To celebrate the one-decade of UK Free TV, I am first posting a short graphical history of the website.
The very first "version" of what would become the UK Free TV was included in a web-site I did for BT Broadcast Services back in 1996.
Under a section called the "Broadcasting Information Library" there was a "DigitalTerrestrial TV Channels" page. This was one of the few sources of information on the new fangled "world wide web".
Just before ONdigital launched (on 15th November 1998) I was asked by BT to troubleshoot some of the technical issues that ONdigital were having. One thing I discovered was that the "technical support helpline" had no information to help them.
ITV digital, as it now was, folded on 1st May 2002, and when Freeview was announced I decided to create the "missing" web technical support resource for DTT as a personal project, and registered the name "UKFREE.TV" on 5th July 2002.
From the start the vision was "One main feature of this site will be to work out for you the options you have in your local area. By providing your postcode and details the your equipment you have (or are thinking of buying) we will be able to tellyou what you can get, what you have to spend to get it, and how to make sure you are getting the very best quality".
Here is how the site looked at the beginning:
In the first few years, the site evolved to have stories, maps, an enhanced prediction system, and details of the upcoming ("in 849 days") digital switchover.
As the site progressed, I evolved it to be more "accessible" (or "user friendly" in old money). This version has the "free+easy" strapline, and the ability for everyone to add comments, suggestions, questions and answers to each pay.
I was quite pleased that "Free and Easy" was taken up by Freeview for their point-of-sale blurb...
The next version of the site was created because computer screens were wider.
The next version of the site changed the look to add more colour. The colours were used to signpost the growing number of sections on the site.
And so to the current design, which has now taken into account the number of people using mobile devices to access the site:
Dear Brian, many thanks and congratulations on your site's 10th birthday. The hard work you must put into making it clear, informative and user-friendly is very much appreciated. Kudos and saludos to you!