Freely, the new free streaming service backed by Britain’s public service broadcasters that will deliver live TV over broadband, will launch in the second quarter of 2024.
The initiative is from Everyone TV, the organization which runs free TV in the U.K. and is jointly owned by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5. Announced last year, the service will allow viewers to browse and watch live TV channels together with on-demand content streamed to their smart TV via the internet. Freely will be built-in to the next generation of smart TVs and feature a lineup of public service broadcaster content and other free-to-air channels. It aims to build on the heritage and popularity of the Freeview TV platform, currently used in 16 million homes.
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The service has unveiled details of its user interface. Viewers will be able to switch seamlessly between live and on demand TV from the U.K. broadcasters, and will have access to features such as pause, restart and access to more episodes. Freely TVs can also be placed anywhere in the home where there is a wi-fi connection, removing the need for a dish or aerial. Features include a MiniGuide, a pop-up interface that appears each time users switch channels; a Browse option activated by the Freely button on the remote; and a seven-day TV Guide that is accessed via the Guide button on the remote.
Vestel, the manufacturer behind more than twenty TV brands, has been revealed as an additional smart TV partner to offer Freely, in a five-year deal. Everyone TV is also working with UKTV to bring the broadcaster’s portfolio of free channels that include Dave, Drama, Yesterday and W to Freely.
Sarah Milton and Carl Pfeiffer, joint chief product officers, Everyone TV, said: “It’s clear the way people are watching TV is changing, with more audiences switching over to a broadband only connection. We’ve built Freely around the needs of British audiences, bringing them the freedom to choose how they want to watch, with all their favorite shows from the U.K.’s leading broadcasters all in one place for free. We’re really proud of what we’re launching with Freely and are excited about bringing major enhancements like the MiniGuide to viewers as Freely launches in Q2 this year.”
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