28 April 2008

Five Life replaced by Fiver

Fiver launched on Freeview channel 36 this morning at 06:00, replacing Five Life. The channel is essentially just a re-jigged Five Life, with much of the programming staying the same, but with a new schedule and a few new acquisitions like series two of Dirt and the five-minute-episode My Space series Sofia’s Diary. Most digital receivers won’t need re-scanning, as only the channel name has changed. In other news, Teletext is now available from Channel 4+1.

26 April 2008

Sky considering launching Picnic on IPTV instead

Sky are considering launching their controversial subscription service Picnic via broadband, rather than wait for regulator Ofcom to make a decision over their plans to stop broadcasting on Freeview. According to reports, the broadcaster is in talks with software developers about launching a BT Vision-style IPTV service.

24 April 2008

Switchover transition period to be halved

Digital UK have announced the biggest change to the UK’s switchover plan to date. Feedback from the first UK region to switch to digital, Whitehaven and Copeland in Cumbria, has suggested that the four-week transition period was too long. Viewers had to switch between analogue and digital for over a month, just to receive the five basic terrestrial channels. As a result, the time between the first analogue channel being switched off to the last has been halved to fourteen days for the switchover at Selkirk and in the Westcountry.

22 April 2008

Teachers TV added to Top Up Anytime menus

Teachers TV has been added to the Top Up TV Anytime service today, amongst a few other changes. The channel names for UKTV Gold and UKTV Style have been capitalised, and British Eurosport now appears as “Eurosport UK”. Despite the fact it broadcasts on Freeview, and that the box simply records its one hour of programming each day, Anytime users can now add Teachers TV to their subscribed channels. The channel broadcasts using Top Up TV capacity.

21 April 2008

BBC News 24 becomes BBC News

One of British television’s most iconic brands has been retired this morning. From today, BBC News 24 will be referred to simply as “BBC News”, in a bit to unify all news output across the corporation.

20 April 2008

Ofcom chief: Switchover could have been greener

The chief executive of Ofcom has said that if they’d have changed anything about the planned digital switchover, it would be the introduction of strict environmental regulations. Ed Richards recognised the “big power issue [some Freeview boxes consume 100% of their usual operating power when in standby] and a big obsolete box issue” in a speech last week at an Institute of Engineering and Technology event.

17 April 2008

Brunel University broadcasting on DTT

As part of a fascinating research programme, technical wizards at Brunel University in Uxbridge (West London) are testing new transmission methods by broadcasting Brunel TV on a low-power digital multiplex. Ofcom and National Grid Wireless have supported the programme – testing new methods for reducing set-top box power consumption – by lending the University spectrum and broadcast equipment respectively. Find out more here (PDF document).

15 April 2008

Bulletin: Channel changes and satellite signals

A few more details about forthcoming channel changes have come to light in the past week. BBC News 24 will be re-named BBC News on Monday 21 April, when all the Corporation’s news programmes will receive updated titles and sets. The following Monday (April 28), Five Life will become Fiver: the channel is already running on-screen promotions. In other news, the launch of Freesat appears to be drawing ever closer. Channel 4 began broadcasting in the clear earlier this week, and rumours suggest the service could start as early as the first-half of next month.

10 April 2008

Teletext dating service Rabbit to launch in May

Teletext will launch an “interactive dating service” on Freeview next month. The service, called Rabbit, will replace Teletext Cars (which has been devoid of any content for quite some time now).

03 April 2008

Ofcom confirm radical HD-plan intentions

Ofcom have today announced their intentions to launch High Definition television services via Freeview from as early as next year in some parts of the country. Under the proposals, all multiplexes will switch to 64QAM, allowing them to carry more services. These new slots will be filled by services from multiplex B, which will be vacated and used to broadcast three (rising to four) HD channels (at 16QAM using the DVB-T2 MPEG-4 standards). Broadcasters and the Digital Television Group had come up with their own plans, but these have been dismissed by the regulator as being anti-competitive (despite the fact it will be only awarding licences for HD channels to the public service broadcasters).

02 April 2008

Freeview launches in New Zealand

New Zealand’s very own Freeview service launched full-scale testing yesterday, ahead of a full launch on April 14. There’s already a satellite version of “Freeview” available, offering around a dozen channels to the entire country. The launch of the DTT service will reach 75% of the population, and offer channels in High Definition (so pretty much the opposite of Freeview and Freesat here in the UK!).

01 April 2008

New Top Up TV channels revealed

As reported back in March, Top Up TV Anytime will be adding more channels to its line-up at the end of this month, using capacity freed-up by the departure of Bloomberg and National Lottery programming. Shows from the God Channel will become available to download from April 21, with extra content from The Baby Channel and Channel M launching on the following Monday (April 28).

NHS Direct on the move

Text-based DIY-diagnosis health advice service NHS Direct has been removed from the pages of Sky Text in anticipation of it’s move to Teletext, scheduled for today. The move to a public service broadcasters’ multiplex will allow the service to be received nationwide after switchover.