Channel Numbers Confirmed for GB News

The full set of channel numbers for GB News has now by confirmed.

On the Sky satellite platform, GB News will be on 515, aquiring that number from Nigerian news channel TVC News. On the Virgin Media cable platform, GB News will be on number 626. This is in addition to the already confirmed channel numbers 216 for Freesat, and 236 for Freeview.

On Freeview, GB News will be in standard definition, while on all other platforms the channel will be in high definition (HD) only. For satellite viewers, this means users of non-HD devices will be unable to watch GB News.

The channel will launch on Sunday 13th June at 8am, with special programming to mark the launch.

Fox to Close in the UK

Disney owned TV channel Fox is to close in the UK and Ireland, in the latest phase of Disney’s move away from linear TV to on demand streaming.

The channel is currently broadcasting via the Sky satelite, and Virgin Media cable platforms, but will close on the 30th June (2021). Some content is expected to migrated to Disney+, under the Star brand.

Fox had been available in the UK for 17 years, and the its closure in the UK and Ireland is the latest stage in its gradual withdrawal.

Virgin TV 360 Launches

Already available in the Republic of Ireland, cable TV operator Virgin Media have now launched their new Virgin TV 360 platform in the UK, to offer a “seamless connected entertainment experience”.

Customers can enjoy simple modern menus, quick navigation and their favourite channels and apps all in one place, including all major TV channels and streaming services such as BBC iPlayer and Netflix.

A new mini ‘set top’ box has been launched, complete with a new remote which features voice control. The Virgin TV Go app has also been updated.

Virgin Media delivers 2.2 Gbps broadband speeds

In a real world trial, Virgin Media has successful delivered 2.2 Gbps broadband speeds to homes in Thatcham, Berkshire, using its fibre rich network. The proof of concept trail showcased the speeds that can be achieved via its existing network, without the need for additional infrastructure.

The speeds were achieved using the Hub 4 router, already standard with Virgin Media’s Gigabit broadband service, already available to 3.7 million homes. The speeds were independently verified by SamKnows.

In the future, multi-gigabit speeds will allow households to instantly and simultaneously stream boxsets and video games instantly and simultaneously with resolutions of upwards of 8K, and carry out tasks such as video calls without any delay.

Youtube Kids Arrives on Virgin Media

Virgin Media has added YouTube Kids to its V6 TV platform, allowing a child friendly platform for streaming Youtube videos.

The app can be set for different age groups, allowing parents to customise the experience so it is appropriate to their children.

The app is available to Virgin Media subscribers with the newer V6 box. Users of the previous generation Tivo box will not have access to the app at this time.

Ireland: Virgin Pulls Channels From eir Sport

A dispute between Irish broadcaster eir and Virgin Media has seen Virgin pull Virgin Media Sport and Sport Extra from eir Sport at very short notice.

The row surrounds the non payment of license fees to Virgin Media who own the rights to show Champions League games on Irish television.

Virgin Media want the full amount owed under the contract, but eir are only willing to pay for games that actually take place.

Another Sky Rebrand

Sky Two is expected to re-brand on the 3rd September (2020) to Sky Replay. It is unclear what, if any programme changes will be made, but it would appear the channel will be used for repeats of programmes on other Sky owned channels.

Sky Two is currently available on Sky’s satellite platform, and Virgin Media’s cable platform, and is expected to continue on both platforms.

Virgin Media Reveals Leap in TV Viewing

Cable TV operator Virgin Media has revealed how the Covid-19 lockdown has changed viewing habits in the UK.

Amongst the statistics revealed are a 10% increase in customers watching TV, compared to pre-lockdown, with customers watching TV for an average of 41 extra minutes per day.

28th March, a Saturday, was the busiest data for customers tuning into TV channels, with 17% growth, compared to the eight previous Saturdays. For apps, this figure was an even higher 42%.

News, music, and radio channels all saw an increase in demand. Each customer spent an extra 25 minutes watching the news, on average. With schools closed, children’s channels also saw increases in demand.

Disney to Close Channels

Children’s channels Disney Channel, Disney Junior, and Disney XD are to close in the UK. Unsurprisingly, this is part of the moving of content to Disney’s subscription streaming service Disney Plus, which will become the exclusive home for all of the content.

The move will take effect on October 1st, and will affect Sky and Virgin Media subscribers who currently subscribe to packages which include the channels.

Disney Plus launched in March this year, and costs £5.99 a month. Sky subscribers can access the service through the app on Sky Q.

The change is specific to the UK, although similar moves may made in other countries. Other Disney owned channels including National Geographic are not affected by the change.

Sony Crime Channel to Close

Sony Crime ChanelThe Sony Crime Channel is to close on during the early hours of 10th June 2020, on its remaining platforms Sky (satellite) and Virgin Media (cable), as Sony focuses on its remaining movie and entertainment channels.

Although launching with a large amount of publicity, the channel had struggled to compete with its rivals, and has been downgraded. The channel had already lost its national Freeview (terrestrial) slot.

Sony Crime Channel launched in February 2018, and has lasted just over two years on the air.