In what it describes as one of the most important developments in its five year history, Australian DTT platform Freeview has announced plans to unveil the most advanced free-to-air EPG service ever seen in Australia with the launch of FreeviewPlus in the first half of 2014.
The FreeviewPlus service will provide Australian viewers with a range of features that will include a new, user-friendly EPG and, for the first time, will seamlessly deliver catch up content on TV screens.
“From next year, Australian TV viewers will be able to enjoy one of the most sophisticated and yet easy-to-use free-to-air TV services in the world,” Liz Ross, General Manager of Freeview, said.
Catch-up TV will be part of a new range of services which Freeview and the free-to-air networks will introduce next year.
“Every day 14 million Australians are tuning into live FTA TV and viewers have shown how much they love catch up services with one in four now watching catch up TV,” Ross said. “FreeviewPlus is leading the world with a complete FTA EPG experience combining broadcast TV with broadband at the simple touch of a button. This will enable networks to provide a wide range of new TV services. FreeviewPlus will be an unparalleled TV experience,” she declared.
Freeview Australia – which comprises free-to-air licensees Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Special Broadcasting Service, Seven Network, Nine Network, Network Ten, Prime Media Group and Southern Cross Broadcasting – announced July 2013 that it was working with the local FTA networks and TV manufacturers on a co-ordinated launch of Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV (HbbTV). HbbTV is a major new pan-European initiative aimed at harmonising the broadcast and broadband delivery of entertainment to the end consumer through connected TVs and set-top boxes.The Australian approach differs from its UK counterparts Freeview and YouView, with the latter developing its own proprietary open IPTV platform distinct from the more widely accepted HbbTV standard, while Freeview, despite sharing common shareholders in the BBC and ITV, sees its existence in a connected TV future as separate from YouView.