Move signals ‘a real plus’ for viewers and further growth for the digital TV recorder market.
Freeview, the UK’s No.1 digital TV service today announced the re-branding of its Freeview Playback digital TV recorders (DTRs) as Freeview+ . Over the coming months the Freeview+ name will roll out across retail and packaging, marking the start of Freeview’s increased marketing efforts to drive awareness and sales of its DTR equipment.
In addition to providing access to the best subscription-free channels, Freeview+ boxes will offer a variety of integrated digital recording features including series record, one touch record from an eight-day programme guide and functionality to pause live TV – much like Sky+ and V+, but once you’ve bought the box, there’s no ongoing subscription.
With the re-brand to Freeview+, Freeview plans to further accelerate the growth of the DTR market which is currently growing 76%* year on year. Further impetus comes from the need to upgrade video recorders (VCRs) at switchover at which point they will no longer be fully functional and will only allow viewers to record the programme they are watching.
Rob Farmer, Director of Marketing Communications at Freeview, said: “There’s over one third of a million Freeview digital TV recorders in households – and that’s been achieved with relatively little marketing support. We are now upping our efforts and since ‘plus’ has entered the vernacular in recent years, we think it makes sense to reposition ourselves to take advantage of that. Of course the real plus for viewers is that Freeview+ doesn’t come with any subscription or contract so you’re free from all the fuss and saving hundreds of pounds a year in the process.”
The Freeview+ range will be the most comprehensive in the market, including basic boxes, DVD recorders, DVD and VHS combination recorders and TVs with Freeview+ built in. It will also feature a greater number of products from a range of brands including Humax, Goodmans, LG, Sony and Sharp and Tvonics.
Farmer continues: “Freeview+ is the next chapter in our story as the champion of free TV in the UK. It lets you record great programmes with no subscription, no contract, no fuss. It’s the obvious choice for recording TV in the digital age.”
Freeview’s offering of free-to-air, quality digital TV channels without a subscription has proved incredibly popular with consumers and is now in 16 million** homes. Households will continue to have the choice of a standard Freeview service or Freeview+.
**Freeview estimates Q1, 2008 delivering HD content. The BBC will run one of the HD channels available, and ITV and Channel 4 are amongst those which have submitted plans to Ofcom to deliver HD services on Freeview once capacity becomes available. Freeview HD will be available from Autumn 2009 in the Granada region and subsequent regions through the switchover process.
Ilse Howling, Managing Director of Freeview said: “With Freeview on PS3 and Media Center and HD just around the corner, being a Freeview viewer is now more exciting than ever. We’re delighted people will be able to watch Freeview on PCs and gaming devices in other rooms in the home.”
“Our success as the number one digital TV service in the UK undoubtedly remains down to the simplicity of Freeview’s proposition. No monthly bills, no contract and access to the most watched digital TV channels continue to be extremely attractive, especially for people looking to save money on their monthly bills in the credit crunch.”
** The BBC Research and Innovation division successfully demonstrated a working real-time demodulator capable of receiving signals compliant to the DVB-T2 standard, which is required in order to free up capacity to make space for HD on the Freeview platform.