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YouView vs Freetime – which is better?

Freetime has been playing catch-up with the YouView service that launched first

Freetime has always been playing catch-up with the YouView service that launched first – but now that it’s announced the addition of the Demand 5 catch-up service are the two services broadly similar? Time to take stock and see which platform offers the best content.

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What is YouView?

YouView is a subscription-free TV service that gives you the ability to watch catch-up TV, such as BBC iPlayer and ITV Player, as well as regular Freeview HD channels.

All this can be accessed from one clever electronic programme guide (EPG). Scroll forward in time to see programmes yet to be broadcast or backwards to see those shows you can access via catch-up TV.

There’s no contract and no subscription for the catch-up TV services, but you can also add more paid services, such as Now TV from Sky.

Pros:

  • Access to 50 Freeview TV channels and radio stations
  • Access to all catch-up TV services – BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4OD, Demand 5, Dave on Demand
  • On-demand pay-TV services from Now TV by Sky
  • Additional on-demand library of programmes
  • Smartphone apps for setting recordings while out and about

Cons:

  • The YouView box is expensive at £250, although it’s available free through subscription-based TV services, such as TalkTalk and BT

What is Freetime?

Freetime is a similar subscription-free service offered by Freesat – free TV via satellite. It too offers the ability to watch and record the regular Freesat channels and also access catch-up TV through one seamless EPG that looks both forwards and backwards in time.

You’ll need a satellite dish installed (or you can use an existing Sky dish) and the Freetime PVR.

Pros:

  • Access to around 150 TV Freesat channels and radio stations
  • Access to all the main catch-up TV services – BBC iPlayer, ITV player, 4OD, Demand 5
  • Cheaper box at around £225

Cons:

  • No access to UKTV programming including the popular Dave channel
  • No access to Dave on demand service
  • No Smartphone apps to control boxes remotely

Freetime or YouView – so which is best?

YouView is the winner. Freetime offers access to more channels and the box is cheaper but it’s still playing catch-up with YouView. The only additional on-demand player available through Freesat is YouTube and it’s missing some popular channels.

With the launch of YouView smartphone apps and rumoured launches of additional YouView streaming content it just feels as though Freetime is still losing the development race and will continues to play second-fiddle. Having said that Freesat has confirmed it will be launching a remote control app for phones and tablets soon and we should see some additional movie and music services added too.

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