HbbTV and FreeviewPlus: Everything you need to know

FreeviewPlus is the name given to the HbbTV service in Australia, and was announced back in November 2013.

It is run by Freeview, the free digital television service that provides access to the digital free-to-air channels available in Australia.

According to the Freeview website, FreeViewPlus is "a free-to-air TV electronic program guide incorporating broadband-delivered services that will offer Australian consumers an unrivalled viewing experience."

It incorporates a 7-day, easy-to-use EPG that will allow you to search and browse programs for the next week, and a 'Favourites' function through which you can set reminders.

While catch-up apps for each broadcaster – ABC iView, SBS On Demand, Tenplay, Jump-in and Plus7 - are available on mobile devices and through consoles like the PS4 and Xbox One, plus some smart TVs, currently you need to start up each app before accessing any programs.

FreeviewPlus brings all of those services to one place as all catch-up videos and highlights will be easily accessible for all free-to-air channels through its EPG.

According to ABC, the team behind the iview app has also been working on providing on demand and live TV listings for FreeviewPlus.

How to get FreeviewPlus

FreeviewPlus launched on September 2 in 2014, though it had been facing some delays from the beginning of 2014.

SBS launched a beta HbbTV service in June last year, which was available for customers that had a HbbTV-enabled television connected to the internet, from which users could access SBS On Demand and all of its functionality.

SBS On Deman on FreeviewPlus

Today, FreeviewPlus is available through TVs from eight different manufacturers, plus set-top boxes and PVRs, but unfortunately, you may not be able to access HbbTV on your current set up, even if you did just upgrade to digital TV last year with a new purchase.

This is because FreeviewPlus is running on the HbbTV 1.5 standard, and though there are devices and TVs that do support the 1.5 standard, it will need to be certified by Freeview.

The certification, in the form of a FreeviewPlus logo sticker on the device, will guarantee that the device or TV will work with all of the apps from the Australian networks, having gone through approved testing.

Freeview has said that if a device doesn't feature the Freeview logo, but does support HbbTV 1.5, there is no guarantee that it will deliver FreeviewPlus properly.

Which is not a blanket statement that the service won't work, but simply there is no guarantee that it will work.

Freeview stated back in 2013 year: "Retailers and manufacturers are working closely with Freeview in the lead up to launch in one of the biggest developments in [free-to-air] TV since the introduction of digital multichannels."

At launch, Freeview announced that Sony and LG are among manufacturers releasing FreeviewPlus receivers

Today, Smart TVs from HiSense, Samsung, Sony, LG, Hitachi, Bauhn and Changhong all offer FreeView Plus certification.

For owners of older TVs not quite ready for a new television purchase, you can also get FreeView Plus set top boxes and PVRs.

Having spent the past decade editing some of Australia's leading technology publications, Nick's passion for the latest gadgetry is matched only by his love of watching Australia beat England in the rugby.