The consortium that promotes Freeview digital terrestrial television in the UK plans to launch a Freeview Playback brand to promote consumer awareness and sales of personal video recorders.

The success of Freeview has so far been based on offering viewers a simple way to get digital television. Freeview now wants to increase consumer awareness of the benefits of digital video recorders.

These are needed to replace videocassette recorders, which will become generally obsolete for timeshifting programmes once analogue television transmissions are turned off.

The Freeview Playback initiative aims to provide an industry standard label for Freeview digital recorders to reduce consumer confusion.

“The launch of Freeview Playback is crucial to driving consumer understanding and uptake and will help to define the category,” said Freeview general manager Cary Wakefield.

The adoption of personal video recorders for free-to-air television has been comparatively limited, with the focus on the promotion of low cost zapper boxes.

Freeview is the fastest growing digital television platform in the UK and is set to overtake satellite in terms of penetration.

However, BSkyB, which is also a member of the Freeview consortium, has reported a strong uptake of its Sky+ PVR, which is likely to continue with the launch of its high-definition service.

Meawhile, BT will offer a hybrid of Freeview broadcasts plus broadband with a built-in personal video recorder when its BT Vision service launches in the autumn. Other service providers and consumer electronics manufacturers are also likely to offer some combination of broadcast and broadband programming with local storage.

The Freeview Playback brand is expected to be seen in the market in September, ready for the run-up to Christmas which is traditionally a strong selling season for such devices.