The next-generation of free-to-air digital satellite service Freesat has been revealed, <free time>, complete with a new listings system, catch-up TV from BBC iPlayer and others, and streamlined recording. The Freesat+ UK service now includes a “backwards” TV guide that shows what has been broadcast in the recent past, pulling content from BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, and – by the end of the year – 4oD and Demand 5 – while Humax has revealed the first of the new Freesat+ boxes.
The Humax Freesat+ with <free time> HD Digital TV Recorder (HDR-10000S) has a 500GB hard-drive (1TB is an option), twin tuners, HDMI, optical digital audio, ethernet, and two USB 2.0 ports. There’s also a digital card slot and SCART/RCA for older TVs. It’s expected to hit UK shelves later in September, priced at £279 ($444).
However, Sagemcom, Philips and Manhattan are all signed up to produce their own PVRs, which will also feature <free time>. The service includes a new “Now & Next” UI, for quickly finding something to watch straight away, and a Showcase section that recommends shows to watch in the coming days or on-demand. Recordings, meanwhile, are automatically organized into boxset-style groups.
Freesat also expects to add further on-demand services in the future, including movies and music, though unlike the basic free-to-air service they will be paid options. Smartphone and tablet apps are also in the works, which will turn the devices into remote controls, as well as allow for recordings to be set remotely.