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HbbTV + Freeview Plus To Launch Today To Wild Take Up Claims

HbbTV + Freeview Plus To Launch Today To Wild Take Up Claims

The claim is based on the assumption that 10% of households are set to buy a new TV that actually has a new HbbTV processor built into the motherboard.

GFK data indicates that this is not possible. 

Freeview said that that major brands Sony whose market share in July slumped to 4.4% and LG are among the manufacturers releasing a range of FreeviewPlus receivers, and these will be available from appliance and electronics retailers including Harvey Norman, The Good Guys, JB Hi-Fi, Myer, Bing Lee, Dick Smith and David Jones.

She did not name any other manufacturers.

 Liz Ross the boss of Freeview did not take our call yesterday, instead she had a PA refer us a PR Company who were unable to explain the technicalities of how the new service will work.

The new Hybrid broadcast broadband TV (HbbTV) television service is reliant on a processor being built into the TV and it is only recently that TV manufacturers and set top box manufacturers have been building the HbbTV capability into media players and TV’s. 

In an interview with Mumbrella, general manager of Freeview Liz Ross rejected media criticisms of the delays in the launch and said their modelling on the expected uptake could see usage as high as one in ten of Australia’s 8m plus households by September 2015.

“We have quite conservative forecasts,” Ross told Mumbrella. “The modelling is pretty straightforward we haven’t even modelled in an increase in the turnover of receivers. It is conceivable that it could be in more than 10 per cent of homes within year one.”
Ross bases her penetration claim on the fact that in Germany there are 38 Million homes and that over 9 million have taken to using the HbbTV service. 

What has not been explained by Ross or her PR Company is whether a certified Freeview Plus or HbbTV device has restricted fast forward or whether a device that is certified can contain advertisement skipping technology. 
In France where the service has been around since 2012 only 20 per cent of the population has tried the HbbTV service. 

Ross has not explained how a retailer who is already under pressure selling new 4K TV’s will be able to sell HbbTV.

She told Mumbrella “We have a few unknowns because of the way we have structured it. The unknowns all work in our favour: one consumer brand in Freeview Plus; manufacturers have a network backed brand so it’s easy for retailers to sell and easy for consumers to know what to ask for; there is easy messaging around the benefits so consumers don’t have to go digging around figuring out what HbbTV is.

“It’s a very simple marketing message.” she said. 

The launch of HbbTV is designed to tackle the issue of catch up TV. Already TV networks in Australia are still squabbling over the service and whether they will support the new technology with the Nine Network failing to commit to Freeview Plus. 
Ross claims that the delay in rolling out the new service was because Freeview had to test that every receiver seamlessly connected through to iView, SBS OnDemand, Plus7, Jumpin and TenPlay. 

However TV manufacturers claim that several new model 4K TV’s have not been tested and that not all the TV’s that they are selling will have an HbbTV chipset. 

Ross told Mumbrella “Why has it taken a bit longer? It is a very complex integration process and being a world first, which it is, because we’re doing every network at once on Freeview Plus and that means every network has got to work on every manufacturer’s receiver.”

The Freeview Plus offering had originally been slated to launch in May, however it was delayed to the second half of the year, and then Network Seven’s regional affiliate Prime Media pulled out of the deal saying there was not a big enough potential market in its service area to make it worthwhile. 

Freeview’s general manager rejected media reports that network infighting was behind the delays.

FreeviewPlus includes the following features.
A 7-day, easy-to-use EPG
Access to available free-to-air Catch Up services in one place on the TV
Recommendations of the best programs on today, on Catch Up and in the future
The ability to browse and search programs across the next 7 days
A favourites function that keeps track of programs on live and Catch Up TV