- Free to air satellite organisation offers internet hybrid boxes to rival YouView. Pay TV options likely in the future.
Freesat has this morning unveiled its new next generation brand < Free Time >, which will be integrated onto new receivers soon.
The service will include enhanced on demand options. In addition to the existing on demand services from BBCiPlayer and ITV Player. Free Time will include 4oD and Demand 5 by the end of this year.
|Freesat Freetime (c)Freesat. Click/touch pic to enlarge.|
The new receivers will also include a YouView style backward EPG, which will allow viewers to select programmes from the past week and watch via a broadband internet connection. The new service will also have a clearer EPG, which will enable viewers to find and select programmes more easily, without having to wade through the usual EPG "grid".
A Freesat HD Free Time receiver from Humax will be available from retailers including John Lewis and Currys from later this month, and other manufacturers will be producing Free Time boxes soon. The first Humax receiver will be priced at £279.
Developed using widely adopted European open standards for hybrid TV including elements of OIPF, HbbTV and HTML 5 browser technology, Free time will offer additional services and features in the future, including a companion app for smartphones and tablets to create remote control and remote record capability away from the traditional remote. The service will be the first to use the emerging HbbTV standard, which is already widely used in other European countries instead of MHEG-5 and MHEG-IC, which has been widely used by Freeview.
Emma Scott, Managing Director of Freesat said: “TV is a simple pleasure that technology can make even better, not more complicated. Our new boxes with < free time > give satellite viewers everything they get with freesat today and so much more in a single, simple and easy to use on screen guide. We want to help viewers find something great to watch the minute they sit down, so they can spend less time searching and more time watching the TV they love.”
Freesat Pay TV?
In the press briefing this morning, Emma Scott stated that pay TV "movie and music services" would come in the future. "We have always indicated an interest in extending Freesat to pay services." It is likely that the pay services would constitute services such as Netflix or Lovefilm, operated as applications on the Free Time box. "Box Office 365", available on Humax Freesat HD receivers, is seen as a trial of customer appetite for such services. Notably absent are sports TV channels.
Freesat's standard offering of around 150 free to air channels, including 5 HD channels via a satellite dish continues to be available as normal.