Freeview has announced its newly rebranded service, Freeview Play. By adding catch-up TV into the EPG it aims to take on YouView, Sky and Virgin.
Freeview Play will appear on new TVs and set-top boxes allowing them to offer catch-up TV via the internet that is accessed through the EPG. So you will get catch-up TV like BBC iPlayer, on demand services and live television all in one place on the television.
This means you could scroll through a channel by time, moving back, and find a show to watch which you missed. Rather than going into an app, or finding a repeat to set to record, you can simply select and watch it directly.
Freeview Play won't work on current TVs or set-top boxes as it uses a new standard that will come with new hardware. TV partners who will ship this hardware have not been announced yet. Sony is already committed to offering YouView in its televisions so presumably Freeview won't appear in those.
While Freeview has been rebranded this isn't the key point. Any manufacturer could use the Freeview Play service in its televisions but with their branding over the top, theoretically. The end result is a better service that more seamlessly blends current, future and past content in one easily accessible place.
Guy North, Freeview managing director said: "Freeview has been built on a vision to make television available to all free from subscription. In the same way that we took the UK from analogue to digital, Freeview Play is the next step in that vision and it will put the viewer in control, without complexity, commitment or unnecessary cost – we want to keep television fair and open for everyone. That means giving consumers the freedom to choose the TV they want, the way they want it."
Freeview Play is due to launch later this year.