Buoyant Freesat accelerates Freetime set-top box roll-out
| 28 May 2014
Days after announcing robust quarterly results, the UK's free-to-air satellite TV service Freesat is to manufacture a new line of set-top boxes for its Freetime connected TV offering.
Freetime offers access to the UK's on-demand players — including BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD, and Demand 5 — and allows viewers to pause and rewind live programmes and rollback the TV guide to watch shows from the past seven days. The quarterly results showed that Freetime now accounts for 41% of all Freesat set-top box sales which more than doubled year-on-year.
To tap into this demand Freesat has reached out to long-term partner Manhattan Technology, the largest UK-owned manufacturer of set-top boxes which supplies independent retailers via its sister company Eurosat, as well as all the major retailers and supermarkets, including Dixons, Argos, John Lewis, Amazon and Tesco. Owners of the new Manhattan Freetime range will be able to use Freetime to roll back the TV guide for the past seven days, access all the major on-demand services and watch Showcase, Freesat's programme recommendation service. The Freesat mobile companion app will also work in conjunction with the Manhattan Freetime set-top boxes, offering the ability to plan, record and manage programmes to watch and directly control the TV.
"We're delighted to confirm that we are working with another Freetime manufacturing partner, following the recent Freetime announcements with Panasonic and Vestel," commented Freesat managing director Emma Scott. "Having worked with Manhattan for five years now, they are an important partner for us and it's great to see our Freetime service proving so popular amongst both industry and consumers alike."
Abbas Arbab-Zadeh, chairman and CEO at Manhattan Technology, commented: "Freesat's Freetime technology provides a world class TV experience, with access to a roll back guide and multitude of on-demand services, so we're delighted to confirm this news today. Freetime puts Manhattan at the cutting-edge of the UK television industry and we look forward to releasing a full range of high performance Freetime receivers and recorders, all with integrated Wi-Fi. "