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(Pocket-lint) - Freeview and Digital UK are partnering to develop a new Freeview-branded connected TV service that will offer free-to-air TV channels alongside on-demand and catch-up TV platforms in order to combat the rise of YouView.

The service will be free to use in the UK and will consist of a product specification that manufacturers can then use to build into their TVs or developer new set-top-boxes.

The two companies' shareholders are firmly behind the project for the next five years, supporting the development and marketing of the new Freeview offering.

Former Freeview managing director Isle Howling will head up the connected TV department at Digital UK to oversee the project.

"I’m delighted to be joining Digital UK to lead development of the new connected service. The company is well placed to develop the next generation specification and work with the supply chain to support a new, mass market service to make connected TV available free, for everyone," she said.

Whether the platform will garner support from the major TV manufacturers remains to be seen. Many already have their own Smart TV connected platforms, which offer access to apps for BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD and many others. They also all have Freeview-receiving TV tuners.

Launch details and the final brand name for the Freeview and Digital UK project will be revealed in due time.

Writing by Rik Henderson.