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Freesat to launch Free Time on smart TVs in 2014

Free-to-air satellite TV operator Freesat is to launch its Free Time TV platform on a range of smart TVs from next year.

Moving onto smart TVs will enable viewers to access catch-up TV as well as other non-DVR Free Time features such as the backwards EPG, without requiring a set-top box.

The original Freesat HD platform is already available on Panasonic and Samsung TVs, but lacks the advanced features of Free Time, such as catch-up TV and YouTube via broadband.

Matthew Huntington, chief technology officer of Freesat, announced the launch at the OTTtv World Summit last week.

He said that traditional operators need to break away from set-top boxes and provide an ‘operator as application’ service instead, especially to TV sets.

The satellite firm has also developed technology called Operator Privileged Application Layer (Opal) to allow operators to provide a full set of services to smart TVs.

“Broadcasters and OTT providers can learn from each other, and the work we’ve done on Opal is evidence of this,” he told Digital TV Europe.

“We want to get our services to more devices. We are already on Panasonic and Samsung TVs but it’s difficult to get [features including] the backwards EPG on Europe-wide TV models.

“We are proposing to provide the user experience for core TV services embedded in [TV manufacturers’] standard UIs [user interfaces], so that when you press the button on the remote control you go to something like the Freesat offer on a set-top.”

He said that Freesat would be using Opal to offer services to smart TVs next year with a line of multiple TV manufacturers, although Huntingdon did not divulge which manufacturers are on board with the idea.






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