After taking us for granted for decades, Australia's free-to-air broadcasters have been trying to win us back by embracing catch up TV and live streaming. This week, Freeview finally delivered on its long-promised cross-network streaming service. But is it any good? Here are our first impressions.
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Have you ever wished you could watch your favourite TV shows with a single click of your smartphone or tablet? That's the concept behind Freeview's new FV app for iOS and Android. It grants live streaming access to over 16 free-to-air channels, including ABC, SBS, Seven, Channel 9 and Ten. Here's what you need to know about how Livestream works and how to set Livestream up so you can watch TV on your smartphone or tablet for free.
Last month we reported that Freeview was coming out with an app that lets you stream free-to-air TV on your smartphone. The Freeview FV app for Apple iOS and Google Android is now available for you to download. Here are all the channels you can watch through the app and where you can get it.
One of the theoretical benefits of the much-maligned Freeview alliance -- the grouping of commercial networks which so far hasn't offered much more than a heavily-delayed EPG which is only supported by a handful of set-top boxes -- is the notion that Freeview might provide a centralised catch-up service for watching programs online, similar to Hulu in the US. That idea is still theoretically on the drawing board, but don't expect it to happen any time soon.
Remember how Freeview has been promising a flashy electronic program guide for more than a year? The upgraded EPG is being officially rolled out this week.
Freeview has so far managed to do a pretty good job of convincing the tech-savvy that it hasn't got a clue, so it's good to see the commercial network digital TV conglomerate doing something right for a change.
While there's plenty to criticise about Freeview, a recent article in the Herald Sun managed to totally mislead a large proportion of the population by claiming that many TVs would become redundant on May 1 when Freeview launches. Nick over at Gizmodo has a nice overview of the issue and why the Melbourne paper got it so wrong, but the bottom line is that there's no scheduled change to the transmission standards being used by Australian TV stations, and hence no prospect of everything going dead in a month or so. Time to call your Victorian relatives, perhaps? Don't Panic! Your TV Will Not Stop Working After May 1
When Lifehacker recently discussed the pros and cons of Freeview, the still-nascent plan to promote digital TV via extra free-to-air channels, some commentators pointed out that accessing these channels won't require a Freeview-branded set-top box -- any digital TV or set-top box would do. While that's true, it turns out Freeview will have one nasty brand-enhancing trick up its sleeve. Ty Pendlebury at CNET reports that the electronic program guide (EPG) for Freeview won't be compatible with current TVs and boxes -- you'll need a Freeview box to access that, though some manufacturers may offer firmware upgrades to make it possible. The lack for many years of a decent and comprehensive free EPG was unquestionably one of the reasons why media centres haven't been as successful in Australia as elsewhere, so it's disturbing to say the least to see the industry perpetuating its small-minded view of sharing programming information with newer platforms. Freeview EPG won't be compatible with current TVs