UK broadcasters develop FREELY digital TV service

UK broadcasters develop FREELY digital TV service. The new streaming platform with live from BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and 5 launches next year to take on streaming.

FREELY will be built in to smart TVs and allow viewers to watch content via the internet.

British people will be able to watch everything that is aired on Freeview. They view it live through a revolutionary internet streaming service to be launched next year.

Available Channels

When Freely is initially rolled out, viewers will be able to continuously watch BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5. This echoes the pre-digital television days when Britons watched the channels at the same time.

At a later date, the service – which will be built into smart TVs – will allow viewers to watch content as it happens from all other channels available on Freeview. Additionally this includes STV, Sky News, Dave, Film4 and TalkTV.

The service will be run by Everyone TV, which owns digital TV platform, Freeview. It is jointly owned by the public service broadcasters.

Users will also be able to watch standard TV programmes, which are available on the channels. This is done by flicking through a programme guide.

BBC director-general Tim Davie said: “Ensuring the universality of public-service television is sustained into the future is of paramount importance to the UK and all its public service broadcasters.

“We are delighted to be deepening our collaboration in helping viewers access our content. This ensures that, in a digital age, we deliver value for all audiences and that no one is left behind.”

Broadcaster Collaberation

Dame Carolyn McCall, ITV chief executive, says: “As more and more UK households use internet-connected TVs, it’s critical that the public service broadcaster channels remain available and easy for them to find.

“This new collaboration enables the UK public to continue to get all of their favourite British TV channels, for free. This is just as Freeview did at the advent of digital TV.”

Alex Mahon, chief executive of Channel 4, said: “Streaming TV is increasingly the new normal for audiences, particularly young viewers. It has never been more important for trusted PSB content to be readily available to everyone, for free.”

Everyone TV chief executive, Jonathan Thompson, says: “Our aim is to ensure that all viewers have access to a free, aggregated live TV experience that champions British content. Additionally that it is delivered in a way that suits audience needs and preferences.

“Every one of us should be able to share in the best of British ideas and creativity on TV.”

Britons were first introduced to TV in 1932 when the BBC first started doing regular broadcasts. For many years the nation sat down in front of the box to watch programmes on five terrestrial TV channels. One of the most watched TV events on British television was when more than 32m people tuned into the BBC to watch England beat West Germany 4-2 in the 1966 World Cup at Wembley.

Media Bill

The news Freely is to be launched comes as the new draft Media Bill is being scrutinised by the Government. The Bill plans to ensure viewers can more easily find public service broadcast services such as BBC iPlayer to smart TVs, set-top boxes and streaming sticks.

Among the proposal outlined in the Bill is making on-demand services such as Netflix subject to a new Ofcom content code. The code is designed to protect audiences from harmful material.

Freeview was officially launched on 30 October 2002. Its three founding members were the BBC, Crown Castle UK and British Sky Broadcasting.

It is delivered to people’s home through an aerial and can be received on a range of devices, including televisions, set-top boxes and personal video recorders.

The service is due to launch in the first half of 2024. Freely has yet to announce the specific date of when it will be rolled out.

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