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FreeviewPlus launching September 2

Australia's next step in Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV, FreeviewPlus, will launch on September 2.

freeview-plus-logo.jpg
Freeview

FreeviewPlus, the HbbTV upgrade to the existing Freeview has finally been given a launch date. The service will begin operation on September 2, with Freeview today announcing an ad campaign to begin educating users about FreeviewPlus.

The service will integrate both broadcast and catchup TV services into a single offering. You'll be able to browse ahead on the 7-day EPG and set reminders for up coming shows. You'll also be able to watch shows you missed on catchup TV, without needing to open up a separate app -- they'll be accessible through the EPG, the same as broadcast TV programming.

SBS recently pipped FreeviewPlus to the post launching Australia's first HbbTV service. At the time, Trevor Long, manager of technology strategy and innovation at SBS, noted that the service was built on the same HbbTV 1.5 architecture as FreeviewPlus.

"You will be impressed by FreeviewPlus," said Long, calling the service "the best thing since sliced bread".

FreeviewPlus will need a HbbTV compatible TV, set-top box, or receiver. Freeview says that you'll need a device with a FreeviewPlus logo, but as HbbTV is an open standard, it's possible that any HbbTV-enable device -- that supports the 1.5 standard -- will be compatible. But it's still not entirely clear.

Either way, the current selection of HbbTV-ready TV in Australia is very minimal -- back at the end of June there were only seven, all of which were new models from Panasonic.

According to the Freeview press-release:

Manufacturers will release a range of FreeviewPlus receivers to coincide with the launch of FreeviewPlus and these will be available from all major appliance and electronics retailers.

FreeviewPlus will continue to be made available through an increasing number of new connected receivers carrying the FreeviewPlus logo including panel TVs, set top boxes and recording devices.