The free-to-air platform says the new product will give manufacturers a significant opportunity to develop a new range of innovative set-top-boxes at scale for subscription-free satellite TV customers across the UK.
The product requirements will be based on an open technical specification set by the Free TV Alliance, the collaboration between four major European digital satellite television broadcasters: Fransat (France), HD Plus (Germany), Tivusat (Italy) and Freesat (UK).
The boxes are required to be ready for ultra high definition television over encrypted broadcast and IP. Also featured is home multiscreen streaming allowing users to watch TV across multiple set-top-boxes in the home; additional tuners to help customers plan their recordings and avoid programme clashes; Fast channel change for better usability and supports for HbbTV 2.0.1 applications.
The UK is already moving towards the adoption of the HbbTV standard, the first elements of which appeared in the Freesat Freetime boxes.
Alistair Thom, Managing Director of Freesat said: “We’re thrilled to announce plans for Freesat’s next generation product. The requirements for our set-top box have been developed with the customer in mind and our aim is to continue to bring UK audiences the best subscription free TV service, and a fantastic alternative to Pay TV.
“Furthermore, developing an open technical specification signals our ongoing commitment to expand beyond the UK through our collaboration with the Free TV Alliance and partnerships with international TV companies through our Metaphor business.”
It’s anticipated that manufacturers will be brought on board by the autumn.