Freeview: All Australian free-to-air content under one roof

Having trouble keeping track of Australia's 25+ free-to-air TV channels? Freeview makes things simple by gathering all their content into a single service.

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Created in response to the poor state of free-to-air TV in Australia in the late 2000s, Freeview is a digital TV platform designed to challenge the dominance of pay TV services like Foxtel. By uniting all free-to-air channels under a single marketing umbrella and implementing standard features like the Electronic Program Guide (EPG), Freeview aims to promote the benefits of free-to-air TV throughout Australia.

Part of the Freeview initiative includes the certification of Freeview-compliant set-top boxes and Smart TVs. Devices that are Freeview-certified must support both Standard Definition (SD) and High Definition (HD) free-to-air broadcasts as well as implement the EPG, an interactive TV guide designed to simplify the process of browsing and recording future programming.

What is Freeview Plus?

In September 2014, Freeview expanded its platform with Freeview Plus, a Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV (HbbTV) service that uses the Internet to enhance your regular TV viewing experience. By connecting an HbbTV-compatible television, set-top box or other viewing device to the Internet, you can access the catch-up TV libraries of each of the five free-to-air networks from the comfort of your couch.

Like the basic Freeview service, Freeview Plus isn't a network in its own right; it simply groups all free-to-air catch-up content in one place so you don't have to swap between multiple apps to browse the entire entertainment menu. Since Freeview Plus makes use of a broadband connection as well as digital TV signals, you can browse the Freeview Plus catch-up catalogue at the same time you're watching a live free-to-air program without one activity interrupting the other.

What can I watch on Freeview and Freeview Plus?

The basic Freeview service supports all digital free-to-air channels available in your area. This includes both SD and HD channels along with the Freeview EPG for all channels, excluding WIN television. However, it's worth noting that all HD-compatible TV devices can access these same channels, regardless of whether they're Freeview-certified. In short, you don't need a Freeview-certified device to watch Freeview content.

Freeview Plus makes a more compelling case for itself. By collecting all the catch-up content available through ABC iview, SBS On Demand, 7Plus, 9Now and tenplay in one place, Freeview Plus makes it easier to hunt down episodes of shows you missed and keep track of all the latest entertainment options across the entire free-to-air industry.

While all catch-up content on Freeview Plus is available to watch in Standard Definition, support for High Definition video will vary from show to show. This is determined by the individual networks and not by Freeview.

What is Freeview FV?

Freeview FV is Freeview's mobile app. Available for both Apple and Android devices, Freeview FV provides on-the-go access to live streams and catch-up services from all the free-to-air networks. Currently, live streaming is available for the following 19 channels:

  • ABC
  • SBS
  • Seven
  • Channel 9
  • TEN
  • ONE
  • ABC2/ABC Kids
  • ABC Me
  • ABC News 24
  • SBS2
  • Food Network
  • NITV
  • 7TWO
  • 7Mate
  • 7Flix
  • Racing.com
  • 9Gem
  • 9Go!
  • 9Life

To access Freeview FV, you'll need to download either the Freeview iOS app to an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch device running iOS 8.0 or later, or the Freeview Android app to a smartphone or tablet running Android 4.2 or later. Additionally, you'll need to download each of the free-to-air networks' own mobile apps in order to watch catch-up content through Freeview FV since Freeview needs to link with those apps to access their catch-up libraries.

As a bonus, the Freeview iOS app supports mirroring to Apple TV devices over AirPlay, letting you watch Freeview FV content on your TV without needing to purchase a Freeview Plus device.

What devices are compatible with Freeview Plus?

While Freeview recommends using a Freeview Plus-certified device to access Freeview Plus, any HbbTV-compatible device will work just fine. Once you've connected it to the Internet, you simply need to push the green button on your remote to bring up the Freeview Plus interface.

If you want to stick with a Freeview Plus-certified device, Bauhn, Changhong, Hisense, Hitachi, LG, Samsung, Sony, TCL, Philips and Panasonic all make Smart TVs Freeview has given its approval to. Teac and Aerialbox set-top boxes along with Aerialbox Personal Video Recorders have received Freeview Plus certification as well. You can check the specific models Freeview has certified here.

Alternatively you can download the app on iOS or Android devices. You can then get Freeview on the big screen by using Airplay or Chromecast.

How much data do Freeview Plus and Freeview FV use?

Both Freeview Plus and Freeview FV require a constant Internet connection to function, so they will take a toll on your monthly data limit.

Since Freeview Plus uses the TV broadcast network to deliver live TV, you'll only have to worry about your data cap when watching catch-up content. For SD video, Freeview estimates you'll use approximately 585MB of data per hour. In HD, that goes up to roughly 1.6GB of data per hour.

Freeview FV chews through data for both live streaming channels and watching catch-up content, but because the mobile app is built for smaller screens, it doesn’t use quite as much data as Freeview Plus. An hour of viewing through Freeview FV will consume roughly 400MB of data.

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6 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    RonSeptember 12, 2016

    I am profoundly deaf and watch an enormous amount of television. Without captions I cannot hear what is being said. Yet, a lot of freeview television does not have captions.
    Could you please help me?

    There must be thousands of hearing impaired elderly people in nursing homes in the same boat.

      Default Gravatar
      BrodieSeptember 22, 2016

      Hi Ron,

      Australia’s biggest streaming services, Netflix, Stan and Presto, all offer closed captions. If it’s freeview you’re after, Fetch TV has a list of free-to-air and paid channels on their website that offers closed captions.

      Let me know if there’s anything else I can do to help.

      Regards,
      Brodie

    Default Gravatar
    BillJuly 10, 2016

    can you get freeview on humax recorders

      Default Gravatar
      BrodieJuly 20, 2016

      Hi Bill,

      May I ask what model Humax recorder you’re using?

      Cheers,
      Brodie

    Default Gravatar
    LenJanuary 28, 2016

    Hi,
    I have recently purchased a new Sony TV with Freeview+ incorporated. I have a problem with playing programs from all providers. I can start a programme and it will play to the first ad break then I get a message that the programme is not available and to try again later. I can continue playing the programme by stopping it restarting it again and fast forwarding to the ad break where it stopped. In doing so I have to watch the initial add and the add where the program stopped again in order to watch the next segment. Could you shed any light on my problem or have any fixes available. Your assistance in this matter is much appreciated.

    Len

      Default Gravatar
      BrodieJanuary 29, 2016

      Hi Len,

      This seems to be a common issue with Freeview channels. I’ve looked into it and the only solution seems to be deleting and reinstalling the Freeview Plus application. Are you able to do this on your Sony Smart TV?

      Thanks,
      Brodie

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