Freeview launches a high-end box and some cool new ways to watch the box. Meanwhile, it’s same-old-same-old for content.
Scheduled to hit the shops by early 2018, the “premium” recorder will be the first device capable of combining Freeview Live TV, Freeview On Demand and Freeview Record all in one box, and compatible with both UHF aerial and satellite dish.
Rather than the clunky current separately branded TVNZ On Demand options, they’ll all be combined. Third party options like Netflix and Lightbox will be included.
A new mobile app will allow recordings to be set remotely.
Which is all really fabulous, but sadly, it doesn’t address Freeview’s biggest problem: that free-to-air television largely stinks.
It’s a great idea to include on-screen apps for Netflix and Lightbox, because quality subscription channels are where audiences are heading in a vast migratory escape from the mean-spirited clutches of Sky and the endless “reality” shit on free-to-air TV.
I feel sorry for Freeview, really. Hopefully the incumbent Labour Government will achieve its aim of getting a replacement for the fated TVNZ 7 channel up and running as an adjunct to its non-commercial RNZ operations. That alone could make one of these boxes worth getting, but of course, that’s a way off still.
Hopefully – for those who can’t afford to escape free-to-air television – the On Demand apps will work more seamlessly than before. Up to now, the TVNZ On Demand channels have been horribly clunky to operate. In fact, I got so frustrated with its faults while trying to catch up on a series that I simply gave up.