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Manhattan confirms Freeview Play support: First boxes going on sale 2016

Cheap as chips set-top box makers Manhattan have confirmed support for Freeview Play. 

The British manufacturer has announced that it’s working on a range of set-top boxes which will support the next generation of Freeview, one which blends catch-up services like BBC iPlayer and All 4 with traditional digital terrestrial TV channels. 

The company will launch three new boxes; an entry-level driveless zapper box plus two others with 500GB and 1TB hard drives respectively. Support for streaming over WiFi will also be included as standard across the board. 

Manhattan TV’s CEO, Abbas Arbab-Zadeh said: “We are delighted to confirm the development of our Freeview Play products. We strongly believe the combination of on-demand services and live programming will put the viewer in full control of their TV. 

Freeview Play eyes-on and first impressions“We plan to launch a receiver and two recorders at competitive price points, and all with WiFi built in. These devices will put Manhattan TV at the cutting edge of the UK television industry.”

If the company’s other devices are anything to go by, then these new set-top boxes could be the budget-friendly shot in the arm that Freeview Play needs to really get out of the blocks and gain some traction in the wild.

Freeview Play is due to launch imminently and so far, only Panasonic, Humax and Vestel have nailed their colours to the mast. 

Digital UK’s managing director of connected TV Ilse Howling has put the prices for the first Humax-made Freeview Play boxes at £199 and £229. 

Manhattan has yet to talk prices for its hardware, which is due to hit the shelves early next year. Last year’s Plaza HD-T2 Freesat zapper box cost just £50, so we’d hope that Manhattan’s first Freeview Play wouldn’t be too far off of this mark. 

Guy North, managing director of Freeview, added: “The availability of a Manhattan range of Freeview Play receivers, including a set-top box and two Freeview Play recorders, is excellent news and will give consumers even more choice of Freeview Play products to buy.”

Around 40-50 manufacturers have reportedly expressed an interest in developing Freeview Play hardware, although to date just four companies have come out of the woodwork. 

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