The UK’s free-to-air satellite service Freesat has racked up 100,000 sales since its launch in May.

Freesat said high definition coverage of major sporting events over the summer played a key role in encouraging people to buy HD set-top boxes.

Co-owned by the BBC and ITV, Freesat offers a satellite alternative to the Freeview service on digital terrestrial television.

It is taking on competitor Sky by offering free TV channels, including some HD ones, once customers pay for a Freesat receiver.

There are now around 120 TV and radio channels and Freesat said that its early success was greatly boosted by BBC HD and ITV HD offering free HD coverage of Euro 2008, FA football, Wimbledon and the Olympic Games.

The service expects to have 200 channels available by the end of 2008 – including subscription-free high definition channels from the BBC and ITV- and 230 by early 2009, with around 30 channels added each month.

Freesat is promising a packed HD Christmas schedule and November will see the launch of Freesat+, the first digital television recorder (DTR), from Humax.

Earlier this month, ITV director of group development and strategy Carolyn Fairbairn replaced Tim Davie as chairman of the Freesat.

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