The Future of UK’s Smart TV Streaming Service
The broadcasting landscape in the UK is set for a seismic shift with the announcement of Freely, a new smart TV streaming platform. Developed by the UK’s leading free-to-air broadcasters—BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and Channel 5—Freely aims to revolutionise the way we consume television. Slated for launch in 2024, this platform promises to merge the worlds of traditional terrestrial TV and modern online streaming.
What Exactly is Freely?
Freely is envisioned as a digital extension of the existing Freeview and Freesat services, which will continue to operate. The platform will offer both live and on-demand content from the UK’s major broadcasters. As more UK households shift towards internet-based entertainment, Freely will enable users with internet-connected TVs to access free-to-air channels without requiring an aerial or satellite dish.
How Will Freely Work?
The user interface of Freely will be integrated into future smart TVs, sitting alongside other popular streaming services like Netflix, Prime Video, and YouTube. While it remains uncertain whether the platform will be available as an app on devices like Amazon Fire TV Stick, or if current smart TV owners can access it, what is clear is Freely’s ambition to centralise the distribution of free TV in the streaming age.
What Can You Watch on Freely?
The platform aims to offer a balanced mix of 50% live television and 50% on-demand content. It is expected to feature a layout similar to existing streaming services, complete with a ‘continue watching’ section and personalised content recommendations. Freely will aggregate content from various broadcasters, something that has been previously available only through individual channel apps like BBC iPlayer and ITVX.
When is the Launch?
Although the exact launch date is yet to be confirmed, Freely is expected to debut in 2024. The service aims to build upon the success of Freeview, which is currently available in 16 million homes. It promises to simplify the experience of streaming live TV from major broadcasters, which currently requires separate apps for each channel.
Freely is more than just a new streaming service; it’s a bold step towards ensuring the sustainability of public service broadcasting in the UK. By offering a seamless blend of live and on-demand content, Freely is poised to redefine our television experience in the digital age.