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The free streaming service was launched in collaboration with UK broadcasters

The free streaming service was launched in collaboration with UK broadcasters

A free streaming service has been launched in the UK in collaboration with the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.

Freely, a service now available through next-generation smart TVs, will allow households to access free-to-air online channels, along with on-demand content, without the need for an antenna or satellite dish.

The streaming offering has been launched by Every TV, which is owned and backed by the UK's leading public broadcasters.

Kieran Clifton, BBC Director of Distribution and Business Development, said: “The launch of Freely is a landmark moment for UK television.

“Collaboration between the UK’s public broadcasters is crucial to connecting and protecting all audiences as we move towards the live streaming era – and offering live TV over free broadband is a pioneering innovation that will protect public service broadcasting into the future.”

Martin Goswami, ITV Group Director of Strategic Partnerships and Distribution, said: “The success and impact of shows like Mr Bates Vs The Post Office on ITV demonstrates the importance of PSBs in the UK, and ITV is proud to be part of this exciting new chapter for free-to-air TV in this country with Free.

“Bringing live channels and on-demand content together on Freely gives viewers access to the best British content as easily as possible, from live and up-to-date programming to a huge range of on-demand options.”

Report of the Public Accounts Committee

People using Freely will be able to watch BBC programs (Lucy North/PA)

Grace Boswood, Channel 4's director of technology and distribution, said: “Freely will deliver the best of Britain's world-leading public service content seamlessly and for free.

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“It also supports Channel 4’s Fast Forward strategy as we accelerate our shift into the streaming era, ensuring trusted and brand-safe content is available to everyone.”

James Tatam, Channel 5's senior vice president of business and revenue, said: “We are delighted to be part of Freely, which will ensure UK audiences can continue to easily discover and enjoy high-quality original British programming from Channel 5 and other audiences.” Service Broadcasters – Live and On-Demand, free of charge.

Freely is now available on Hisense TVs, running the Vidaa operating system, and in the coming weeks it will be available on Vestel TVs, running the TiVo operating system.

The smart TVs will be available in stores across the UK and online at retailers such as Currys, Argos, AO and Very.