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.
Plusnet is closing its YouView based TV service, which combines the standard terrestrial TV service from Freeview with additional premium channels delivered over an internet connection.
The wind down of the service commenced during January, when the service was withdrawn from sale to new customers. During March, a number of channels were removed for existing customers.
The final two stages will happen in October and November. On 1st October (2021), existing customers will no longer be charge for the service. A final switch off date is scheduled for the 1st November, at which point the remaining channels will be switch off, and associated recordings will be lost.
Plusnet TV viewers can continue to use the YouView boxes after the switch off to access Freeview channels, but will no longer have access to technical support.
Although trials began in 2013, Plusnet TV did not launch until 2015, meaning the service has been available for only 6 years. The move comes as parent company BT switches focus away from multi-platform services to the wide scale roll out of fibre broadband. BT had already slimmed down its TV offering, rebuilding it around Sky’s Now (formerly Now TV) platform.
BITE (or as the author will now type it, Bite), has launched in the UK via Channel Box, a streamed channel on the Freeview terrestrial platform.
Bite specialises in programmes around fresh food, and plans to launch on Rakuten TV and other platforms in due course.
Channel Box can be found on Freeview channel number 271, in the areas covered by the commercial multiplexes, offering coverage to around 90% of the UK population. Viewers will need to have their Freeview box or TV connected to the internet in order to access the service.
Sky is making a further change to its channel line up, with Sky One set to be closed, and two new channels launched in its place.
Sky Showcase will take Sky One’s current EPG slot and numbers, and will become a channel showcasing content from Sky’s entire channel portfolio, including its sports and film channels. It remains to be seen if there will ben overlap with the Sky Replay channel, which recently rebranded from Sky Two. It will be linear only, without an on-demand platform attached, something which is a rarity in current trends.
A new channel, Sky Max, will become home to the latest premium content from Sky, with drama’s such as A Discovery of Witches and COBRA, and comedy panel shows including A League of Their Own and the returning Never Mind The Buzzcocks, to feature on the channel. Sky Max will be available in both linear and on-demand forms.
Comedy shows Code 404 and Hitmen Reloaded, both previously on Sky One, will find a new home on the Sky Comedy channel, which is being updated with a revised programme line-up.
All three channels will be or are available to Sky, Virgin Media (cable), and BT TV customers. The changes see the end of a long history for Sky One, which launched in April 1982. At over 39 years old, it’s the oldest non-terrestrial TV channel in the UK.
All of the above changes will take effect from the 1st September (2021), alongside a wider reshuffle of channel number/EPG allocations. Additionally, NBCUniversal’s new Peacock streaming service will soon be rolled out to Sky customers across Europe later this year (2021), at no extra cost.
As reported by Advanced Television BT has entered discussions over a potential sale of BT Sport. Options range from a full sale to partial sale or joint venture arrangement.
It is likely that any procceeds raising will be invested into the roll out of fibre broadband.
BT Sport currently opperate 5 channels available through BT TV, Sky, and Virgin Media, BT Sport 1, 2, 3, BT Sport Ultimate, and BT Sport ESPN. The latter is a co-branded joint venture with ESPN, showing US sport, while BT Sport Ultimate shows content in 4K resolution.
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).