The free UK TV service that could make you ditch Sky and EE arrives this year

Freely is a free service which brings live UK TV and catch-up services to select new TVs later this year

Woman with remote
(Image credit: Freely / Hisense)

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.

Mike Lowe
Tech Editor

Mike is the Tech Editor at He's been writing about consumer technology for 15 years and, as a phones expert, has seen hundreds of handsets over the years – swathes of Android devices, a smattering of iPhones, and a batch of Windows Phone too (remember those?). But that's not all, as a tech and audio aficionado his beat at T3 also covers tablets, laptops, gaming, home cinema, TVs, speakers and more – there's barely a tech stone unturned he's not had a hand on. Previously the Reviews Editor at Pocket-lint for 10 years, he's also provided work for publications such as Wired, The Guardian, Metro, and more. In addition to his tech knowledge, Mike is also a flights and travel expert, having travelled the globe extensively. You'll likely find him setting up a new mobile phone, critiquing the next MacBook, all while planning his next getaway... or cycling somewhere.