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Freeview users drawn into C4/Freesat dispute


Some Freeview viewers have been affected by a dispute between Freesat and Channel 4, even though they don't have satellite TV.

Since 2014, a number of Panasonic Viera TVs have been equipped with Freesat's "Freetime" smart TV platform, giving viewers who only receive terrestrial signals the same interface and connected TV apps that Freesat users can receive, despite not having a satellite dish and albeit with the linear channels available on Freeview instead of Freesat.

Following last week's public fall-out over the cost of carrying Channel 4 HD on Freesat, which also saw on-demand service All4 being pulled, viewers using affected Panasonic TVs have reported that they have lost access to All4. A user has told us that All4 is greyed out in the menu.

This has caused confusion among some viewers who haven't realised their Freeview TV is powered by a system operated by Freesat. Because affected TVs connected to a traditional TV aerial receiving linear broadcasts from Freeview, Channel 4 HD is still available.

Last week, Channel 4 confirmed it was objecting to change in Freesat's pricing structure and wanted to take the opportunity to make "internal savings". Freesat responded saying the changes only affected HD channels, with no cost to carry on-demand services and therefore couldn't understand why Channel 4 had pulled on-demand service All4.

Freeview has confirmed that there will be no changes to the availability of Channel 4 HD and All4 on its platform, although Freeview can only directly control availability of All4 on devices that support Freeview Play.

For the time being, it seems, affected Panasonic Viera TV users will have to make do without All4. Both sides in the dispute are understood to still be discussing future options.

Panasonic users that have devices that use the Freeview Play system are not affected.



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