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UK subscription-free DTT platform Freeview has revealed that Freeview Play, its catch-up and on-demand TV service, will launch on Blaupunkt, Hisense, Sharp AQUOS, and Toshiba devices in the coming months.
Since its debut in October 2015, some 20 leading brands including Panasonic, Humax, LG and JVC have launched Freeview Play TVs and set-top boxes. According to Freeview, the announcement confirms that Freeview Play is now the most widely adopted service for catch-up TV in the UK.
Freeview Play brings an enhanced EPG to TVs and set-top boxes, allowing viewers to access catch-up programming from BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4, Demand 5 and UKTV Play by scrolling back through the TV guide. Additional on-demand content is also available from the Freeview Play apps page on compatible devices.
Freeview Play compatible Blaupunkt, Hisense, Sharp AQUOS, and Toshiba TVs will be available in 2017.
Freeview and Digital UK, the company which developed the technical specification for Freeview Play, have set out their plans for future development of the service at an industry event in London.
Speaking at ‘Towards a connected TV nation’, Guy North, Managing Director of Freeview said he was delighted to welcome Blaupunkt, Hisense, Sharp and Toshiba to the Freeview Play platform. “With these new manufacturers on board, Freeview Play has become the most-widely adopted catch-up TV platform in the UK, which is no mean feat in just over a year.”
“Freeview Play now has the content, functionality and distribution to really deliver scale in the TV market, meaning we are well on our way to achieving our ambition of making connected viewing accessible and affordable for everyone.”
“Our ambition is to take Freeview from ‘what comes with your telly’ into an active choice for a broad range of viewers,” added Jonathan Thompson, CEO of Digital UK. “The market for Freeview Play is very big. From the core Freeview constituency of 10 million homes, to those currently paying a monthly subscription who are looking for a better deal.”
Howard Grindrod, Deputy Managing Director of Hisense UK Ltd, said: “Having the Freeview Play platform on our TVs is a significant step forward in the development of our UK business. Hisense is a world brand and we consider Freeview Play a major hygiene factor in the UK market, providing our customers with exceptional functionality that compliments perfectly our product design and specification.”
There are now over 200 different models of Freeview Play devices on sale and programme choice has been bolstered this year with the addition of UKTV Play and STV Player. The service now offers more than 6,000 hours of content to viewers for no monthly cost. Pay-light OTT services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime are also available on most Freeview Play devices.
The recently announced 2017 Freeview Play specification will bring a raft of new features including search and recommendations to many new Freeview Play products in 2017.