EXCLUSIVE: Real Digital to offer premium HD TV and ITV Player by Christmas
Sky and Freesat rival Real Digital is to launch next week with plans to introduce a 15 channel premium channel package and ITV Player before Christmas.
The Real Digital EPG will include more than 190 free to air TV channels and 70 radio channels.
Pay TV packages are expected to be added in the next three months. A sports package will include Sky Sports 1 and 2 for £25 a month and a 15 channel premium package will include HD versions of US channel Blackbelt TV and an as-yet-unamed music channel for £10 a month.
Viewers will need to activate the viewing card which is included with their receiver either over the phone or online. No contract is required and there is no minimum subscription period.
BBC iPlayer will be available via the red button at launch for those who connect their receiver to the internet via Ethernet. ITV Player is expected to be added before Christmas followed by YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
The first receivers for satellite service Real Digital go on sale in Maplin next week.
Priced at £160, the Fortec Star FSRDHD zapper comes with a viewing card which must be activated either by phone or online. Users must select their regional variation during the setup procedure in order to receive the correct versions of BBC and ITV HD channels.
Channels can be sorted into 16 genre types and favourites lists can be created. There's support for 7 day EPG data which is downloaded to receivers in advance. A zoom mode will be added to the EPG in future for those with eyesight problems,
The Fortec receiver has a manual setup option for locating channels not on the Real Digital EPG including from other satellites with support for DiSEqC satellite systems. It comes with a choice of white or black remote control and a modulated UHF output enables users to watch TV and control the receiver from another room using a Magic Eye.
November will see the release of the Digitalstream Real HD+ PVR priced around £300 with twin tuners a 500 GB hard disc and the ability to schedule recordings via the EPG including series linking. Real Digital says it will soon introduce the ability to set remote recordings via a web browser-based EPG.
Real Digital managing director David Henry said: 'Next to an equivalent Freesat product we think this represents better value.'
Mutiroom deals will be offered and users may be given the opportunity to to trade-in receivers bought for other services such as Freesat from the end of next year.
Henry says Real Digital it is in discussions with two other manufacturers regarding future receivers including PVRs with '1 or 2TB drives'. It also hopes to see the service incorporated into integrated digital TVs.
Other potential Real Digital stockists are Richer Sounds and John Lewis.