It's a major milestone for the hybrid terrestrial-connected TV service. Freeview Play combines traditionally distributed SD and HD terrestrial TV channels via the normal Freeview TV signal with on-demand and catch-up TV services from all major free-to-air broadcasters through the user's broadband connection.
34% of smart HD TVs sold now have Freeview Play inbuilt, with 20 manufacturers supporting the service. It was launched with support of the major free-to-air broadcasters as a new way of accessing on-demand and catch-up TV without the need to be tied to a pay TV subscription or internet service provider. Freeview Play devices are also able to automatically add and delete channels, reducing the need to retune.
Guy North, Managing Director of Freeview said:
“I’m delighted that we have reached this major sales milestone so early in Freeview Play’s lifespan. This achievement is a testament to all our many partners whom I’d like to thank for their outstanding support. With new content, manufacturer and product enhancement announcements on the horizon, Freeview Play is on track to becoming the new normal way viewers access TV.”
Freeview Play devices hitting the market this year will include a specification that includes optional support for Ultra HD (4K) and HDR content for programmes delivered via broadband, including the BBC's forthcoming UHD programmes delivered via the iPlayer.
The service was devised after YouView, originally envisaged by the broadcasters as the next generation of Freeview, became predominately associated with BT and TalkTalk TV, with only a small minority of viewers choosing YouView without a BT TV or TalkTalk TV subscription. Freeview Play will work with any ISP, subject to sufficient download speeds.