FreeviewPlus is primarily a promotional name for the Catch Up service that the Australian free-to-air television networks offer over the Internet. This Catch Up TV service can most commonly be accessed through a mobile app or via a Web site on your laptop or desktop computer; think ABC’s iView, SBS’s On Demand, channel Ten’s TenPlay, Seven’s Plus7, and Nine’s JumpIn.
A new set-top box from DishTV, called AerialBox T2100, is said to be the first set-top box of its kind to be certified for FreeviewPlus, allowing you to access Catch Up content from its main interface. It allows Catch Up TV to not only be viewed, but also for content to be browsed, searched, and added to favourites. Recommendations on what to catch up on are also given.
This means that you can go through the Catch Up TV services from the free-to-air networks without needing a smart TV, computer, or mobile device. You can access the Catch Up TV services through the set-top box right there on your TV just like you access regular channels. This makes it an integrated and more intuitive overall hybrid experience, rather than leaving you to resort to another device in order to watch a missed show.
Apart from offering FreeviewPlus, the AerialBox T2100 is a single-tuner, Full HD product that can allow you to watch or record only one live channel at a time; though you can watch another channel on the same frequency as the channel you are currently watching; for example, you can record something from One HD while watching something on TEN.
However, the AerialBox doesn’t have a hard drive built into it for recording. Instead, there is a USB port that allows a powered hard drive to be connected for recording free-to-air programs.
To use the FreeviewPlus-certified AerialBox T2100 for Catch Up TV, you also need to have a good broadband connection. Wi-Fi can be used to make the connection from your router to the set-top box.
The AerialBox T2100 costs $149 and is available from Dick Smith Electronics or David Jones.
FreeviewPlus was officially launched in September 2014 and encompasses a detailed EPG (episode programming guide) in addition to the Catch Up services. In addition to the AerialBox set-top box, select smart TVs from Sony, LG, Bauhn, and Hitachi also support FreeviewPlus in their interface.