A local TVchannel running on a budget would not be able to provide a rolling news channel type service as this would be too costly.
A more typical would be for the channel to produce three half-hour programming blocks per day: one at "breakfast", one at "lunchtime" and a final "evening" block. This block could either be produced as a live programme, or almost-live to save production costs.
Each half-hour block would then be electronically repeated over the following hours, providing a full-time service.
A typical schedule for the half-hour block might be:
The use of standard broadband and internet facilities, rather than the traditional broadcaster-friendly synchronous data services will probably be necessary.
A nationally co-ordinated technical order for the necessary hardware to support the local TV channels would considerably reduce capital and maintenance costs.
The co-location of a newsroom in an existing local newspaper office would also reduce costs (but not increase plurality). Some technical facilities as well as marketing and advertising sales may require cross-locality sharing for the smaller stations.
There are several technical challenges to getting the channels on air, much of which will be covered by the £25m-a-year from the BBC to cover the engineering costs of the local television stations.
For Freeview, a single-directional broadcast panel located half-way down a TV transmitter will broadcast a multiplex in QPSK mode, which will provide for a single local channel plus one guest channel. The maths (204 x 1 x 1/4 x 2/3 x 32/33) provides a multiplex capacity of around 8Mbps, about one-third of a "normal 64QAM" multiplex.
The local channel will appear in the electronic programme guide at position 6. As the local TV multiplexes use restricted frequencies it will not be possible for reception of more than one local TV service.
If the locality has a cable TV system, the local TV service can be delivered to the cable company (Virgin Media) where the channel can appear as 106.
In addition, satellite capacity will need to be found. It might be expected that lower bitrates will be used for local TVservices cover smaller populations (as not happens with the BBC and ITVChannel Islands services, for example). Sky might require specific ministerial instructions to place the appropriate (based on the registered postcode) local TV at position 106 in the programme guide.
EPG slots 6 and 106
If Sky (or indeed Virgin or Freesat) are unwilling to relinquish control of the 106 slot, then channel 100 is unused on all systems at the moment. However, the law does seem to give the Minister the right to demand the slot - Communications Act 2003.
Steve P: I think it's a "don't", but that's what I meant.
I think you're not in the "intended target area" for what is clearly a Liverpool service.
It might be possible to link together a second channel on the Liverpool mux with (there is room for two) with proposed "Mold", " Limavady" and "Bangor" services to provide a larger service area that might actually have enough population to be viable.
I think costs and service can be helped by local TV stations sharing features. I agree regional news is a dead loss on a veiwer and an advertiser standpoint. Local news is a different being. this might be successfull if allied to a strong local social presence,and with this in mind use of news gathered by all and sunder with cell phones. I have asked DCMS about what tech standards will apply (no resonse yet). my assumption is we are looking at SD quality which may preclude cell comntent.
David Hazel: The Ofcom document states that the service is SD and "will broadcast a multiplex in QPSK mode, which will provide for a single local channel plus one guest channel. The maths (204 x 1 x 1/4 x 2/3 x 32/33) provides a multiplex capacity of around 8Mbps" (from the article above.
It is perfectly possible to use 3G services to provide SD quality content back to the broadcasting centre, but not necessarily in real-time.
I think you may as well have these stations online so that you can tune in to any that you want. Otherwise you are bound to have the "I live in x and I can't get xtv but I get ytv" moaning again just like with DSO.