UKTV, owned by BBC Studios, has unveiled improvements for on-demand streaming platform UKTV Play. The platform allows viewers to stream programmes from free-to-air channels Dave, Drama, W, and Yesterday, as well as premium channels Alibi, Eden, and Gold for BT TV, Sky, and Virgin Media customers with the relevant subscription.
From today (Wednesday 28th September), a new look has been introduced, including an new logo. From November, high definition (HD) content will become available, initially for new released programmes, but re-encoded back catalogue content will follow shortly after, where a HD master (original copy) is available.
What is slightly unclear is how this will affect BT TV, Sky, and Virgin Media in the longer term, as HD versions of the free-to-air channels remain exclusive to paying subscribers. Perhaps this a sign that HD may eventually become free-to-air on linear TV platforms such as Freesat in the near future.
UKTV Play is available on a number of devices; including mobile phones and tablets, Apple TV, Youview, Freeview Play devices and some Freesat receivers.
Although unconfirmed, the following changes are expected on the Freeview terrestrial service.
CCXTV, the entertainment channel from the owners of Create & Craft and Ideal World, is expected to close on or around the 1st February (2021). Drama +1 is expected to launch on this day, and may take CCXTV’s channel number.
PBS America is expected to move up the EPG to a new channel number. Currently on 91, the channel is expected to move to 84, but this would require Now 90s to move to vacate the number. PBS America +1 is also expected to move, from 93 to 87.
No frequency changes are expected, but a retune may still be required if and when these changes take place, in order for your device to show the changes.
Following UKTV removing its channels from online platform TVplayer, the company has introduced live streams of its Freeview channels to its UKTV Play website.
The channels included are:
These channels will also be available to live stream on UKTV Play mobile apps in the next few weeks. The UKTV Play website can be found at uktvplay.co.uk.
BBC Studios and Discovery have announced details of how UKTV will split.
BBC Studios will take over Alibi, Dave, Drama, Eden, Gold, Yesterday and W. Discovery will take over Good Food, Home, and Really.
BBC Studios will take over the UKTV Play on-demand catch up service. A 10 year deal will see the BBC content launch on Discovery’s new global subscription on-demand video service, excluding the UK, Ireland, and China.
The split has been rumoured for some time, following Discovery inheriting the UKTV share that was owned by Scripps Networks.