Freesat has gone from strength to strength in the year it's been around. Celebrating its first birthday today, the service has offered a viable alternative to Sky, integrated itself into a number of HDTVs and reached the 400,000 sales mark in the UK.

The biggest draw for customers for the service so far has been ITV HD, which currently is still only available on the Freesat platform.

Couple this with news that the iPlayer will be hitting the service in the autumn and Freesat has many reasons to be upbeat about its state of play 12 months on.

Real consumer appetite

"We are thrilled with the progress we've made in the last twelve months," said Emma Scott, Managing Director of Freesat about the service's birthday.

"Reaching 400,000 sales as well as launching Freesat+ and a whole range of new Freesat products and services is a fantastic achievement in this competitive market.

"It shows that there is a real consumer appetite out there for high quality digital TV without monthly bills. With more Freesat channels and products to come and IPTV services such as BBC iPlayer due in the autumn, we're looking forward to a successful second year."

Challenges ahead

It will be this second year, however, that will prove to be Freesat's biggest challenge. Sky recently cemented itself as the biggest provider of HD content in the satellite market with its recent marketing push, and Freeview HD is due to arrive later this year.

The competition for getting HD content into the home is only just beginning.

Alex Lane, Editor of What Satelitte and Digital TV agrees, explaining to TechRadar that: "Freesat has had a good start and has enormous potential, but it's still far from challenging Freeview or Sky for a significant slice of the British TV audience, and growth has been limited by a continuing shortage of equipment and too few manufacturers supplying it.

"I hope Freesat's birthday presents this year will include HD channels from all of the UK's public broadcasters."