Digital UK plans Freeview's own connected TV brand
The Guardian reports that the main public service broadcasters, such as the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 would make their catch-up TV services available as a standard service on smart TVs.
Freeview Connect is being spearheaded by terrestrial TV platform manager Digital UK. The move has long been rumoured, and in 2012 - months before YouView was even launched, Freeview's managing director Ilse Howling even spoke of Freeview launching its own 'backward EPG' with integrated catch-up TV.
a516digital commented at the time that it could make YouView a niche product just for customers with BT or TalkTalk.
There's not been any indication so far that a backward EPG would be part of the currently proposed Freeview Connect service as yet.
Sky could be invited to join the service once it is up and running. Although Sky is a shareholder in DTV Services Ltd, the company that markets the Freeview brand, the satellite broadcaster is not a shareholder of Digital UK, who are championing this new service.
The announcement comes at the end of a week when the BBC and other participants in YouView have indicated that they will be reducing their stake in the service, which has become, in effect, a platform for BT and TalkTalk to offer pay TV channels together with the Freeview service.
The BBC Trust released a report last week, in which it was advised by the Mediatique to review "its investments in TV platforms, namely Freeview, Freesat and YouView, in light of BBC-wide platform and distribution strategy and in particular its duty to promote the availability of services free (or at no incremental cost) at the point of delivery to licence-fee payers."