October launch for new Freeview play TV service
Freeview Play, the next-generation of the UK's biggest TV platform, will launch in October, Freeview and Digital UK have announced. Panasonic televisions are first to offer the new connected service and compatible TVs already on sale can be updated from today (24 September).
Freeview Play combines catch-up TV from the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 - with Channel 5 coming soon - on-demand services and live television to make watching what you want, when you want as easy as possible. The service is free from subscription and will work with existing broadband connections.
Viewers will be able to add Freeview Play to their existing TVs via digital recorders from manufacturers including Humax, Manhattan and Vestel. Panasonic will also introduce recorders and Blu-ray players at a later date. Freeview will unveil a new TV advertising campaign to support the launch in the coming weeks.
Speaking at a Digital UK industry event today, CEO Jonathan Thompson set out his strategy for an increasingly hybrid DTT platform, underpinned by Freeview Play and increased industry partnership.
NEW FREEVIEW TVS AND BOXES MUST BE HD FROM 2017
All new Freeview products must be HD from the end of next year, it was announced today. Only Freeview TVs and boxes capable of receiving high-definition terrestrial services will be licensed to carry the Freeview trademark logo after 31 December 2016. Freeview, alongside Digital UK and the DTG, has been working with manufacturers and retailers to encourage the take-up of HD to deliver the best viewing experience for consumers and increase the use of more efficient technical standards.
The move is expected to give a major boost to sales of HD products, which last year accounted for over 70% of new Freeview TV sales in the UK. Guy North, Managing Director of Freeview, said: 'By moving all Freeview products to HD we are ensuring that our viewers can get the full range of channels available to them and the best possible quality.'
DIGITAL UK SUPPORTS 'NO CHANGE' POSITION AT WRC-15
Digital UK has published a briefing on The World Radiocommunication Conference 2015 (WRC-15) and proposed changes to airwaves that could affect the future of Freeview. The document notes that Digital UK is against any reallocation of airwaves in 470-694MHz band, alongside the UK Government, the European Commission and the CEPT, which co-ordinates the European view in WRCs among 48 member countries. Recent reports indicate that the Arab Spectrum Management Group and World Broadcasting Unions, representing broadcaster networks around the globe, have also opposed changes to this spectrum band. You can view our briefing here.
TV RECEPTION GUIDE PUTS DTT VIEWERS IN THE PICTURE
Extra advice on aerials and ensuring the best Freeview reception is now available from the Digital UK website. Our good reception guide offers tips for trouble-free viewing, a look at the common causes of picture problems and ways to find out more about resolving any issues.
ITV UPGRADE BOOSTS HD IN WALES AND EXTENDS ITV4
More viewers can tune into ITV4 on Freeview following technical upgrades by ITV on 25 August. Homes in Wales can also now watch specific ITV programming for their region in high definition. Following the changes, some viewers may need to retune their TV equipment to receive these services. Advice on retuning is available at digitaluk.co.uk.
CBS DRAMA AS MORE FREE CHANNELS ARRIVE FOR VIEWERS
Several new channels have arrived on Freeview, offering viewers even more great free entertainment. Making a dramatic entrance on channel 74, CBS Drama brings classic series including Dallas and Sex in the City back to the living room. Joining this is YourTV, the first free-to-air channel from Fox, which promises 'sensational real-life stories, irresistible experiences and thrilling tales'. YourTV is on channel 78, with a +1 service on 79. From this week movie lovers can also enjoy Talking Pictures TV, the new home of the good old black and white film, on channel 81.
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