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Freeview to announce September launch date for HbbTV

Free-to-air TV industry body Freeview has confirmed September 2 as its date for the formal launch of Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV (HbbTV) the new online platform designed to bring catch-up programming to consumers’ television sets, Mumbrella can reveal.

Source have told Mumbrella Freeview will formally announce the September 2 launch date tomorrow for what is being called Freeview Plus, a new offering which will deliver a new electronic program guide which will allow viewers to watch shows which have already been on up to seven days ago if they have an internet connected FreeviewPlus box.

The HbbTV offering, which will also have a TV ad campaign to support it, had originally been expected to launch the service in May however the launch was then delayed to the second half of the year, and then Network Seven’s regional affiliate Prime Media pulled out of the deal saying there was not a big enough potential market in its service area to make it worthwhile. 

Multicultural broadcaster SBS chose to launch its offering early releasing their product in June ahead of the rest of the industry.

Tomorrow’s announcement will see the other major free to air television networks Seven, Nine, Ten and the ABC line up for the September date..

Nic Christensen    

Update: 9.20am August 7

Freeview has now confirmed Mumbrella’s original report of September 2 and announced it will also do a TV campaign supporting the launch.

The announcement:

Tonight Freeview launches a TV teaser campaign, featuring some of Australia’s best-loved TV personalities, to herald next month’s launch of FreeviewPlus, the new service that provides access to content and services from Freeview.

The campaign, carrying the tagline ‘FreeviewPlus, a whole new way to enjoy TV’, debuts across all Freeview networks tonight.  It shows the enthusiastic reaction from TV celebrities after they have attended a preview screening of FreeviewPlus and reminds viewers that FreeviewPlus is ‘coming soon’.

FreeviewPlus will be launched on Tuesday, September 2.

“FreeviewPlus is one of the most important advances in free-to-air television in Australia since the introduction of digital TV so it’s important we start to generate a buzz about the new service among Australian viewers,”  Liz Ross, General Manager of Freeview, said.

“As in all of our previous TV campaigns, this teaser spot features well-known and loved Australian TV celebrities – they’re excited about the forthcoming launch, and there is plenty to be excited about,” she said.

At the core of FreeviewPlus is a broadband delivered free-to-air TV electronic program guide incorporating  features that will offer Australian consumers an unrivalled viewing experience.

FreeviewPlus will deliver the most advanced, user-friendly free-to-air EPG experience, with Catch Up services accessed from one place on TV screens for the first time.

The FreeviewPlus service uses hybrid TV technology, which seamlessly combines broadband and broadcast TV. The technology will also enable the free-to-air networks to introduce a range of new broadband services.

The teaser campaign launching tonight is part of an extensive marketing campaign that will support retailers and manufacturers and drive consumer awareness of FreeviewPlus.

FreeviewPlus will provide easy access to Catch Up TV and many other services via the coloured buttons on the remote.

FreeviewPlus will offer a range of new features including:

  • A 7-day, easy-to-use EPG
  • Access to available FTA Catch Up TV in one place on the TV
  • Recommendations of the best programs on today, on Catch Up and in the future
  • Ability to browse and search programs across the next 7 days
  • A favourites function that keeps track of programs on live and Catch Up TV

Manufacturers will release a range of FreeviewPlus receivers to coincide with the launch of FreeviewPlus and these will be available from all major appliance and electronics retailers.

FreeviewPlus will continue to be made available through an increasing number of new connected receivers carrying the FreeviewPlus logo including panel TVs, set top boxes and recording devices.

“FreeviewPlus is all about giving Australians the best FTA TV experience, allowing viewers to find and watch their favourite shows when they want to watch them on their TV with the simple press of a button,” Ms Ross said.

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