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Freesat+ HD with free time undercuts YouView, out this week

The Freesat+ HD with free time will hit the shelves of major retailers up and down the land on 17 October, priced at £279.

What gives? You wait blinkin' ages for a decent set-top box to show its interface, and then a whole bunch come along at once. The Humax Freesat+ HD with free time is the latest television service to pop up and is set to hit the shelves of major retailers up and down the land on 17 October -- that's this Wednesday -- for £279.

Freesat+ HD offers a similar service to the likes of Lord Sugar's YouView box and the Pure Avalon 300R, combining access to 150 free satellite channels with on-demand services such as BBC iPlayer and the ability to record programmes to watch later.

It sets itself apart from rival services, however, by making use of Sky dishes -- so if you live in out in the sticks and suffer from shoddy coverage, you won't have to shell out for a subscription-based service just to get a great picture. This is a great option for those who have reached the end of their contract with Sky and want to keep using their existing dish without continuing to pay an expensive subscription.

Bear in mind though, that if you don't already have a satellite dish clamped to your bricks and mortar, you'll have to shell out an extra £80 to have one installed. The unnecessary extra faff and expense means it's unlikely to win a place in the hearts and homes of the masses, especially as both YouView and the Avalon 300R are boxes that will work straight out of the... er, box, and are priced at a standard £300 apiece.

Unlike Pure and YouView, the service also currently lacks some pretty vital on-demand options such as 4oD and Demand 5 -- although they are scheduled to launch before Christmas. Talks are also in place with paid-for suppliers such as Netflix, but that doesn't necessarily guarantee that extra services will become available.

My colleague Andrew went hands-on with Freesat+ HD, and while he was impressed with the clean, simple interface -- dubbed 'free time' -- he was ultimately left unconvinced by its ability to persuade telly-watchers to upgrade.

Will you be rushing out on Wednesday to grab a Freesat+ HD box, or do your loyalties lie with a rival service? Record your opinions in the comments below or fast-forward to our Facebook page.