Freesat continues to grow thanks largely to Freetime, the connected service that lets you easily catch up on missed shows through the programme guide.
While Freesat’s customer base hasn’t grown as dramatically as others – after six years of being on the market, Freesat still has less than 2 million customers – more customers are choosing to upgrade to Freetime.
Sales of Freetime boxes like the Humax HDR-1000S, which comes in 500GB, 1TB and 2TB editions – and the driveless HB 1000S, more than doubled in the last 12 months. Freetime boxes now account for 41 per cent of all new Freesat sales.
The Freesat iOS app has now also been downloaded more than 200,000 times, up by 70,000 from three months ago. The app lets you watch catch-up TV on your iPhone and iPad as well as manage recordings on your Freetime box when you’re out and about – check out our hands on video below.
Emma Scott, Freesat’s Managing Director, commented: “I’m delighted that Freesat’s strong 2013 momentum has continued into the first quarter of 2014. Free TV has never been so vibrant or compelling. TV fans are switching on to our Freetime service and switching away from pay TV and the expensive contracts that go with it.”
The UK’s subscription-free digital satellite TV platform added 18,000 new customers in the last three months, making Freesat is now available in 1.84 million households across the UK.
This sees it remain in fourth place overall way behind Virgin Media, and not much above BT TV.
By contrast, digital terrestrial and catch-up hybrid service YouView, which launched nearly two years, is available in over 1 million UK homes.
The majority of those YouView sign-ups have been driven by TalkTalk, which is heavily pushing its YouView-based TalkTalk TV service. BT also has a stake in YouView and earlier this year launched its latest YouView-based box, while it continues to run the older BT Vision platform – although support for the first generation silver Vision boxes is soon to cease.
While Freesat doesn’t enjoy the support of two of the UK’s leading ISPs, its signed partnerships with Panasonic and Vestel, which will see smart TV sets with the Freetime service built in hit the shelves.
Panasonic’s AX802 4K Ultra HD range, which starts at £2,099, is the first of many TVs to come with Freetime as standard. Vestel makes white label goods for high street names like Sainsbury’s, Asda and Tesco, so expect to see Freetime TVs and set-top boxes on the shelves when you’re doing the weekly food shop.