20 years of Freeview

4 Jan • 5 min read

What were you doing 20 years ago? The Euro was just about to be introduced. Japan and South Korea were preparing to host an iconic World Cup. And us Brits were bracing ourselves for having the way we watch TV changed forever. Freeview was finally born.

How we got here

Since its launch in 2002, Freeview has become the must-have feature for British households. With the introduction of smart TVs, over 15 millions devices have been sold as the nation has gradually got used to the digital switchover. It hasn’t stopped there either, the company launched the hugely popular Freeview Play in 2015 - they’ve not looked back since either.

Then in 2019, things were taken up another notch when the on demand platform became available to use on mobile devices so viewers could keep up on the go. There’s such a vast range of TV on offer, which means Freeview has undoubtedly become the UK’s favourite streaming platform. Viewers can discover the best new TV out there, handpick their own list of the shows they love and essentially create their own personalised TV guides. What’s not to love?

The best thing is - it continues to evolve to this day. Even in the last 12 months, we’ve seen Freeview add another 20,000 hours of content, taking the current total up to a mind-boggling 60,000 hours of watchable series & films. We know what you’re thinking, we’ll need Rachel Riley to help us figure out how many back-to-back episodes of Countdown that is!

Two decades of greatness

Freeview has given millions of homes access to 95% of shows in the UK, free of charge. 80 live channels, 11 on-demand options, plus over 1500 box sets. Not only is the range diverse - it’s easy to navigate too.

From just 25 live channels during the platform’s inception back in 2002, to 2012’s landmark full digital switch - Freeview’s success over the years has been quite remarkable. Innovation has always been the key to remaining relevant.

In 2013, we saw another major improvement when the likes of BBC Two, Three and Four launched their own HD channels which gave viewers the opportunity to watch their favourite programmes in the best quality available at the time. Coverage of sporting spectacles such as Wimbledon and cultural mainstays like Glastonbury have continued to thrive over the last 20 years on Freeview and that’s largely down to them staying ahead of the curve with the channels they provide.

What the future holds

So after 20 years of success, what’s next for Freeview? After reaching 10 million active users in 2021, Freeview Play will definitely be a deciding factor in how the platform develops in the future. In the immediate months and years, customers can expect much of the same too. More channels, more on-demand options and even more state of the art technology. There’s never been a better time to be a telly-lover in the UK, and that’s largely down to the triumph of Freeview. So here’s to another 20 years of success!