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Freesat still shy of 2 million homes despite pull of catch-up and mobile apps

Freesat’s mobile and catch-up mobile apps services have proven a hit with viewers with the iOS and Android apps racking up over 350,000 downloads. 

The free to air digital satellite service is growing, adding 8,000 new customers in the last three months, but it’s yet to break the 2 million barrier. 

Freetime, Freesat’s connected TV offering still continues to be the most popular service, accounting for 48 per cent of all Freesat set top box sales and a third of all Freesat sales in total. 

Freesat's mobile apps, which fuse catch-up with remote controls, have proven a hit with viewers
Freesat’s mobile apps, which fuse catch-up with remote controls, have proven a hit with viewers

Emma Scott, Freesat’s managing director, commented: “It is fantastic to be able to report another solid quarter of growth that demonstrates the ongoing appeal of free TV over pay. 

“We have enhanced our offering with our hugely successful mobile app, now available on both Android and iOS, and with our popular Showcase recommendation service, which is helping to drive viewer engagement. I am delighted to see the enduring success of Freesat with consumers.” 

Freesat app launched its iOS remote record app this January, turning iPhones and iPads into smart remote controls. 

As well as letting viewers access catch-up content from the BBC, ITV, Channel and Channel 5, the Freesat app also let customers set and delete recordings made on their Freetime boxes as well as change the channels and control playback. 

An Android equivalent arrived in July, bringing the same functionality to phones and tablets running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. 

Freetime also features Showcase, a discovery tool of curated content that Freesat says continues to be popular with its customers. Last month, Freesat rolled out an update to Showcase bringing a new design and improved recommendations to the table.   

Freetime, like YouView, is a connected digital TV service that blends linear broadcast channels with on-demand services and catch-up content. Over 200 channels sit on Freetime which also gives you access to programmes from the last seven days from BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD and Demand 5. 

A broadband connection is needed for the on-demand element of Freetime to work. Download speeds of at least 2Mbps is needed for content to be delivered in SD while for consistent HD streams you’ll need at least 5Mbps at all times. 

Freesat’s Freetime boxes come in 500GB, 1TB and 2TB versions. There are also driveless zapper boxes available for some seriously low prices. More recently, Freesat’s Freetime service has also been spotted in TV sets like Panasonic’s AX802, prompting speculation that Freetime might end up being used to run the proposed Freeview Connect service.  

You can download the Freesat apps from the iTunes App Store and Google Play now.