Switch Media has announced it is proud to have delivered Freeview Australia’s new integrated Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV (HbbTV) service, which launched on 12th April 2021. A long-term technology partner, Switch Media previously worked with Freeview Australia to deliver its world-first Freeview FV mobile app as well as its Freeview Plus upgrade. The new gateway provides viewers with a sophisticated and seamless integration between broadcast and VOD services.
Freeview Australia’s HbbTV service is supported by Switch Media’s MediaHQ online video platform, which provides support for HbbTV 2.0. One of the key user experience features is the service’s always-on ‘miniguide’ and EPG, which replace traditional Smart TV built-in EPG guides with Freeview’s enhanced version. Viewers can not only navigate the broadcast schedule more easily but also seamlessly browse and search for thousands of VOD titles including entire TV series, made available by Freeview’s member FTA broadcasters, at no cost to the viewer.
The new launch is the first of four phases. Each phase will target groups of televisions based on the specific requirements of different operating systems and hardware specifications used across device manufacturers, which differ from year to year. By targeting selected groups of TVs across a phased rollout, Switch Media has enabled Freeview to launch the service faster across most devices with a smoother transition for viewers.
It’s not just viewers with new TVs that will have access to the new Freeview Australia HbbTV gateway; Switch Media has worked with Freeview to ensure the broadest possible device compatibility. MediaHQ’s application engine manages app features and displays across different power modes so that older TVs and devices get the best possible experience that their hardware can support.
“Based on prior experience, Switch Media’s technology was our first choice for this project,” explains Bridget Fair, CEO, Freeview Australia. “We’re delighted that we can provide our viewers with a streamlined experience that allows them to watch a huge catalogue of free-to-air content across more than 35 channels as well as access to free VOD content of more than 50,000 individual programmes and episodes from back catalogues as well as current programmes and digital exclusives.”
Matt Moran, Engagement Director, Switch Media adds, “We’ve been working with HbbTV specifications for many years, and we have the knowledge to maximise the features available. It’s a complex process that we can significantly simplify for broadcasters and platforms so that they can deliver a sophisticated HbbTV service across as many devices as possible.”