Free to Air (FTA) television continues to be a popular method for millions of viewers to watch different kinds of content with a simple antenna, with or without a requirement for a Set Top Box (STB). But with the increased interest in OTT solutions and streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon, HBO, Disney+ and others people tend to consume their content not only on their main TV screen (most of which are large, integrated, advanced digital receivers) but also on the go which means using their tablets and mobile phones.

The “campfire” environment which united all the people around it has changed dramatically over the last 10 years as viewers now prefer to choose their content and when to watch it rather than follow a linear time schedule designed by someone from the network.

This has pushed FTA television into a corner and is regarded by many as outdated and irrelevant compared to the flexibility and choice offered by Pay TV or On Demand style services.

However, current technology and the re-imagining of FTA by some of the Satellite companies is attempting to reboot the experience and make them attractive platforms once again that are once again relevant to audiences of all age groups.

This re-thinking is based on solutions using the Electronic Program Guide (EPG) information that until recently was confined to the major Pay TV platforms but which can now be implemented for both simple and complex channels by FTA broadcasters.

Viewers will be able to sort between thousands of channels to discover content type and the language they prefer with full information about the show currently playing and the next show to be aired. These new capabilities will include PVR (Personal Video Recorder) functionality and more.

This new technology is a collaboration between satellite providers and the equipment companies that manufacture the STBs. The integration requires new software and attractive user interfaces and is designed to allow FTA to fight back against the new platforms.

This new way of watching traditional broadcast services has a fighting chance of returning FTA to the prominence it once enjoyed by creating competition for the newer subscription based services.

At iKOMG we will continue to work closely with our customers to help and support them to take advantage of this new opportunity. We have created the iKOMAX solution that allows channels to deliver any type of EPG information to the broadcast chain and in the required format to take advantage of this new opportunity.

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