BBC, ITV and Channel 4 create Freeview Connect for universal catch-up on all smart TVs
Freeview Connect is a new brand created by the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 that will offer their catch-up TV services as standard on smart TVs.
BBC iPlayer, ITV Player and 4oD will comprise the Freeview Connect app which will be available on all internet-connected smart TVs once the initiative is fully realised.
The BBC was previously committed to the set-top box YouView as a means of distributing its catch-up services. But with co-investors BT and TalkTalk making so much money from the public investment, via the BBC, the Beeb is expected to pull funding by April. The box was originally intended to be sold separately but is given away by BT and TalkTalk as a means of pushing their paid services, including Sky channels.
Freeview Connect shows a commitment to Freeview TV by the broadcasters.
YouView was not a European-wide standard and had problems working with all televisions. This new move aims to create a universal experience that works on all connected TVs.
While the move isn't specifically anti-Sky it shows the broadcasters staying true to their free roots. One source told the Guardian that once Freeview Connect is up and running: "There is no reason why companies such as BSkyB might not be involved."
More than 3 million homes should have a smart TV by the end of 2014, making it more important than ever for public service broadcasters to cement their place so that TV manufacturers don't control the market.