29 July 2008

Life & Times to become Sports Xtra

Life & Times will be renamed Sports Xtra on Top Up TV from August 5, according to a statement on their website. Programming won't be changing dramatically, but the new name will better reflect the sports documentaries and factual shows available.

28 July 2008

Tenth multiplex A stream advertsied

The oft-predicted and long-awaited arrival of a tenth 24-hour stream on multiplex A will be available from the beginning of next year. In a press release, SDN (owned by ITV) are inviting bids for the new stream, which can be used for free-to-view or subscription purposes. Multiplex A is currently the home of Top Up TV and Setanta Sports' channels, as well as Five and CITV.

Top Up TV software update released tomorrow

Top Up TV subscribers affected by problems receiving certain channels as the result of transmission changes will be able to download a software update which corrects the fault from tomorrow.

25 July 2008

Transmission changes: rollout continues

Technical changes to the way Freeview channels are broadcast continue to be rolled out across the country. On July 23, transmitters in Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Hampshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Devon and Cornwall switched to the new format. On July 29, transmitters in Cheshire, Greater London, Lancashire and South Yorkshire will follow suit. The changes have proved controversial because around 1% of Freeview boxes will no longer work after the change.

17 July 2008

The Hits becomes 4Music on August 15

4Music will replace The Hits on August 15, broadcasting exclusive live coverage of the V Festival over its first weekend, it has been confirmed. The station will carry music and entertainment programming from Channel 4 including Live from Abbey Road and The Sunday Night Project as well as music videos.

15 July 2008

World Service on the move next month

The BBC World Service will switch multiplexes on August 4, according to an on-screen message. Listeners will need to re-tune after this date to continue receiving the channel, which is the last-remaining BBC service to be broadcast on a commercial multiplex (D). With the exception of the national stations for Scotland, Wales and NI, all other BBC radio stations are broadcast on mux B.

S4C to launch English sport commentary

Welsh-language broadcaster S4C is to begin broadcasting English commentary during selected sports coverage via the red button. The service will be available on all digital platforms, and online where rights allow.

12 July 2008

Setanta price rise from July 30

The monthly subscription fee to Setanta Sports on DTT will increase by one pound (to £10.99) from July 30. From next season, Setanta will be broadcasting more football than ever before, having secured the rights to the FA Cup, Community Shield, World Cup qualifiers and international friendlies.

Warner Bros: VOD coming to Top Up TV

A selection of "video on demand" feature films from Warner Bros will be available to Top Up TV subscribers "in the next few months", according to a press release. Programmes from the movie studio launched on Top Up TV last month. The new service will offer new releases including I Am Legend, The Bucket List and Sweeney Todd.

10 July 2008

Gems TV launches on Freeview... again!

Gems TV have launched on Freeview channel 44... despite the fact they already broadcast on Freeview channel 43! It appears that the shopping channel has taken over the slot previously occupied by The Jewellery Channel between 19:00 and 21:00, but they have had to launch these new hours on a new channel number because their original slot (09:45 to 12:45) is located on a separate multiplex. It's not technically possible for a single LCN (channel number) to be associated with streams from two different muxes, hence the addition of "GemsTV1" tonight.

08 July 2008

West and Westcountry switch dates confirmed

Digital UK, the body responsible for coordinating digital switchover, has released details of the timetable for the switch in the West and Westcountry regions.

In the south-west, Beacon Hill starts the process on 8 April 2009, followed by the Stockland Hill transmitter on 6 May 2009. Switchover at these two transmitters will be completed within two weeks. Later in the year, Huntsure Cross (1 July), Redruth (8 July) and Caradon Hill (12 August) will switch, but analogue will continue to broadcast for the full four-week period.

In the West region, Bristol's Ilchester Crescent and Kings Weston transmitter groups will switch between January and March 2010, followed by Mendip between April and June, and Ridge Hill (West) between January and March 2011. Full details are available on the Digital UK website.

04 July 2008

Freeview Playback becomes Freeview+

Freeview Playback, the brand name for Freeview-enabled personal video recorders, is to be replaced by "Freeview+". Playback devices offer near-identical features and services to "rival" devices such as Sky+ and (Virgin Media's) V+ boxes; the name change is designed to capitalise on consumers awareness of these more established concepts. The name change, to be rolled out in the coming months, will be supported by a marketing campaign.

03 July 2008

Freeview transmission changes continue

Changes to Freeview transmissions which will render around 1% of existing receivers obsolete have continued to be rolled out across the country. Last month, the West Midlands was the first region to be affected: the changes have now been made in the STV Central, STV North, Ulster, Tyne Tees and Border regions. Affected models include the Daewoo DS608P & SV900, Labgear DTT100, Triax DVB 2000T, Portland DP100, and Bush IDVCR01.

02 July 2008

Ofcom advertises HD slots

Ofcom has begun advertising for applications to launch high definition services on multiplex B. There will be a maximum of three HD channels available, one of which has already been reserved for BBC HD. In total, Freeview's HD services will share "at least" 30Mbps using the DVB-T2 standard.