The following services will be changed by the BBC:
From 19th September 2011-08-26
The following services will be moved from Astra 2A, transponder 13 (11.95350GHz horizontal)
BBC News will move to Astra 2D, transponder 47 (10.80275 GHz horizontal)
BBC Parliament will move to Astra 2D, transponder 46 (10.78800 GHz
BBC ALBA will move to Astra 2D, transponder 48 (10.81750 GHz vertical)
From 26th September 2011
Five interactive screens will move to Astra 2A, transponder 13 (11.95350 GHz horizontal)
Two interactive video streams will close, plus one multiscreen streams (on transponder 13), the "news multiscreen" remains (on 13).
7th October 2011
BBC closes on Astra 2B transponder 38 (12.441 GHz vertical)
How the change effect viewers
Sky (and fSfS) viewers will have the changes applied automatically.
Freesat viewers should find the changes happen automatically. If they do not, then power off and then on again your Freesat box.
If you have a generic free satellitereceiver, you will need to perform an automatic scan, or apply the above changes manually.
Virgin Media will make changes to their services in their network, no user action needs to be taken.
Freeview viewers are unaffected - Freeview has only one (compared to the now five satellite) interactive screens.
Your comments: most recent posts are at the bottom
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Trevor Harris Friday 26 August 2011 8:35PM
Whenever the BBC makes a change like this one wonders what is the real reason for the change. Of course it will save money but is that the real reason? Frankly I don't know.
One thing is sure picturequality is going to be reduced even more on three transponders. SD is becoming more and more unwatchable on large screen televisions.
The only thing I watch on the red button is the F1 practice sessions. The Five Live commentry and the F1 pictures make quite an interesting combination. Next season though we will get the practice sessions in HD on Sky.
This progressive reduction in services makes it very difficult to justify the continuation of the licence fee.
"It found that the [red button] service is used by a broad cross-section of the population, with an average of 12.7 million users every week - 5 million Red Button users do not use BBC Online "
"cost per user is low compared to other BBC services, at 6.4p per week"
"Red Button's digital text service, providing news stories, weather updates and sports results, draws the most visitors; its additional coverage of live events – such as Glastonbury, Formula 1 and the Olympics - is also popular with audiences."
"User figures peaked at 14.7m in summer 2010 during Glastonbury and Wimbledon"
Trevor Harris: A satellite transponder costs about £4m a year to hire, and it's probably more when the BBC doesn't own it direct, but via Sky.
Knock £4m out of a distribution budget of £20m - that's a "required" saving of 20%.
The "content" budget for "red button" is £14.9m, which makes the service cost more to distribute than provide content for. The only other services that do this are BBC HD (£2.1m content, £8.2m distribution) and BBC Parliament (£2m content, £4.7m distribution).
Most services are content-cost heavy: BBC One, for example content is £1131m, distribution £51m (4.5%); BBC Two £421 and £21m, (4.9%), BBC Three £84.7m and £3.9m (4.6%).
This reduction of service was forced on the bbc by the bbc trust who are under constant pressure from some those that abuse their expenses & those that hack everyones phones who all hate the bbc & do everything to undermine them that they can. Thankfully this site hasnt suffered from the constant bbc bashing trolls like some others have.
Mark Aberfan Aerials : I think the general way the "wind is blowing" is that these "interactive streams" are seen as offering poor value.
They were set up in the pre-PVR pre-YouTube world, where they were a way to offer "interactive" content in so much as they offered a little bit more choice.
I suspect that, with many people now being able to watch TRUE on-demand (and not NVOD, near-video-on-demand) services, these extra streams are of little use outside the odd major sports event (every couple of years).
For example, BBC Parliament is off-air during the Olympics so BBC three can expand into an all-day service. Most of the stuff that would have gone on a "red button" service will be on a "proper" channel - one with EPG listings and that appears in newspaper listings.
It would be much better for the BBC to make these savings and use the money saved to provide HD versions of the other BBC services, especially the "national" ones, BBC three/CBBC, BBC FOUR/Cbeebies and BBC News (when they move to Broadcasting House).
The "red button" services do offer a little something for 5 million non-Internet homes, who can't cope with anything more complex than super-Ceefax.
BBC Red Button must be come bottom of most people's idea of what the BBC does - it lacks a clear purpose.
Even now, I can't understand why the BBC doesn't use the five remaining satellite streams to provide BBC three+1 and BBC FOUR+1 for the majority of the time, at least people would understand what they were for.
Briantist – You said “A satellite transponder costs about £4m a year to hire, and it's probably more when the BBC doesn't own it direct, but via Sky.”
Why should hire of the transponders have anything to do with Sky as SES-Astra own the satellite and the BBC channels are compatible with the Sky EPG as they are on the Freesat one? As far as I know, it was not launched on their behalf and even on Astra 1A, they only had 4 of the 16 transponders initially.
Let's hope that Sky move some encrypted services off 2D and onto the transponder that's freed up. Lyngsat.com reckons that transponder is leased and operated by Sky and the BBC are renting it from them. The Disney channels on 10862 H would be a good candidate, or Sky Movies Box Office on 10921 H. That would then free up one British Isles transponder for new FTA services.
I recall reading - but can't now find - a press release saying that ITV plc were going to rent three more transponders from SES Astra in addition to their existing six. They're probably coming from Astra 1N once it finally gets in position (estimate, about 45 days, as it's at 5.5°E now according to LyngSat and moving at a rate of 0.5° per day) but an extra one on 2D wouldn't go amiss.
Another consequence could be that the five streams that *do* move could become available for Freesat viewers. My hypothesis has always been that Sky wouldn't add the Service Information data necessary for them to appear on Freesat to this Sky-operated transponder. On a BBC-operated transponder, this may no longer be a problem, although Sky do still have a long-winded change control process for anything that could affect their platform.
Why was the BBC Newschannel even FTA on Astra 2A anyway? I thought they didn't have the rights to broadcast on a Europe wide beam? And if they broadcast the BBC News channel on a Europe wide beam, why couldn't they make the geo-block restriction extend so that both the UK and continental Europe can watch the live feed of the BBC News channel on their website?
I think Mike that you might have mis-understood what the BBC is doing here. The BBC has said they are reducing services to save money and to decrease disparity with Freeview. So even if Sky were to free up space on 2D the BBC wouldn't take it. It looks as though Freeview will not be able to expand till 2016 so the BBC will not need any more space till then. It is not certain that the BBC will be able to expand either on freeview or satellite in 2016. It all depends if the Government allows an increase in the licence fee.
My guess is that the BBC are unlikely to apply any of the space on 1N. They simply cannot afford it.
I think that your hypothesis that Sky wouldn't add the Service Information data necessary for them to appear on Freesat to this Sky-operated transponder to be incorrect. My understanding is that Sky are legally obliged to provide this service.
Before Sky Digital launched on the Astra 2A satellite, Sky had pre-booked a lot of the capacity, and resold this, along with their new digital encryption services, to various broadcasters.
The BBC didn't really have it's eye on the ball at this stage, as satellite was, back then, a bit "low end", so the BBC made an agreement with Sky to put a number of channels (BBC One UK-wide, BBC Two UK-wide, BBC News 24 (launched Nov 97 on cable), BBC Choice (Sept 98 on cable), BBC Parliament (Sept 98 on cable, replacing The Parliament Channel)) on a Sky transponder using encryption, for which the BBC was to pay Sky £5 a year per viewer.
Eventually after some prodding (not least from me) the BBC moved their services to Astra 2D (which didn't launch until December 2000), saved themselves £60m quid, and eventually launched all the BBC One/Two regional versions.
However, there was a legacy, which were the "interactive streams". Sky rather insisted, in the way that they do, that because these used the "OpenTV" (an oxymoron for a fully proprietary system) that they remain on a Sky transponder. It is for this reason, rather than one of actual rights, that the BBC continued to use a Sky-owned transponder, on a long lease.
Under the EU "single market" rules, there is no requirement for the BBC or any other broadcaster to restrict their satellite footprint to a single country, the only people who did this are the "right holders" who flout these regulations insisting on breaking the "single European market" into bits, so they can profit from rich countries like the UK.
Trevor Harris: It is more than likely that if the new Freeview 600MHz capacity becomes available that Ofcom will deem one (C37) for "public service broadcasting", so it will then be shared 50% BBC, 25% ITV, 25% Channel 4. This will be to "compensate" the BBC for the loss of half of multiplex BBCB, and to allow the other two public service broadcasters to double their high definition output. This would be in-line with the legal requirements in the Broadcasting Act 1996.
As ITV2HD and E4HD already exist, and the BBC already requires delivery of all programmes to it in HD, the need for another PSB HD multiplex would not therefore require Ofcom to make any charge for it.
Josh: Under the EU broadcasting rules, there is no requirement for any channel that is broadcast free-to-air in a member state to restrict broadcasts to within that member state by the use of encryption or any other method.
In fact, other states have a legal duty to allow rebroadcast of such channels, as long as no payment is demanded for reception of such re-broadcasts.
"SES Astra announced today that it has signed an agreement for satellite capacity with ITV, the UK commercial broadcaster. The long-term agreement provides for the renewal of ITV's existing capacity and for additional capacity to support future development with ITV's channel offer. ITV currently utilizes six transponders at ASTRA's prime 28.2 degrees East orbital position, serving the UK and Ireland. Under the new contract it will progressively activate three further transponders."
Mike Dimmick: I'm not so sure if the Lyngsat "transponder ownership" symbols are much more than a guess, given that they use "Freesat" logos for some but "Freesat" is not a broadcaster, just a co-ordination and marketing company.
Thanks Briantist for the detailed reply. I remember the arguements that went on back in 1998 but did not know all that detail. I had a Pace Skybox (still working) for October 1st 1998 but no card until 3 days later.
DaveCheltenham: I was the proud owner of both Sky Digital and ONdigital system at launch (I did have a hand in both at the time), and I still had analoguecable TV too. Mind you, I had a BSB system when they came out, for the fat lot of D-MAC it did me.
Ah yes, BSB! They treid to market themselves in a niche above the 'lager-and-The Sun' image which Sky had at the time. I was a 'launch Club' member, but had to wait ages until my Nokia system was finally delivered. Excellent picturequality (particularly on The Movie Channel), but only 5 channels, although there was some talk of the UK taking Eire's five channels.....until BSB 'merged' with Sky. Or rather, as Sam Chisholm told me during a phone call, 'went bust'.
So I stayed with Marcopolo until the bitter end, then went to Sky. But later Astra launches weren't compatible with my system, so then I changed to a motorised system which was good - several continental channels, for example.
Eventually I switched to Sky digital, but the number of 'junk' channels such as shopping and so-called 'adult' channels has ruined the quality.
I'm waiting until DSO and the future plans for Freeview before I decide whether or not to update from my 'classic' Sony VTU-S760 to an newer Sky system.
If Sony or Panasonic made a TV with a built-in Sky receiver (as they do for Freesat), I'd buy one tomorrow!
I still have my old BSB receiver and 'squarial' somewhere - for the fat lot of D-MAC it did me!