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.
Unfortunately, time has gotten the better of me lately, and updates have been few and far between. Apologies for any disappointment caused.
I had hoped to have posted about this over a week ago, but the now free-to-air UKTV channel W has changed channel number on Sky. Premium channel Albi has now been promoted on the EPG, and has taken over W’s prominent number of 109, with W now on 132. This updates the previous post.
Curiously, despite now being on Freeview channel number 25, W is still included within the TV packages of BT TV and TalkTalk TV, streamed via broadband on channel number 311 in both cases. This is despite both platforms piggybacking on Freeview terrestrial signals for free-to-air channels. However, this odd situation will still be of benefit to viewers in some areas, as most commercial channels are not available on Freeview relay transmitters.
In what appears to be a move to free up capacity on Freeview transmitters for W, the Together Channel has now been moved to the limited coverage COM7 multiplex. The community led channel is supported by other broadcasters with bandwith and programmes gifted to the channel. It is unclear where this channel will be accommodated on Freeview once the temporary COM7 multiplex closes in June (2022). Carriage on other platforms is currently unaffected at this time.
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.
Some channels have changed number on Freeview. Although no channels have moved frequency, some equipment may require a retune for the changes to become visible (you may need to reset series recordings).
Starting with CCX TV, this channel has moved from 23 to 73. Dave Ja Vu (Dave +1) has made a similar move in the opposite direction, replacing CCX TV on 23, moving from 79.
A further 3 channels have made smaller moves. Jewellery Maker moves from 73 to 71. Shopping Quarter moves from 74 to 72, allowing Yesterday +1 to move from 75 to 74.
None of these changes appear to be as a result of a change in channel ownership, but Dave Ja Vu may give way to allow another UKTV owned channel to move to higher position in the EPG.
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.
As expected, Quest has now inherited the number 12 slot on Freeview, previously used by Dave and briefly Home. Home can now be found on number 42, whilst DMAX has now been promoted the channel 37, the old number for Quest.
Viewers who receive these channels may need to retune for the channels to move to their correct positions. Some receivers will make these changes automatically.
As part of the split of UKTV, some Freeview channels will be changing numbers on Monday (10th June). This is part of the deal between the BBC and Discovery, with Discovery receiving the channel number 12.
Home, due to be acquired by Discovery, will take over channel 12 from Dave, which returns to its original number 19. Yesterday will in turn move from 19 to 25, which is the current ‘home’ of Home. Dave and Yesterday are to become part of the BBC’s commercial arm BBC Studios.
It is expected that Home will only be on channel 12 for a short time, with Discovery’s Quest likely to take over the slot.
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.