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Freeview NZ launches HbbTV service

New Zealand’s DTT provider Freeview has launched a new platform designed to give New Zealanders easy access to on-demand video services on their TVs – FreeviewPlus.

In a New Zealand first, FreeviewPlus uses Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV (HbbTV) to enable seamless integration and switching between broadcast TV and on-demand services. The service is free to view and easy to set up via a new FreeviewPlus set-top box (from around NZ$150 [€92]), and is built into most new 2015 Smart TVs.

According to Sam Irvine, General Manager at Freeview, the launch of Freeview is a game changer for television in New Zealand and signals a new era in TV viewing. “FreeviewPlus is a smarter way to watch TV. The simple on-screen programme guide lets viewers search across a massive library that brings together broadcast content from 19-plus live channels and on demand content from TVNZ OnDemand, 3NOW and Māori Television On Demand, something that has to-date not been available in New Zealand,” he notes.

And in what Irvine says is “another first to market” FreeviewPlus offers an eight day ‘catch-up’ or reverse programme guide that allows viewers to go back in time across TVNZ, MediaWorks and Māori Television channels and select programmes to catch up on demand straight from the guide.

TVNZ Chief Executive Kevin Kenrick says FreeviewPlus is about giving viewers access to content when and where they want it. “We know people want to be able to view their content on the biggest screen in the house, what’s changing is that they want to be able to do so on their terms – that’s where FreeviewPlus comes in with seamless access to linear and OnDemand TV.”

MediaWorks Group CEO Mark Weldon says FreeviewPlus is compelling because it’s free to view with more than 600 On Demand shows and movies available. “MediaWorks, TVNZ and Māori TV, through FreeviewPlus, are offering a leading free-to-view service that adds significant value for audiences and advertisers.”

Māori TV CEO Paora Maxwell says FreeviewPlus is an important new platform for viewers to access New Zealand content, particularly Māori language and cultural programming. “Our mission is to engage the hearts and minds of more New Zealanders with our unique content that entertains and informs them. Along with others, the FreeviewPlus platform is the perfect vehicle in enabling us to do this.”

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