Clue: It’s subscription-free, involves satellites, and comes from BSkyB.
Amazingly, few Sky subscribers know that you can keep watching free TV through your Sky box if you cancel your subscription.
You can also get a Sky HD box – installation included – for £175 if you pay £175. That includes six HD channels.
The name of this service? Freesat from Sky.
Is it the same as Freesat?
No. Sky – somewhat cynically – launched the Freesat from Sky brand when the BBC/ITV/Channel 4 Freesat was preparing to launch several years ago, and there was nothing Freesat could do about it.
Both use the same satellites and can use the same dish.
How do I get Freesat from Sky?
If you already have a Sky subscription, you just have to cancel it – but only if you want to lose all of your subscription channels. Your account will be converted to Freesat from Sky.
If you don’t have Sky, and you don’t like the look of Freesat’s products, you can get Freesat from Sky for £175 by phoning 08442 410 595, and choosing option 2.
What sort of Sky box will I get?
If you’re a subscriber ‘churning’ down from a Sky subscription, your existing Sky or Sky+HD box and viewing card will continue to work as normal.
If you’re new, you’ll get the basic Sky HD box, which doesn’t do recording and has just one tuner, but can pick up free HD channels. This is not the same as the Sky+HD box given to all new Sky susbcribers.
You’ll also get a viewing card that tells your Sky box where you live to give you the correct BBC and ITV regional signals, and lets you pick up Channel 5 HD.
The viewing card may need to be replaced every five-to-10 years, which normally costs around £20.
What channels does Freesat from Sky offer?
Freesat from Sky claims to have more than 240 channels, including BBC One HD, BBC HD, ITV HD, Channel 4 HD, Channel 5 HD and NHK World HD (BBC HD will become BBC Two HD from March 26, 2013).
Entertainment channels include all of the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 spin-off channels, BET, CBS Drama, CBS Action, CBS Reality, and Sony TV.
Film channels include Movies 4 Men (1 & 2), Men & Movies, Film 4, True Movies (1 & 2), and the Horror Channel.
Lifestyle channels include Body in Balance, Food Network, Horse & Country, Fitness TV, The Active Channel, Wedding TV, Food Network, Travel Channel, Luxury Life and Wedding TV.
For music, there’s Channel AKA, Chart Show TV, Bliss, Clubland, DanceNation TV, Channel Starz, Flava, Greatest Hits TV, NME TV, Scuzz, The Vault, and Vintage TV.
There are also 10 news channels: BBC News, BBC Parliament, Al Jazeera, CCTV News, CNN, EuroNews, France 24 and CNC World.
Children can watch CBBC and CBeebies, PopGirl, Tiny Pop and CITV.
In addition there are more than 50 shopping, religion and special interest channels, 30 international channels, dating channels and pay-per-night adult channels. There are also more than 100 free radio stations.
How is it different from Freesat?
Freesat from Sky has a few channels which aren’t on standard Freesat:
Channel 5 HD, LFC TV (Liverpool Football Club), Motors TV, Sony Entertainment Television (+1), Sony Movie Channel (+1) and Viva.
The Sky channel guide includes more than 240 free TV channels, around 60 of which are also available on Freesat, but have to be tuned in manually because they are not in the Freesat channel guide.
Freesat features RT HD, which is now available on Freesat from Sky. Many Freesat products will also deliver the BBC iPlayer via your broadband connection, and some provide additional broadband TV services.
How is it different from Freeview?
There are a lot more channels overall on Freesat from Sky than Freeview. However, satellite TV viewers will need a Sky subscription to pick up the Freeview channels 4Music, Yesterday, Dave, Dave ja vu, Really, and Quest.