Freeview has launched a low-cost streaming device that gives consumers television content without the need for a UHF aerial or satellite dish. The service will offer Freeview’s local free-to-air broadcaster partners including TVNZ, MediaWorks and Māori TV.

At first it will deliver live stream TV but next year it will be upgraded to include the Freeview on Demand service. 

It uses the Disk TV SmartVU X device which allows customers to stream 4K high definition material. There are also apps from services such as Netflix, Lightbox and Stuff Pix. The device is available from retail stores and sells for $139. 

Freeview CEO Jason Foden says around 10 percent of New Zealand households don’t have the aerial or dish needed to receive his company’s service. He says the dish gives them this and other options as well. 

While users don’t need an aerial or dish to use the device, they do need a high speed broadband connection. The service is not restricted to any ISPs, anyone with a fast broadband connection can use it. 

Chorus CEO Kate McKenzie says she is confident New Zealand broadcast TV will increasingly move to IP-based delivery. She says: “It’s fantastic to see Freeview making early inroads in this space with their SmartVU device.

“Changing customer behaviours, rising expectations on the ease of use and disruptive new video streaming services are now available over a myriad of devices. We’re beginning to see a real change to the dynamics of the broadcast industry.”

Writing at the New Zealand Herald, Chris Keall says: “Freeview beats Sky in race to deliver live TV without an aerial or dish”. 

He says it looks like it will be ideal for Spark which plans to launch its own Sports app in the New Year and will use that to deliver the 2019 Rugby World Cup. However, he says Spark says it is too early to say if its app will be available on SmartVU.