31 May 2008

The Jewellery Channel leaves Freeview

The Jewellery Channel appears to have ceased broadcasting on Freeview channel 44. The channel, which has been available on a dedicated channel number between 19:00 and 21:00 for six months, is still broadcast in the mornings on Five US. The capacity previously used by The Jewellery Channel is owned by Turner, the people behind Nuts TV.

21 May 2008

Setanta move to capitalise on Picnic delay?

Setanta Sports are considering plans to enhance its presence on DTT – and possibly even Freeview – in the wake of Ofcom's decision to further delay a ruling on Sky's Picnic plans. According to a senior Setanta source, the company is now looking to exploit this advantage, although they declined to reveal specifics: "We are looking at some developments in the coming months, not around pricing, but to do with content".

Freeview spec update includes HD, broadband

The Digital Television Group, who are responsible for creating and maintaining technical standards for Freeview receivers, are poised to release the latest version of the specification. According to their technical director, Simon Gauntlett, the new document includes standards for an Ethernet (broadband) connection (like all of the new Freesat boxes), and many of the requirements for potential HD services (there's still some issues surrounding the DVB-T2 standard to sort out).

15 May 2008

Rabbit launches on Freeview

Teletext's new chat and dating service, Rabbit, launched on Freeview channel 102 this morning. The service, available daily between 11:00 and 04:00, allows users to send in text and picture messages (at 50p-a-pop) which are then displayed on-screen. Some receivers, such as the Netgem I-Player, are incompatible with the service.

14 May 2008

BBC Parliament to take Olympic recess

The BBC will replace BBC Parliament with an extra interactive stream for the duration of the Olympic Games on Freeview. On digital satellite, up to eight individual interactive streams are available, but this number is limited to just two on DTT. As Parliament will be in recess during the Beijing games anyway, this will increase the number of ‘red-button’ video streams to three.

13 May 2008

Sky’s Picnic postponed again by Ofcom

Sky’s plans to launch a subscription television service on DTT by replacing their three existing channels on Freeview with programming from Sky Sports, Sky Movies and Sky One have been dealt another blow by the media regulator Ofcom. Two separate consultations – on the state of the pay-TV market as a whole, and of Sky’s proposal – have already been carried out, but now a third has been announced to examine the impact the move could have on the UK television market as a whole. The consultation will last until the end of the summer, pushing any Picnic launch back to Summer 2009.

08 May 2008

Rabbit hops on to Freeview

A placeholder for Teletext's new "chat and dating" service Rabbit has appeared on Freeview channel 102. The service, which replaces Teletext Cars, will allow users to set up profiles with pictures sent in by mobile phone.

06 May 2008

Freesat launched

Freesat, the satellite television service with no monthly subscription, launches today. Backed by the BBC and ITV, the service is based on Freeview, but is available to a much larger percentage of the population – 98% compared to Freeview’s 75% coverage. Around 80 television channels are available from launch, including the High Definition service BBC HD; E4 and More4, both of which began broadcasting FTA on satellite from this morning; plus a wide selection of channels not available on DTT including Pop, The Vault and EuroNews.

03 May 2008

ITV’s Grade attacks Ofcom’s HD plans

ITV chairman Michael Grade has attacked Ofcom’s plans to launch HD service on Freeview by re-arranging existing channels, rather than providing new, dedicated spectrum. Grade said that “closing the door to HD on Freeview would undermine [efforts to ensure] that everyone has access to the same quality of broadcasting and to the main public service broadcasting channels”. ITV are currently developing their own HD channel in preparation for its eventual launch on Freesat.