What is the Freeview Play App in the UK and how to use it

One of the best things about the collection of digital broadcast TV channels in the UK – known collectively as Freeview – is the sheer scope of what’s available to you completely free of charge. With over 70 channels to choose from – and another 15 in crisp high definition for your shiny new big-screen TV – Freeview is a big, sprawling world of shows. The latest drama, entertainment, news, music, documentaries are all there at the command of your remote control.

Bring all your channels together with Freeview Play UK

But with the sheer scope of the number of channels available, it can get confusing trying to figure out what’s on which channel and when. The on-screen program guide on your TV or set-top box can help with that, but it’s not always the best in terms of user-friendliness. And if you’re trying to find a show you might have tuned in too late for, you need to go digging around in the individual channel’s catch-up app to try to find it.

Freeview Play aims to fix all that, by bringing all the channels together in one easy to use, comprehensive app which you can access on your TV, your set top box or DVR, and even your mobile phones and tablets. Each channel’s catch-up app is integrated into the Freeview Play system – you can jump straight to shows you’ve missed by scrolling backwards up to 7 days through the on-screen program guide – impossible on most regular guides – and selecting the show. The catch-up app you need automatically loads and sends you directly to the show you’re looking for. Easy! Every show’s details are clearly laid out on the screen, making browsing for something to watch more enjoyable than ever.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? But how do you go about accessing this incredibly convenient service? Read on!

Choose a Compatible Device

Because Freeview Play needs a TV or set-top box with capable hardware – something powerful enough to run apps quickly and smoothly – not all devices with digital TV tuners have Freeview Play. But that doesn’t mean that the ones who do are costly – far from it, with Freeview Play equipped TVs and set-top boxes both reasonably priced. 

The trick is to look for the Freeview Play logo when buying – either on the device itself if buying in-store, or on the product page if buying online. 

Freeview Play can be found on TVs by LG, Panasonic, Hisense, Philips and more, while set-top boxes and digital video recorders from Humax, Panasonic, Bush and Netgem also have the smarts to put Freeview Play on your screen.

Get the Freeview Play App on the Go

If you prefer to keep track of your TV while you’re out and about, there’s a Freeview Play app for both iOS and Android mobile phones and tablets – rebranded simply as “Freeview” recently – which brings that same Freeview Play functionality to your mobile streaming device. The only significant difference between the mobile app and the full-scale app you’ll find on your TV screen – apart from the screen size, of course – is that you’ll need to download and install the various catch-up apps yourself (you probably already have most or all of them). Then when you select a catch-up show in the Freeview guide, the appropriate app will open – BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4, Demand 5 or UKTV Play. 

Depending on the app, that might also mean you can send the catch-up video to your TV when you get home using Google Chromecast if you have one.

Connect Your TV to the Internet

It might sound like an obvious step, but a lot of people with smart TVs forget to connect them up to their home broadband internet – though thankfully most modern TVs make it a crucial part of their straightforward setup process.

If your TV needs internet access, it’s usually a pretty straightforward part of the on-screen settings menus – it varies widely between TVs and set-top boxes, though, so pull out that user guide and look for the section under “settings” for either “wi-fi” or “network”.

You’ve got two options on most devices – connecting to your home wi-fi (which will be fine for most people) or using a wired system called Ethernet. For Freeview Play, wi-fi will be just fine, so go ahead and find the wi-fi setup menu on your device. Search for nearby wi-fi, and you should see yours turn up as one of the strongest signals in the on-screen list. Select it and enter your wi-fi password using the on-screen display – it can be clunky and cumbersome, but you’ll only have to do it once. And just like that, your TV or set-top box is online! It’s quite likely to find updates for its own software once you connect, so if you see any prompts on screen for updates, be sure to let them happen.

That’s All There Is To It!

Once you’ve got your device online and working correctly, just press that Freeview Play button on your device’s remote control, sit back, and enjoy everything the many and varied UK TV channels have in store for you! There’s nothing to subscribe to and no extra money to pay – it’s called FREEview for a reason, after all!