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Humax claims lead on high def Freesat box

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Humax claims lead on high def Freesat box
Humax will be the only company offering a high definition Freesat box when the service launches, the company has told Digital Spy.

Information about the digital satellite service is being kept under wraps until official publicity begins, and manufacturers cannot yet release much detail on their products.

However, Humax commercial director Graham North told DS that it hopes to take advantage of HD as Freesat's key selling point over Freeview.

No-one involved - Humax included - is allowed to say what content will be part of Freesat, but BBC HD and a high definition ITV channel are both expected from the beginning. Sky currently offers 17 linear HD channels and Virgin Media's cable service has one, while none will be available on digital terrestrial until, at the earliest, next year.

"There are so many HDTVs being sold now and there is so much demand for HD content," said North. "Also, not everyone wants to be a Sky customer for whatever reason - financial or anything else. There is definitely an opportunity in the market."

The non-subscription market is currently dominated by Freeview, with more than 27m digital terrestrial boxes having been sold since its launch. Humax believes there is significant potential for bringing these to the new satellite service, effectively meaning that the firm's first Freesat box will not be exclusively aimed at so-called "high end" customers.

"There will be quite a lot of Freeview customers who might take up Freesat," said North. "I don't think they will drop Freeview altogether, perhaps keeping it in a different room, but they will take it. Mainly because of the HD on offer."

Humax will not produce an SD-only receiver and North confirmed a HD personal video recorder would follow "a few months" after launch. The firm would consider producing televisions integrated with Freesat receivers in the future, he added, as it already sells similar digital satellite combinations in other countries.

"We would look at it, we have done it in other markets. We have decided not to before in the UK, because there wasn't a driver."

North also said its set-top boxes would contain DiSEqC controllers, which can be used to control equipment such as motorised dishes.

> Track early Freesat-related broadcasts on the forum

> Click here for DS news coverage of Freesat

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