GB News has been talked about a lot recently, both in the press, and within online forums. Much fuss has been made about various technical difficulties, and a seemingly endless run of schedule changes. A recent switch to free-to-air satellite has allowed me to sample the station for the first time, and what follows are my initial impressions.
Largely, my viewing has taken place at evenings and weekends. I seem to land on Dan Wootton Tonight a lot of the time, but I have also seen parts of shows fronted by Alistair Stewart and Neil Oliver, amongst others.
I’ll get the technical difficulties dealt with first. Apart from one occasion where the weather graphics were out of focus, technical issues have been largely non-existent. On screen graphics are sharp and easy to read, the studio sets appear well put together, and lighting is also good. This would suggest that initial technical difficulties have been overcome.
Adverts are shown in a frame, to allow for the scrolling ticker to be shown whilst retaining advert small print. The ticker itself is clear and easy to read, and sits nicely on the bottom of the screen. I actually prefer the GB New ticker to the one found on Sky News, and the ‘flicker’ type headline display of the BBC News channel.
Although a nightmare for those with older, non-compatible satellite equipment, I admire the channels commitment to HD picture quality, albeit the channel is still standars definition only on terrestrial Freeview. That being said, I wouldn’t have minded if the channel was standard definition only, as I don’t feel picture quality is that important for a news based channel. The new DAB+ radio service, although using only 24 kbps, is also of satisfactory quality, with initial observations suggesting slightly better sound quality than LBC News.
Programmes itself, although being news/topical based, are more of opinion rather than news, but regular news bulletins are now present that. That being said, opinions are clearly marked as such, with little no attempt made to pass over opinions as facts. Some programmes, including Dan Wootton Tonight, open with a monologue delivered by the presenter, but again all opinions are clearly marked as such. These monologues do appear to set up the topics of conversation quite well.
So in summary, perhaps the name GB Opinion would have been more appropriate. That said the channel does offer something different, and the widespread availability means most people should be able to access the service. Scores on the doors, 6 out of 10.