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Freeview Play launching in October on Panasonic smart TVs

Panasonic has won the honour of being the first TV maker to launch Freeview Play devices, which will start hitting shelves next month. 

Freeview Play is the next generation of Freeview and, like YouView and EE TV before it, will blend linear digital terrestrial TV channels with a mixture of catch-up and on-demand services. 

From launch, you’ll be able to access catch-up content from BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, All 4 and Demand 5 through the discrete on-demand menu and through the programme guide, by scrolling backwards in time. While you’ll only be able to play with these four services from launch, we understand that more streaming services will arrive on Freeview Play in the near future. 

Related: We go hands on with Firefox OS My Home Screen 2.0 on Panasonic smart TVs and take a first look at Freeview PlayFreeview Play will be available on Panasonic’s new Firefox OS-running 2015 line-up of Viera TVs, namely the CX680, CX700, CR730, CX802 and CR852 models. 

If you already own one of these, you’ll be able to download a firmware update to Freeview Play that’ll automatically be rolled out next month. 

Andrew Denham, managing director at Panasonic UK, said: “We’re really excited about this launch because, as the Freeview Play launch partner, we can deliver a wider range of excellent programming with the best possible picture quality. 

“September and October are big months for TV, so it is fantastic that our customers will be the first to have all these superb on-demand channels just in time in for Strictly Come Dancing and the Great British Bake Off final!”

Panasonic isn’t the only brand that’s signed up to produce Freeview Play hardware. So far Humax, Manhattan and Vestel have come out in support of the new platform, but so far no other big names have announced if they’re going to play ball.  

As well as Viera smart TVs, Panasonic will also be launched connected Blu-ray players and hard drives with access to Freeview Play’s catch-up suite later this year. 

Guy North, managing director of Freeview, added: “We believe that Freeview Play is set to become the new normal way of watching TV. Viewers will be free to choose what they watch and when they watch it on their main set free from subscription.”

This may or may not be a subtle dig a similar platforms; EE TV requires you to sign up for EE broadband and while you can buy YouView boxes off the shelf, the majority of customers take them in tandem with a BT or TalkTalk broadband subscription. 

 

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