The big 3 television broadcast stations in the UK; BBC, ITV and Channel 4 have joined forces in creating a new brand called Freeview Connect. The service will offer their catch-up TV services as standard on smart televisons. The Freeview Connect app will comprise of BBC iPlayer, ITV Player and 4oD, which will be available on all internet-connected smart TVs, as soon as the initiative is fully ready to go live.
The BBC was previously involved in a dedicated service to the set-top box YouView as a means of distributing its own catch-up TV services. However, with co-investors BT and TalkTalk making so much wealth from the public outlay via the BBC, the broadcasting giant is expected to pull their funding by April. The box itself was originally intended to be sold separately but is given away by TalkTalk and BT and as a means of marketing their paid services, such as the Sky television channels.
By pulling away from the current services, the BBC is proving that Freeview Connect shows a commitment to Freeview TV by the broadcasters themselves. The YouView service was not a European-wide standard and had issues working with all makes and models of television sets. This new and innovative venture, is aiming to create a universal application that works on all Internet connected TVs.
It is estimated that more than 3 million homes should have a smart TV by the end of 2014, making it more important than ever for public service broadcasters to reinforce their position, so that TV manufacturers do not end up controlling or even monopolising the market.
While this shift is not expressly anti-Sky TV, it shows that the broadcaster is adhering to their public funded services. Regarding the move, a source has informed The Guardian newspaper that once Freeview Connect is up and running: “There is no reason why companies such as BSkyB might not be involved.”
[Image via the3dagency]