Freeview has announced details of its long-awaited Electronic Program Guide (EPG) which comes with lots of sexy features that have previously only been available to Pay TV viewers.
The new Guide will begin transmission today and is available for use in hardware that carries a “Freeview EPG” branding.
The Guide offers on-screen programming and recording information and allows viewers to see a grid of Free to Air Networks in one easy snapshot, similar to the styles used in Pay Television. It includes the ability to have video streaming and text capability, enabling viewers to continue to watch TV whilst checking out upcoming TV shows. It also features a Series Link.
The EPG also includes:
* Seven day program guide
* CRID system (Content Reference Indicator) – allowing intuitive recording of shows (with PVRs)
* Program reminder functionality
* Detailed program information
* Parental Lock system
* One touch recording (with PVRs)
* Watch and record different channels at the same time (with twin tuner PVRs)
* Pause and rewind live TV (with PVRs)
* Record a series using ‘series link’ functionality (with PVRs)
* Ethernet connection
* Common “buttons” for remote controls from each manufacturer.
Recording information will be synced with actual showtimes, so that those viewers who have recording hardware won’t suffer at the hands of late start times (ironically, imagery of the Guide in press material includes Hey Hey It’s Saturday, which rarely finishes on schedule).
Freeview CEO Robin Parkes said: “The new Freeview EPG will give viewers broad functionality that has been developed in response to consumer demand for more program information, easier navigation and improved recording capability.
“The Freeview EPG will provide a consolidated platform for the consumer when navigating Freeview channels, and will also provide consistency of experience across multiple digital TVs in the home, so that the consumer only has to learn the navigation once.”
However, the EPG is arriving much later than its promised May 2009 delivery date and is not backwards-compatible. It is only available with new hardware that carries a “Freeview EPG” logo, which have previously been unavailable to consumers.
This contradicts a statement by Freeview in November 2008:
To receive all 15 Freeview channels, along with the Freeview EPG, households will be able to purchase digital set-top boxes to work with their existing analogue television sets. These boxes will be badged with the Freeview logo and available in stores next year.
Viewers who purchased Freeview branded logos but are now unable to receive the new EPG have every right to be angry.
Current EPGs supplied existing STBs, PVRs or digital TVs will still continue.
Compatible hardware is on sale from July with the new “Freeview EPG” logo.
The EPG will officially launch to consumers in September with a new TV commercial.
More info: www.freeview.com.au/epg