Freeview Plus (HbbTV)
Launched in 2008, Freeview Australia is the free digital television service in Australia which presents and promotes free-to-air channels and content to all Australians. Freeview encourages Australians to watch free-to-air content across various platforms by promoting benefits that include more than 25 channels and catch-up services for free. Freeview’s mission is to deliver the free-to-air content to all Australians where, when and on whatever device they choose.
At its core, Freeview provides an enhanced electronic program guide (EPG) across all channels. Freeview also certify televisions, set-top boxes and personal video recorders (PVR) that meet industry standards.
In September 2014 Freeview launched the Freeview Plus HbbTV based interactive EPG which provides viewers with access to all network catch up on a range of certified devices.
In 2017 Freeview wanted to provide their growing user base with an upgrade to this service that would keep up with emerging viewer trends seen across OTT and IPTV services such as Netflix, Stan, and Foxtel.
“The Freeview Plus upgrade is a significant one and we are excited to deliver the next level in content discovery and choice for Australia’s free-to-air TV programming. Australian broadcasters are truly leading the world in innovation and providing a complete TV experience. With this upgrade and our recently launched Freeview FV mobile app, viewers not only have great convenience but also a fantastic choice of how, when and where they watch their favourite content – for free.”
– Liz Ross, CEO, Freeview Australia
Freeview Australia required a technology vendor to build an upgraded Freeview Plus application with full end-to-end platform support, including a back-end CMS and a front-end application. The Freeview Plus upgrade would need to adhere to and be built on the HbbTV 1.5 specification, and would provide consumers around Australia with a best in class unified EPG experience across all FTA member networks.
The upgrade deliverables included aggregating all available network content into one application, providing recommendations to users across all content, be synchronised across all certified devices, include user Favourite capabilities, have parental controls, and provide a new UI to showcase a Live TV mosaic screen. Technical testing of the new service would have to be be performed on 100+ certified devices, incorporating final User Acceptance Testing to ensure the upgraded UI and UX was to the highest standard and easy to use for the general Australian audience.
The Freeview Plus Service upgrade would need to be designed to make content discovery easier, with a simplified user experience, additional features and a fresh look and feel.