TV fans thinking of upgrading to Freeview’s next generation set top boxes will need to dig deep according to Ilse Howling, the executive overseeing the service’s development.
Dubbed Freeview Play, the internet-connected STBs will offer access to BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD and Demand 5 via a scroll-back TV guide similar to those already available on Freesat and YouView.
Appearing at the DTG Summit on Tuesday, Howling unveiled images of the service’s EPG and revealed that initial boxes made by electronics Humax will cost around £229.
Although prices are certain to fall over time, this means Freeview Play will initially be more expensive than Freesat and YouView while offering less catch-up and on-demand content.
As well as Humax, Freeview has already announced that TV giant Panasonic will include Freeview Play in its new range of 2015 models, plus a tie-up with Vestral, one of the biggest makers of STBs.
Last week set top box makers criticised plans to charge them for including the service in their products but Howling told attendees at today’s event that the fees were less than those charged by rivals and far cheaper for manufacturers than developing their own platforms.
The service, which Howling said was being built “fast”, is expected to hit shops this summer.