The BBC is to close the Red Button digital text service, which allows viewers to access news and other information via their TV. Original a digital replacement for the analogue Ceefax system, the Red Button text service will close next year.
With the introduction of internet connected smart TVs, the BBC introduced a Red Button + service in 2012, which allows for text and images to be displayed. This will continue, but is only available on compatible TVs connected to the internet.
Due to financial pressures, it is no longer cost effective for the BBC to maintain two distinct versions of the Red Button service. The move will impact some viewers who have poor or no broadband facility, or an older television which does not support the Red Button + service,
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.
In Ireland, Eir and Virgin Media have aggreed a deal which will see their sports channels become available on each others platforms.
Virgin Media Sport will become available to subscribers to of Eir’s sports pack. In return, Virgin Media subscribers will be able to view Eir’s sports channels in Ireland.
The new agreement will come into effect in time for the Rugby World Cup, which kicks off on September 20.
The UK rights for LaLiga football failed to sell, however ITV are continuing an existing partnership for the first 3 match days as an interim measure.
Athletic Bilbao v FC Barcelona will be shown tonight (Friday) on ITV4 at 8pm, with FC Barcelona v Real Betis (8pm on Sunday 25th August), and Villareal CF v Real Madrid (8pm on Sunday 1st September) to follow. Highlights programmes will follow each match day.
A last minute alteration to darts coverage on ITV4 has been made, with the darts to be shown either side of the football.
ITV4 is on all linear TV platforms, with additional HD versions on Sky and Virgin media. Coverage of the LaLiga matches will also be available on the ITV Hub on-demand platform.
Virgin Media has claimed it is the cheapest way to watch Premier League, Champions League and Europa League matches all in one place. Virgin Media’s Bigger+Sports bundle is currently priced at £65 (for new members), and gives access to all Sky Sports channels in HD as well as BT Sport in HD and 4K.
According to Virgin Media average like for like monthly costs for its rivals are Sky £103.58, TalkTalk £95.66 and BT £86.68. All quoted prices including broadband and landline calls.
Virgin Media’s Bigger+Sports also provides access to Eurosport, Premier Sports, ESPN, and Freesports.
Sony is to axe the True and Movies4Men brands as part of the latest changes to its TV channels.
True Entertainment will become Sony Channel, marking a reintroduction of that name. The existing programme line up will continue with additional shows.
Sony Movie Channels will reduce to simply Sony Movies. Movies4Men will become Sony Movies Action. True Movies will rebrand to Sony Movies Classic from January 2020, after a seasonal rebrand to Sony Movies Christmas.
It is unclear what will happen to the Sony Crime Channel.
Sony has made further changes to its television channels.
Children’s channel Pop Max has left the Comux multiplex that broadcasts the local television channels, but is continuing on other platforms.
The Sony Crime Channel is to become only available on Sky and Virgin Media. The channel has been withdrawn from Freesat, and will only be available on Freeview in Manchester (channel 60). From 1st July, the channel will refocus on factual programming, absorbing some of the content previously available on Sony Crime Channel 2, and True Crime.
Sony Crime Channel was launched 18 months ago, and replaced the Sony Channel.
True Crime will leave Sky (satellite) and Virgin Media (cable), at the end of programming on the 30th June. The channel was reinstated in February, replacing the UK version of the TruTV channel. True Crime is also available on Freeview in Manchester, but it is unclear whether this outlet will continue.
Meanwhile on Freeview, True Entertainment and True Movies and will be reducing their coverage area from midday tomorrow. A re-tune will be required for viewers remaining within the coverage area to be able to continue to receive these services. However, both will gain a more prominent channel number with True Entertainment moving from channel 61 to 48, and True Movies moving channel 62 to 50.
Movies4Men+1 and Sony Movies+1 currently occupy slots 48 and 50 on Freeview (respectively), and it is unclear what will happen to these channels. A move to numbers 61 and 62, would seem likely.
All of the channels mentioned above are owned by Sony Pictures Television.
BT Sport has confirmed that both the UEFA Europa League and Champions League finals will be shown free of charge.
The matches will be shown live on BT Sport’s website and Youtube channel. The matches can also be watched on BT Sport’s app for a variety of devices such as Apple TV and Xbox One, and via Virgin Media (cable) channel 532.
Following on from the report that Eleven Sports had handed back its Ofcom licenses, they have reappeared on Ofcom’s list of cable and satellite license holders. There a three services listed; Eleven Sports 1 UK, Eleven Sports 2 UK, and Eleven Extra Bel (presumably the latter is a Belgium service).
This suggests that they are still planning on launching a ‘conventional’ channel in the UK, but could also be an error on Ofcom’s list. The full list of satellite and cable license holders can be view on Ofcom’s website.
Eleven Sports continues to operate in the UK online.