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Digital UK reveals connected Freeview specs to industry; Arqiva to build service

Digital UK, the organisation responsible for managing the digital terrestrial television platform has today announced the signing of major contracts to build and test a new Freeview-branded connected TV service.

Following a competitive selection process, Arqiva has been awarded the contract to provide the metadata system at the heart of the new service. It will enable viewers to move seamlessly between live programmes and on-demand shows using Freeview’s new "backwards EPG". This will include material from the catch-up services including BBC iPlayer, ITV Player and 4oD with further content providers to be confirmed in due course.

The service will be built by Arqiva’s recently launched Connected Solutions business, following the merger of Capablue with Arqiva’s existing hybrid TV operation.

Digital UK also announced today that it is making the technical specification for the new service which is available to manufacturers and content providers, who can register for the specification, based on international standards, and see related documents at: .

Arrangements for testing connected Freeview products have also been agreed, according to Digital UK. Contracts have been signed with the UK’s leading television platform and device testing specialists Digital TV Labs and DTG Testing. The companies will develop test materials and test suites which will ensure the quality and compatibility of products and services. Work is also advancing with a range of technical development partners, including television and digital receiver manufacturers.

Today’s news follows the announcement in June 2014 that Digital UK and Freeview would develop and launch a connected TV proposition. Digital UK is leading on technical development of the new product while Freeview will lead on launching and marketing the service to viewers.

The new service will be built into a range of TVs and set top boxes. Having purchased their equipment, viewers will be able to watch live and on demand programmes via an aerial and their current broadband provider without being tied to a contract.

Digital UK says that the name of the new service and launch timing will be confirmed at a later date...



  1. So, yet *another* Freeview plus catch-up connected service. There must be at least half a dozen on offer now, all pretty much the same? Why not work together, rather than each designing a new interface requiring providers to program a new "app" for each system.

    Would an Android-powered connected TV device be better? I think so, then the system would be open to anyone to create suitable apps, and there are already apps available. There are already several systems that offer the standard catch up players.

    Anyway, wasn't YouView supposed to be the 'connected' version of Freeview? The connected Freeview landscape is going to be too confusing for a lot of customers soon. Too much choice is never a good thing - keep it simple.

    1. Earlier this year it was reported that the terrestrial broadcasters were increasingly unhappy at the way the ISPs involved in YouView had dominance over the platform, reportedly triggering the desire of the broadcasters to launch a service independent of ISPs.

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