Google is taking YouTube 'free to air' in the UK

Freesat is a bit of surprise hit in the UK offering (as the name suggests) free-to- air programming via satellite, with more than 150 channels, including radio, currently on offer. Launched as a joint venture between the BBC and ITV four years ago, the service has just passed its 3 millionth sign-up.

This take-up may or may not have been partly due to many TV viewers realising that they mostly watch free to air programming anyway - why spend large on a cable or pay satellite service? (see - Are users paying too much for broadband/TV bundling?)

The opportunity for YouTube came last year when Freesat announced 'free time' which uses a broadband connection to add video streaming from the Internet to the mix to create a 'hybrid' EPG (for stored content that's already been transmitted); broadcast (over satellite) and streamed content from the Web or from catch-up TV sources such as the BBC's iPlayer.

The YouTube channel/capability will become available at the end of March, says Freesat, when viewers will be able to access YouTube videos via their TV sets just as they can with the BBC’s iPlayer service.

The launch blurb says, "The version of YouTube that will be launched is built on HTML5 and will be its very latest iteration offering a TV-optimised, visually stunning and fully interactive viewing experience."

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