Freeview Adds Live Streaming to Android App

Freeview, the operator of the terrestrial television network in the UK, have update their Android app. Among other features, users can now stream live shows from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 and on demand content from BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4, My5, and UKTV Play.

The updates follow on from the release of a similar app for Apple devices earlier this year. Data from the iOS app revealed that many users stream BBC Breakfast or ITVs Good Morning Britain whilst on their way to work. Sports programmes were also popular.

The Android version of the app is compatible with Android 4.4 KitKat or above, and requires wifi or a mobile data connection. The app can be downloaded for free from the Google Play store. Other features include a 15 day guide for all Freeview channels.

Virgin Media Claims to be Cheapest for Premiere League

Virgin Media has claimed it is the cheapest way to watch Premier League, Champions League and Europa League matches all in one place. Virgin Media’s Bigger+Sports bundle is currently priced at £65 (for new members), and gives access to all Sky Sports channels in HD as well as BT Sport in HD and 4K.

According to Virgin Media average like for like monthly costs for its rivals are Sky £103.58, TalkTalk £95.66 and BT £86.68. All quoted prices including broadband and landline calls.

Virgin Media’s Bigger+Sports also provides access to Eurosport, Premier Sports, ESPN, and Freesports.

Review: +1 Channels – Are they still needed?

On demand content access has improved significantly in recent years, so I thought it would be useful to evaluate if there is a point to keeping these channels.

+1 channels of the likes of ITV and Channel 4 were established to allow viewers to catch a show that they might have just missed the start of. They have historically also been used as placeholders, pending the launch of new channels. They can be found on all major TV platforms, including Freeview.

Subsequently, nearly all TV channels have developed an on demand platform. These allow viewers to catch up on missed programmes for between 7 and 30 days (sometimes longer) after they were first broadcast. Well known catch up services include BBC iPlayer and My5.

Despite this, many +1 channels still exist. For those with recorder boxes which can only record 2 programmes at one time, the +1 channels can assist with reducing scheduling conflicts. However, as programmes are often repeated several times, there are ways around such an issue without +1 channels.

With advances in 4G and 5G mobile data, catch up services are become more accessible to smartphones and tablets. Arguably, this further reduces the need for +1 channels, as TV programmes can be accessed from any location.

Ironically, Freeview frequencies are being reallocated to 5G. Therefore, many +1 channels are likely to have to make way to ensure all channels can continue to broadcast. This means, on Freeview at least, +1 channels are unlikely to stay much longer.

I can’t find a particular need for +1 channels, and while they can at times be useful, I would rather see the space occupied by these channels put to better use.


Sony Ditches True and Movies4Men Brands

Sony is to axe the True and Movies4Men brands as part of the latest changes to its TV channels.

True Entertainment will become Sony Channel, marking a reintroduction of that name. The existing programme line up will continue with additional shows.

Sony Movie Channels will reduce to simply Sony Movies. Movies4Men will become Sony Movies Action. True Movies will rebrand to Sony Movies Classic from January 2020, after a seasonal rebrand to Sony Movies Christmas.

It is unclear what will happen to the Sony Crime Channel.

Together TV Expands Freeview Coverage

Together TV has moved to a new frequency on Freeview, enabling coverage to expand from 75% of the population to 90% of the population. Viewers with older non-HD Freeview equipement will now also be able to view the channel.

Together +1 has launched using capacity on the old frequency, on channel number 93. Together +1 operates using DVB-T2, so viewers will need HD compatible equipment in order to view this channel.

For both channels, viewers will need to retune in order to receive them, although some equipment may do this automatically.

Together TV is a supporter owned channel dedicated to social change, and is also available on Sky, Freesat, and Virgin Media.

Foodxp to Launch

Foodxp is to launch on satellite platform Sky on 1st August, at the same time as its sister channel Travelxp launches on the platforms.

Foodxp will focus on Global and Asian food, in contrast to existing food channels which focus mainly on UK and US food.

The channel has been allocated number 712, in the section of the Sky EPG (electronic programme guide) reserved for Asian channels.

Freesports now HD Only on Satellite

Freesports have now converted both Freesat and Sky versions of the channel to HD only. This will mean that some viewers will lose access to the channel.

For both Sky and Freesat, there are still some viewers using legacy standard definition equipment. Viewers will need to arrange for replacement receiver boxes to be installed in order to continue to view Freesports on Sky or Freesat.

Freesports had already converted its Virgin Media service to HD, however as Virgin Media had transitioned its viewers onto newer HD compatible equipement, no viewers lost access.

Freesports remains in standard defintion on Freeview, where there are no plans to change to a HD service.

Review: Humax HDR-1800T 320GB Freeview+ HD Smart Digital TV Recorder

Photos to follow.

The Humax HDR-1800T is Freeview HD personal video recorder (PVR) box, allowing you to record Freeview TV programmes to watch later. It is compatible with the latest TVB-T2 standard, allowing you to watch Freeview HD services.

This box can also be connected to the internet (via cable), allowing access to streamed channels and additional content. The device also has a USB port, allowing you to watch content from a USB memory stick or portable hard drive. Weirdly, the USB port is located on the back of the device, making access a little difficult.

As tested, the Humax HDR-1800T cost £139.99 from Argos (catalogue price may differ), and performed extremely well. Unlike some Freeview devices, this will work well with a correctly positioned indoor aerial. All available channels were receivable via this box, and recordings took place as expected. Within the menu, there is also an option to add on a buffer at the start and end of recordings, if you find that recordings start late or stop early cutting off parts of the program.

The interface is clear and easy to use, with simple menus and clear graphics. Menus are simple and easy to understand. The remote also features decent size buttons and is comfortable to use.

Overall, the Humax HDR-1800T is well priced and represents great value. The USB on the rear is a minor irritation, and no faults were found elsewhere. Guide price £140.

Freesports Confirms Freesat HD Channel

Freesports has confirmed that it will launch a HD version of its channel on Freesat. The HD version of the channel will take over the number of the current standard definition channel, with the standard definition version to move to a lower channel number.

The Freesat HD service will launch shortly after Freesports HD launches on Sky on the 15th July.

Freesports HD first launched last year on the Virgin Media cable platform.

Travelxp Leaves Freeview for Sky

Been away on holiday for a week, so there have been no updates to TelevisionSRS lately. Thankfully, it appears that there is only one major to story to bring to you.

The UK version of Travelxp has closed on Freeview. The closure took place at 1pm on Monday 1st July.

The channel showed back to back travel documentaries, and is expected to return on the Sky satellite platform after a hiatus.

Update: Travelxp have confirmed the UK service will return on the 1st August on Sky.