Free-to-air TV goes Hybrid with FreeviewPlus launch today

Get ready for a hybrid TV

FreeviewPlus has finally launched in Australia, bringing Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV (HbbTV) technology Down Under - meaning more content and services from free-to-air channels.

At it's core, FreeviewPlus is essentially an internet-delivered EPG for free-to-air TV, allowing you to watch live TV broadcast or access catch up TV and other streaming services through broadband straight from the EPG.

"We are thrilled to launch FreeviewPlus today, a world-first TV service for Australia that will provide viewers with a whole new way to enjoy free-to-air TV," said Liz Ross, General Manager of Freeview.

"It is also a significant and exciting milestone in the history of television in this country, coming as the result of unprecedented collaboration among the Freeview networks, as well as other key stakeholders including developers, manufacturers and retailers."

The service will provide a 7-day EPG, access to catch up services straight from the EPG, recommendations, search options and a favourites feature.

Industry standards

While FreeviewPlus will be taking on Foxtel and Fetch TV, it will face some challenges as only devices (TVs, set top boxes and receivers) carrying the FreeviewPlus logo are guaranteed to work.

So while some older TVs may have HbbTV support in the specs, they will most likely need a firmware update (that will probably never come) to be able to access the technology.

SBS had earlier stated that a number of Panasonic TVs were able to support HbbTV and SBS's HbbTV beta. It also had said that additional models from all the major brands would be coming later this year.

Freeview has also announced today that Sony and LG are among manufacturers releasing FreeviewPlus receivers.