27 October 2009

News Multiscreen and 302 leave Freeview

The BBC News Multiscreen is no longer available on Freeview, and one of the platform's two additional ("interactive") video streams has been removed. In order to make way for future high definition services, the BBC has had to close 302 and scrap the video news service: HD services will be introduced on a region-by-region basis, but Red Button services can only be run on an all-or-nothing basis. Vacant streams will be sub-let on a regional, short-term basis.

26 October 2009

Viva launches on Freeview

Viva has launched on Freeview channel 21. Replacing TMF, which apparently was a music channel, you'd be hard pushed to tell it apart from the new station from MTV's previous offering.

24 October 2009

Arqiva advertise 2 new channel slots

Multiplex C and D operator Arqiva is inviting proposals for two new digital terrestrial television channels. It's unclear as yet when this new capacity will become available, but both are being advertised as full 24/7 slots. The closing date for applications is 30 October.

20 October 2009

302, News Multiscreen to close

The BBC will close the BBC News Multiscreen and the "interactive" video stream 302 on 27 October. In order to clear enough capacity to launch HD services later this year, the services are having to be scrapped. Despite the fact high definition channels will not be available nationwide from launch, it is impossible to maintain a full "red button" service in the interim. It's likely to be an unpopular move, especially after the fuss surrounding last month's retune event (in which many households lost ITV3 and ITV4). According to this press release, unused capacity will be sub-let.

Freeview HD to launch in London this year

High definition Freeview channels will be available in the London and Granada television regions areas by the end of 2009, with Glasgow, Newcastle, Birmingham, and Leeds/Bradford to follow by the end of Spring 2010, it has been announced. The BBC has recently signed a deal Arqiva have signed a deal to upgrade the new transmitters, and cleared multiplex B to carry the HD services.

14 October 2009

"Viva" to replace TMF

MTV are to replace TMF with "Viva", a new channel based upon the broadcaster's European channel of the same name. The new channel will launch on Monday 26 October.

13 October 2009

ITV scraps plans to sell SDN

ITV has scrapped plans to sell DTT multiplex operator SDN. The broadcaster had planned to sell off the company, which it bought back in 2005 for just under £150million, to focus on programme making and make the accounts look more favourable. SDN is estimated to make about £40million a year. ITV will now seek to raise cash through a bonds issue.

04 October 2009

Teletext text to close in December

Teletext have announced the closure of their core text services will be bought forward to December. As well as the Teletext services on ITV, Channel 4, Five and Freesat (analogue and digital), teletext.co.uk and their mobile website will also cease.

30 September 2009

8 in 10 TVs digital

Eight in ten UK television screens are beaming digital television into the nation's collective living room, according to the latest figures from Ofcom. By the end of June, there were 29.7 million DTT-enabled sets, of which 9.9 million were primary and almost 19.8 million were secondary sets. Freeview set-top boxes accounted for over 680,000 sales in the quarter, down 25% on last year (due to increased sales of digital TV sets, which have increased 41% year-on-year). Cumulative sales of Digital TV sets have now reached nearly 22 million and are likely to overtake those of set-top boxes (24 million) this year.

Retune Results

The nationwide shuffle of channels numbers and multiplex line-ups took place this afternoon. In order to continue receiving channels, most notably Five, everyone with a Freeview (DTT) receiver should retune.

As well as the planned changes, there were a few surprises. ITV2+1 has moved from Channel 27 to 33, presumably in preparation for the eventual launch of ITV1+1. A channel called News also appeared on channel 89, but little else is known about it. Top Up TV Anytime channels moved to channels 307 to 310.

Five has moved to a public service multiplex, giving it the same national coverage as the BBC, ITV1 and Channel 4; the "old" Five service may still appear on channel 800 for some viewers.

17 September 2009

Sweeping changes planned for 30 September

There will be a wide range of changes to the Freeview television service following the nationwide retune planned for September 30. Several channels will be switching multiplexes, changing channel numbers, launching and closing. Five will be moving to a public service multiplex (S4C already has).

Discovery's new channel Quest will launch; Viewers in England and Wales will lose ITV2+1 in preparation for the launch of ITV1+1; ITV3 and ITV4 will no longer be broadcast from relay transmitter stations; The Community Channel will close in areas that have already switched off analogue services, and many BBC Radio services will move muxes.

In addition, the following channel changes will take place:

36. Create & Craft
37. Price-drop TV (was 43)
38. Quest (was 47)
39. Super Casino (was 48)
40. Rocks and Co (was 49)

94. Smile TV 2 (was 33)
95. Smile TV 3 (was 37)
96. Babestation (was 42)
97. Partyland (was 50)
98. Television X

09 September 2009

Arqiva buys new encoders

Multiplex operator Arqiva has splashed out on some brand new encoding equipment, which it claims will allow it to start broadcasting two further channels on Freeview. The deal includes the Tandberg EN8100, which is supposedly a ruddy good piece of kit (technical term).

08 September 2009

Ymalen รข'r sioe!

All viewers in Wales will need to retune their Freeview receivers on September 9 in order to continue watching S4C Digital. The channel is switching to multiplex 2 (a public service multiplex) in preparation for digital switchover in the region.

25 August 2009

Arqiva complete Project Kangaroo purchase

Arqiva, the company responsible for the television transmitters carrying Freeview services (and operator of multiplexes C and D), has today completed its acquisition of video-on-demand service "Project Kangaroo". Developed as a joint venture by the BBC, ITV and Channel 4, Kangaroo (also known as SeeSaw) was designed to be a subscription based service, until it was blocked by the Competition Commission earlier this year. Arqiva plan to launch a revised offering in the "coming months".

Sky 3 to showcase pay TV for a weekend

Sky 3 will carry a selection of programming from subscription television channels for an entire weekend in September. Shows from Sky, ESPN, MTV, Disney, Virgin Media Television, Fox, National Geographic, Turner and UKTV (amongst others) will be shown from Friday 18 to Saturday 20 September to give Freeviewers a chance to see some of the programmes that people with more money than sense pay TV regularly enjoy.

Mobilizer appears on Freeview

A new text service from Teletext has appeared on Freeview channel 109. Called Mobilizer, it promises "mobile fun 4 (sic) everyone".

Price Drop TV to return

Great news! Shopping channel Price Drop TV is to return to Freeview on Thursday, 27 August, according to a company press release. The channel, which has now lost its original channel number (24) will relaunch on channel 43.

08 August 2009

Virgin 1 to broadcast in 3D (sort of)

Virgin 1 will be showing a special "3D" episode of Chuck at 21:00 on 29 August. To enjoy it fully, you'll need a set of special glasses, which are being given away with a PPG (Paper Programming Guide) called "TV & Satellite Week". Other listings magazines are available.

06 August 2009

ITV still considering subscription switch

ITV are considering removing their digital-only channels ITV2, ITV3 and ITV4 from Freeview and Freesat. Speaking at the company's annual results this morning, senior figures from the company said that moving the channels into basic subscription packages on Sky and Virgin Media could be the answer to their financial troubles.

05 August 2009

Quest to launch on 30 September

Discovery's new channel Quest will launch on Freeview on 30 September, according to reports. The new station, which aborted its last planned launch at the very last minute, is the first free-to-air Discovery channel in the UK.

04 August 2009

ESPN now available via Top Up TV

Digital terrestrial television viewers now have the opportunity to subscribe to ESPN via Top Up TV. Subscription costs £9.99 a month, subject to a £20 connection fee. Top Up TV customers and former Setanta Sports subscribers (who still have a viewing card) can get their first month's subscription free, and pay no connection fee if they sign up before August 31. For more information, call 08444 158158 or visit topuptv.com.

30 July 2009

"Remember to Retune" on 30 September

Freeview are to launch a campaign entitled "Remember to Retune" to inform and remind viewers that they will need to rescan for digital services on 30 September 2009, when there will be a shake-up of channels 'behind the scenes'. Although there will be no alterations to the Freeview channel line-up, Five, ITV4 and BBC Radio stations will be switching multiplexes.

28 July 2009

Nationwide re-tune planned for Autumn

Every UK household with Freeview (including those who live in areas which have completed the digital switchover) will need to rescan their receivers this Autumn in order to continue receiving Five and a whole host of other services that will move from their current multiplex location to another to make way for future high definition broadcasts. No precise date has yet been confirmed.

27 July 2009

HD receivers in the shops "by end of year"

At least two high definition Freeview receivers will become commercially available by the end of the year, according to the Digital Television Group. The specification for HD-DTT boxes was published back in March, with the first broadcasts are set to start on December 2 from Winter Hill. It has also been revealed that iPlayer integration is also being encouraged, and that the launch of a Freeview+iPlayer service is currently under development.