Monday, 23 June 2014

Freeview to launch connected TV service

Freeview is launching a connected TV service, giving viewers access to catch-up services without being tied to a broadband provider.

Freeview Connect will offer ITV Player, iPlayer, 4OD and 5 OnDemand as standard on Smart TVs and set-top boxes.

Jonathan Thompson, boss of Digital UK, called the initiative "a critical step" in the evolution of Freeview.

But some commentators described it as a reaction against YouView, which has largely become a Pay TV business.

Launched in 2012, YouView was originally envisaged as a free-to-air net TV service, with internet providers BT and TalkTalk - who are among the service's backers - offering extra channels at a cost.
But the price of stand-alone YouView boxes has remained relatively high. Of the 1 million YouView set-top boxes installed in the UK, only around 30,000 were bought unsubsidised on the high street,
The rest were sold with subscription bundles or broadband contracts from BT and Talk Talk, often tying consumers into rolling contracts.

This is thought to have disillusioned YouView's other shareholders - the BBC, ITV, Channel Four, Channel 5 and transmission company Arqiva.

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