Connect TV, a new platform that is bringing IPTV to the UK’s Freeview, has launched its service with an initial lineup of 45 internet delivered channels which viewers can access directly from the Freeview menu or electronic programme guide (EPG). The launch radically changes the free to air TV landscape in the UK as it opens the opportunities for more interactive content and advertising that come with IPTV, but without the need for users to change viewing habits or buy new devices.
Freeview HD devices are currently available in up to 5.5 million UK households and users can access the additional content through their existing TV menu, just as they do with the established Freeview channels. The launch content line-up contains a mix of sports, foreign language and news channels from Racing UK, Sports Tonight Live, CCTV and French, Greek, Polish and Turkish programming from the Vision TV Network.
Channels using the Connect TV platform can choose to be pay-to-view, subscription, or free, and any payment transactions are handled through Connect TV’s payment gateway.
“We are able to give consumers a wealth of extra free and paid content without forcing them to leave the familiar surroundings of their main TV screen and Freeview menu or buy new a TV service or device,” said Phil Walder, Managing Director, Connect TV.
“The economics of our delivery means that niche channels can be on the same menu as the UK’s most watched TV channels. Connect TV provides exciting new business models for the financially challenged TV Industry by uniting Freeview and TV over broadband in an exciting and intuitive way,” he addded.
Content owners can have their own live TV channel on the Freeview menu or, alternatively, can create portals of channels. So, for example, channel 200 could be used as an entry point for five different MTV channels.
As well as live streaming, Connect TV enables content owners to launch on demand services to monetize their content catalogues. The platform has an integrated payment system which allows viewers to purchase pay-as-you-go or subscription content directly through their TV via their remote controls. Broadcasters can also leverage fully interactive services and make use of an analytical back-end that can measures viewer behaviour and engagement.