ITV Regions Going HD on Freesat and Sky

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.

Additional Premier League Games Pay Per View

It has now been confirmed that all Premiere League fixtures until the end of October will be available to watch, with five games a week available in a pay per view basis.

Existing arrangements and match selections with BT Sport and Sky Sports will remain in place. The matches not already selected for broadcast will be made available on the BT Sport Box Office and Sky Sports Box Office platforms.

This interim solution has been agreed by clubs, but does mean that there will be no more free to air live matches for the immediate future, although the BBC continues to show highlights.

Sky Q Gains Netflix in HDR

Netflix shows in HDR (high dymanic range) quality can now be found on Sky Q, joining a growing collection of HDR content.

HDR content includes some Sky Nature shows, alongside other Sky originals including Cobra and Save Me Too. Subscribers to Disney + have access to Disney content in HDR.

The Secret Garden is the first Sky Cinema original film to be made available in HDR. Live sport in HDR is also expected next year (2021).

Record Audience for Sky Sports

Thanks to a large amount of live sport on the 4th October (2020), Sky Sports have achieved a record audience.

In figures published by Sky Sports,  Sky Sports’ averaged 933,000 throughout the day, accounting for a 11.7% audience share.

3.3 million viewers tuned in at the peak, which occurred just before 5pm, which was a 25% audience share.

Channel U to Return

Grime music TV station will return on 13th November (2020), and will broadcast grime videos and classic shows, along with the movie Against All Odds.

The original Channel U, later known as Channel AKA, first launched in 2003, spending 15 years on air prior to closure in 2018.

Availability is not yet confirmed, but the channel is expected to be available on Sky and Virgin Media.

BBC Sky Channel Number Changes

BBC Alba, the Gaelic TV service from the BBC and MG Alba, is has moved to a new channel number on Sky. BBC Alba will take over channel number 117, last used by the short lived STV2 service.

With Disney having withdrawn its linear children’s TV channels, CBBC and CBeebies has moved to vacated numbers 607 and 608 respectively. If you have a HD box, the SD versions are on 643/644, and vice-versa for older SD boxes

The number swaps took place on 1st October (2020). Viewers should not need to take action, as the changes will be made automatically.

ITV’s The Voice Resumes

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.

BBC Red Button Service to Continue

The BBC will now continue the text based Red Button information service. However, there will be further reductions in the content available.

From November 2020, Lottery results will no longer be available on the Red Button. From mid 2021, English regional sport pages and individual sports’ headlines (except football and those on the main sport pages) will be removed. National sport indexes for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland & Wales, will be retained alongside all sport fixtures and results.

Additionally, the BBC News & BBC Sport connected TV apps with be withdrawn before the end of the year, as will the lottery and weather pages on connected TVs. Video content on these apps will be moved to the iPlayer.

GB News to Challenge Sky and BBC

Andrew Neil, a former BBC journalist and broadcaster, is to launch a new 24 hour news channel called GB News. The channel will rival long established BBC News and Sky News, and will be on all major platforms, although exact platform availability is yet to be revealed.

Andrew Neil has been appointed chairman, and will also host a flagship programme. The management team will also include Angelos Frangopoulos (ex Sky Australia) and John McAndrew (ex Sky News).

Discovery has been named as the lead investor of the channel, which is expected to launch in 2021.

Sky Sports Cricket on YouTube

From today (21st September 2020), Sky Sports is streaming all 5 matches of the T20 Women’s Cricket series between England and the West Indies for free.

The coverage is available on the Sky Sports YouTube channel, in addition to live coverage on the Sky Sports Cricket Channel.

This is the schedule:

  • 21st September: 1st Vitality IT20 at 6.30pm
  • 23rd September: 2nd Vitality IT20 at 6.30pm
  • 26th September: 3rd Vitality IT20 at 1pm
  • 28th September: 4th Vitality IT20 at 6.30pm
  • 30th September: 5th Vitality IT20 at 6.30pm