ITV is to close it’s dedicated children’s TV channel in favour of moving content over to it’s new ITV X online streaming platform.Continue reading ITV to Close CITV
Following my earlier post on ITV dropping encryption on HD (high definition) versions of ITV2, ITV3, and ITV4, it is now possible to confirm that new versions of the channels are now available on the Freesat EPG.
Occurring just a day after my previous post, users of Freesat HD compatible equipment can now find the HD version on the usual channel number for ITV2, ITV3, and ITV4. Only on version of each channel (not including +1 timeshifts) is on the EPG, meaning viewers will not see the effectively now redundant standard definition feed.
Users of earlier standard definition only equipment continue to see the standard definition version channel, again the channel numbers are the same before.
ITV Be and CITV remain standard definition only, for both Freesat and Sky viewers.
ITV has dropped encryption on HD version of ITV2, ITV3, and ITV4 on satellite, opening these services up to more viewers.
The change means Sky viewers no longer require an active subscription, meaning ITV2 HD, ITV3 HD, and ITV4 HD can now be viewed free of charge. As yet, these versions haven’t joined the Freesat EPG, but can be manually tuned in (as is the case for generic satellite receivers.
Up until very recently although these channels were free to air in standard definition, the HD were exclusive to subscribers, a situation that continues with Channel 4’s spin-off channels including E4 and More 4.
Separately, Viaplay Xtra (recently rebranded from Freesports) remains free-to-air, and has not become encrypted as anticipated by the author. All of the above changes have been observed by the author, and verified by www.digitalbitrate.com.
UK public service broadcasters BBC, ITV, and Channel 4 are planning to integrate Digital UK and Freesat. Digital UK facilitates the provision of Freeview TV services, whilst Freesat is the UK’s main subscription free satellite TV platform (not to be confused with the entirely separate Freesat from Sky).
This proposed move is intended to help ensure viewers continue to have access to a range of free to view TV platforms. Additionally, the move is also intended to help viewers benefit from technological innovations and developments across the two services.
The move requires regulatory approval, and should complete a few months after approval is given.
All ITV regions will soon be available in HD (high definition) on the Sky and Freesat satellite platforms. The official launch of new regional HD service takes place on the Tuesday 20th October (2020).
This means a fully regionalised ITV HD service will soon be available to viewers in England, the Scottish Borders, and Wales. Until now, only some regions had a HD version of ITV on satellite.
As a result, ITV HD will move to the more prominent channel number 103 on HD compatible equipment.. On Freesat, ITV HD is currently on channel 111, whilst on Sky in regions with a HD feed ITV HD is on channel 176.
Viewers with older SD (standard definition) equipment will continue to find the SD version of ITV on 103.
Signing competition The Voice, one of many high profile shows to stop filming due to Covid-19, is making its return on the 3rd October (2020).
The entire series so far is being made available on catch-up service ITV Hub, with a special catch-up show to air ahead of the semi-final and final, later this month on ITV.
The semi-final and final will be pre-recorded in the coming weeks, and will feature a virtual audience.
It is being reported that the recently launched Merit has had its license transferred from ITV to Sky.
Under Freeview rules, channel operators cannot transfer or sell channel numbers. It appears that to get around this, ITV have created Merit in order to transfer the channel number to Sky.
Sky are planning on launching Sky Arts as a free to air channel, and Merit’s channel number could be used for the new Freeview version of the channel, possibly being combined within the bandwidth currently used by Sky owned challenge.
At this time, any potential development is simply speculation. Another scenario, given that Merit has focused on food, home, and gardening programmes, is that Sky may be planning on launching their own food or home related channel. Merit could end up forming the basis of this.
Although Merit launched on Freeview only, the channel has been broadcasting on satellite using CITV downtime, although did not join the Sky or Freesat EPG.
There are likely to be more developments in the Merit story.
Update: 23/08/2020. I’ve since learnt that Sky Arts is to take channel number 11, meaning Sky Pick would take 34 as this would be the highest Sky owned channel number. It is still unclear what will happen to Challenge.
I’m making a one off exception to the recently introduced news update schedule (i.e. new updates should occur on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays), as the Merit channel has thrown up a new development. The channel has moved to temporary multiplex COM7.
An onscreen message reveals the channel is back at 9pm, suggesting the originally reported broadcast hours of 9pm to midnight are in fact correct. The logo consists of orange text in a handwritten script font style, and does not follow the ITV corporate style, or feature the ITV logo.
I’m sure there will be more developments to this channel to report on in the near future.
ITV’s new channel Merit is now expected to launch at 8pm on Wednesday 29th July 2020, earlier than some expectations.
Details of the channel are still thin on the ground, but the channel is still expected to be a part time service. The 8pm launch time indicates that this is the regular start time, which is earlier than the 9pm to midnight timings previously reported.
Availability of the service beyond Freeview is still not known, although programmes should be available on the ITV Hub catch-up platform.
Contrary to previous reports, ITV’s new channel Merit has not yet launched, and is now expected to launch in September, according to www.terrestrialtv.uk. A placeholder is currently broadcast on channel 34.
It is unclear if the channel will launch on other platforms, and little about the channel has been confirmed. There is a possibility the channel will be exclusive to Freeview, like CCXTV.
More details will be confirmed here when I receive them.