(Pocket-lint) - Launched in October last year, the Freeview Play service has gathered momentum of late. Many more supported devices are now available and the free catch-up technology from the UK's major digital television provider is proving an excellent alternative to paid TV.
There are now plenty of TVs, set-top-boxes and other home entertainment kit that are Freeview Play enabled, so you have a choice on how to get it.
But why should you choose Freeview Play over other television services that also offer catch-up and on demand? Here are seven reasons we've come up with that should give you food for thought.
1. Freeview Play is free
Let's start with the most obvious reason why Freeview Play is so attractive. Once you buy a supported TV, box or device you can access its feature set for free. There are no monthly or hidden charges.
2. You can catch-up with your favourite shows
Freeview Play essentially gives you the ability to catch-up with your favourite programmes on the top TV channels in the UK without having to access their individual applications. It currently offers shows from BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, plus their respective sister channels (such as BBC Four, ITV 2 and E4).
3. You can find catch-up shows in the EPG
What makes Freeview Play intuitive is that instead of simply offering access to apps, as with most Smart TV platforms, you can scroll backwards through the electronic programme guide and choose TV shows from the last seven days. Hit play and they will automatically start in the specific channel's respectively catch-up and on demand software.
Channel 5 content is currently not available to catch-up on through the EPG, but will be added soon. In the meantime you can access its My 5 service through Freeview Play.
4. You don't have to go to separate apps yourself
As mentioned, most Smart TV platforms offer the main catch-up TV services as individual applications, which you can access through their hubs, but Freeview Play simplifies the process by giving you the option to click on the show you want to watch rather than wade through lists of software. It automatically starts any video service for you and jumps straight to the relevant show.
5. More channels are being added
Freeview Play is working with other broadcast partners to add their content to the service. One of those, UKTV, has already announced that it will be adding catch-up content for its channels, Dave, Really, Yesterday and Drama, in the next couple of months. Channel 5 will also soon add its shows to the EPG for retrospective catch-up on demand.
6. Not just terrestrial channels will be Freeview Play-ready
After Channel 5 has been added, that will cover all the main terrestrial channels. There are plans to work with the other stations to add their content, with UKTV and its UKTV Play service the next in line.
7. There are plenty of devices already available that support Freeview Play
Amongst the manufacturers that support Freeview Play are LG, Panasonic and Humax, with the latter two already having several products on the market that feature the service.
If you're in the market for a new TV, you should look out for the Freeview Play badge to make sure it is enabled.
The Panasonic Viera TX-40CX680B, TX-50CX700B, TX-50CX802B, TX-55CR852B and TX-65CR730B each support Freeview Play. There will also be others in its 2016 TV line-up over the coming weeks and months.
Panasonic also makes standalone recorders and Blu-ray players with Freeview Play support.
The DMR-HWT150EB, DMR-HWT250EB, DMR-PWT655EB and DMR-PWT550EB are each enabled.
Other currently available set-top-boxes include Humax's FVP-4000T digital TV recorders, with two options on offer; one with a 500GB hard drive, the other with 1TB of storage.
You can find out more about the available devices on Freeview's own product page.
Get catch-up and on demand TV for £0 per month with Freeview Play. Click here to find out more.