Pay TV service VuTV to close

Pay TV service VuTV is to close down after initial carriage agreements with broadcasters come to an end. 

The service, which was operated by Synapse TV and available to viewers with compatible connected Freeview devices, offered a collection of channels including History, CNN and Nickelodeon for a monthly fee of £6.99.

VuTV will cease broadcasting on Thursday 22nd October 2015. In a statement, VuTV said it had been "unable to find a viable way to continue the service."

Since its launch, VuTV has seen strong competition from other new internet based services seeking to target Freeview viewers with low-cost pay TV. Sky's Now TV has seen strong growth supported by low-cost receiving devices accompanied by special offers for both new and existing customers. Additionally, various telecoms providers have been busy bundling TV services for landline and broadband customers.

Earlier this month, Simplestream, a former partner in VuTV, launched its own internet-based pay TV service, based on its successful TVPlayer platform and includes many of the channels offered by VuTV, plus extra services including British Eurosport for a lower monthly fee. TVPlayer Plus is also being added to Samsung Smart TVs.

Connected services delivered to the Freeview EPG have struggled to gain traction, with great variations between manufacturers regarding compatibility. VuTV operator Synapse and rival Arqiva are the two providers that offer broadcasters access to the Freeview EPG via web-based streams. Synapse TV used a whitelist of compatible devices, meaning only devices specifically tested to work with their services could display their services.  Arqiva had its own approach, meaning some devices could only receive some, but not all services broadcast in this manner.

For many years, no streaming services broadcast on the Freeview EPG worked on YouView boxes. Some services operated via Arqiva, a shareholder in YouView, now work following the implementation of a workaround solution.

The recent introduction of Freeview Play aims to provide a single standard for web-based services on the terrestrial platform, offering an improved long-term prognosis for providers wanting to offer services via the internet to Freeview homes.

Synapse TV, which was bought by Vision247 in September 2015, is working on a number of other connected Freeview services.

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