Freesports ditches standard definition for UK satellite viewers

Freesports has ditched its standard definition channel on Sky and Freesat with the launch of its free-to-air high definition channel.

In what is still a rare move by a broadcaster, the sports channel has not retained its standard definition service as a simulcast - viewers will now see the HD channel only in the Electronic Programme Guides.

Freesports HD is available on Sky UK channel 422 and Freesat channel 252. The change does not apply to Sky viewers in the Republic of Ireland, who have their own version of the channel - still in SD.

Freesports SD was removed from Virgin Media last year, meaning the only platform still distributing the channel in standard definition is Freeview, where it is available on channel 64 in some areas. Freesports has said they have no plans to launch in HD on Freeview.

  • Satellite viewers who have set up recordings for Freesports may need to reset them.

Among the main TV platforms, so far only Virgin Media and YouView based services (e.g. BT TV) have 100% take up of HD-compatible equipment. Virgin migrated its users to newer receivers while YouView was HD-compatible from the start.

However, even these platforms continue to maintain a number of HD/SD simulcasts due to carriage contracts, including those where broadcasters charge a premium for making HD channels available to viewers and where platform operators charge more for a higher resolution picture.