Freesat MD Emma Scott has stated that people can use their old satellite dishes to receive the free-to-air service, as the company steps up the competition with industry giant BSkyB.

Although it has been clear since launch that Freesat uses the same satellites as Sky – and therefore people could use old Sky dishes with a Freesat box to receive its service – the newcomer has held off on pushing this fact.

However, with the news that Freesat has hit the 100,000 sales mark, managing director Emma Scott has made it clear that current and former BSkyB customers can opt for the one-off payment of Freesat rather than Sky.

Plug it in

"For those people that already have a satellite dish installed, they may simply be able to take their Freesat digital box or integrated TV home and plug it straight in," said Scott.

"There's no denying how much people enjoy watching in high definition once they see it for themselves and the success of Freesat proves that.

"Unfortunately there are still a lot of people out there who think they're already watching in HD because they have an HD ready TV - but they aren't.

"We want to help everyone understand that HD Ready is not the same thing as HD now.

"Without an HD digital receiver connected to an HD Ready TV or an integrated TV with Freesat HD built in you can't watch an HD TV programme."

Sky's flagship

Sky has been one of the major pushers of HD television in Britain – ramping up its own portfolio of high definition channels and changing the menu system on its HD boxes to reflect that it is its flagship viewing experience.

Freesat currently offers BBC HD (as does Sky and Virgin Media) and is the sole provider of a sparse HD service from ITV through a red button interactive option.

The decision to open up about the ability of Sky dishes to work with Freesat is likely to provide a major boost in sales for the new kid on the block - although it may ruffle a few feathers at Sky's Osterly headquarters.

"Clear advice that a Sky dish can also be used for Freesat will be good news for sales of Freesat receivers, and it's an opportunity for installers who can offer an upgrade from a single cable to the multiple outputs you'll need for both Freesat and Sky," What Satellite and Digital TV editor Alex Lane told us.

We've asked Sky for comment on this latest development in the British satellite industry.