Freesat = a kind of Freeview for satellite, so you pay for the set top box and dish installation, but after that the service and channels are free. Around 98% of households in the UK will fall within the satellite’s footprint (though you will need line of sight upwards towards the satellite - Astra 2 at 28.2° East - and be allowed to mount an external dish). So it's a good alternative in advance of digital (terrestrial) switchover if you want to receive extra digital TV services but can't get all (or any) of Freeview.
Update - PS, not much success tracking down a freesat box in Belfast on launch day.
Oh, and when it’s not at the start of a sentence, freesat is terribly modern and has a small ‘f’.
Back to the Telegraph ...
ITV chairman Michael Grade and BBC director-general Mark Thompson will this week unveil the broadcasters’ long-awaited free-to-air satellite service. Freesat, as the joint-venture service has been called, is seen as a key weapon in the broadcasters’ fight against the might of BSkyB.
However, it will have an inauspicious start, launching with just one channel. The channel, BBC HD, will offer a selection of the broadcaster’s shows in a high definition (HD) format.
Mr Grade and Mr Thompson are expected to promise a clutch of other channels in time for the summer, screening many shows in HD - which offers much sharper pictures.
Viewers who pay GBP 150 for the dish, box and installation should be able to watch the Olympics, Wimbledon and the Euro 2008 football championships in HD, provided they have an HD-ready TV set.
By the summer, the service will also promise to carry some major US hit shows in HD, such as ITV1’s Pushing Daisies and BBC2’s Heroes.
The FAQ on the (not-yet-updated-for-launch) freesat website is a bit more up beat …
How many channels will I get?
Because freesat is delivered via satellite, there’s a huge range of TV, radio and interactive services to choose from with more than 80 channels.
You won’t be overwhelmed by all these channels – we’ve organised them into easy-to-use categories with our freesat on-screen guide, so you’ll easily find what you want at the press of a button.
Did the Telegraph (a bastion of journalism) get it slightly wrong? Would Michael Grade (currently at ITV) turn up to launch a single BBC service? Did they really mean to say that it’ll launch with just one HD channel, but 79 standard definition channels?
Or does the Telegraph know something shocking that no one else is talking about?
Update - Freesat-branded set-top boxes come with ethernet sockets which will shortly be enabled to offer viewers access to broadband internet content, including iPlayer and the (future) commercial Kangaroo service. (BT Vision boxes currently hook up to the web to offer QoS-enabled IPTV streamed content, and Sky+ are planning to offer online access shortly too.)