As TV operating systems become ever more important to the overall experience, we’re starting to see more of them pop up. Freely is one of the latest to appear on our radar.
Want to learn more about this platform, which TVs it’ll appear on, and what it’ll look like? Read on for more information.
What is Freely?
Freely is live and on-demand streaming service that allows UK households to stream live TV channels alongside on-demand content “for the first time” and for free through smart TVs, removing the need to connect either a satellite dish or aerial.
The service was first announced back in September 2023 by Everyone TV, which is owned and supported by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.
As a service, Freely aims puts free TV front and centre of the streaming experience, similar to what EE TV is doing with their new TV service and set-top box options, with the promise of making the experience as seamless as possible, allowing users to browse channels through the TV guide as well as explore and find TV series to watch through live TV and on-demand libraries.
Freely is working with UKTV to bring its free channels to the platform, which may mean the likes of Dave, Drama, Yesterday, and W channels could be available on the service in the near future.
Which TVs support Freely?
Hisense will incorporate the Freely brand across their 2024 TV range, as well as on their remotes and packaging for at least five years.
Vestel has also been announced as a Freely smart TV partner, signing a five-year long term deal to also have it built into its latest smart TVs. Which brands haven’t been confirmed yet, though we can likely expect it on Toshiba, Bush, and JVC TVs in the near future.
How does Freely work?
With aerial and satellite dishes slowly being left behind as programming continues to be delivered over an Internet connection, Freely will be a purely streaming experience. No need to plug in an aerial or a satellite dish to get started.
Freely will serve as the first “free service” that allows viewers to switch “seamlessly” between live and on demand TV from UK broadcasters. As such, viewers will be able pause, restart, and easily find access to more episodes through the user interface.
Features include the MiniGuide, a pop-up interface that appears whenever users switch channels to allow for more discovery of any related live or on demand content that’s on the service.
With the Browse feature available through the Freely button you can do a similar thing and explore recommended live and on-demand content. The TV Guide EPG offers a 7-day calendar of what’s currently on the service
When will Freely launch?
Freely is set to launch in Q2 2024, so expect to see the first TVs with Freely integration beginning from April onwards.