RTÉ has partnered with Freesat, the UK free-to-air television company, to develop a new product for Saorview, Ireland’s free digital television service and the largest television platform in Ireland*. The new product, called Saorview Connect, will allow viewers to access a range of on demand content as well as the Saorview television channels, all integrated in a new set-top box with a range of additional features.
Noel Curran, Director-General of RTÉ, said: “Saorview has come a long way since digital switchover just a few years ago: it is now the largest television platform in Ireland. Saorview Connect will offer viewers a richer experience and, by connecting a Saorview Connect box to broadband, viewers will be able to access a wider range of content. We are pleased to be partnering with Freesat, who have successfully run their connected service in the UK for the last three years. We hope to achieve the same success with Saorview Connect.”
By connecting a Saorview Connect box to both broadband and a television aerial, users will be able to watch on demand and catch-up content alongside the Irish television channels. The new Saorview Connect set-top boxes will feature an easy-to-use programme guide, including a roll-back television guide providing one-click access to catch-up programming.
Saorview Connect will be based on Freesat’s cloud-based connected television guide solution, Metaphor. The recently launched service for satellite, terrestrial and cable operators is based on Freesat’s award-winning UK based Freetime service. Freesat will integrate the Metaphor platform, set-top box application and mobile applications with Saorview’s existing linear service to create the Saorview Connect offering. Freesat will provide the solution as a fully managed service.
Saorview Connect will have a range of new features, including content recommendations, programme title search, enhanced recording capabilities, and a new standard Saorview remote control. Together with a forthcoming Saorview mobile application, Saorview Connect users will be able to remote record programmes from wherever they are.
Alistair Thom, Managing Director of Freesat said: “Freesat is extremely pleased to partner with RTÉ and Saorview to deliver their next-generation connected service. Through Metaphor, we have been able to take our experience of operating a successful integrated television service to help other platforms integrate their own broadband services. We are delighted that Irish viewers will be able to enjoy our technology through Saorview Connect.”
Saorview Connect is due to launch later in the year.
* There are 676,000 homes in Ireland that have Saorview, 43% of all TV homes. Source: Nielsen Establishment Survey, January 2016.