Advanced Television

TVPlayer and Planet Knowledge on Freeview HD

March 18, 2014

Colin Mann @ TV Connect

OTT solutions provider Synapse TV is to launch two new free-to-view channels on UK DTT platform Freeview. TVPlayer – a free-to-air live TV streaming service – and Planet Knowledge – an on-demand documentary TV service – will soon be available to compatible Freeview HD Internet-connected homes in the UK.

The TVPlayer mobile app has already registered 500,000 downloads since it was launched by Live streaming, catch-up TV and media management solutions provider Simplestream in December 2013. Listed in The Guardian as one of January’s ‘Best Android apps and games from January 2014’, TVPlayer has also been described in Bauer’s new magazine The Debrief as “one of 2014’s biggest success stories in the App world (so far)”.

Planet Knowledge, which launched in February 2014, is the first branded channel developed by VOD365. It is an exciting development delivering a wide range of on-demand, premium factual 3D, HD and SD documentaries and similar content across categories: history, nature, people and culture, science and technology, kids and travel. Each category will include over 40 hours of content with a refresh of between 10-20 hours each month per category.

Outlining the concept of bringing TVPlayer to Freeview David Cutts, Director of Synapse TV and MD of Strategy & Technology (S&T) said the company would use the technology it had developed to connect TV sets directly to streamed content, to bring TVPlayer to homes that have compatible Internet-connected Freeview HD TVs or boxes. “We will deliver a whole range of streamed channels through a ‘portal’ application – much like the one we developed for VuTV – but in this case all the services will be free-to-view. Some of the channels delivered to mobile devices through TVPlayer are already on the Freeview platform as traditional broadcast channels, so we will not duplicate those,” he explained.

“We expect that this service will enable a lot of advertising supported and subsidised channels to join the Freeview platform at very low cost. Channels that are BARB rated will get recognition of their extended reach through TVPlayer on Freeview, and we will also be able to deliver detailed usage data to each channel provider,” he added.

Adam Smith, Director of Synapse and CEO of Simplestream commented: “We are very pleased with the rapid success of TVPlayer on mobile devices. Adding delivery to TVs through Synapse is a great enhancement that will expand channel owners’ reach to a slightly different market. Freeview delivery through Synapse is very economical and consumers will get a whole new range of choice of TV.”

Cutts said the technology developed by S&T over many years, and available via Synapse, was very flexible and capable of quickly delivering both linear and on-demand video applications to MHEG Interaction Channel (MHEG-IC) platforms, such as Freeview HD in the UK. “This is allowing us to cost-effectively and rapidly deliver a dedicated channel on Freeview for Planet Knowledge.”

Paul Coster, Director of VOD365, said that Planet Knowledge would be the first advertising-supported, free-to-view video on demand service on Freeview in the UK, adding that the company knew that its offering was of great interest to the Freeview demographic.

VuTV – a pay-TV streaming service for Freeview HD Internet Connected homes – was launched via Channel 238 on Freeview in November 2013, delivered using technology and infrastructure provided by Synapse TV.

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