A BRAND new way to watch free TV is launching in a matter of weeks backed by the UK’s main broadcasters.
And it’ll mean less wires around the house as it doesn’t need an aerial or dish drilled into the walls.
The service, known as Freely, relies on the internet and Wi-Fi to beam live channels as well as your favourite on-demand content to the TV.
It all works within the telly itself, so there’s no need to switch between various apps to find live streams as you would at present.
So far, Brits have only been able to access such a perk from paid providers like Sky Glass and Virgin Media Stream.
But the company behind Freeview and Freesat is launching a free version.
Everyone TV – which is backed by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 – announced the “game-changing” plans last year but they have now revealed a release date.
And it’s expected to launch sometime between April and June.
Freely will be available on brand new smart TVs – so far a third of brands have confirmed they will adopt the service, including Hisense, Toshiba, Bush, and JVC.
“It’s clear the way people are watching TV is changing, with more audiences switching over to a broadband only connection,” said Sarah Milton and Carl Pfeiffer, joint Chief Product Officers at Everyone TV.
“We’ve built Freely around the needs of British audiences, bringing them the freedom to choose how they want to watch, with all their favourite shows from the UK’s leading broadcasters all in one place for free.”
Viewers have welcomed the news, saying it “sounds brilliant”.
“I live in a flat and have never managed to get the aerial to actually work, so have just used IPlayer, ITVX and 4OD (or whatever its called) to watch live TV and catch up instead, so having all freeview channels in one app to watch live sounds amazing for me, and likely many others,” one user wrote on Reddit.
What channels are on Freely?
The full channel line-up is yet to be announced, but we can expect stations from the four main broadcasters to be available early on.
This should mean the following stations will be on Freely:
- BBC One
- BBC Two
- BBC Three
- BBC Four
- BBC News Channel
- BBC Parliament
- Channel 4
- E4 Extra
- Channel 5
It’s unlikely the 4Music channel will launch on Freely as it’s due to be closed down this year, along with several other music channels.
Freely has revealed that it’s working with UKTV to bring their channels on board too, which would include:
Is Freely worth it? Expect loads more channels
Analysis by Jamie Harris, Senior Technology and Science Reporter at The Sun
Some corners of the internet believe that a free streamed TV service like Freely has been a long time coming.
Sky paved the way with Sky Glass in October 2021.
There are some advantages and disadvantages to this way of doing TV.
The biggest pro is that you can have so many more channels than Freeview. Freeview has a limited amount of space, which is why you see some of these odd channels that only air for a few hours a day instead of 24 hours.
Another win is that you’ll no longer have to worry about your aerial or satellite dish packing up, so no paying for new kit or someone to install it.
And areas that have long suffered with poor aerial signals finally have a solution too.
However, there are some potential pitfalls – what if the internet goes down? Sky Glass has a back-up aerial port on it should this happen and it looks like Freely are looking to offer a similar “hybrid” option.
Internet-based TV services don’t tend to allow you to record stuff like you can on digital and satellite either – Sky Glass keeps shows in the cloud for you, which again presents a problem if the internet is down.
And while internet speeds are getting faster and more reliable, some rural areas still suffer with poor broadband.