Broadcasters change channel on YouView with Freeview Connect plans

UK broadcasters turn nose up at YouView with new Freeview Connect initiative
BBC wants iPlayer as standard on all Smart TVs

The BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 have formed a new alliance aimed at ensuring their respective catch-up TV platforms are built into new connected televisions as standard.

The new group, dubbed Freeview Connect, will aim to ensure the free-to-air web-based offerings like the iPlayer, 4oD, 5 on Demand and the ITV Player are on-board, without users having to download apps.

The new pact comes at a time when the public service broadcasters have been pondering their ongoing investment in the YouView platform.

The YouView proposition was aimed at securing the future of free-to-air television, but has been increasingly used as a pawn for BT and TalkTalk to hawk broadband and pay-TV subscriptions.

Boo-hoo for YouView?

This new initiative, put forward by the Digital UK group funded by all four broadcasters, will help PSB's "get back to their free roots," one source, who also suggested Sky could possibly be involved, told the Guardian.

Just last week, the BBC Trust published a report advising to corporation to "seriously reconsider" their commitment to the YouView platform.

The report read: "In practice, nearly all YouView 'sales' have been of subsidised equipment offered by sponsoring internet service providers [BT and TalkTalk] in exchange for a subscription payment of some kind. This may have implications for the BBC's strategy of promoting "free" access to its services."

Could the new initiative deliver a crushing blow to the YouView service? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Chris Smith

A technology journalist, writer and videographer of many magazines and websites including T3, Gadget Magazine and He specializes in applications for smartphones, tablets and handheld devices, with bylines also at The Guardian, WIRED, Trusted Reviews and Wareable. Chris is also the podcast host for The Liverpool Way. As well as tech and football, Chris is a pop-punk fan and enjoys the art of wrasslin'.