Satellite TV service Sky and cable giant Virgin Media lead the way in offering pay-TV services to UK consumers, but the nation's most-watched TV service is still Freeview. The digital terrestrial service is completely free, and offers 60 TV channels, with 12 HD channels, and 25 radio stations - and it's now expanding its offering beyond live broadcasts to on-demand viewing.
Today, Freeview unveiled an updated brand identity, which coincides with the announcement of Freeview Play, a new connected TV service from the UK's leading broadcasters - the BBC, Channel 4, ITV, and even Sky - and broadcast solutions provider Arqiva.
Freeview Play will include live TV, but will also add on-demand content and catch-up TV, from BBC iPlayer, ITV and 4oD (which, by the end of next month, will have been rebranded as 'All 4'). However, it appears that there will be no catch-up content available on Freeview Play from Sky.
The platform will also support apps, in some capacity - the press release mentions an 'apps page', but it does not elaborate further.
The service will be subscription-free, but it will only be available "in a range of a new TVs and boxes and enabled with any existing broadband service". So while the new service will be free to use, you'll still need to buy new hardware to access it, although you will be able to use those new devices through your current internet service provider.
Freeview says that it aims for Freeview Play to "become the new normal way to watch television." Availability is promised for "later this year", but a firm launch date has not been announced.