Freesat Scraps Remote Recording, Sparking Frustration

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Freesat, the UK’s subscription-free satellite TV platform, has recently rolled out a significant change that has disappointed many of its users.

As of mid-June 2024, the company removed the popular remote recording feature from its mobile apps on both iOS and Android platforms.

This decision, which Freesat attributed to “a change to our internal systems,” means users can no longer set recordings on their Freesat set-top boxes using their smartphones or tablets – a feature that had been a part of the Freesat mobile app experience for years.

Unlike many recent updates that only impacted older Freesat models, this change affects both the older Humax Freesat recorders and the newer 4K Freesat boxes, leaving no users able to set recordings remotely via the app.

Freesat 4K TV Boxes

In a statement posted on their website, Freesat explained:

“Due to a change to our internal systems, we will be removing Freesat ID accounts from our platform from mid June 2024.

“As a result of this change, the Remote Record feature on Freesat Mobile Apps on iOS and Android will no longer function.”

Freesat app remote recording
Goodbye, Remote Recording

Freesat ID accounts were used to log into the mobile app and helped connect the app with the user’s Freesat box – but with those IDs scrapped, there’s now no way to connect the two devices and set recording remotely.

The company assured users that they can still record shows on their Freesat Recordable 4K TV Boxes (500GB, 1TB and 2TB) – as long as they do so directly (that is, via the box’s actual remote).

Freesat 4K remote

They also emphasized that there will be no disruption to viewing as a result of this change. However, this offers little consolation to users who relied on the convenience of remote recording.

Freesat Users Express Frustration

Remote recording was a beloved feature for many Freesat users, allowing them to set recordings while away from home or when they suddenly remembered a show they didn’t want to miss.

A similar feature has long been available on Freeview as well, with some boxes (such as the now-discontinued Humax FVP-5000t, and the Humax Aura).

Freesat’s decision affects users across the board, significantly reducing the mobile app’s functionality and appeal.

Freesat app set recordings

As expected, the announcement has been met with considerable backlash from users.

Many have taken to social media and the comments sections of the Google Play and Apple App stores to express their disappointment.

Donna, a long-time Android app user, commented: “Used this app for a few years successfully but now it’s useless. None of the programmes record anymore.”

Another user, Chris, didn’t mince words: “Freesat have deliberately removed the best feature of this app. The record from app feature no longer works and no plans to bring it back… WHY ??? The app is now just a channel guide.”

Looking back, it seems there were bugs and issues with remote recordings for a few years.

However, instead of addressing and fixing these problems, Freesat has chosen to remove the feature altogether.

Freesat’s At A Crossroads

As users grapple with the loss of remote recording, this change comes at a particularly challenging time for Freesat.

As we reported last month, the platform, which serves approximately 1 million homes in the UK, is facing significant challenges in an increasingly streaming-dominated market.

Freesat’s fate is closely tied to Sky’s decisions, as both use satellites operated by SES.

If Sky decides to move away from satellite services in favour of streaming platforms like Sky Glass and Sky Stream, it could make maintaining the satellite infrastructure prohibitively expensive for Freesat to manage alone.

An Ofcom report recently suggested that decisions about Freesat’s future should ideally be made by 2025/26.

Options being considered include using Freesat as a basic “nightlight” service during the transition from broadcast to broadband-based distribution, or potentially phasing it out completely in favour of streaming alternatives like the new Freely service.

For now, Freesat users are having to adjust to life without remote recording, a change that for some, diminishes the value of the Freesat mobile app and the overall Freesat experience.

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18 thoughts on “Freesat Scraps Remote Recording, Sparking Frustration”

  1. Huge negative response to unbelievably ridiculous decision to take away remote recording function! Why? No valid reason given. Who are these people who are taking us back to the 1980s?

    Reply
  2. They had a customer USP – remote PVR recording from anywhere in the world – and they threw it away!

    With no adequate explanation ( “Due to a change to our internal systems” is a frankly pathetic statement which is up there with “your call is important to us” )

    The feature attracted customers from other potential suppliers.

    Those like me who want to be able to be away from home for longer than the week-ahead EPG programming limit allows and still be able to record broadcast programmes to watch after they return, even if away for several weeks – or even months. And still be able to skip the intrusive and interminable adverts that the alternative of streaming catch-up enforces.

    It would be very interesting to know the true rationale behind this self-destructive Freesat decision.

    And also to hear from anyone who can suggest who I can jump ship to…?

    Reply
  3. Very disappointed Freesat have removed remote recording using the app.. I used it all the time as I am unable to read the television screen. No point in the app now. Please restore remote recording again. My investment in Freesat box is turning into a mistake. I am housebound and rely on my television.

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  4. I noticed on the Freesat website that they will also be stopping Security Updates for for all models from March 31st 2025, seems to me they won’t be supporting these machines for much longer😢 I absolutely luv the ability to Record TV programmes, will be a sad day when that ends.

    Reply
  5. I only found out today why my remote recording was not being sent to the Humax recorder. I am well Pi**ed off about it. I now got a box thats got no option to set remotely. Very bad of you Humax…

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  6. Only found out that they were removing the remote recording service when recordings weren’t being set. Had to find out through Google. Poor customer service. So annoying, it was great to be able to plan recordings on the move.

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  7. Terrible decision to remove the remote recording app. Had I known they were going to do that a couple of months ago I wouldn’t have finally dumped SKY and bought a second Freesat box. As I am away a lot the remote option meant I could record what I really want. So, I wish I hadn’t spent the money now and should have kept the SKY box. Maybe I will sell it to CEX and go back to SKY.

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  8. Perhaps we should also be directing our comments to Ofcom? I also feel that given I was sold a box with certain facilities, to have them removed like this is unfair in terms of Sale of Goods Act. (Note: TV and other equipment manufactures seem to be abdicating any responsibility for ongoing support of facilities provided with notes being included in sales and instructions literature. Perhaps it is time for those of us giving them hard earned cash to make a stand?)

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  9. What a backward step. I lost being able to see what recordings I had so I uninstalled the app and reinstalled it. It asks for username and password when I open the app which do not work because they have removed id’s so the app is now useless as I cannot Login

    Reply
  10. As a big freesat user with new and old boxes I’ve never managed to get remote recording or deleting to work anyway.

    If this worked for you ever consider yourself lucky …..

    If removing this helps them save some money and hence keep Freesat main features running longer we can’t complain so much can we it’s free after all… I suspect we are getting to the point with Freesat where it wont take much for them to shut the service down, after all I don’t think Sky still do satellites anymore…. and in five years your average kid wont understand what you mean by live broadcast of channels on tv anymore than they would know what a fax machine was (or who the tory party was!)

    What did work for me on the app was seeing what I had recorded and planned to record. This seems to be a bit dodgy now too. Anyone else having issues with other parts of the app? (both iphone and android) This was useful for my parents whose eyesight couldn’t read the recordings on the actual tv.

    Reply
  11. Freesat is especially useful where it’s not possible to receive freeview, and broadband is pretty slow in some remote locations.
    Remote recording removal just shows what the authority thinks of users.

    Reply
    • Agreed. We use freesat in area with no local freeview transmission. Broadband would not support more than 1 tv so not much use, and no record facility. App was only way to set a one off recording if away for more than a week. Come on Freesat what happened to customer service?

      Reply

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