Freeview Has A New $149 Set Top Box But Who Gives A Stuff?
The big question for many TV owners is why bother as several of the new TV’s from the likes of Samsung and LG and set top box from Humax already deliver access to HbbTV TV content.
The need for Freeview technology has seriously been questioned SBS has pulled out of Freeview, citing the Coalition government’s $53.7 million cut to its funding over the next five years, last year regional WIN and Prime, which withdrew last year.
One major set top box maker said that the development costs in Australia for Freeview “Are not worth it”.
Both Harvey Norman and JB Hi Fi are not selling the new Freeview Plus with some set top box manufacturers claiming that the development cost is “not worth it” especially as Freeview is delivering their own aerialBox T2100 that is be manufactured by Dish TV and is available for $149 at Dick Smith and David Jones.
According to Dick Smith sources the retailer is looking to sell around 1,500 of the new boxes a month. They currently sell around 60,000 set top box and media players a year.
Previously, consumers have had to buy a Freeview Plus certified TV to gain access to Freeview Plus, which shows catch-up TV from the ABC, Seven, Nine, Ten and SBS via a TV guide.
The launch is welcome news for Freeview which was dealt a major blow when SBS announced it was quitting the body as the broadcaster looks to cut costs.
Several technology media were denied access to the launch material instead Freeview chose to deal with mass and marketing media.
“We’re delighted to welcome Dish TV as a manufacturing partner. The arrival of the first Freeview Plus STB is an exciting development for Australian consumers as an affordable way of accessing all of FreviewPlus’s many great new features,” Freeview chief executive Liz Ross said.
“FreeviewPlus has been developed so that Australians can benefit from the best free-to-air TV experience in the world, and from today, viewers can enjoy FreeviewPlus via the new aerialBox STB.” she said.
Launched in the second half of last year, FreeviewPlus is aimed at the growing market for on-demand content, which has seen services such as Netflix, Stan (a 50-50 venture between Fairfax and Nine), and Presto (a 50-50 partnership between Seven and Foxtel) strip market share away from free to air TV companies.
Demand for subscription video on-demand is predicted to be strong, with Credit Suisse forecasting there will be 1.5 million subscribers by the end of 2015.
FreeviewPlus is available on several Smart TVs including Sony, LG, Bauhn and Hitachi brands.
In March Foxtel launched its third-generation set-top box and digital recorder, the iQ3, which is also a hybrid box, with 1 terabyte of storage, it is a shocker with thousands of consumers complaining about software glitches. Users are unable to easily toggle between live broadcasts and recorded shows.