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Freely Launches with Minimal Channel Offerings - Still Needs Aerial Connection

Since January I have had my finger on the pulse of Freeview owner "Everyone TV", as we received dribs and drabs of info about potential brand partners, requirements, roll-out and plans for "Freely", their brand-new online-only Live TV service.

Just this week, Freely has confirmed the opening lineup for its EPG, and it's far from what one might call "comprehensive".

Recap: What is Freely?

If you somehow missed the past few months of articles on Freely, including the worrying journey from traditional aerials to an online-only future, then Freely is Everyone Tv's new streaming service.

However, unlike a streaming service such as Netflix or Prime Video, where the appeal is instant access to on-demand box sets and films, Freely is actually still "live" TV. The idea is it's the same content as Freeview, with an EPG to boot, but sent out to your home via the internet rather than a TV aerial.

There are a few problems with that idea, as an alternative to a TV aerial, and now the list of channels available on Freely is public, we can even confirm some of those doubts.

What Channels Are On Freely?

Now that Freely is out in the open, available on the confirmed brand-partner Hisense TV's, we can see the offerings are not quite as equal to Freeview as we might have hoped.

This table on the official Freely site shows a distinct lack of channels, totalling just 31 Channels (and that's including regional!).

Bear in mind, an old terrestrial Freeview aerial can receive 134 Channels, give or take a few HD variants and regional versions.

This means that Freely, currently, only supports 23% of the Freeview EPG.

As you can see
, the majority of channels are still exclusive to Freeview, with only 3 or 4 channels actually exclusive to Freely via Streaming.

The successfully ported channels include:

BBC Channels:

BBC 1 through 4, plus News, Parliament, ALBA, CBeebies and CBBC

ITV Channels:

ITV 1 through 4, plus ITV Be

"4" Channels:

Channel 4, More4, Film4, 4seven and E4

"5" Channels:

Channel 5, 5STAR, 5ACTION, 5USA and 5SELECT

And that's your lot. It's certainly not nothing, but for such a promise of upholding the spirit of what made Freeview so important it feels like a bit of a let-down.

How to Watch Freely

The main way to watch Freely channels right now is to use your old aerial. Freely TV's are all compatible with a standard aerial and it'll provide you all 130+ channels, plus stable TV reception if your internet goes down or bandwidth is being used for something else.

That's right, the best way to watch channels available on Freely is to not use it.

If you do happen to live in one of the few aeras where your internet package is faster than your TV reception, then you can only access Freely on the previously stated brand partners.

This is Hisense, and currently only accessible on "next generation" 2024 models. Ultimately, that's a steep price to pay just to switch to a system that doesn't appear complete, but if you happened to be looking to upgrade your TV set up already and wanted a smart TV, then going for a 2024 Hisense might be wise to get ahead of the game.

Catch Up on the Journey

For all the rollercoaster ride background of the announcement, promises by Everyone TV Chief and announcement of those brand partners a few months ago make sure you check out our Freeview News feed.

There, you can find monthly (or more) articles explaining what is added and moved on the EPG, as well as stories on Freely and Everyone TV spoken about in honest, down-to-earth terms.

Do you see Freely as a better version of Freeview, or is making TV reliant on the internet just us putting all our eggs in one basket?

2 comments to

    Kato / Reply

    Won’t bother upgrading to Freely, unless my tv packs up, they bring out a set top box or they stop freesat broadcasting. Seems a bit pointless at the moment!

    Gina J / Reply

    I’ll wait. Doesn’t seem much improvement to what I have. Sometimes best being a medium-term adopter.

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