Freeview is no longer just a digital TV platform, it also embraces connected tech and online content. And now there8217;s Freeview Play that offers on-demand TV directly within its electronic programme guide, so you don8217;t have to hunt through individual apps.
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Basic Freeview is the free-to-air digital TV offering for the vast majority of UK television sets and an equally large number of set-top boxes. It offers many standard definition channels, HD channels and Freeview+ as a standard for personal video recording.
Freeview Play adds connected services to the mix so that, within the EPG, you are able to scroll backwards through the last seven days of programming and select shows to watch streamed over the internet that you might have missed.
The technology is an open standard, which means manufacturers can skin the experience any way they like, as long as they stick to the agreed standards: the Freeview Play branding must remain prominent, for example.
Freeview Play offers integrated access to the major UK TV catch-up services: BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4, Demand 5 and the UK TV Play app. UK TV lets you catch-up on programmes from Dave, Yesterday, Really and Drama.
And that8217;s in addition to the standard Freeview list of channels 8211; there are now 70 TV channels, 15 HD channels at no cost and over 25 radio stations available on the platform. Quest HD is the latest channel to launch on Freeview and Freeview Play bringing you highlights from the Football League as well the British Superbike Championship.
In addition to TV catch-up services, Freeview Play also gives you access to 25 radio stations.
Freeview Play is not like a Smart TV platform that offers streaming apps such as Netflix or Amazon Instant Video. The connected content on offer will relate only to channels in the Freeview line-up, so it is up to those broadcasters to jump on board.
For example, Humax includes Netflix on its Freeview Play boxes, whereas TVs adopting Freeview Play will offer plenty of other Smart TV services outside of the Freeview Play experience. LG for example, has the full webOS smart TV platform alongside the Freeview Play functions.
The latest feature to be introduced to the Freeview Play platform is Freeview Explore, a service that gives you the best daily content from the on-demand channels available on Freeview Play. Freeview Explore has its own tab in the main Freeview Play menu and splits recommended content into 10 categories.
Can I get Freeview Play on my existing TV?
Freeview Play is a completely new standard, so can8217;t be added or downloaded via a firmware update on really old TVs. Only select Panasonic, LG and Sony TVs are capable of having the service installed as an update.
There are no costs associated with Freeview Play beyond what it costs to buy the equipment. Unlike Sky or Virgin Media, there are no subscriptions, as everything is free to air, or free to use on catch-up.