Freeview Connect comes to the fore

February 10, 2014 11.03 Europe/London By Julian Clover

Freeview_Channel_Cluster-(feb-2013)Britain’s public service broadcasters are looking to push the connected properties of the Freeview box amid increasing concern that YouView has been hijacked by the very telco partners brought in to gain it regulatory approval.

The broadcasters are looking to use the Freeview Connect brand – already in use internally by the DTT platform – in order to get widespread take up of their catch-up TV services.

While the BBC iPlayer, ITV Player and 4oD are widely available on pay platforms including Sky and Virgin, as well as YouView and the PSB free-to-air platform Freesat, only the BBC has widely established the iPlayer on smart TV sets and Freeview connected boxes.

The vast majority of the 3.4 million homes with Freeview HD have the capability to connect their boxes to the internet using the MHEG Interaction Channel (MHEG-IC). This has been harnessed by Arqiva’s Connect TV and S&T’s VuTV to deliver IP channels over Freeview – but not the public service broadcasters – which along with Sky and Arqiva make up the Freeview marketing platforms shareholders.

In a statement provided to Broadband TV News, Freeview said: “Freeview and Digital UK are exploring what a connected TV proposition, including catch-up, might look like alongside the existing linear services to give viewers extra flexibility in how they watch television.

“Discussions are on-going with our shareholders as to exactly what this proposition will comprise, and how it can be most effectively delivered.”

Last week a report for the BBC Trust has said the BBC should carefully review its investments in YouView, Freeview and Freesat.