Here’s everything you need to know about catching all your free-to-air shows with Freeview Plus.

Don’t worry if you’re a bit behind the times when it comes to getting into Freeview Plus. Until recently you needed a compatible set-top box to get the service. Most new Smart TVs are ready to go when it comes to getting you your favourite free-to-air (FTA) shows. But if you’re a Freeview Plus newbie or are interested in learning more, here’s what you need to know. 

What is Freeview Plus?

Freeview Plus is a way of blending catch-up TV with free-to-air (FTA) broadcasts, all bundled around an electronic program guide (or EPG) with a whole bunch of other functions built-in.

It’s all based around a technology known as HbbTV— Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV. HbbTV is the global industry standard for combining FTA and catch-up TV in a single platform. The consortium responsible for HbbTV ensures that these global standards make it easier to roll out new features and interface tweaks. It’s also simpler for hardware manufacturers to make sure their products are ready for HbbTV-based service, just like Freeview Plus.

How to get Freeview Plus

There are three things you need to get your Freeview Plus working smoothly:

1. You’ll need a TV that’s Freeview Plus ready — you’ll know it because it has a big Freeview Plus logo on the box. If your TV is still new, you could opt for a Freeview Plus set-top box or PVR instead.

2. You’ll need digital TV reception — this may mean updating your aerial if you haven’t bothered with TV since the analogue signal switched off last year.

3. You’ll need a broadband connection that can cope with a high level of use.

Your Smart TV will prompt you to do an automatic channel scan during set up. If you need to do one manually, it’s quite simple. Just head to your settings option — it’s usually the Gear icon on the remote — scroll down to Channel and hit OK on Auto Scan. This comes in handy when new Freeview stations launch.

How to use Freeview Plus

Once the set up is complete, the next time you’re watching TV you’ll see a little note pop-up on the top left of your screen telling you to press the green button on the remote to launch Freeview Plus.  

You’ll get a warning telling you that Freeview Plus will use your broadband data allowance. If you still have a fairly small data plan, this is worth remembering — keep an eye on your usage.

That’s it! You’re now using Freeview Plus.

Using your remote

Just a quick note on your remote’s coloured buttons: 

  • Green will always open up the electronic program guide (EPG). This will either be in mini format or the bigger version if you already have the mini one open
  • Yellow opens up the full menu (more on this below)
  • Red will exit you out of everything and back to just full-screen TV 
  • Blue can help you set favourites (more on this below)

Get an idea of what’s showing and what’s up next

The Freeview Plus Mini-Guide is the small EPG that pops up at the bottom of your screen whenever you hit the green button. You can use the arrow keys to see what’s showing right now and what’s up after the current show.

But if you highlight a show and press OK it won’t change the channel. What you’re watching will minimise to the top right corner and you’ll get additional information on the show you clicked on. Then you can choose whether or not to watch it.

Never miss your favourite show with the reminder function

You can set a reminder to watch your favourite show when you’re on an information page. You can even set a show as a favourite. Just highlight the “Set Reminder” box on the EPG screen using your remote arrows and press OK. If you want to favourite it, do the same with the “Heart” icon next to “Set Reminder”.

You can also set reminders for an entire series so you’ll never miss an episode of your favourite show again.

#HisenseHack: You can skip the information page step and just use the blue button on your remote when you’ve highlighted a show on the mini-guide.

Learn more about other shows you may like

Use your arrow keys to scroll right on the program information page and you’ll see a list titled “More Like This”. Here you’ll find more shows like the one you’ve been looking at.

You can click on any of those shows to find out about them and set reminders. 

Use the catch-up functionality to watch shows you missed

So you forgot to set a reminder and missed an episode of something you wanted to see earlier that day.

Using the EPG, select the left arrow on the channel your show was on to see what’s already been to air. Click on your shows and if the channel is offering it as part of their catch-up service you’ll see “Play Now”.

Hit OK using your remote and you can seamlessly start watching the show as a catch-up episode. 

Easily see what movies are coming up

Use the yellow button to get to the full Freeview Plus Menu. Under “Movies” you’ll see a list of what films are coming up, all broken down by genre.

You can do the same thing for TV shows which features genre options such as Drama, Sport, News and Current Affairs, Lifestyle and more.

Use the search functionality to find a show or movie

On the “Menu” screen, there’s a search function so you can easily see if your favourite show or movie is coming up on FTA.

Select “Search” in the menu on the left and then click OK to access the “Search” screen. Use the arrows, letters and OK on your remote to type in the show’s name. After you’ve entered the first few a list of options will appear and you can scroll through them to find and yours. From there, you can click on the show title and go to the info page to set reminders. If you’re not sure of a title, you can highlight “TV Shows” or “Movies” and browse through the genre menus that will appear on the right.

Manage your favourite shows

If you’ve favourited some shows you’ll find them listed on the “Menu” screen under the favourites tab. This list appears on the left of the screen. This not only tells you when new episodes are coming up, it also shows you all the episodes available on catch-up and when they’re expiring, so you know exactly how long you have to watch them.

We hope that these few tips and tricks get you started on getting the most from the Freeview Plus. 

Hisense 4K ULED Series 7 TVs are fully equipped with Freeview Plus. Check it out now.