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Blink-And-You’ll-Miss-It Freeview Launch Returns DTT to UK

News, 31 October 2002

Digital terrestrial television is back in the UK, courtesy of newly launched platform Freeview, though Britons could be excused for not having noticed.

Freeview took to the airwaves Wednesday with a decidedly low-key launch, accompanied only by a few media interviews given by executives from its two backers, the BBC and BSkyB.

The service differs from existing pay-per-view digital fare by offering thirty channels free of charge once consumers have bought a television set-top box for £99 ($154; €157).

Freeview is built on the wreckage of failed platform ITV Digital. Indeed, the estimated 2 million set-top boxes still in the hands of ex-ITVd customers provide it with an immediate potential viewer base – though the defunct platform’s liquidators are seeking ways to get them back.

The promotion starts in earnest next week, with a £5 million ad campaign created by DFGW breaking November 4.

Data sourced from: various sources; additional content by WARC staff