Freely Grows: Freeview Challenger Adds Budget Bush TVs

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Freely is expanding: This week, Argos has quietly added a new range of affordable Bush TVs that support the recently launched free-to-stream platform, marking the first expansion of Freely-compatible devices beyond the initial Hisense offerings.

Manufactured by Turkish electronics giant Vestel, these new models have been made available on the retailer’s website without much fanfare.

Freely, launched last month as a potential successor to Freeview and Freesat, is a platform that aims to transform the UK’s television landscape by combining over-the-air and broadband-based channels into a unified viewing experience.

However, the platform’s initial launch was met with some limitations, including a restricted channel lineup and compatibility with only a handful of 2024 Hisense TV models.

Now, we’re getting some more progress – at least on the hardware side.

Freely: The Road So Far

Freely, the new free-to-stream TV platform, launched in Early May 2024 with the potential to eventually replace Freeview and Freesat as the go-to broadband-based TV service in the UK.

The platform combines over-the-air and IP-based channels into a unified Electronic Programmes Guide (EPG), allowing viewers to access content seamlessly.

Freely TV guide

By integrating traditional broadcast channels with IP-based streaming services, Freely aims to provide a more convenient and flexible viewing experience, with more and more viewers switching over to streaming (while also keeping Freeview around by having an aerial connection).

However, the initial launch of Freely was met with some disappointment due to its limited channel lineup.

At launch, the platform only featured streaming channels from five main broadcasters – BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, and STV.

This selection is considerably smaller than the extensive range of channels available on Freeview and even falls short of the offerings on Freeview Play, the existing broadband-based aspect of Freeview.

Freely on a TV

Despite these limitations, Freely has the potential to grow and evolve over time. The platform’s backers have expressed their commitment to expanding the channel lineup and introducing new features and new channels.

Another current Freely limitation is the limited range of supported devices.

At launch, Freely was only available on some brand-new 2024 Hisense TVs, which included the U8N, U7N, U6N, and E7N PRO series.

At the moment, there’s no support for older TVs (and we’re told that’s likely to stay the case), and no support for any set-top boxes.

Even the new Manhattan T4-R Freeview boxes do not support Freely, though technically it could be added to them in the future.

However, at least the TV lineup is expanding. We knew more Freely TVs were coming from Vestel (a manufacturer responsible for more than twenty well-known TV brands) – and now, the first batch is here.

Bush TVs with Freely Support

The new Bush TVs, now available exclusively on Argos, mark the first expansion of Freely-compatible devices beyond the initial Hisense offerings.

Bush, an Argos in-house brand, has been providing affordable TVs and home electronics to UK consumers for many years, often manufactured by Vestel.

Bush Freely TV screen

The new Bush Freely TV range includes five models, with screen sizes ranging from 43″ to 65″, running on the TiVo operating system:

  • Bush 43 Inch 4K UHD HDR LED TiVo Freely TV – £229.99
  • Bush 50 Inch Smart 4K UHD HDR LED TiVo Freely TV – £269.99
  • Bush 55 Inch Smart 4K UHD HDR LED TiVo Freely TV – £299.99
  • Bush 58 Inch Smart 4K UHD HDR LED TiVo Freely TV – £319.99
  • Bush 65 Inch 4K UHD HDR LED TiVo Freely TV – £379.99

These models offer a more affordable entry point into the Freely ecosystem compared to the Hisense TVs, which start at £329.

Specifications and Features

Taking a closer look at the 50-inch model (50UT24SB) as an example, we can see that the Bush Freely TVs offer a solid set of features and specifications for their price point.

BUSH Freely TV 50 inch

The TV boasts a 4K Ultra HD display with HDR support and a 50Hz refresh rate (so it is not ideal for gaming).

On the audio front, the TV features a Dolby Atmos sound system with a total output of 20 watts RMS, promising immersive audio experiences.

Connectivity options include 2 USB ports, 3 HDMI sockets, and support for Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and Bluetooth. The TV also offers DLNA compatibility, allowing users to wirelessly stream content from compatible devices.

As a smart TV, the Bush model supports several popular streaming apps: Disney+, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, ITVX, My5, Channel 4, Amazon’s Prime Video and YouTube.

According to the Argos product page, it appears the TV doesn’t support Sky’s NOW streaming service – which is a disappointing omission, if accurate.

Freely Bush remote

This quiet addition of Bush Freely TVs to Argos’ lineup marks another step in the expansion of the Freely platform, providing consumers with more affordable options to access the new free-to-stream service.

However, until Freely is supported on a wider range of devices (especially set-top boxes, or even streaming sticks), and until more channels are added to the broadband-based side (which is the whole point of Freely) – the platform still has a long way to go.

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4 thoughts on “Freely Grows: Freeview Challenger Adds Budget Bush TVs”

  1. Bought the 43” for my kitchen as I don’t have an aerial in that location.
    The picture quality is excellent however, it takes quite a while after switching on to be ready for actually watching a channel. It also freezes in the early stages despite me having excellent Broadband 100Mbps+
    Hopefully these are teething problems as I quite like the TiVo os and ease of streaming between the various apps.

    Reply
  2. How can freely justify but having an app that can be deployed to other platforms? It’s hardly very green to consign relatively new TVs to the dustbin and force you to buy more hardware to buy their platform!

    Reply
  3. Bought the 43 inch version yesterday for my mother in law – it seems OK, specs are good, but the most clunky bit is the freely software – it appears buggy, channel changes are slow, and when first switched on the WiFi connection goes awol for about 2 minutes. The remote is cheap, and I’m going to replace it with a one4all remote that will work with the Apple TV that is connected to it.

    Reply

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