Set-top box maker Humax is first in line with a Freesat box. The Humax Foxsat-HD Freesat is a £149 digital TV box that provides access to more than 80 Freesat TV channels.

Freesat is a joint venture between the BBC and ITV that launched today and that offers consumers the ability to access a broader than ever range of free-to-air digital TV content. Rather than using a Freeview set-top box, consumers pay a one-off fee to have a satellite dish installed.

Other manufacturers about to launch Freesat digital TV boxes include Panasonic, Grundig, Goodmans and Bush.

Freesat is intended to be a direct rival to the dominance of Sky in the satellite TV arena. It also a way of pushing HD (high-definition) TV content to those who have yet to see the point of better picture that they have to pay for.

Existing Sky subscribers will be able to enjoy Freesat content using their existing satellite dish and will simply need to buy a Freesat dish, such as the Humax Foxsat-HD.

Humax's spokesperson said: "By opting for the Humax FOXSAT-HD digital box, connected to an HD Ready TV, viewers can immerse themselves in the very best of HD programmes from the BBC and ITV, subscription-free."

The Humax Foxsat digital TV box comes with Scart and HDMI (high-definition media interconnect) cables and can be hooked up to either an analogue or HD-Ready TV. A 7-day EPG (electronic programme guide) is included, along with a remote control to make scrolling through channels easier.

Dolby digital audio and surround sound are supported, while Humax also offers a parental controls lock to prevent kids viewing unsuitable content.

Freesat offers access to over 80 digital TV and radio channels for a one-off payment which covers the cost of a Freesat digital box, satellite dish and installation.

Humax is selling the Foxsat for £149.99 inc VAT, with installation on top.

Alternatively, it looks likely that PC users will be able to access the same range of channels via their computer. Two weeks ago, TV tuner company Hauppauge jumped the gun by announcing that they were to start selling a free-to-air digital TV tuner that picks up Freesat channels and that attaches to a laptop or PC via a USB 2.0 port.

However, Freesat says such products must first be certified as compatible before add-on tuners of this sort can be marketed using the Freesat name.

Humax Foxsat-HD Freesat digital TV box

Humax Foxsat-HD Freesat digital TV box

Digital World.