Google is partnering with the U.K. satellite-TV box Freesat to offer an HTML5 YouTube app starting in March, the companies announced Monday (PDF).
Freesat is a free-to-air digital satellite television joint venture between the BBC and ITV, serving the United Kingdom. A set-top satellite TV box offers 180 channels and doesn’t require a monthly subscription.
YouTube will be available on the premium internet-connected version of the box, which costs £279 (USD $438.70) and offers HD recording and on-demand viewing.
U.K. customers can already watch YouTube on internet-connected TVs or with Apple TV, but the Freesat partnership brings YouTube content to a larger audience: Freesat announced that it’s just sold its three millionth box, though not all of those are internet-connected, and that is now in about 1.7 million U.K. households.
As of April 2011, the number of households with free-to-view satellite television is estimated by Ofcom to be 2.045 million, or 8.0% of households with television.
Another UK competitor for free (ad supported) multi-channel television in the UK is the terrestrial-based Freeview service, which offers dozens of free over-the-air channels. Freeview channels can be received at no charge (other than the annual television licence required for television reception) required for all viewers of broadcast television in the UK.
Freeview HD is the first operational TV service in the world using the DVB-T2 standard. The Freeview HD box delivers at least 5 free HD channels and up to 50 standard definition digital channels and radio stations. All for free. Freeview Plus allows subscription television.
Sky, Virgin, and Freesat all provide HD services through either satellite or cable. They use the DVB-T2 standard that uses MPEG-4 AVC, which uses half the bandwith of the older, less efficient MPEG-2 standard used by US broadcasters in the ATSC standard. ATSC also has to compensate for the more ghost prone 8-VSB standard with additional error correction bits.
US broadcasters saw no future in mobile television and rejected a more “open” COFDM modulation for HD transmission in the United States. Ex-FCC chairman Richard Wiley worked out the intellectual property rights for ATSC which involved MIT, Zenith and others.
“The ATSC standard was not dictated from on high by government bureaucrats,” according to Wiley. “Instead, it was an open, collegial and peer-review process.”
House of Cards.