European satellite operators partner for Free TV Alliance

Free-to-air satellite TV operators from France, the UK and Italy – Fransat, Freesat and Tivusat – have partnered to form the FreeTV Alliance, with an aim of standardising satellite TV services and technologies in Europe.

Announcing the initiative at IBC yesterday, Fransat CEO Jean-Luc Deroudilhe, Freesat managing director Emma Scott and Tivusat CEO Alberto Sigismondi said the alliance would help to promote economies of scale and would help drive the continuing rollout of compelling free-to-view satellite TV.

Among the goals of the FreeTV Alliance is to make it easier and more economical for manufacturers to develop new products. It also aims to help broadcasters and content providers deploy hybrid TV services that combine satellite reception and IP-based interactivity.

To do this, the alliance will produce common recommendations and specifications based on open standards for set-top boxes and smart TVs in the European market. Alliance members will also work together to establish preferred technologies and common understandings for multiscreen TV solutions.

“Until now, the major free-to-view satellite TV operators have focussed on building a business within their national boundaries. As the TV and consumer electronics industries become increasingly globalised, now is the right time for us to work together to ensure free-to-view satellite remains at the forefront of the television market,” said TivuSat’s Sigismondi.

“The FreeTV Alliance’s priorities include providing concrete help, support and advice to manufacturers so they can more easily include satellite technology into their devices, which in turn will allow operators to offer an even more competitive service to consumers.

“We will be able to combine our collective resources to deliver the best customer experience whilst minimising costs to manufacturers and so act as a collective group to agree upon common standards and features.”

Germany’s HD+ was originally initially slated to be a fourth launch member of the FreeTVAlliance, but has not yet committed to the scheme.

In a statement read out on behalf of HD+ at the launch of the FreeTV Alliance, the company said: “HD+ is not able to join the FreeTV Alliance at this moment in time. However, HD+ has always been fully supportive and interested in developing an ecosystem and they have a track record of working with industry partners on open standards and systems.

“We welcome any free-to-air TV operators’ initiatives and wish the alliance a successful launch today and believe they will fulfil an important industry role. We also look forward to joining in due course.”