Now Rock Launches

All Around the World Productions (AATW), who broadcast 4 music video channels using the Now and Clubland brands, have changed their line-up. Following the temporary festive music service which replaced Now 90s over the Christmas and New Year period, instead of reverting to Now 90s, a new Now Rock channel was launchedin its place.

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That’s TV Grows with Decade Based Music Channels

That’s TV continues to grow its classic music service, and has rolled out 4 new decade based music channels, expanded on the music service offered at various times of the day on the main That’s TV channel. However, coverage is limited at the time being, with neither channel offered to cable (Virgin Media) subscribers. The new channels collectively replace Classic Hits, itself a rebrand of That’s TV Gold.

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Like Buses, The News Stories Come All at Once…

Very much a post of just reminding readers that I’m still here, this one. Over the past few weeks, I’ve accrued details on a few significant changes in the TV world. Some stories I’ve held back on due to incomplete information or a lack of author direct observations, others delayed simply due to a lack of hours in the day.

Continue reading Like Buses, The News Stories Come All at Once…

GB News Introduces Subtitles

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.

Great Romance Set for New Year Launch

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.

BBC Sets Target Date for BBC One Regions in HD

The BBC has set a target date of April 2022 to complete the roll out of BBC One regions in high definition (HD).

Regional versions of BBC One are already available in HD on Sky’s Glass online platform, Virgin Media (cable and internet delivered Virgin Media Stream) and BT TV, albeit in some regions this upscaled to HD. The target confirms the in intention to roll out BBC One HD to all regions on satellite and terrestrial based platforms, including Sky, Freesat, Freeview, and Youview.

This work will involve splitting the terrestrial (Freeview/Youview) multiplex PSB3 (also known as BBC B) into further regions, to allow each version of BBC One to broadcast terrestrially. This will also allow ITV to show all of their local regions in HD on Freeview, and will end the need for the red screen on BBC One HD advising viewers to switch back to the standard definition version.

Another part of the work required will see additional BBC One HD streams added on satellite, as each version of the channel needs a separate stream to broadcast, with the Sky or Freesat receiver selecting the relevant version of the area the viewer is located in. HD versions of BBC Two Northern Ireland, BBC ALBA and BBC Parliament are also on their way.

Due to bandwidth restrictions, the BBC is understood to be planning to phase all satellite services from the DVB-S broadcast standard to DVB-S2. DVB-S2 is more efficient, but this will mean that users of older non-HD equipment will eventually lose access to BBC services, if they choose not to upgrade equipment. One benefit from this is that there will no longer be a need for standard and high definition duplicates on each channel. This will also affect BBC radio services broadcast on satellite, as these utilise leftover space not large enough for TV broadcasts.

More details will be published on this website as the plans develop.

ITV Drops HD Encryption – Part 2

Following my earlier post on ITV dropping encryption on HD (high definition) versions of ITV2, ITV3, and ITV4, it is now possible to confirm that new versions of the channels are now available on the Freesat EPG.

Occurring just a day after my previous post, users of Freesat HD compatible equipment can now find the HD version on the usual channel number for ITV2, ITV3, and ITV4. Only on version of each channel (not including +1 timeshifts) is on the EPG, meaning viewers will not see the effectively now redundant standard definition feed.

Users of earlier standard definition only equipment continue to see the standard definition version channel, again the channel numbers are the same before.

ITV Be and CITV remain standard definition only, for both Freesat and Sky viewers.

ITV Drops Satellite HD Encryption

ITV has dropped encryption on HD version of ITV2, ITV3, and ITV4 on satellite, opening these services up to more viewers.

The change means Sky viewers no longer require an active subscription, meaning ITV2 HD, ITV3 HD, and ITV4 HD can now be viewed free of charge. As yet, these versions haven’t joined the Freesat EPG, but can be manually tuned in (as is the case for generic satellite receivers.

Up until very recently although these channels were free to air in standard definition, the HD were exclusive to subscribers, a situation that continues with Channel 4’s spin-off channels including E4 and More 4.

Separately, Viaplay Xtra (recently rebranded from Freesports) remains free-to-air, and has not become encrypted as anticipated by the author. All of the above changes have been observed by the author, and verified by www.digitalbitrate.com.