This category includes online based streaming services such as TV Player and Pluto TV, along with connected TV platforms such as BT TV and TalkTalk TV, which combine terrestrial channel line ups with additional channels delivered via broadband.
BT TV, the YouView powered hybrid terrestrial and IPTV platform, is to drop several channels from its Classic Entertainment pack. This is expected to be a complete removal, with the channels to also be removed from legacy packages.
On the 1st March (2021), the following channels will be removed (including HD versions):
On the 1st April (2021), the following channels will be removed (including HD versions):
Premium channel Lifetime will leave the Sky, Virgin Media, and Youview powered platforms in the UK and Ireland, as the channel is closing at the end of the month.
Two sources offer different closure dates, with Media Mole suggesting 28th February (2021) in the headline but contradicting itself with March 1st in quote. TV Channel Lists opts for March 1st. A closure in the early hours of 1st March is most likely, meaning the 28th February should be the last full day of broadcasts.
Lifetime is owned by A&E Television Networks, and replaced The Biography Channel seven years ago. With a BARB average audience share of just 0.03%, the channel has struggled to attract an audience, lagging behind sister channels including free to air Blaze (0.29%), and premium channels Sky History (0.22%) and Crime+Investigation (0.16%).
The other channels will remain, with Lifetime content expected to be accommodated on the other channels. In other parts of the world, Lifetime continues to be available in Poland and Africa, although the outlet in Malta is also closing.
Discovery+, the on-demand subscription service from Discovery, has been added to more devices, and is coming soon to others.
The service can now be found on Amazon Fire TV and Samsung Smart TVs, in both the UK and Ireland. It has also been confirmed that the service will be added to Roku and Vodafone devices later in the year.
For Amazon Fire TV devices, the service is available through an app that can be downloaded from the app store. The app will be pre-installed on new Samsung TVs, and is a featured app on 2017 and newer Samsung Smart TVs. Compatibility with older Samsung Smart TVs is unconfirmed.
GB News, the proposed new news channel with backing from Discovery, will be on all major UK TV platforms, including terrestrial (Freeview including YouView based platforms), satellite (both Freesat and Sky), and cable (Virgin Media).
Infrastructure provider Arqiva has been selected to deliver the channel, and will oversee the launch and manage programme delivery. The channel should reach 96% of households in the UK.
A proposed launch date has not yet been revealed, but the channel is expected to launch this year (2021).
Channelbox, the streaming portal available on Freeview devices connected to the internet, has welcomed African Movie Channel to its line-up. It is the first channel of its type to launch on Freeview.
African Movie Channel operates 24×7, showing award-winning Nollywood movies, alongside the best movies from other parts of the African continent. This includes movies produced by its in house production company, AMC Original Productions, or AMCOP.
Channelbox can be found on Freeview channel 271, on compatible Freeview devices with an internet connection. Due to the way the Channelbox portal is broadcast, the service has a limited coverage area, and is not available to those who receive a relay service.
African Movie Channel is currently exclusive to Channelbox and Freeview, and is not yet available on other platforms.
First launched in Australia, winter sports channel Ski TV has launched in the UK, becoming the first sports channel on the Channelbox platform.
Channelbox is portal accessible on compatible Freeview TVs and set top both connected to both an aerial and the internet. This can be found by navigating to channel 271, and provides access to news, movies, music and entertainment channels in a variety of languages.
All channels on Channelbox, including Ski TV, are available for free. It is unknown if Ski TV will join other platforms.
The Amazon Prime Video app is to be added to the latest generation of Freesat boxes, providing another way for Prime Video customers to access the service. New customers will be able to sign-up via the app, and receive a 30 day free trial. The addition will enhance the hybrid offering, which includes a large selection of free-to-air channels delivered via satellite.
Sky and Amazon have also unveiled a new partnership, which will see Prime Video added to Sky and Now TV devices across Europe, including the UK and Ireland. In a return move, Now TV will be added to selected Fire TV devices and Smart TVs.
This means that Sky customers will be able to access all Premier League football matches shown live via their Sky Q box, with matches from BT Sport, Prime Video, and Sky Sports all being available via the platform. However, to do this a subscription will be required to all three services, which may be a costly exercise.