Testing is defining the test requirements for all of the products necessary to bring Freesat to market will go some way to ensuring this, he added.”

Freesat’s first wave of chosen manufacturers (Humax, Panasonic, Sagem and Alba) will need to ensure their devices meet the Digital TV Group’s future-focused test regime for Freesat, pass the rigorous DTG Testing procedures and sign up to the Freesat trademark licence. By doing so consumers can be confident of the reliability and high quality of the Freesat compliant equipment they purchase. Emma Scott, Freesat's MD, said that discussions were taking place at IBC in Amsterdam with a second wave of manufacturers.

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