If you rely on Freeview to watch terrestrial channels from the likes of the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and Dave… you’ll be pleased with the latest update from the telly firm. The UK Government has renewed Freeview’s licence for a further decade, it was announced this week.
The UK Government will help support the costs to ensure that channels like ITV2, E4, GB News, and Sky Arts remain available for free to viewers across the UK until at least 2034. Freeview is home to some of the biggest channels in the country, including ratings big-hitters like Gogglebox on Channel 4, ITV2’s Love Island, and Married At First Sight, which airs on E4.
Media minister John Whittingdale confirmed: “Today we are guaranteeing the future of Freeview TV and a diverse range of much-loved news, entertainment and documentary channels well into the 2030s. Securing the future of Freeview means people can continue to enjoy its great content while we also protect a vital medium for our public service broadcasters so they can serve audiences in the years to come.”
The move is designed to ensure public service broadcasters, such as the BBC, ITV and Channel 4, are guaranteed to have a space on the Freeview platform. Freeview is owned by parent company Digital UK, which was a joint venture between the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and transmitter operator Arqiva – until the latter left the project last year. It acquired Freesat on July 8 to share technologies between the two free-to-watch options.
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There are a few advantages to Freesat over Freeview, most notably, that the service uses the additional capacity afforded when broadcasting via satellite to offer a selection of 24 high-definition channels, including those from BBC, ITV, Channel 5, Discovery Networks, France 24, Paramount Network, Bloomberg, RT UK and TRT World.
That said, Freeview Play – which requires an internet connection to bring catch-up services into the TV Guide – includes more content than Freesat. When using a Freeview Play television or set-top box, scrolling to the left on the TV Guide will allow viewers to “travel back in time” and jump into previously-aired shows still available from BBC iPlayer, My5, ITV Hub, All4 and others.
In total, it pulls content from more than 10 on-demand catch-up services. Earlier this year, Freeview Play reached the milestone of 30,000 hours of free-to-watch on-demand content, thanks to shows and movies from the likes of BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4, My5, UKTV Play, CBS Catchup Channels UK, Horror Bites, STV Player and BBC Sounds.
Freeview Play is available preinstalled on a number of Smart TVs, set-top boxes, as well as via smartphone apps on iPhone, iPad and Android.
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