Freeview Australia has launched its free hybrid broadcast broadband TV (HbbTV) service, providing Australians with an integration between broadcast and on-demand BVOD services.
According to the brand, the new Freeview product provides a streamlined way to search and discover free-to-air entertainment across more than 35 channels.
It also enables free and on demand access to a library of more than 50,000 individual programs and episodes, from back catalogue, to current programs and digital exclusives.
Freeview’s new HbbTV service, which will be rolled out from 14 April 2021 and is estimated to be complete by 12 May, will deliver a more simplified viewer experience.
The search function will make content easier to discover as viewers will be able to search for content across ABC iview, SBS On Demand, 7plus, 9Now and 10 play—without having to download individual broadcaster apps.
Freeview Australia’s HbbTV application is built using the latest HbbTV 2.0 standard and it joins the UK as the only other service in the world delivering an aggregated platform across multiple broadcasters on this latest standard.
The new service also provides a simple on-screen program guide that makes it easier than ever to see what’s available across every Freeview broadcaster in Australia.
Helen Clifton, Freeview’s chair and the ABC’s digital and information officer, described the announcements as a strong and positive move for viewers.
“I am very excited about the new HbbTV powered Freeview service for connected TVs, which is an important advance in free-to-air television in Australia,” Clifton said in a statement.
“The launch of a new gateway for TV viewing also means Freeview can take advantage of the latest technologies and bring audiences an improved and richer interactive experience which will help drive the industry forward.
“Freeview’s role in Australian TV is critical as free-to-air is the best way of making more great content free, and universally accessible, to more people, connecting them across Australia’s vast landscape.”
Freeview Australia’s CEO, Bridget Fair (pictured), added that it is an important evolution of the broadcast viewing experience.
“We are delivering a whole new Freeview experience by creating a gateway to the world of news and entertainment that’s free and easily accessible,” Fair said.
“We can now explore and discover content from last night or the last decade.
“More than 17 million of us watch FTA television every week, and with broadcast video on demand services enjoying a 38 per cent increase year-on-year, we have an insatiable appetite for great content.
“Our role at Freeview is to keep pace with this demand and ensure that we are constantly innovating to serve the millions of Australians who vote with their remotes every day.”
Freeview has also unveiled a refreshed brand identity which consolidates the Freeview branding under one easily identifiable logo.
This is the first significant brand refresh since Freeview launched in 2008 and is deliberately consistent with the UK’s brand to demonstrate international support for HbbTV.
Freeview’s brand refresh and launch of HbbTV is supported by 15- and 30-inch TVCs, on broadcast and digital, which launch early May, plus dedicated digital, social and PR campaigns.
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