Freeview – An API For Television?

There’s a phrase from Tom Loosemore’s No Program Left Behind at ETech07 that stuck with me… Freeview is a pair of linked APIs he argues, DVB-T broadcast & the metadata (EPG)’.

I agree…indeed last October, I started a dialogue with National Grid Wireless and Freeview’s Cary Wakefield and Adrian Mack, with a view to creating an open web-based API for Freeview metadata and content.

Leaving aside the legal complexities, even making EPG metadata openly available to web developers would give rise to countless innovations around digital terrestrial television and indeed provide the basis for innovators and entrepreneurs to experiment with convergent web+TV user experiences.

Services such as Joost, Jaman and Babelgum would be left in the dust if Freeview’s scalable, robust, unencrypted platform could intersect with with the web. Such a step would transform TV, keeping the UK at the forefront of innovation in TV technology.

As Tarique and I continue to develop mee:view for a public launch later this year, we’re considering releasing some of our Freeview API work as a separate endeavour…perhaps we can kickstart the revolution 🙂


  1. The BBC has released a proper, structure Web API for its TV and radio channels, based on EPG data already in Freeview.
    It’s here:
    However, the non-BBC TV channels own the rights to their metadata, and licence them on a platform by platform basis. You can see from the lack of ITV listings on TV listings sites such as that a web licence is not always forthcoming without royalties being paid.

  2. Thanks Tom – we’ve been tinkering with the Backstage APIs and Bleb for a while, but as you say it’d be better to have something more formal and legal 🙂
    Before I left Orange our lawyers started to investigate whether scraping and republishing might be allowed under fair use…I left before the investigation was complete!


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