National Grid Wireless has appointed a new Service Information Manager for it’s two digital terrestrial television multiplexes (C and D) which could enable the broadcasting of regional services. In other words, they’ve spent some money on a machine that will let them show different things on multiplex C or D in different parts of the country. At the moment, this can only be done on multiplexes 1, 2 and A (mainly for showing regional programming on the BBC and ITV, as well as regional advertising for the big commercial broadcasters).
31 March 2008
30 March 2008
27 March 2008
Ofcom have published details about the availability of commercial multiplexes after switchover. The figures show that the proportion of UK households able to receive multiplexes A, C and D will rise to "around 90%" (up from 75% now). The cost to commercial multiplex owners and broadcasters of extending their reach to all households able to receive digital television (expected to be 98.6%) is simply too high.
Changes in television transmitter patterns could leave up to 250,000 households without any form of terrestrial television signal after the digital switchover, according to Ofcom. Although the changes will provide approximately the same number of homes with signals they could not receive before, residents of Ardrossan in Ayrshire and Skelmersdale in Lancashire face losing out unless new (as yet unplanned) transmitters are built.
21 March 2008
SDN (owned by ITV plc) is inviting broadcasters to bid for new capacity on multiplex A (which it operates). Up to "1Mb of capacity" is up for grabs – so not quite enough for a new TV channel, but plenty for radio or interactive services. The deadline for proposals to be submitted by is Monday 7th April 2008. It is likely that the capacity will be made available immediately.
20 March 2008
18 March 2008
Teletext Games has been re-named Teletext Casino on the Freeview Electronic Programme Guide today. None of the games have changed, nor the channel number (103), just the title.
14 March 2008
The likelihood of seeing high definition channels becoming available via Freeview – or at least a plan to facilitate their introduction – appears pretty remote at present. The delegates at last week’s DTG summit all had their own ideas about how HD on DTT should work, with the result being confusion and indecision all round. The plans range from the technically-ambitious to the unnecessarily-complicated: all have proven to be controversial. Click here for a Digital Spy article on the subject.
12 March 2008
The Competition Commission has given Arqiva and National Grid Wireless – the UK’s biggest broadcasting transmitter tower operators – the green light to go ahead with their proposed merger, but with conditions attached. These include offering immediate reductions in carriage costs for channels broadcasting on low-power DTT multiplexes of over 3%. NGW is a shareholder in the Freeview consortium.
11 March 2008
Sales of Freeview receivers – including digital television sets, personal video recorders and set-top boxes – broke 3.8million in the last three months of 2007, according to the latest figures. The record-breaking sales figures contributed to record sales for the year as a whole, which totalled 9.7million. For the first time, the number of people purchasing Freeview Playback devices outstripped the number of new subscribers to Sky+ last year, but the satellite box still leads the market overall.
National Lottery Xtra officially launched on Freeview yesterday, according to the Top Up TV website. The channel broadcasts between 08:45 and 09:45 on channel 45 every day. In other news, and earlier than previously announced, Bloomberg has been removed from the Top Up TV Anytime service.
08 March 2008
The Digital Television Group, who slammed Ofcom’s plans to squeeze HD channels onto a vacated multiplex B last month, have put forward their own radical plans to launch high-definition channels on Freeview. Their suggestion involves the creation of two entirely new multiplexes, to be broadcast as single-frequency networks (SFNs, i.e. broadcast on the same frequency nationwide) which could carry 12 HD stations between them, rising to 40 (yes, forty) as technologies improved.
07 March 2008
Teletext have apologised to viewers affected by an “intermittent” fault in the Teletext Extra electronic programme guide. The guide is only accessible from certain brands of set-top boxes which receive the necessary software via an over-the-air download. An estimated 3.5million receivers currently use the service, of which Teletext say only a “small proportion” are affected by the problems.
06 March 2008
05 March 2008
Programming from financial news channel Bloomberg will no longer be available via Top Up TV Anytime from next month, according to an e-mail sent to subscribers. Its Anytime slot – just one hour a week – and the space left vacant by Lottery Xtra will be used by “new channels”. It is likely that the Showcase channel will also be scrapped. Bloomberg originally broadcast in an early-morning slot when Top Up TV launched in March 2004. It was removed as a linear channel in September 2006. There have always been rumours suggesting the channel was looking to broadcast on Freeview, however at present there have been no indications that it will make the switch.
04 March 2008
A placeholder for National Lottery Xtra has appeared on Freeview channel 45. The channel, which previously provided programming to Top Up TV Anytime (albeit free content) has switched to multiplex D, and will timeshare with Film4 and Gems TV between 08:45 and 09:45 daily.
01 March 2008
Bad weather, especially the storms Britain experienced last summer, has delayed work to build new digital television masts in preparation for switchover. In the Granada region, which will start analogue switch-off in November 2009, all of the allocated contingency time has already been exhausted: engineers may resort to constructing a temporary mast to ensure the switch’s timetable is adhered to.