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Freeview Play vs YouView: What’s the difference?

Freeview Play is coming later this year and it promises to offer viewers streamlined access to catch-up content from the BBC, ITV and Channel 4. But how is it different to YouView? 

YouView launched way back in 2012, touting streamlined access to digital terrestrial TV (DTT) channels and catch-up content from BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD and Demand 5. 

The main party trick here was that YouView let you scroll backwards through the programme guide, find shows you’d missed and launch them from the same page. 

Past shows needed to be available from a catch-up service, so if you’d missed something on Al-Jazeera, TruTV or Russia Today, you wouldn’t be able to go back in time and stream these on YouView. 

If you didn’t want to scroll backwards and forwards through the programme guide, you could hop on over to a separate on-demand menu. Over time, YouView has added extra content from UK TV channels (Dave, Really, Yesterday), S4C, Quest, Sky Store, BBC Connected Red Button and more recently, everyone’s favourite movies and telly streaming service Netflix. 

What is Freeview Play?

What is Freeview Play and how does it compare to YouView? Freeview Play is due to launch later this year and from launch will come with streamlined access to BBC iPlayer, ITV Player and 4oD. 

There’s no mention if Demand 5 will come along from the ride at launch, but Freeview has said that it plans to add on-demand and catch-up services from other providers eventually. Right now, Freeview is remaining tight-lipped about who it’s talking to. 

Given that YouView does everything that Freeview Play promises to and more, we’d expect that Freeview Play will want to expand its catch-up offering quickly. 

Who makes Freeview Play and YouView set-top boxes and TVs?

At present, only three manufacturers have lined up to make YouView hardware, Humax, Huawei and Sony

Freeview has a longer standing relationship with manufacturers including LG, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony, TVonics, Humax, Sharp, Toshiba and many more. Earlier this year Seiki announced that it had signed on to make Freeview Play devices.  

Will Freeview Play feature remote record like YouView?

YouView customers can set reminders and recordings from iOS and Android apps. Freeview has yet to announce plans for similar apps to be launched in tandem with Freeview Play. 

Can I get Freeview Play bundled with broadband and calls?

YouView also counts two of the UK’s biggest ISPs – BT and TalkTalk – as shareholders. Both ISPs bundle YouView-based TV services along with superfast broadband and landline calls, as does the Hull-based ISP KC

It’s unlikely that any Freeview Play hardware will be bundled with any broadband or home phone packages. 


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