Freely is here! Broadband-powered replacement for Freeview backed by BBC and ITV released in UK today

a smart tv with the freely user interface pictured on screen

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Aaron Brown

By Aaron Brown

Published: 30/04/2024

- 11:37

Updated: 30/04/2024

- 16:48

You'll be able to pause and restart live television with the tap of a touch... as long as your broadband connection is fast enough

  • Freely is now available on Smart TVs in the UK
  • The successor to Freeview offers access to live television over broadband
  • Freely will let viewers pause and restart live programmes — just like Sky TV
  • Hisense has started to sell Smart TVs powered by Freely
  • Vestel will launch its next-generation Freely-powered TVs in the coming weeks
  • TiVo has also pledged to incorporate Freely into its popular operating system
  • You can't update a Freeview device to Freely, you'll have to buy new hardware

Freeview successor Freely has launched in the UK — a little over five months after the name and logo were initially teased by Everyone TV, the organisation behind Freeview and Freesat backed by the UK's biggest broadcasters, including the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.

Freely ditches the traditional TV aerial. Instead, the most popular free-to-air channels are streamed over a wireless or wired internet connection. This is similar to solutions like Sky Glass, Sky Stream, Virgin Media Stream, and the rebooted EE TV launched last year.

Relying on a broadband connection means you'll be able to position your television anywhere in your house with a decent Wi-Fi signal — not where the aerial comes into the wall. Like the popular Sky+ box, which loses access to Sky TV channels in the coming months, Freely viewers will be able to pause and restart live television.

BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 have ensured their catch-up services are deeply integrated into Freely so when you miss the start of a live broadcast you'll be able to skip back to the beginning — with the show streamed behind-the-scenes from BBC iPlayer, ITVX, and others.

Entire boxsets will be presented in the menu, so you can catch-up on earlier series of a show before tuning into the next live episode. The arrival of Freely doesn't mean Freeview is going anywhere for now, with Smart TV manufacturers turning to the new arrival to offer access to linear television... we'll likely to see Freeview and Freesat fall out of favour in the coming months and years. The industry-wide pivot is something campaigners have warned about, cautioning that millions could be left without access to live television channels.

Everyone TV says the arrival of Freely marks the first time all four of Britain’s public service broadcasters have come together to launch a streaming proposition and signals the beginning of "a journey to secure the future of free TV through collaboration."

Freely isn't a software update to your existing Freeview-enabled Smart TV or set-top box. Instead, you'll need to upgrade to one of a slew of new Smart TVs coming to UK retailers in the coming months.

the freely logo is designed to resemble an emoji, pictured here in an animated GIF

Freely is a completely new platform that promises to beam terrestrial channels and on-demand content to your Smart TV via broadband — with no aerial or satellite dish needed


Telly brand Hisense will be the first to ship Smart TVs with Freely as the default way to watch television. These new sets will be available to order later today at Currys, Argos, AO and Very.

Rival manufacturer Vestel has confirmed plans to launch Freely-powered TVs in the coming weeks, and more brands are likely to follow soon.

Smart TV platform TiVo will also offer Freely as part of its operating system. Freely will run on all Smart TVs powered by TiVo, providing viewers with a choice and a simple way to navigate to linear channels from public broadcasters and the latest boxset that everyone's talking about.

Discussing the long-awaited arrival of Freely, BBC Director of Distribution and Business Development, Kieran Clifton said: "The launch of Freely is a historic moment for UK television.

"Collaboration between the UK PSBs is critical to connecting and protecting all audiences as we transition towards the streaming era — and delivering live TV over broadband for free is a ground-breaking innovation that will futureproof public service broadcasting."

Alongside its participation in Freely, the BBC has outlined plans to scale-up its BBC iPlayer service in the next year ahead of the next licence fee review by the next UK Government.

promotional image from freely with a tv covered in the words all you need is wifi

Since there's no need for an aerial, Freely viewers will be able to position their Smart TV anywhere with a decent Wi-Fi signal or an ethernet cable to stream in HD quality


Grace Boswood, Technology & Distribution Director, Channel 4, added: "Freely will deliver the best of Britain’s world-leading public service content seamlessly and for free. It further supports Channel 4’s Fast Forward strategy as we accelerate our transformation into the streaming age, ensuring our trusted, brand-safe content is available to everyone."

Channel 4 confirmed plans to close five of its live channels on Freeview and Freesat in the coming months as it prioritises streaming content over everything else.

Martin Goswami, who serves as Strategic Partnerships and Distribution Director for ITV, commented on the launch of Freely: "The success and impact of programmes like ITV's Mr Bates vs the Post Office shows the importance of UK PSBs and ITV is proud to be part of this exciting new chapter for free TV in this country with Freely.

"Bringing live streamed channels and on-demand content together in Freely gives viewers the opportunity to access the very best in British content as easily as possible, from live and recent programmes to a wealth of on-demand options."

freely new miniguide shown in a new screenshot

Freely offers one-click access to on-demand episodes of the show you're currently watching from the new MiniGuide. You'll also be able to restart the programme too, with everything streamed behind-the-scenes from the relevant catch-up service, including BBC iPlayer, ITVX, and My5


An early glimpse at the menu for Freely was revealed earlier this year. We've rounded up some of the standout features of the all-new way to watch BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 live below. Meanwhile, Everyone TV has teased that additional details around Freely will be announced in the coming weeks, including additional smart TV, operating system, and content partners.


This will be instantly familiar to anyone who has watched telly on Sky or Virgin Media before, but it’s the first time we’ve seen anything like this on a free TV experience.

When switching between live channels, a small pop-up will appear in the bottom of the screen with details about the show you’re currently watching, what’s scheduled to air next, and a button to restart your current programme from the beginning.

If there are multiple episodes from the same show available on-demand from a catch-up service like iPlayer, ITVX or My5, the “Info & Episodes” button in the MiniGuide will let you start scrolling through the back catalogue and jump into another episode.

freely browse menu shown in screenshot

Browse in a new menu found on Freely devices that brings together live channels and on-demand shows based on your tastes. It has a dedicated button on your TV remote



Pressing the Freely button on your remote will send you to the Browse menu. This is a central hub that brings together recommended live and on-demand shows from Britain's biggest broadcasters and free-to-air channels, all in one place.

As you watch more shows — live and on-demand — on your Freely device, the recommendations in the Browse menu will start to improve as it begins to learn your tastes.

TV Guide

This is the part of the Freely interface that will be immediately recognisable to Freeview users. The 7-day guide is designed to providerelevant information at a glance.

Everyone TV says the design of the TV Guide will be consistent across all Freely TVs, so don’t expect telly manufacturers to be able to customise the look at all. Freely TVs will also be required to provide one-touch access via a dedicated Guide button on the remote.

freely tv guide shown in a new example from everyone tv

Freely's TV Guide is pretty similar to the one found on existing Freeview TVs. Everyone TV says the design of the TV Guide will be consistent across all Freely-powered devices, with no customisation possible from TV manufacturers


From the TV Guide, you’ll be able to see whether the ability to restart the show from the beginning is available — helping you to decide whether you should jump into a programme now, wait to catch it on a +1 channel, or watch via an on-demand streaming service later.

You’ll also be able to jump into a library of on-demand episodes of shows from the TV Guide.

Sarah Milton and Carl Pfeiffer, Joint Chief Product Officers, Everyone TV said: “It’s clear the way people are watching TV is changing, with more audiences switching over to a broadband only connection.We’ve built Freely around the needs of British audiences, bringing them the freedom to choose how they want to watch, with all their favourite shows from the UK’s leading broadcasters all in one place for free.

“We’re really proud of what we’re launching with Freely and are excited about bringing major enhancements like the MiniGuide to viewers as Freely launches in Q2 this year.”


freely browse menu

Live broadcasts are still a core part of Freely, even within the Browse menu you'll be able to jump into what's airing on BBC One, ITV1 and other terrestrial channels with a single click on the remote


Everyone TV confirmed that discussions are underway with UKTV to bring the its portfolio of free channels to Freely over your broadband connection. UKTV is the award-winning brand that owns and operates channels like Dave, Drama, Yesterday, and W.

All of these are currently available via Freeview and Freesat, so we’d expect them to be included in the TV Guide and on-demand options when the first Freely TVs start to appear on store shelves.

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