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YouTube goes live on Free Time from Freesat: video hands-on

Freesat has promised a select family of TV-focussed on-demand services as YouTube joins its Free Time from Freesat platform ahead of 4oD and Demand Five.

YouTube has launched the latest version of its HTML-based app for the big screen, supporting YouTube Leanback smartphone remote control feature, personal logins and adaptive streaming.

It’s part of Free Time from Freesat, the second-generation of Freesat, launched last year, which combines satellite TV with on-demand and catch-up TV over your broadband connection.

Read more about FreesatDan Chronnell, Freesat’s director of product development, said the quick launch of YouTube’s app has validated their choice to use the familiar web technology of HTML instead of others like Flash or MHEG.

“This is the first deployment of YouTube’s latest HTML app in Western Europe on a TV service,” Chronell added. “We were able to get it up and running in weeks, rather than months, with very little disruption to the platform.

“HTML is becoming the platform of choice for broadcasters and other partners to do stuff across multiple territories and markets.”

Freesat is now tackling the final technical hurdles of adding 4oD and Demand Five alongside BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, and the new arrival.

“We see those as a really big value adds that will strengthen our service, and they are not far away,” said Dan. “There’s a combination of technical factors that we are going through.”

YouTube goes live on Free Time from Freesat: video hands-on
YouTube launches alongside catch-up video on Free Time from Freesat


Next for Free Time

While there’s no sign of Freesat adding manufacturers other than Humax to the Free Time stable, and they wouldn’t confirm any discussions on partners like Netflix or Lovefilm, there are plans to develop the experience.

Showcase – the ‘best of’ selection on Free Time – is in line for improvement, said Giles Cottle, Freesat’s head of strategy, that could see more specific recommendations for different users like children or film buffs.

“Showcase works very well and we’re very pleased with users response to it, but we recognise it’s very much a 1.0 stage and we will be working through a roadmap to evolve it,” Cottle said.

“We work very hard on separating out different kinds of programmes and on-demand is a very good use for that.

“A Netflix or Lovefilm-like experience works for us because people understand that if you get Freesat you do not have to take anything else, and if you do, the £5 a month or so is not like a £30 a month Sky subscription.”

As for take-up, Freesat will only say that they’ve broken the three million overall sales mark for Freesat products overall, and they’re pleased with the sales of the £280 premium Free Time box ‘in the current state of the consumer electronics market’.


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