23 May 2009

Film4 now starts at 11am

Film4 has extended it's broadcast hours by two as of today. The channel now starts at 11:00, allowing it to broadcast one extra film a day.

Setanta to show FA Cup Final on Freeview

Setanta Sports will broadcast their FA Cup Final coverage unencrypted next weekend, according to reports. This means Freeview football fans who can't tolerate ITV's annoying commentators and sub-standard coverage will be able to watch the cup final without turning the sound down/tuning the stereo to Radio 5 Live/having their enjoyment of the match ruined.

21 May 2009

Freeview considering "mass retune" for HD

There are concerns from "broadcast industry insiders" that the introduction of High Definition services on Freeview in time for the 2010 World Cup will confuse viewers so much that it will reduce over 18million householders to incoherent, whimpering wrecks, according to reports. It is true that the 'early' introduction of HD channels (which will require several multiplexes to be reorganised and several channels to switch frequencies) means Freeview viewers will have to retune in order to continue receiving services, but surely it's better to get it all done in one go, rather than the region-by-region approach (in line with digital switchover)?

20 May 2009

Virgin 1 goes 24 hours, +1 launched

Virgin 1+1 has launched on Freeview, and Virgin 1 will be broadcasting for 24 hours a day from today. Viewers will need to rescan their receivers to receive both new channels in their correct slots, for while the main channel remains on channel 20, it's actually changed multiplexes behind-the-scenes (from D to A). The timeshifted channel now occupies the original, 12-hour slot but can be found on channel 35.

Update: Virgin 1 is only available between 06:00 and 19:00 in Wales, because it's using the vacant slot originally occupied by Bid TV. Hence there are now ten streams being carried on the mux in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, but still only nine in Wales:

1. Five
2. Five USA
3. Fiver / Television X
4. Setanta / Top Up TV
5. GOLD / Top Up TV...
6. Bid TV
7. Virgin 1 / CNN...
8. S4C Two / QVC
9. S4C
Rest of the UK
1. Five
2. Five USA
3. Fiver / Television X
4. Setanta / Top Up TV
5. GOLD / Top Up TV...
6. Bid TV
7. CITV / CNN...
8. QVC
9. Smile TV 2
10. Virgin 1

19 May 2009

Living, Hallmark and Sports Extra leaving Top Up

Living, Hallmark and Sports Extra will be leaving Top Up TV, according to unconfirmed reports. The changes to the service coincide with the addition of BBC programming and some changes to the Top Up TV Anytime electronic programme guide.

15 May 2009

BBC programmes added to Top Up TV

Top Up TV subscribers will be able to access comedy, drama and factual programming from the BBC from June 3. It's not clear at this stage how many hours of shows will be available, nor where the capacity to broadcast them will come from, but it certainly increases the range of content to Top Up's customers. Which is a good thing.

Virgin 1+1 channel number confirmed

Virgin 1+1 will launch on channel 35, recently vacated by Five USA, when it joins Freeview on May 20. Virgin 1 will become a 24-hour service on the same day, ahead of a mini-revamp on June 9.

14 May 2009

Freeview HD plans in doubt

ITV and Channel 4 are in negotiations with the BBC in a bid to reduce carriage fees for their forthcoming high definition channels to be broadcast on Freeview. According to reports, transmission and storage costs are also understood to be concerns for the commercial broadcasters.

Quest fails to launch

Discovery have postponed the launch of their first non-subscription channel Quest at the eleventh hour. Well, at 10:00 this morning actually, when the service was due to start broadcasting. Despite transmitting a preview loop, complete with channel DOG from the early hours, a "coming soon" caption appeared instead of the first scheduled programme. The channel has been delayed indefinitely "due to a number of commercial factors".

13 May 2009

Netplay, SuperCasino leave Freeview

SuperCasino and Netplay have ceased broadcasting on Freeview channels 48 and 49 respectively. The channels, which shared a 24-hour stream on multiplex A, have been removed to make way for Discovery's new channel Quest, which launches tomorrow at 10:00.

Smile TV 2 launches on Freeview (again)

Smile TV 2 has re-launched on Freeview channel 33, following a two-month hiatus. The station will broadcast daily between 00:00 (midnight) and 05:00, timesharing with Ideal World on multiplex D.

12 May 2009

Recycling "expert" states bleeding obvious

A "recycling expert" has claimed that the Switchover process will result in an increase in the number of television sets being dumped. Speaking to Materials Recycling Weekly - no, really - Scott Butler predicted that switchover, a process that encourages people to upgrade every single piece of television equipment they own in order to continue watching TV, would lead to people scrapping their old sets. People get paid for this sort of thing, you know.

Five and Smile change channel numbers

There has been a small shuffle of Freeview channel numbers today, coinciding with the reappearance of Smile TV 2. It would appear that the channel, which broadcast on channel 46 until March this year, has secured some capacity from Ideal World on multiplex D. Early indications suggest it will broadcast from midnight for a few hours daily. Viewers will need to rescan their receivers to receive the new channel list:

29. E4+1
30. Fiver (previously 36)
31. Five USA (previously 35)
32. Smile TV (previously 37)
33. Smile TV 2 (new)
34. Setanta Sports

08 May 2009

Film4 to extend hours

Film4 will start broadcasting two hours earlier from May 23, starting at 11:00 daily. The move, which will allow the station to show one extra film a day, has been made possible thanks to the removal of Gems TV from Freeview at the start of this month.

Freeview iPlayer, HD plans revealed

The roll-out of high definition services on Freeview has been brought forward, according to reports. It's estimated that 40% of households will be able to access Freeview HD in time for the football World Cup next June. Plans to launch the BBC's iPlayer on Freeview are also ahead of schedule, with expectations that iPlayer-enabled Freeview boxes will be available later this year.

05 May 2009

Software download breaks Top Up TV boxes

First-generation Top Up TV Anytime set-top boxes were rendered unusable by a faulty software download at the weekend. Subscribers to the on-demand service were forced to format or reset their boxes in order to correct the problem, losing all their recorded or saved programmes in the process. Top Up TV have apologised to those affected.

04 May 2009

Setanta "has a month to save itself"

Subscription sports broadcaster Setanta has one month to renegotiate contracts and bring in much-needed investment if it is to survive in its current form, according to reports. The company suffered a massive body-blow earlier this year when they lost half their Premier League football matches - by far the channel's most important asset - to Sky.

01 May 2009

Gems TV ceases broadcasting

Gems TV has ceased broadcasting on Freeview channel 43. The shopping channel was available between 09:45 and 12:45, timesharing with Film4, which is expected to increase its hours in the near future. Gems TV previously also broadcast on channel 44 ("Gems TV1"), but this rather limited evening service was removed last month to allow CNN to start two hours earlier.