Freeview Officially Launching In 2009. Yawn.

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The free-to-air networks this week got together and officially announced that they are planning on bringing the Freeview brand to Australia. Awesome. My hands are fighting back the urge to start clapping as I type this.

For those not in the know, Freeview is a UK branding exercise that covers free-to-air digital television. It essentially offers all the FTA networks digital TV offerings under one easy to remember brand name, essentially so that it can compete better with pay TV.

Considering the success Foxtel is experiencing at the moment, this is actually a good move for the FTA networks. Freeview will act as a standard that various DVR manufacturers will be able to adopt to ensure that they can provide an accurate EPG for home entertainment recording. This will allow other PVRs to seriously compete with the likes of TiVo and Foxtel's iQ2 box.

Freeview will incorporate 15 channels from the FTA networks, including the high-def channels and the upcoming SD multi-channel offerings, and is tasked to drive up the digital offerings available on free-to-air TV.

The only problem with the Freeview concept is that it's only launching in 2009. It should have launched at least 4 years ago. It launched in the UK in 2002, and even New Zealand has used its masthead as a driver for FTA TV since last year. The reasons behind the delay are probably too numerous to mention, but the fact that Channel 7, 9 and 10 were so precious about their EPG information for so many years certainly wouldn't have helped.

So, get ready for an onslaught of phone calls next year from your less tech-savvy mates asking what the hell Freeview is. You're going to get a few calls.

[Via TV Tonight]

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