New Freesat boxes to run on HbbTV

Freesat is preparing to launch a new series of receivers that will run on the HbbTV (hybrid broadcast broadband) platform popularised in Germany and France. The plans codenamed G2, and already presented by the free-to-air satellite platform to some receiver manufacturers, run counter to the thinking by shareholders the BBC and ITV, which are also involved in YouView.

YouView is expected to bring its first receiver to market in early 2012 following its much-publicised delays, but with the first receivers planned to be for the terrestrial arena, a satellite version may be some way off.

A senior source familiar with the project told Broadband TV News that the Freesat G2 receivers would embrace the multiscreen concept and allow for viewing around the home, rather than tying viewers to a single satellite receiver. It would build on the existing html-based specification already adopted by broadcasters including ProSieben, Sat.1 and RTL.

Freesat already offers access to the BBC iPlayer through an early iteration of the MHEG Interaction channel and the use of the internet port that has been present on all receivers since the platform’s launch in May 2008. Current suppliers to the platform include Humax, Panasonic and Grundig.

No date has been given as to when the new Freesat boxes might be made available.