Although there's a lot of grumbling in the UK about that £135 ($270) yearly television license fee (only $87 for a black and white set!), it's hard to complain that the BBC doesn't try to use all that money in cool ways. Adding to their already-ambitious plans to distribute HDTV through torrent, datacasting, and IPTV, the Beeb announced today that, after years of delays, they've been approved to pair up with ITV and launch a free 200-channel HD-capable satellite service called Freesat in the spring of 2008. The move is designed to provide digital service to the estimated 25% of the British public that can't get the successful Freeview DVB-T service, but it'll also be free to any license payer who ponys up for one of the several available interactive receivers. Hmm, that's an interesting version of "free," must be the British spelling.

[Via TechDigest]

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BBC, ITV to launch free satellite HDTV in UK by 2008