Freely will replace Freeview on new Smart TVs released by 4 major brands in UK, but Samsung stays silent

freely tv shown on a flatscreen on a wall with the freely logo in the background

Everyone TV, the organisation that developed Freely and Freeview, has struck deals with four more major TV manufacturers to use Freely on new flatscreen models coming this year

EVERYONE TV PRESS OFFICE
Aaron Brown

By Aaron Brown


Published: 25/06/2024

- 03:31

Toshiba, Sharp, Panasonic and Metz all announce next-generation TVs powered by Freely

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Freely is coming to Smart TVs from Toshiba, Sharp, Panasonic and Metz. The latest raft of partnerships signed 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 — brings the number of TV brands with plans to support Freely up to a total of six. Freely launched in the UK back in April with a handful of Hisense TVs.


The biggest absentee remains Samsung, the biggest TV brand worldwide for the last 18 consecutive years. Everyone TV has teased that we can expect "new smart TV brands rolling out over the coming months," but there's no guarantee Samsung will decide to adopt this new platform.

For now, anyone who purchases a new Smart TV from Hisense, Bush, Toshiba, Sharp, Panasonic, or Metz will use Freely to stream live television, catch-up, and on-demand boxsets. The Freeview successor ditches the traditional TV aerial.

freely flatscreen TV on a wall with the TV Guide on screen

Freely isn't a software update to existing Freeview hardware. Instead, this was built from the ground-up for streaming and arrives with a new user interface and modern features, like the ability to pause and restart live shows from free-to-air channels like BBC, ITV and Channel 4

EVERYONE TV PRESS OFFICE

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.

However, this industry-wide trend has caused some experts to sound the alarm that those without a decent internet connection could be left unable to watch live television by 2040.

Freely isn't available as a software update for existing Freeview or Freesat viewers. Since it requires new hardware, you'll only be able to start benefitting from its new features — like the ability to access all on-demand episodes from a show's listing in the TV Guide and the ability to restart a show from the beginning with a single tap — when you upgrade to a new television.

Toshiba’s new Freely-compatible TVs offer QLED 4K picture quality paired with Dolby Atmos-certified sound, meanwhile Sharp will integrate Freely into its new range of 4K and 4K QLED Smart TVs. Panasonic will embrace Freely for its 2024 line-up of 4K OLED, QLED, and LED TVs.

Metz, one of the oldest telly brands in Germany, will be launching new Freely compatible QLED+ TVs that incorporate Dolby Vision and Atmos. These high-end flatscreens will be available in 43-, 50-, 55- and 65-inch screen sizes.

These new partnerships cover a healthy mix of price points, although it's interesting that some of the brands — Toshiba and Metz — have decided to prioritise Freely in the more expensive, feature-packed TVs. That suggests they see its functionality, like the ability to pause live television, as a more premium offering than Freeview.

metz qled flatscreen tv pictured with freely on-screen

Metz will use Freely offer aerial-free viewing of the biggest free-to-air channels and catch-up services on its QLED+ TVs with Dolby Vision and Atmos

METZ PRESS OFFICE

Speaking about the new partnerships, Everyone TV Chief Commercial Officer Deep Halder said: "Having recently brought Freely to market on new Hisense and Bush TVs, we’re delighted to be announcing increased availability of Freely with four new smart TV partners due to launch later this year.

"A joint venture between Britain’s leading broadcasters, Freely is built on collaboration and it is encouraging to see more of the industry coming together to contribute to the success of Freely, working together to secure the future of free TV."

Everyone TV says you'll be able to enjoy linear television over your broadband connection with speeds as low as 10Mbps. For comparison, Netflix only requires 5Mbps for 1080p HD picture quality. In April 2023, Ofcom reported the average download speed for UK homes was 70Mbps, for reference.

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As long as you're covered with a valid TV Licence, everything on Freely brings together live and on-demand content in one place for free. The launch of this broadband-powered platform comes as research reveals half of UK homes will watch TV exclusively over Wi-Fi by 2030.

As well as channels from BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and Channel 5, Everyone TV confirmed that discussions are underway with UKTV to bring its portfolio of free channels to Freely over your broadband connection. UKTV, the award-winning brand that owns and operates channels like Dave, Drama, Yesterday, and W, has announced plans to undergo a comprehensive rebrand next month.

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