Founded30 April 2024; 30 days ago (2024-04-30)
HeadquartersUnited Kingdom
ProductsFree-to-air television and video on demand
OwnerEveryone TV

Freely is a British free-to-air IPTV service launched in 2024 by Everyone TV, a joint venture between the country's public broadcasters BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.[1] The service offers the ability to watch live television and on demand content from the main broadcasters while seamlessly switching between them in a unified electronic programme guide (EPG).[2] Freely uses broadband internet and, other than a broadband connection, does not require a television aerial - although an aerial can be additionally used to create a hybrid platform and allow the viewing of DTT channels that are not yet available for IP streaming. The service is expected to gradually replace Freeview.[3]


See also: Digital terrestrial television in the United Kingdom

The Freeview digital terrestrial television service was launched in 2002 by the public broadcasters and the older analogue services were switched off by 2012. Since the 2010s, the number of live television viewers has declined in favour of internet streaming services and this trend is set to continue, especially as the availability of gigabit-capable broadband infrastructure has expanded throughout the country.[4] Due to this shift, audiences for the British public service broadcasters's content has been increasingly challenged by major global streaming services.[5]

Furthermore, the operating costs of traditional terrestrial broadcasts would outstrip usage as more viewers opt to move to broadband-only solutions delivered over IP (the internet). Most Freeview services make use of the DVB-T standard, which dates back to 1997, and only a few high-definition channels broadcast using the more efficient and newer DVB-T2 standard.[6][7] Despite the creation of Freely, the government has stated that it is committed to the Freeview digital terrestrial platform until at least 2034.[8]

The service was first publicised as the Next Generation Platform (NGP) in May 2023.[9] Freely was unveiled in September 2023 and the first products implementing it launched on 30 April 2024, with the advertising campaign headlined "Set yourself Freely".[10]


All the Freely linear channels are directly streamed via broadband and have their own channel numbers in a familiar guide, as is the case with other traditional TV platforms, instead of being confined to their individual apps (as has been the case with Freeview Play[11] and a phenomenon sometimes called "walled gardens"[1]). A stated advantage has been that it would not require setting up and logging in to user profiles for the different on demand services such as BBC iPlayer or ITVX, thus simplifying the process.[12] Live pause and programme restarting are also offered.[13]

However, as of launch, the service only comes with the channels from the four stated public broadcasters and lacks the other or smaller channels that are additionally offered through Freeview such as Quest and Dave.[14] Freely has stated that more Freeview channels will eventually be available for IP streaming as it develops, and users may continue receiving such channels using an aerial until then.[15] A noted disadvantage has been that Freely has no recording capability as there is currently no Freely-supporting PVR on the market.[16]

Hardware and devices

At launch, Freely is available on brand new Hisense 4K television sets. While support for other devices is under consideration, it is currently not offered in the form of a set-top box or on older television sets.[14] The new Hisense televisions continue to have terrestrial Freeview receivers as is standard, so they can be connected to an aerial and receive the remaining channels offered on Freeview.[17]


Freely is based on HbbTV Operator Application specifications.[18] It has not been publicly stated by Freely whether the streams originate from in-house servers or directly from each broadcaster's servers.[citation needed]


Comparison with other British public service broadcasters' platforms
Freeview Freesat Freeview Play Freely
Delivery method Terrestrial Satellite Broadband alongside terrestrial Broadband
Launched 2002 2008 2015 2024
Live channels About 60 TV channels (plus BBC and commercial radio channels) About 100 TV channels (plus BBC and commercial radio channels) About 60 TV channels (plus BBC and commercial radio channels) (on terrestrial) About 25 TV channels (plus BBC radio channels)
Browsing method/interface EPG EPG EPG (for terrestrial channels) or individual apps (for streaming channels) EPG
On demand content No, but internet-capable Freeview devices may have individual applications for the on demand platforms No, but internet-capable Freesat devices may have individual applications for the on demand platforms Yes Yes
User interface type Specific to TV/STB manufacturer Standardised Specific to TV/STB manufacturer Standardised

See also


  1. ^ a b "New streaming service, Freely, launches in landmark collaboration between UK broadcasters". Retrieved 2024-05-23.
  2. ^ Goren, Or (2024-05-20). "Freeview Alternative Freely Debuts: Hail A Cab, Win A TV". Cord Busters. Retrieved 2024-05-23.
  3. ^ "The unanswered questions about Freeview replacement Freely". Retrieved 2024-05-23.
  4. ^ Jackson, Mark (2024-02-05). "Freely's New Live UK Broadband TV Service to Launch Q2 2024". ISPreview UK. Retrieved 2024-05-23.
  5. ^ "The UK's leading public service broadcasters set to evolve free TV for the streaming age". Retrieved 2024-05-23.
  6. ^ Goren, Or (2024-05-09). "The End Of Freeview As We Know It: Ofcom Unveils Plans". Cord Busters. Retrieved 2024-05-23.
  7. ^ "DVB-T2". BBC R&D. 2006-01-01. Retrieved 2024-05-23.
  8. ^ "Minister commits to DTT until 2034". Broadband TV News. 2024-05-10. Retrieved 2024-05-23.
  9. ^ Goren, Or (2023-07-04). "Freeview And Freesat's Big Shift: A New TV Era Is Coming". Cord Busters. Retrieved 2024-05-24.
  10. ^ "Freely "Set yourself Freely" by TMW Unlimited". Retrieved 2024-05-23.
  11. ^ "What is Freely and why is it important?". Retrieved 2024-05-23.
  12. ^
  13. ^ Goren, Or (2024-04-24). "Freeview's Future Uncovered: Freely Hands-On Review". Cord Busters. Retrieved 2024-05-23.
  14. ^ a b Goren, Or (2024-04-29). "Freely Channel List Revealed: No Match For Freeview Yet". Cord Busters. Retrieved 2024-05-23.
  15. ^ Jackson, Mark (2024-04-30). "Freely's Live UK Broadband TV Stream Service Goes Live TODAY UPDATE". ISPreview UK. Retrieved 2024-05-24.
  16. ^ Goren, Or (2024-05-04). "The Death Of TV Recording: Freely Signals End Of An Era". Cord Busters. Retrieved 2024-05-23.
  17. ^ "How to connect your device to the internet and an aerial". Retrieved 2024-05-23.
  18. ^ Eoghan (2024-03-18). "It comes down to DVB-I versus HbbTV OpApp, right? Wrong!". DVB. Retrieved 2024-05-24.