BBC to Close Ceefax Replacement

BBC LogoThe BBC is to close the Red Button digital text service, which allows viewers to access news and other information via their TV. Original a digital replacement for the analogue Ceefax system, the Red Button text service will close next year.

With the introduction of internet connected smart TVs, the BBC introduced a Red Button + service in 2012, which allows for text and images to be displayed. This will continue, but is only available on compatible TVs connected to the internet.

Due to financial pressures, it is no longer cost effective for the BBC to maintain two distinct versions of the Red Button service. The move will impact some viewers who have poor or no broadband facility, or an older television which does not support the Red Button + service,

La Liga Coverage Finally Secure as Premier Sports Secures Rights

Premier Sports has secured the rights to show Spanish La Liga football until the end of the 2021/22 season, replacing ITV4 who had temporary rights for the start of the season.

A new channel called La Liga TV will be made available on the Premier Player streaming service from October. This channel is also expected to launch on the Sky satellite platform from January 2020. Prior to the new channel joining Sky, the La Liga matches can be found on Premier Sports 1 and 2 (which can be found on Sky and Virgin Media).

Sister channel Freesports will also show highlights and selected matches.

Good Food to Close

Former UKTV channel Good Food is to close, with its shows to be merged into the Food Network UKchannel. Good Food is currently a pay TV channel, whilst Food Network is a free-to-air channel on all major TV platforms.

Good Food was acquired by Discovery earlier this year, along with Really and Home when UKTV was split between the BBC and Discovery. Home is to become a UK version of Discovery’s HGTV (Home and Garden TV) channel. Really continues for the time being.

Good Food will close during the night o 13th to 14th September.

Trace Rebrand UK Music Channels

Trace is to rebrand at least 3 of the 4 TV channels in the UK. Chart Show TV, Chart Show Hits, Starz TV, and The Vault were acquired by Trace from Sony last year (2018).

Starz TV will become a UK version of Trace Urban, featuring music from artists such as Stormzy, SKEPTA, AJ Tracy and Steflon Don. The Vault will see a small rebrand to Trace Vault.

One of either Chart Show TV or Chart Show Hits is set to become Trace Latina, and will feature Latin American music. It has not been revealed which channel will rebrand, and what will happen to the remaining channel.

All of the rebrands are expected during November.

Globally, Trace operates 21 paid TV channels, 6 FM radio stations, and a variety of mobile and digital services. Its UK television channels are currently distributed via the Sky satellite platform.

Update (11/09/2019): I have recently come across information which suggests the following rebrands:

  • Chart Show TV to Trace Urban
  • Chart Show Hits to Trace Latina
  • The Vault to Trace Vault

This differs significantly from the information above, and fails to mention any plans for Starz TV. I will continue to monitor the situation, and provide updates when I obtain more up-to-date information.

Sky to Launch New Channels

Sky has announced two new channels, both to be available on the Sky satellite platform and via the Now TV Entertainment Pass.

First to launch is Sky Crime, in October 2019. This channel will show US crime shows from Oxygen and HBO, and first run content from Jupiter and Woodcut. Sky Comedy will follow in February 2020, and will show content from HBO, NBC and Showtime.

Sky subscribers will receive these channels at no extra cost. As yet channel numbers are yet to be confirmed, and it has not yet been announced if these channels will be available on any other platforms. There is also some speculation that the new channels might be replacements for Real Lives and Sky 2.

Alongside a variety of Sky branded channels, Sky’s channel line up also includes the E!, SYFY, Pick and Challenge brands. Challenge and Pick can both be found on free to air platforms Freeview and Freesat.

ITV4 Continues LaLiga Partnership

The UK rights for LaLiga football failed to sell, however ITV are continuing an existing partnership for the first 3 match days as an interim measure.

Athletic Bilbao v FC Barcelona will be shown tonight (Friday) on ITV4 at 8pm, with FC Barcelona v Real Betis (8pm on Sunday 25th August), and Villareal CF v Real Madrid (8pm on Sunday 1st September) to follow. Highlights programmes will follow each match day.

A last minute alteration to darts coverage on ITV4 has been made, with the darts to be shown either side of the football.

ITV4 is on all linear TV platforms, with additional HD versions on Sky and Virgin media. Coverage of the LaLiga matches will also be available on the ITV Hub on-demand platform.

New CBS on Demand Players for Freesat

The CBS AMC UK Channels Partnership has launched new on demand players on the Freesat platform. Horror Bites and CBS Catchup Channels UK allow viewers to view content from Horror Channel, CBS Reality, CBS Justice and CBS Drama through their compatible Freesat set top box.

Viewers can catch up on programmes for up to 30 days from when first broadcast on the linear channels. Box sets and CBS Reality original programming are also available to stream.

The CBS AMC UK Channels Partnership is a joint venture between AMC Networks International and CBS Studios International.

Retro Movies Joins Freesat and Channelbox

Retro Movies has now joined Freesat, and can now be found on channel 307. The channel shows movies from the early to mid 20th century, and was previously on available on Sky channel 327.

Retro Movies is now also available on Freeview streamed channel Channelbox, which can be found on channel 271. Viewers will need a compatible device connected to the internet in order to access Retro Movies through Channelbox.

Retro Movies is not currently available on Virgin Media (cable).

Sony Ditches True and Movies4Men Brands

Sony is to axe the True and Movies4Men brands as part of the latest changes to its TV channels.

True Entertainment will become Sony Channel, marking a reintroduction of that name. The existing programme line up will continue with additional shows.

Sony Movie Channels will reduce to simply Sony Movies. Movies4Men will become Sony Movies Action. True Movies will rebrand to Sony Movies Classic from January 2020, after a seasonal rebrand to Sony Movies Christmas.

It is unclear what will happen to the Sony Crime Channel.

Foodxp to Launch

Foodxp is to launch on satellite platform Sky on 1st August, at the same time as its sister channel Travelxp launches on the platforms.

Foodxp will focus on Global and Asian food, in contrast to existing food channels which focus mainly on UK and US food.

The channel has been allocated number 712, in the section of the Sky EPG (electronic programme guide) reserved for Asian channels.