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UK public broadcasters to launch streaming service Freely in Q2

Freely, the new streaming service developed by Freeview and Freesat operator Everyone TV and backed by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, will launch in Q2.

UKTV is now also involved, with the broadcaster’s portfolio of free channels expected to come to Freely via broadband.

In addition, TV manufacturer Vestel has been named another smart TV partner for the project, inking a five-year deal with Everyone TV. Vestel will build Freely into its new TVs.

The Media Leader previously reported that Hisense would also be offering Freely on its smart TVs.

The project, which was announced in September, pledged to offer viewers the ability to “seamlessly” browse channels through a “modern and intuitive” programme guide.

Now, glimpses of the user interface and additional features, including the ability to switch between live and on-demand TV, have been revealed.

Additional features include the MiniGuide, a pop-up interface that appears each time users switch channels, enabling discoverability of related live or on-demand content.

There will also be a seven-day TV guide and a browse function.

“It’s clear the way people are watching TV is changing, with more audiences switching over to a broadband-only connection,” said Everyone TV joint chief product officers Sarah Milton and Carl Pfeiffer. “We’ve built Freely around the needs of British audiences, bringing them the freedom to choose how they want to watch, with all their favourite shows from the UK’s leading broadcasters all in one place for free.

“We’re really proud of what we’re launching with Freely and are excited about bringing major enhancements like the MiniGuide to viewers as Freely launches in Q2 this year.”

The broadcasters’ internet protocol channels will remain available on dedicated linear TV subscription services, such as Sky Stream and Virgin Media Stream, as well as within their own video-on-demand apps such as BBC iPlayer and ITVX.

Everyone TV has hinted that additional details will be announced in the coming weeks, including “additional smart TV, operating system and content partners”. The Media Leader

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