Is your TV ready for Freeview Plus?
The next generation of Freeview free-to-air TV is now live, but is your TV be compatible with the service?
Barring any further delays, Freeview Plus is set to launch at the start of September, bringing a wider HbbTV framework integrating free-to-air broadcast TV with the catch-up TV offerings in Australia.
However, with about two weeks until launch, we're still waiting for the influx of devices that are compatible with Freeview Plus.
As we've discussed before, the new Freeview uses the HbbTV 1.5 standard. According to Freeview, you'll need a device -- be it TV, PVR, or set-top box -- that has the Freeview Plus logo on it.
However, there have been reports that any device compatible with HbbTV 1.5 will work with Freeview Plus. Freeview is being rather cagey about that, saying without the certification, there is "no guarantee of the performance of that equipment to deliver Freeview Plus properly -- or even at all".
In terms of older smart TVs, CNET spoke to members of the HbbTV consortium who said that HbbTV 1.5 functionality could be delivered via a software update for most recent TVs.
Klaus Merkel, Senior Engineer of Platforms for Broadcast Services at IRT confirmed to CNET that "technically, there is nothing additional in HbbTV 1.5 that would really need dedicated hardware".
In the interim, we're compiling a list of locally available TVs and other home entertainment devices that are definitely Freeview Plus certified. Freeview has said that it can't make the information around compatible devices public yet. A Freeview spokesperson said "manufacturers will release a range of FreeviewPlus receivers to coincide with the launch". This doesn't seem to be of much use for people looking to be ready for the launch date.
Many manufacturers don't seem to have these lists available yet either so we'll be regularly updating this article as we find more products and as manufacturers return our emails.
Panasonic was reputedly the first manufacturer to have Freeview Plus-ready TVs on the market, across its full range of 4K and HD. The full list is provided by Panasonic is:
A Sony spokesperson confirmed that "all 2014 Sony TVs will support HbbTV and therefore Freeview Plus". Sony added that the software update has already gone out to the TVs "so people who already have a 2014 TV just need to update it, and all new 2014 purchases will already be set up".
Sony has included the Freeview Plus logo on compatible TV models on its site. We're waiting for confirmation from Sony that this list is full and accurate. The current model numbers as they stand are:
A Kogan spokesperson confirmed that the "Kogan R&D team is developing a few products (both TVs and set top boxes) that will be Freeview Plus compatible". These are "likely to hit the market soon after September 2".
Harry Wu, managing director at TCL Australia, told CNET: "TCL's full range of 4K UHD and Smart LED TVs will all support Freeview Plus in Australia later this year". We've asked for clarification on the time frame.
Wu also said that TCL would have some new additions to its 4K line up towards the end of 2014 that would "also support this new viewing platform".
The list of supported 4K TVs are below. We're waiting for a list of the Smart LED models that are Freeview Plus ready:
LG officially announced its Freeview Plus line up on September 2. The models run across the full range of LGs' offering, including its Ultra HD TVs, Full HD and even Plasma.
Samsung was contacted regarding its Freeview Plus models on August 20. It has yet to respond and was not named as an initial partner by Freeview at launch.
Updated September 2: new model information added.