by Olivia May, Project Lead Contractor for Freeview Play
posted on 27 October 2017
In the two years since the launch of Freeview Play, Digital UK has worked closely with a number of TV and set-top box manufacturers to incorporate the service's many features into their on-screen user interfaces. These companies have done outstanding work to create compelling user experiences that seamlessly integrate live and on-demand content discovery, using this as a point of differentiation to help grow their market share. This feature list expands as new models arrive every year.
As part of this we saw a need to assist some of our smaller device partners in delivering more accessible and impressive interfaces, irrespective of their development budgets and experience in designing products for the UK market. At the same time, we wanted to be able to offer opportunities for owners of older Freeview Play products to benefit from the latest features.
Finally, we wanted to make sure viewers can get the most out of their Freeview Play TV or recorder the day they take it home and lift it out of the box.
Drawing on our team's wide expertise of crafting user experiences and our access to insightful customer research, we created a single solution to these three objectives - the television app Freeview Explore.
Freeview Explore integrates recommendations and search across on-demand programmes from the BBC, ITV, STV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and UKTV
Freeview Explore is based on future-proof HbbTV technology, will develop over time as new user features are added, and is given to Freeview Play device partners at no additional cost - so there is a lot to like from a manufacturer perspective. Many are adopting it as their primary route to the Freeview Play players and on-demand programming, while others are choosing to use it as a complement to content offered throughout their own native UI.
Freeview Explore is great for viewers too. It gives direct access to the line-up of popular on-demand players, hand-picked content recommendations curated by the UK's leading content providers (BBC, ITV, STV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and UKTV) and access to search across all their thousands of available, professionally-produced TV shows. Best of all, Freeview Explore is entirely subscription-free to anyone who has bought a Freeview Play television or set-top box.
This October we were delighted to win the international award for Best use of HbbTV for content discovery (VOD and Guides) at the HbbTV Symposium in Rome. It's great recognition of the hard work of our team and manufacturing partners, and we hope it will help Freeview Explore reach an even wider audience as it continues to roll out across devices.