Freeview Play is Freeview’s next generation TV service that combines terrestrial TV with online streaming services. Not all smart TVs automatically support Freeview Play.
Freeview Play offers additional features, including an Accessible TV Guide, access to BBC iPlayer, BBC Sounds, ITV Hub (ITVX later in 2022), All 4, My5, UKTV Play, POP Player, CBS Catch-up, Horror Bites and more… The most recent Freeview Play models will also support HD/SD substitution when this is rolled out, meaning you’ll see the HD versions of Freeview’s main channels by default in the future.
So how can you tell if your TV is compatible?
You’ll need to have a TV connected to the internet. If it is then…
Check Freeview channel 100
- If you see a basic text service on a black background, your TV is not compatible with Freeview Play. Do you have a smart TV? It may still have some of the apps available on Freeview Play, but without an ongoing guarantee of support.
- If you see a portal containing links to a selection of on-demand and catch-up programmes, like on the picture above, you have a Freeview Play compatible device.
The first time you select channel 100, an introductory video may play showing you the different features of the service.
With Freeview Play you get ongoing support for all the on-demand and catch-up apps available from the main broadcasters. However, your TV may also offer access to non-Freeview Play apps such as Netflix and Prime Video. This will be dependent on arrangements made between your TV’s manufacturer and the various streaming companies.
What is the Accessible TV Guide and where do I find it?
The Accessible TV Guide allows Freeview Play users with visual impairments to find out what’s on TV in the next seven days. It allows users to listen to TV schedules using a text-to-speech function. It also allows viewers to filter out programmes that have subtitles, audio description and/or sign language.
95% of Freeview Play devices support the Accessible TV Guide, which is available on Freeview Play channel 555.
A list of supported devices is published on the Freeview website.
You don’t have a TV connected to the internet?
Then you won’t be able to get all of the features available to Freeview viewers. However, you will continue to be able to watch a selection of channels delivered to your TV through an aerial.
Samsung is the last major manufacturer not to officially support Freeview Play. That’s why when the TVs are marketed, they shouldn’t have any reference to Freeview Play in the specifications or box packaging.
However, Samsung TVs do have an in-built terrestrial TV tuner and offer access to all of the major streaming apps.