Freeview fit for the future

Freeview, the UK's DTT service in 16.7 million homes, says it is in a strong position for future growth following a trio of recent technology and service developments. New product launches from Sony Computer Entertainment and Microsoft allow customers to get the Freeview service via a PlayStation3 (PS3) and will see Freeview integrated as standard with Windows Media Center via a home PC. A successful trial of HD using the DVB-T2 standard also takes Freeview a step closer to providing HD from late 2009. UK shipments of PlayTV on Sony's PS3 reached 85,000 in its first week, demonstrating the desire to have access to digital TV on all TVs in the home. Not only does Play TV give viewers access to up to 48 TV channels and over 20 radio channels, it also provides viewers with a variety of integrated digital recording features including series record, one touch record and the ability to pause live TV. Freeview will also be available on the move thanks to Play TV's compatibility with the Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP) combined with a wireless connection. Microsoft has also announced Freeview will be on Windows Media Center, which will deliver enhanced digital TV content to PCs. Windows Media Center, which is found on all PCs running Windows Vista Home Premium and Windows Vista Ultimate, will offer UK users access to Freeview's range of subscription-free TV and radio channels as standard. In addition to the new Freeview branded products on the market, a live demonstration of DVB-T2 in action at IBC in September takes Freeview a step closer to delivering HD content. The BBC will run one of the HD channels available, and ITV and Channel 4 are amongst those which have submitted plans to Ofcom to deliver HD services on Freeview once capacity becomes available. Freeview HD will be available from Autumn 2009 in the Granada region and subsequent regions through the switchover process.

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