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The BBC, Channel 4 and ITV are joining forces to establish a new service to make their catch-up TV services – BBC iPlayer, ITV Player and 4oD – available as standard on all smart TVs.
It was originally envisaged that YouView would be used as the future brand and technology for public service broadcasting, eventually replacing the less advanced Freeview which is in more than 13 million homes. However, the broadcasters have now opted to recommit to Freeview.
A number of issues reportedly arose while pushing YouView to TV manufacturers, including that the technology is not accepted as a European-wide standard, and a requirement for viewers to use only a YouView-led UI on TV sets. This resistance from CE makers has been exacerbated by the perceived hijacking of YouView by its telecoms partners – BT and Arqiva – to build their pay-TV services.
Freeview Connect is being spearheaded by industry body Digital UK, which is funded by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Arqiva and which has a mission to ensure the universal availability of public service TV.
Freeview Connect aims to create an industry-standard technology and service that will be acceptable to all TV manufacturers and ensure the prominence of PSB services and content on smart TVs.