Pick, a free-to-air channel operated by Sky but without Sky branding (similar to sister channel Challenge), is to be rebranded to Sky Mix. Existing programming will be maintained, however additional content from across Sky’s portfolio will be added.Continue reading Sky to Revamp Pick
New based opinion channel GB News has introduced subtitles for the first time.
Implemented around a month ago (but missed by the author until now), the system is based around automatic speech recognition alongside human intervention, to provide live subtitling with a claim accuracy of 98.5%.
The channel’s license from regulatory Ofcom does not yet mandate subtitles or other accessibility features, but the channel has brought these in voluntarily. A statement from CEO Angelos Frangopoulos states, “While we always planned subtitles, we brought them forward when viewers contacted us in their hundreds to request better accessibility to GB News.” (Source: Media Mole, January 2023, unverified).
GB News is available on most major TV platforms, including via satellite (Sky and Freesat), cable (Virgin Media), and terrestrial (Freeview – limited coverage). An additional audio only feed is available on DAB+ digital radio in most areas.
Narrative Entertainment UK are making a line-up change, to their network of four ‘Great!’ branded channels, once the annual Great Movies Christmas channel comes to an end.
In line with the now annual Christmas tradition, Great Movies Classic has temporarily rebranded as Great Movies Christmas, showing a variety of festive films. However, instead of reverting back at the end of the festive period, Great Romance will launch in its place on January 5th 2023.
The channel will remain free-to-air, and will specialise in feel good romantic films, instead of the more general selection of classic films of its predecessor. It is presumed the annual festive Great Movies Christmas will return again over the 2023/24 festive season.
Great Movies Christmas is currently available on Freeview channel no. 52 (limited coverage), Freesat channel no. 303, channel no. Sky 319 (satellite, not Glass/Stream) and Virgin Media channel no. 424. Great Romance will take over on these channel numbers on January 5th 2023, joining Great Movies, Great Movies Action, Great TV, and Children’s brand Pop, in Narrative Entertainment’s portfolio. This is the first significant change to the line-up since Narrative’s acquisition of Sony’s former TV channel portfolio in the UK.
Virgin Media has expanded it’s channel provision in Ireland, with the launch of a new general entertainment channel Virgin Media Four.
The new channel is available on from launch on the Soarview terrestrial platform and via the Virgin Media cable platform. As yet, there is no satellite provision, but this is likely as existing services Virgin Media One, Two, and Three are available on Sky in Ireland (encrypted).
Channel numbers confirmed are 7 for Soarview, displacing childrens channel RTE jnr to number 17, and 110 for Virgin Media’s cable viewers.
Virgin Media now has four main TV channels in Ireland. Flagship Virgin Media One, youth focused Virgin Media Two, and drama led Virgin Media Three sit alongside the new channel.
Talk Radio, the speech based station from Wireless Group (owned by News UK), will become a hybrid TV and radio channel with the launch of Talk TV. The development of the channel has been forming discussion for sometime, but there are now enough confirmed details for a full news article.
Talk Radio have been streaming an online TV channel Talk Radio TV for some time now. Largely, this comprises the same audio feed as the station on DAB+, with the addition of a studio video feed, and a scrolling news ticker. Daytime content will be carried over to the new hybrid service largely unchanged.
In the evenings, new primetime shows will be added, hosted by well known names such a Sharon Osborne and Piers Morgan. The audio for these will be rebroadcast on Talk Radio, but will be broadcast from new TV studios.
A website has now appeared online, but helpfully this only confirms the start date of the new Talk TV service, which is the 25th April (2022). Channel availability confirmed so far includes terrestrial Freeview on number 237, satellite platforms Freesat (217) and Sky (526), and cable platform Virgin Media (number not yet confirmed).
NB. All channel numbers confirmed are based on details obtained from platform websites or direct observations.
UKTV, part of the commercial arm of the BBC, is relaunching its W channel. As part of this, the channel is going free-to-air, and is joining the Freesat satellite platform, and terrestrial platform Freeview. The channel is currently a premium offering available to subscribers to Sky and satellite, and cable TV provider Virgin Media.
The move has been speculated for some time, but has now been confirmed by the broadcaster. Prior to confirmation, clue to the move have become far more visible, with a Freeview license issued by the regulator Ofcom, and the commencement of free-to-air tests on satellite. W and its corresponding +1 channel are now available on Sky without an active subscription.
From Monday 28th March (2022), W will be available on existing Sky channel number 109 (or 110 for viewers in Wales), and Virgin Media on existing number 125, as well as launching on Freeview number 25 and Freesat number 156.
As part of the launch on Freeview, a wider channel number shuffle will take place. 25 is currently occupied by Dave Ja Vu (Dave +1), which will move to number 74, currently occupied by Drama +1. Drama +1 will in turn receive a promotion to channel number 60, currently occupied by part-time placeholder ITV4 +1. No new number is yet available for ITV4 +1, but this service will likely move further down the order.
Depending on equipment, you may need to retune your Freeview TV or set top box to update the channel names on the channel lists. Some equipment will detect new channels automatically on existing stored frequencies, so will automatically pick up the new feed from Drama +1, and change names in the channel lists accordingly. W and Dave Ja Vu will be using existing feeds, so will not disappear without a retune, but your equipment may not update the service names automatically, so a re-tune may still be required.
The Paramount Network channel is changing name tomorrow (19th January 2022). The channel will become 5 Action, but will otherwise continue unchanged.
Paramount Network currently shows original programmes including Trucking Hell, reruns of shows such as Police Interceptors, and a variety of movies. The channel forms part of ViacomCBS’s Channel 5 portfolio, alongside othe ‘5’ branded channels.
Previous changes saw Paramount Network merge with 5 Spike (launched originally as Spike). Paramount Network absorbed most 5 Spike programming, and inherited the most prominent channel numbers on the platforms it broadcast on.
The name change clears ViacomCBS to reuse the Paramount name for the forthcoming Paramount+ subscription streaming service. Meanwhile, the soon to be 5 Action will continue to be available on terrestrial (Freeview), cable (Virgin Media), and satellite (Freesat and Sky).
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.
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.
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.