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Free Content Would the Real Freeview Please Stand Up?

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Freeview is the survival strategy for free-to-view TV in the digital age in the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia. It is mix of marketing, services and technology, and of defensive and offensive elements. The mix is different in different places:

This article explores the origins and development of these three Freeviews. It provides an unusual case study of a related, though different, set of products marketed under the same name in different countries. It also speculates about their future as television morphs into new shapes, especially encouraged by the growth of high definition, hard-drive-recording and broadband-connected receivers. Identifying both similarities and differences across the three Freeviews, the authors conclude that although Freeview is helping to make it possible to switch off analogue services and free up spectrum for other purposes in all three countries, the national differences defy reduction to a single definition. Freeview, like television itself, is different in these different places and is changing over time.

Keywords: Freeview; broadband; digital television; free-to-view television; high definition television; public service broadcasting; satellite television; video-on-demand

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Swinburne University, Australia. 2: New Zealand Broadcasting School.

Publication date: 2010-01-01

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  • The International Journal of Digital Television will describe and explain the transition to digital TV and wider trends in television. As switchover happens across the globe and television's operations and audiences are transformed, the International Journal of Digital Television will be at the forefront of efforts to understand the changes and developments.
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