Consumer website

Consumer website2018-12-08T19:55:01+00:00

Project Description

UK Free TV is a consumer website that provides independent help and advice to people in the UK who use Freeview, YouView and Freesat.

Client

UK Free TV is wholly owned by Twelve Winds Consulting.

Client brief

75% of households in Great Britain use the digital terrestrial television platform Freeview for some or all of their TV viewing. These consumers are not provided with any technical support or customer service.

UK Free TV helps with improve connections, and removing interference in order to receive as many free TV channels as possible.

UK Free TV was developed in 2002 to provide online support to viewers of free-to-air television. The site has been managed by the same team since its launch, and is now a product of Twelve Winds Consulting.

User benefits

  • UK Free TV’s intuitive user experience makes it a lively place to learn about digital television
  • UK Free TV’s (Material Design) optimised for mobile, tablet and desktop devices for easy use
  • UK Free TV’s detailed technical support saves households the cost of hiring an engineer
  • UK Free TV’s community forum enables consumers to receive advise and information from other members of the public
  • UK Free TV’s extensive coverage of the digital switchovers ensured households did not lose signals during this process

Features

  • Unique transmitter coverage maps leveraging Google Maps for Freeview, digital radio and AM/FM radio.
  • Live transmitter faults and engineering data
  • Satellite “footprints” for UK TV and radio services
  • Mapping of transmitter regions for BBC, ITV and Saorview (in Ireland)
  • Full side-by-side comparisons of Freeview, Freesat and Sky (cardless) TV channels and radio stations
  • Side-by-side comparisons for DAB and AM/FM radio stations
  • Over 1,500 articles covering digital TV from a consumer point of view
  • Interactive Knowlegebase to help find support articles
  • Community support forums with hundreds of active contributors
  • Historic details of old analogue TV systems (both VHF and UHF)

Technology

UK Free TV was written using PHP (originally PHP3, later extensively reworked as Object Orientated PHP5) with MySQL as the backend. Now hosted on AWS (using EC2 and RDB) the server software integrates with data from many other sources (such as Digital UK, Ofcom, the BBC).

There are backend API connections to Facebook and Twitter. Multiple AWS service instances (as well as both RPC and Memcached) are used to keep the pages as fast as possible.

The front-end uses hand-coded JavaScript, as well as the Google Maps API to provide maps, as well as HTML5 canvas and SVG. In addition extensive use is made of Amazon Cloudfront to host the site’s graphics.

Success story

UK Free TV supports more than 2.5 million unique visitors per year, spending 8 million hours using the site. The site’s consistent visitors ensure reliable ongoing ad revenue generation from Adsense.

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