Freesat has quietly introduced this little box


Freesat has launched its first new, next generation 4K UHD box combining satellite and on-demand TV.

The new entry-level receiver, going under the name Freesat UHD-X, the result of a partnership between Freesat and manufacturer Arris, is due to be joined by a more advanced device, with a hard drive to store recordings, in the near future.

The basic receiver provides the usual access to Freesat channels, plus on-demand and catch-up content from a variety of a providers, alongside support for 4K UHD. It is currently on offer for £124.99 at Amazon, with Amazon Prime delivery available.

The dimensions of the receiver are 18 x 12.3 x 3.5 cm. It requires a satellite dish pointing at Astra 28.2°E (most satellite dishes installed in the UK and Ireland will meet that criteria) and a broadband internet connection. It can connect to the internet via wi-fi or ethernet and will link to a TV via HDMI.

4K UHD content is currently very sparse - but both the iPlayer and Netflix (available as an add-on) offer 4K UHD content. There are currently no free-to-air UHD channels on Freesat's satellite service.

On-demand services supported by the receiver include:
  • BBC iPlayer
  • ITV Hub
  • Netflix
  • YouTube
  • My5
  • STV Player
  • UKTV Play
  • France 24
  • Pop Fun

All4 from Channel 4 is notably absent from this and all Freesat boxes after Channel 4 loosened ties with Freesat and moved to strengthen its on-demand provision with rival satellite service Sky.

The new range of Freesat/Arris receives marks the launch of the satellite service's third generation of satellite receiver, the first major launch in seven years after the second generation receiver built by Humax introduced integrated catch-up and on-demand programming through a backward scrolling EPG.

Freesat channels can also be accessed on selected LG and Samsung smart TVs connected to a satellite dish. Manhattan also sells a basic low-cost HD receiver for Freesat channel reception.