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"Connect Freeview Device to Internet" Error and How To Fix

With the additions of "IP TV" channels to the Freeview EPG many are experiencing an error stating that their device isn't connected to the Internet. With Freeview working perfectly well on all other channels, and even internet services like YouTube working, why do these specific IP TV channels fail to connect?

The confusion is understandable, but luckily there are 3 main things to check and fix to ensure you can access internet-accessed TV channels on your Freeview setup.

1. Check Internet Access

First and foremost, before getting into any nitty gritty, do make sure your TV's internet access is functioning for other features. Load up YouTube, use a wired ethernet connection rather than Wi-Fi where possible, and make sure that all works.

If your TV is unable to access YouTube, iPlayer, etc then your issue is likely not specific to the Freeview channel, and so you need to check your router and potentially reset your TV's internet settings.

If your TV can run online apps and services, and your router is all working, then the problem is specific to Freeview channels and you can move on to step 2.

2. Check How Your TV Accesses the Net

Along a similar logic as the above, make sure you double-check the internet access and connection before moving on. If a TV has YouTube and such working, it may be doing so through some 3rd party device such as a Fire Stick.

If this is the case, the TV will not necessarily have access to the internet for its Freeview tuner, only for apps specifically run through the Fire Stick. This would result in the "Connect your Freeview device to internet" error on the TV, even when you can use the internet for the Fire Stick!

For users who are relying on a Fire Stick or other 3rd party device for those apps, you'll need to invest in a TV or Freeview box which inherently has internet access itself, rather than needing an adapter.

3. Check The MHEG or HbbTV Specification

Finally, if you have confirmed that you have internet access and the TV itself can use it for Freeview, but still receive the error, you likely are having a compatibility issue.

Since the inception of IP TV (that is, channels accessed via internet) there have been two delivery methods. One is called MHEG, one is called HbbTV. The specifics of what that means doesn't matter so much, the key thing is that there are two distinct ways to broadcast IP TV.

So, if you have a smart TV with internet and still get the "connect to internet" error, your device is probably the wrong type to be compatible with that specific channel.

From the official Freeview site:

"The Freeview Play specification that TV and set-top box manufacturers refer to no longer requires TV and set-top box manufacturers to support MHEG delivered channels. Some manufacturers are now producing HbbTV only devices.

This means that if you have a Freeview Play TV that operates only HbbTV, you won’t be able to receive an MHEG delivered channel"

It is in this way that you can have internet access, but still receive an error on certain IP channels. Every TV and channel is different, so you'd need to check the channel information and your TV manual for the specifications on which method it uses to decode online TV.

How to solve "Connect to Internet" Error on Freeview

The solution is two-fold:

Either you can wait for these channels to meet the new HbbTV standard, and miss out until then...

Or, you can research for MHEG devices and use that for these channels in the meantime.

It is unfortunately a hardware incompatibility and so is down to the devices used, and channels watched. This makes a "fix" simply using the compatible device.

I hope now you know these two types of channels exist, you are more able to identify this issue and avoid disappointment by using a compatible device! I reached out to Freeview (Everyone TV) to ask if / when all channels will be standardised to either MHEG or HbbTV, but have yet to have a response.

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