VuTV brings Comedy Central to Freeview HD via the Web

VuTV is a new service coming soon to Freeview HD that streams premium channels such as History and Nickelodeon over the Internet.

Nick Hide Managing copy editor
Nick manages CNET's advice copy desk from Springfield, Virginia. He's worked at CNET since 2005.
Expertise Copy editing, football, Civilization and other old-man games, West Wing trivia
Nick Hide
2 min read

Voulez vous regardez la TV avec moi? Oui? Then may I suggest, messieurs et mesdames, VuTV, a new service coming soon to Freeview HD that streams premium channels over the Internet.

Wait, hang on un moment -- it streams over the Internet but it's for Freeview HD? Bien sur. VuTV is a collection of channels, including such televisual luminaries as Comedy Central and the History Channel, that's accessed via one channel on the Freeview guide.

You pay upfront -- VuTV hasn't said exactly how, or how much it will cost, but it has promised "a low monthly subscription with no long-term contract". The channels are delivered over the Internet to a second guide that appears when you select channel 238 on your TV, either as standard channels, or on-demand programmes.

It's an interesting model that turns Freeview into a kind of easy jump-off point to many more channels than the current spectrum has room for. The downside is you'd be flicking between different TV guides, which could be confusing, especially when you're trying to figure out what's on later.

YouView offers something similar, with channels and on-demand shows delivered over the Internet, but featuring in the same TV guide as normal Freeview channels. Seeing it all together side by side makes it really easy to use, which is a problem VuTV will have to overcome.

Premium channels

So which channels will VuTV offer? Comedy Central is probably the biggest deal, with The Daily Show, Anger Management, Big Bad World and wall-to-wall Friends. Others on offer are the sort of thing you find on the more expensive packages on Sky and Virgin: Bio, MTV, CNN, History, H2 and the Crime & Investigation Network. Kids are catered for too, with faves such as Nickelodeon, Nicktoons, Nick Jr, Cartoon Network, Boomerang and Cartoonito.

What's not known is how much it'll be, whether you can subscribe to individual channels, or when it launches. VuTV says there'll be more details in mid-September. I'll be right here on the edge of my seat.

Also yet to be revealed is exactly what tech you'll need. It requires Freeview HD, which comes built-in with many modern tellies, but otherwise you'll need a separate box. As it's streamed over the Internet, you'll need a Wi-Fi or Ethernet connection too. It's possible in future set-top boxes and TVs will be advertised as VuTV-compatible.

Would you pay extra for Comedy Central and the rest? What do you think of the concept? Change channels to the comments, or flick over to our Facebook page.