Hisense, Toshiba, Sharp and Blaupunkt to debut Freeview Play TVs in 2017

posted on Wednesday, 7th December 2016 by Steve May

Freeview Play  VoD  Online content  4K 

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Freeview Play, the hybrid terrestrial and subscription-free catch-up and on-demand TV platform, is gaining traction. Four more brands, including Chinese giant Hisense, will debut screens in 2017. Compatible sets have also been announced by Blaupunkt, Sharp and Toshiba.

Since its debut in October 2015, around 20 manufacturers including Panasonic, Humax, LG and JVC have launched Freeview Play TVs and set top boxes. Freeview Play is built around a roll-back epg, with intergrated catch-up from BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4, Demand 5 and UKTV Play. Additional on-demand content is also available from the Freeview Play apps page on compatible devices.

“With these new manufacturers on board, Freeview Play has become the most-widely adopted catch-up TV platform in the UK, which is no mean feat in just over a year,” says Managing Director Guy North. “Freeview Play now has the content, functionality and distribution to really deliver scale in the TV market, meaning we are well on our way to achieving our ambition of making connected viewing accessible and affordable for everyone.”

Jonathan Thompson, CEO of Digital UK, adds: “Our ambition is to take Freeview from ‘what comes with your telly’ into an active choice for a broad range of viewers. The market for Freeview Play is very big. From the core Freeview constituency of 10 million homes, to those currently paying a monthly subscription who are looking for a better deal.”

                    Also read
                    Door opens for 4K UHD TV content via Freeview Play
                    Panasonic TX-65DX902 4K HDR TV review

There are now over 200 different models of Freeview Play devices on sale in the UK. With the addition of  UKTV Play and STV Player, the service now offers more than 6,000 hours of content to viewers. OTT services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime are also available on most Freeview Play devices.

All new sets comply with the recently announced 2017 Freeview Play specification, which will introduce advanced search and recommendations.  The updated Freeview Play specification also requires mandatory support for the decoding of HEVC for programmes delivered via broadband, and this includes optional support for Ultra HD and HDR. 

Steve May

Inside CI Editor Steve May is a freelance technology journalist, who also writes for T3, TechRadar, Home Cinema Choice and ERT (amongst others).

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