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Panasonic is the first company to jump into bed with Freeview Play. The upcoming catch-up and on-demand TV service will be built into all of Panny's 2015 Viera tellies.

Channel 5 also announced that it is joining the party, offering its Demand 5 catch-up service via Freeview Play.

"It's great news that Panasonic will be the first of many to bring TVs with Freeview Play to viewers," said Ilse Howling, managing director, connected TV at Digital UK.

"I'm also pleased that Demand 5 will be joining our line-up of great, free, on-demand players.

"Digital UK is working closely with manufacturers and broadcasters to develop our exciting new service and bring the benefits of connected TV to everyone, free from subscription."

Guy North, managing director of Freeview, added: "We believe that Freeview Play will put viewers back in control and we're delighted that Panasonic is our first TV launch partner... We look forward to welcoming more products from other partners later this year."

Panasonic will also offer Freeview Play recorders, though these will follow "at a later date". Vestel is also planning a range of Freeview Play products.

Freeview Play was born out of the ashes of Freeview. It's designed to be subscription-free, and is backed by a lot of the same shareholders as YouView.

Its aim is to fulfil the original brief of YouView – i.e. to be connected and affordable – before (as certain shareholders see it) TalkTalk and BT kept the set-top box prices high, making them only affordable as part of a broadband package and effectively turning it into a subscription service.

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