The new Freeview Play connected TV service is to launch in October, combining catch-up TV from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, on-demand services and live television. Panasonic televisions will be the first to introduce the service and in the lead-up to October existing compatible TVs will update automatically. The service is free from subscription and works with all existing broadband services.
Freeview Play will launch on Panasonic’s new 2015 line-up of Viera TVs and viewers will be able to scroll back through the TV guide for programmes on catch-up or access on-demand programming through the apps page.
Following the TV launch, Panasonic will also be introducing a full range of video products equipped with Freeview Play, including three Blu Ray recorders and two digital recorders. In addition, Humax will launch Freeview Play digital recorders, Manhattan TV and Vestel will also launch ranges of Freeview Play products, and other major TV manufacturers will follow.
“We believe that Freeview Play is set to become the new normal way of watching TV,” said Guy North, managing director of Freeview. “Viewers will be free to choose what they watch and when they watch it on their main set free from subscription.”
Digital UK and Freeview announced plans to launch Freeview Play last year. Since then Ilse Howling, MD, connected TV at Digital UK has led a team to develop the product specification for the new service. Digital UK has worked closely with Arqiva to build the technical system required to support Freeview Play.
Caroline Thomson, chair of Digital UK, commented: “The launch of Freeview Play is a landmark moment for UK television. Our aim is to make watching the best free broadcast and catch-up TV easy for everyone. It’s testament to the work of Ilse Howling, Guy North and their teams, as well as the many partners across our industry, that we are bringing Freeview Play to market with a service that makes watching your favourite TV so simple.”