Freeview’s Heir: Major TV Brands To Get Freely At Launch

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As Freely gears up for its upcoming launch, the broadband-based Freeview/Freesat replacement service has just announced a partnership with another major TV manufacturer – Vestel.

Freely is set to merge traditional broadcasting with modern streaming, aiming to bring live TV over broadband to the next generation of Smart TVs (with Freeview and Freesat sticking around for those who prefer them).

Responsible for more than twenty well-known TV brands, such as JVC, Hitachi, Toshiba and more – the collaboration with Vestel signifies a considerable step towards ensuring a wide adoption of Freely.

With over a third of smart TV brands now poised to support Freely at launch, the service promises a seamless integration of live and on-demand television, heralding a significant transformation in how viewers access free-to-air content.

Freely UI show page bake off
Freely’s interface

However, compatibility concerns remain, as Freely is still set to only support next-gen Smart TVs at launch, and not set-top boxes or standalone streaming sticks.

Freely Explained

Freely is a forthcoming service, expected to launch in Q2, 2024 – that merges live and on-demand television content via broadband, diverging from the traditional aerial or satellite reliance of Freeview and Freesat.

This means that alongside standard broadcast channels (Freely will continue to support DTT – over-the-air transmissions), viewers will also have access to a variety of IP-delivered channels once their Freely-compatible devices are connected to the internet.

Developed by Everyone TV, the company behind Freeview and Freesat, Freely aims to modernize the UK’s free-to-air broadcast experience.

Freely Freeview Freesat collage

The service is expected to feature a range of channels, likely including all offerings from the public service broadcasters and other free-to-air channels currently available on Freeview and Freesat (though not necessarily all of them).

Freely’s user interface is designed to be modern and intuitive, addressing the evolving needs of today’s viewers, with a brand new EPG (see more about Freely’s interface, which was unveiled today, here).

Freely: Only On Smart TVs, For Now

The introduction of Freely, earmarked exclusively for the next-generation of Smart TVs, does raise some concerns about its compatibility and broader acceptance.

Unlike the universally accessible Freeview (which only requires an aerial and a supported device – of which there are countless options), Freely’s limitation to only new Smart TVs excludes older models, existing streaming devices, and traditional Freeview boxes from its ecosystem.

This approach necessitates viewers to invest in new televisions to access Freely’s services, potentially creating a barrier for those unable or unwilling to upgrade.

Furthermore, popular streaming devices such as the Fire TV or Roku, and upcoming new Freeview recorders, such as the Manhattan T4-R, will not support Freely at launch.

Manhattan T4-R Next to TV
Manhattan T4-R Freeview Recorder

Therefore, Freely viewers will have to purchase brand-new Smart TVs, so agreements with TV manufacturers are crucial if the service wants to get a considerable share of the UK audience.

Freely Expanding Its TV Lineup

The initial announcement of Hisense as a launch partner, late last year, was a pivotal moment for Freely.

The multinational technology manufacturer signed a five-year deal with Freely, which marked the first line of devices that will support the upcoming service.

But one TV manufacturer is not enough for a brand new service aiming to take over the free-to-watch market, and today’s announcement, bringing Vestel into the fold, is another important step for Freely.

Photo: Deposit Photos / Woland Master

Vestel, a significant manufacturer in the European TV market, has entered into a five-year agreement with Freely, to integrate the platform into its range of smart TVs, including well-known brands such as Toshiba, Bush, and JVC.

Much like Freeview and Freeview Play are integrated into Smart TVs today, Freely will be running its native guide on Vestel TVs, giving users a streamlined viewing experience.

Freely promises to provide a consistent and recognisable user experience across all Freely-enabled TVs in the market, regardless of how it is accessed. So, if you have two separate TVs in the house, Freely’s interface will look the same on both of them.

Freely UI EPG
Freely’s EPG

Atinc Ogut, Vice President of TV Product Management, Vestel said: “We are thrilled to announce our further partnership and commitment to the latest innovation in television technology, by offering customers TVs that are compatible with Freely.

“The collaboration not only enhances the functionality of our TVs but also empowers users to freely stream their favourite shows, live and on demand, all from a single, unified platform.

“As one of the TV manufacturers now compatible with Freely, we’re proud to be setting the standard for the future of television.”

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28 thoughts on “Freeview’s Heir: Major TV Brands To Get Freely At Launch”

  1. I bought my bush smart tv last November which is manufactured by vestel, they’ve recently did a software upgrade to include iptv channels , doe this mean my tv will get freely at some point ?

    • Probably not. For now, only certain 2024 Vestel models (that haven’t even launched yet) will be getting Freely. In the more distant future, they MIGHT add support for older models

  2. This is my understanding of the situation at present, the soon to be introduced Freely service will run alongside the current broadcasting services Freeview and Freesat, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future but that’s not to say it wont change in the far off distant future when every property will have access to an high speed internet service and if you currently receive your TV via one of these current existing services , you don’t need to purchase a new TV. If you are thinking of installing a new TV in your property in the future however, you will soon have an option whereby so long as you have a mains supply and WiFi and a new Freely enabled TV you can install it anywhere around your property, no need for an aerial or dish feed cable., thereby making installation a lot easier. Everyone TV, who run the Freeview and Freesat services, do say on their website that the service will to begin with be limited i.e. major broadcaster and a few internet based channels will be available but they expect this number to grow in the future as the service grows, and who’s to say Freely won’t become available via other means a smart box or streamer for example, but the new Freely service will have some new innovative features at launch and having visited the Everyone TV website that is my understanding of the situation.

  3. Not making FREELY available for popular streaming devices such as the Fire TV or Roku, set-top boxes, etc. will probably mean that FREELY will fail to gain traction and flop.
    I can’t see 25-30 million TV sets in the UK being replaced just to get FREELY.

    Come on EVERYONE TV – get real.

  4. This is Everyone TV’s answer to Sky glass, the major difference being you’ll be able to sell your Freely smart TV second hand. I imagine at launch the Freely service will be limited due to the number of broadcasters having on demand/catchup apps, I notice the Everyone TV Web site are happy to announce they have added UK TV to its line up which I believe is part of the BBC setup

  5. Won’t be buying another tv just to access freely and the way the economy is going just now people can’t buy a new tv don’t think there will be a lot of people using the service

    • I disagree the new Freely service will run alongside existing services and people moving into new properties not having a dish or aerial installed but having access to the Internet by some means might just find the Freely service a Godsend

  6. The reason I ask this is because the article states Freely is set to merge traditional broadcasting with modern streaming suggesting the system will require both an aerial and Internet access which begs the question if I can access tradional broadcasting would I need streaming.

    • The new Freely TVs will have an aerial-based service similar to Freeview, with channels being received over-the-air, alongside the IP-based channels.

      • Freely TV’s can be placed any where in the home where there’s wi-fi thereby removingthe need for an aerial or dish. This is the official quote on the Everyone TV Web site which makes a Freely enabled TV a game changer. Surely as long as you access to the Internet you should be able to get the Freely service, motor homes canal boats listed buildings etc all spring to mind just stick it on a wall plug it into the mains hey presto.

  7. I suspect dark forces are afoot here, just as Freesat has a limited few boxes mainly from 2 major manufacturers available some of which reading online reviews are not without their reliability issues Everyone TV now wants to apply the same sales philosophy to Freeview. This makes me suspect that Everyone TV is getting some sort of reward by restricting access/ licencing for this new freely service, let’s face it its no more than an app which could be made available universally.

  8. I bought my new hisense TV last year (2023) and I love it. Even better they added the NOW app so that’s a bonus. Why would I go and buy another one for freely. Come on …you can’t expect people to go out and get another one when they have a 2023 model. All those from 2020 onwards should be offered an app to tap into for freely.

  9. I’m not buying a new TV, they need to provide an app on the ordinary smart TVs app store so everyone can use the system, sounds good but they need to appeal to people who don’t want to change a TV yet.

  10. Do we know if these next generation smart TV’s that have access to the about to be launched freely service via broadband will still be connected to a functional freeview aerial to receive the service or does the freely service just require a broadband connection thereby allowing those people in poor reception areas currently relying on freesat via a dish for their current tv service or people in properties where aerial/dish installation may be an issue and could receive freely via a 4G/5G mobile network for example?

    • So long as you have the relevant player app installed on the device ie BBC iplayer, itv x etc. that you wish to watch TV on and access to the Internet be it wifi or mobile data then you can already watch live TV via these relevant apps Freely will make it a less clunky experience

  11. They can get lost if they think I am going to buy yet another new TV. What do they think is going to happen with all the old TVs not very environmentally friendly is it?

    • Freely will run alongside existing services but I imagine as the service grows over time more TV manufacturers will gain access to the Freely service and make it available on their TV’s and just as the Freeview play service is becoming more available so will the new Freely service and in the far off distant future will become the way we will access our TV that’s my guess


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