Three European free-to-air satellite TV operators – Fransat (France), Freesat (UK), and Tivůsat (Italy) – have come together to form the FreeTV Alliance.

The satellite TV operators have formed the FreeTV Alliance to make it easier and more economical for manufacturers to develop innovative new products and to assist broadcasters and content providers to deploy advanced hybrid TV services combining satellite reception and IP-based interactivity. To achieve these goals, the Alliance will produce common recommendations and specifications based on open standards that will apply across set-top boxes and smart TVs in the European market. The FreeTV Alliance members will also work together to establish preferred technologies and common understandings for multiscreen TV solutions.

Announcing the launch of the Alliance at IBC 2014, Alberto Sigismondi, CEO of TivuSat and the first Chair of the FreeTV Alliance, said: “Until now, the major free-to-view satellite TV operators have focussed on building a business within their national boundaries. As the TV and consumer electronics industries become increasingly globalised, now is the right time for us to work together to ensure free-to-view satellite remains at the forefront of the television market.

“The FreeTV Alliance’s priorities include providing concrete help, support and advice to manufacturers so they can more easily include satellite technology into their devices, which in turn will allow operators to offer an even more competitive service to consumers. We will be able to combine our collective resources to deliver the best customer experience whilst minimising costs to manufacturers and so act as a collective group to agree upon common standards and features.”

In the invitation for the launch announcement at IBC, SES/Astra Deutschland’s HD Plus was also mentioned as a partner, but the company is not (yet) part of the new Alliance. In a statement issued during the launch, HD Plus wrote: “”Unfortunately due to completely unrelated matters, HD Plus is not able to join the FreeTV Alliance at this moment in time. However HD Plus & SES have always been fully supportive and interested in developing the ecosystem and have a track record of working with industry partners on open standards and systems. We welcome any FTA TV operators’ initiatives and wish the Alliance a successful launch (today) and believe they will fulfil an important industry role. We also look forward to joining in due course.”

On the picture below from left to right: Jean-Luc Deroudilhe, CEO, Fransat; Emma Scott, managing director, Freesat; and Alberto Sigismondi, CEO, Tivůsat (chair)