When the best new TVs launch there can often be a lack of integrated catch-up apps specifically for the UK. That's where this new free TV service, combining seamless streaming-based UK live TV and catch-up, could replace your costly Sky or EE subscription.
Freely is its name, which is set to launch from "Q2" this year on a variety of new-launch TVs from Hisense, Toshiba, JVC and more, meaning a potential third of new UK tellies will have the new service baked in as its default interface.
Importantly there's backing from 'the big five' UK channels, meaning Freely can provide live TV and catch-up services from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5. Freely's user interface, developed by Everyone TV, promises seamless switching between live TV and on-demand "for the first time on a free service".
Best of all Freely is, as the name clearly suggests, a free service. All you will need is to pay your TV License and to have a good internet connection – no need for an aerial or dish (which can be against new-build and rental contracts anyway these days).
Broadband services have been steadily improving, with major projects to deliver to wider UK regions having gained momentum in recent years. There's no minimum connection speed issued by Freely as yet, but with the likes of Netflix requiring a 10Mbps connection for HD content anticipate similar for a quality 1080p stream.
Freely won't be limited to just 'the big five' UK services either: "Freely is also working with UKTV to bring the broadcaster's portfolio of free channels to the service ... including Dave, Drama, Yesterday and W," reads the company's press release. What quality those can be expected in, however, is to be confirmed (here's hoping for Full HD).
Freely sounds like a great baseline access point for UK TV viewers, although you're not going to get any of the more premium content offered by the likes of Sky and EE. So if you're big into your sports and recent movies, in particular, then these two premium services still provide unbeatable access that Freely can't rival – and, frankly, that's not even where it's attempting to position itself.