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First ever broadband TV service launches on Freeview

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The first broadband television platform has launched on Freeview in the UK, bringing an initial line-up of 45 internet-delivered channels to viewers with compatible set top boxes.

Connect TV aims to change the "free to air TV landscape in the UK" by combining digital terrestrial television broadcasts with IPTV, enabling broadcasters and content owners to reach their audience in a more cost effective way.

The service works on all compliant IP-connected Freeview HD receivers (currently available in an estimated 5.5m UK homes) and customers can access a raft of additional channels through their existing electronic programme guide.

The launch line-up includes Racing UK, the pay-TV horseracing channel, former Sun editor Kelvin Mackenzie's Sports Tonight Live channel, and Chinese network CCTV.

Users can also watch French, Greek, Polish and Turkish programming from the Vision TV Network, along with other pay-per-view networks.

"Connect TV responds to consumer desire for more content choice and increased interactivity at the touch of a button," said Phil Walder, the managing director of Connect TV.

"We are able to give consumers a wealth of extra free and paid content without forcing them to leave the familiar surroundings of their main TV screen and Freeview menu or buy a new TV service or device."

Connect TV aims to offer broadcaster and content owners a platform to reach the massive Freeview audience, either via a live IPTV channel, or as a portal or channels.

Along with live streaming, there are also options for making on-demand content available on the platform, backed up by an integrated payments system.

Broadcasters can also access fully interactive services providing advanced analytical data of viewing behaviour for launching targeted advertising in future.

"Through the Connect TV platform, broadcasters, content owners and consumer brands, can reach millions of Freeview viewers at low cost in a simple, powerful way," said Walder.

"The economics of our delivery means that niche channels can be on the same menu as the UK's most watched TV channels.

"Connect TV provides exciting new business models for the financially challenged TV Industry by uniting Freeview and TV over broadband in an exciting and intuitive way."

Connect TV, the first ever live streaming channel on Freeview, utilises the new D-Book streaming standards, including an open MHEG-powered platform that integrates live TV and interactivity within the DTT environment.

> Freeview MD: Gloves are off after digital switchover

Watch a video interview with Connect TV's Phil Walder.

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