In a significant move for Welsh language broadcasting, S4C has now launched on Freeview Play, making its rich array of content available to 16 million homes across the UK.
Until now, S4C was only available to Freeview viewers in Wales (although other platforms, like Freesat, did carry it in other regions as well).
This week’s announcement will allow viewers in Wales, but now also across the UK, to enjoy diverse dramas, documentaries, and sports on S4C Clic via their Freeview Play device (see full details below).
This move not only enhances the viewing experience for existing fans of S4C but also opens the door for new audiences to explore and appreciate the creativity and talent of Welsh language programming.
What Is Freeview Play?
To watch Freeview Play, you also need a compatible Smart TV or a set-top box, such as the Manhattan T3-R.
Once you have everything connected, both Freeview and Freeview Play are free to watch, without any monthly subscriptions (though you would still need to pay the TV Licence in most cases).
It’s worth noting that Freeview Play (both on TVs and on the Freeview smartphone app), doesn’t do any streaming of its own – instead, it’s a hub that shows you content recommendations and shortcuts that lead to each broadcaster’s own streaming app, such as BBC iPlayer or the newly added S4C Clic app.
What is S4C?
S4C, short for Sianel Pedwar Cymru, which translates to Channel Four Wales, is a Welsh-language public-service television channel.
The channel began broadcasting on November 1, 1982, and it is the fifth oldest television channel in the UK and the first channel to be aimed specifically at a Welsh-speaking audience.
S4C’s remit is to provide a service which features a wide range of programmes in the Welsh language.
It broadcasts a variety of programmes, including news, sports, drama, music, factual, entertainment, and events, making it a significant player in Welsh language broadcasting.
Some of S4C’s popular programmes over the years: The Welsh-language soap operas Pobol y Cwmand and Rownd a Rownd, crime drama Y Gwyll (Hinterland) and children’s show Cyw.
S4C On Freeview Play
While the S4C channel is already available on the over-the-air version of Freeview in Wales, it’s not available In England, Scotland and Northern Ireland (but it IS available UK-wide on Freesat, Sky and Virgin Media).
S4C Clic is S4C’s streaming app, which provides on-demand catch-up programmes and box-sets from S4C.
The app has long been available on other platforms – such as Amazon’s Fire TV devices, and has now been added to Freeview Play devices in Wales AND across the UK.
In Wales, the S4C Clic app will get a more prominent place on Freeview Play’s homepage, and will occupy the fifth slot on the banner.
In England, it will appear in the ninth position. In Scotland, it will appear in the eighth position.
On YouView, the S4C Clic App is available in Wales and appears in the third slot on the banner. For all other parts of the UK, the S4C Clic app can be found on the apps page and can be launched from the apps page without downloading.
For now, the S4C Clic app only provides on-demand content.
But in the coming months, viewers will also be able to use Freeview Play to watch the S4C broadcast channel, as well as live streaming of additional sports and other Welsh events.
The launch of S4C on Freeview Play coincides with S4C’s coverage of the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show, offering viewers comprehensive coverage of the event.
Sian Doyle, S4C’s Chief Executive, expressed her pride in bringing Welsh language programming to a new audience on Freeview Play: “We’ll be able to showcase the creativity and talent that we have in Wales in millions of homes across the UK,” she said.
Owen Jenkinson, Director of Freeview, also expressed his delight at the addition of S4C to their catalogue: “Adding even more to our already existing 60,000 hours of content, S4C brings dramas, sports, kids shows, documentaries and more to Freeview Play”.