31 August 2007

Thomas Cook TV ceases broadcasting

Thomas Cook TV has ceased broadcasting on Freeview. The channel, which launched on channel 41 in April, had been leasing capacity from Turner (the evening slot previously occupied by TCM).

24 August 2007

ITV considering selling capacity to Virgin Media

ITV are reportedly considering selling some of their Freeview broadcast capacity to Virgin Media, according to Broadcast. It’s thought that plans to launch a movies channel in the space currently occupied by ITV2+1 (and previously the now-defunct ITV Play) have been shelved. Any sale to Virgin would allow them to launch Virgin 1 on Freeview in a 24-hour slot, rather than the current plan to replace FTN (which would only allow broadcasts between 18:00 and 06:00).

21 August 2007

HD should use existing capacity – Ofcom

Ofcom have given the clearest indication yet that no extra capacity will be freed-up post-switchover for High Definition television to be broadcast via DTT. In a letter to The Guardian, Philip Rutnam said “Ofcom believes that it is in the best interests of viewers and the broadcasters to [deliver HD] using the broadcasters' existing spectrum”.

20 August 2007

Channel 4+1 launches on Freeview

Channel 4+1 has launched on Freeview, replacing Film4+1. The service, the first timeshifted version of the “big-five” channels, will appear on channel 13 after a re-scan. This will force a reorganisation of some other channels: More4 moves to 14, E4 moves to 29, E4+1 remains on channel 30, and Film4 moves to 32. Viewers who do not re-scan can keep the previous (more sensible) channel order and watch Channel 4+1 on 32.

16 August 2007

Teachers’ TV broadcasting hours slashed

Teachers’ TV will see its broadcasting hours slashed on Freeview from September 10, when the channel will only be available from 16:00 to 17:00 each day. At launch, the channel was available for six hours overnight; this was reduced to the current two when the Top Up TV Anytime service launched. It now appears another set of changes is imminent – Top Up TV are rumoured to be adding two new channels to the service in September – and Teachers' TV will be losing out.

Top Up TV strengthens board

Jim Hytner has joined Top Up TV as commercial director. Hynter, who has previously worked with company founders David Chance and Nick Markham at Sky and ITV, has also worked for Five and ITV Digital. On the appointment, Chance said “This is an extremely exciting time for our business. We have ambitious plans for the months and years ahead and today's announcement underlines this”.

Article: Chaos Theory

You can read The Guardian’s Oliver Burkeman’s article on the scare-mongering surrounding the digital switchover process here.

50% of households 100% digital

Half of all UK households have access to digital television on every television set, according to Ofcom and Digital UK. The survey also revealed that 87% of people are now aware of the switchover, the highest figure since the quarterly review began.

13 August 2007

Currys to sell Setanta set-top boxes

Setanta Sports-ready set-top boxes and subscription cards will be available to buy from Currys from later this month. The electrical chain has ordered 200,000 boxes to sell, and join Tesco and Comet in their support for Setanta’s subscription service. The latest figures suggest that Setanta has around 2.5 million customers in the UK and Ireland, 1.1 million of whom subscribe to the £9.99 service (the rest receive the channels free with their Virgin Media cable package).

08 August 2007

UKTV consider launching G2 on Freeview

UKTV are reportedly considering replacing lifestyle channel UKTV Bright Ideas with a revamped version of entertainment channel UKTV G2. Bright Ideas is tailor-made for Freeview, promoting the family of UKTV lifestyle channels available on other platforms. Virgin Media’s equivalent entertainment channel, FTN, is also to be replaced, later this year. Both channels currently timeshare broadcast capacity on Freeview.

05 August 2007

First Freeview multiplex on-air in Whitehaven

The first digital multiplex to be broadcast in Whitehaven, the first region of the UK to undergo digital switchover, has commenced transmissions. A temporary version of multiplex A carrying only one channel – Five – will be broadcast to the town until the rest of the Border region completes the switchover process in 2009: at this stage, Five will be carried on one of the new PSB (public service broadcaster) multiplexes along with the BBC’s services. According to one Freeview-equipped Whitehaven News reader, “the picture quality is brilliant” – not surprising, considering it’s being broadcast at 24,000 kbps!

03 August 2007

Ridiculous EPG shuffle planned for C4 channels

If someone in the street had told me this story, I’d have laughed them out of town. Sadly, it’s been confirmed that Channel 4’s entire family of digital channels will move to new channel numbers when Channel 4+1 launches on August 20… on channel 13. This means More4 has to move to 14. That means that E4 moves from a prime EPG position to channel 29! E4+1 stays on 30, Film4 moves to 32, and Film4+1 disappears altogether. Which only adds insult to injury, really.

01 August 2007

Channel 4+1 to replace Film4+1 - confirmed

Channel 4 have confirmed on their website’s forum that Channel 4+1 will replace Film4+1 on Freeview when it launches on August 20. The timeshifted version of Film4 will continue to broadcast on other platforms.