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.Continue reading That’s TV Grows with Decade Based Music Channels
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…
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.
Freeview, the organisation which promotes and oversees terrestrial television in the UK has turned 20 years old. Terrestrial TV in the UK is home to around 80 channels (albeit not all are available in all areas).Continue reading Freeview Turns 20
In details first revealed in the listings magazine Radio Times, it has been confirmed that the UK version of the Smithsonian Channel is set to close.Continue reading Smithsonian Channel to Close
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.
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.
A few changes have been or are being made to music channels. This will be a longish article, but I felt it wise to wait until I had the full details, rather than post multiple very short articles.
I shall begin with the easiest change, relating to terrestrial (Freeview) only. Now 90s has moved down to channel number 87, to allow for the new Earthx channel take over number 79 (an article on Earthx will follow later this week).
A little more complex, is that of Classic Hits (formerly That’s TV Music), which has resulted in increased coverage. On the Manchester only Freeview multiplex, Classic Hits has replaced Country Music Entertainment, giving a 24 hour service to the Greater Manchester area. The latter remains available on compatible internet connected devices, via the OnDemand365 streaming portal. The Manchester version is labelled Classic Hits MCR, and has taken Classic Hits original number 91.
The part-time version of Classic Hits continues, but now broadcast from 4am to 7am, instead of 1am to 7am. This allows That’s TV (UK) to extended it’s broadcast hours to 4am, with both services continuing to timeshare. The UK version of Classic Hits has taken over Country Music Entertainment’s channel number 88, benefitting from a slightly higher and more prominent EPG position.
In addition Classic Hits has also launched on satellite, and can be found on Sky channel number 366. The service is free to air, and can be manually tuned in to other satellite receivers, but is not yet available on the Freesat EPG.
Trace Urban, Trace Latina and Trace Brazuca have joined the Channelbox streaming platform, which can be accessed via the portal on Freeview channel number 271 and via mobile phone apps.
Lastly, Spotlight TV (formerly Keep It Country) have now confirmed the channel is leaving the Sky and Freesat platforms, on or around the end of August. The channel is looking to join the above mentioned Channelbox platform, although at the time of writing has not yet done so. The channel was for a time the only music channel on the Freesat platform, and has blamed the decision on the methods used to calculate viewing figures. The channel is expected to continue in a more limited, and largely online based form.
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.
Unsurprisingly, the previous post on the Freeview (terrestrial) channel shuffle did miss some details. Most changes, except those to BBC Four HD and CBeebies HD (click link for article), were made as expected, but there are a couple of broadcast hour changes that I missed.
That’s TV (UK) and sister channel Classic Hits (formerly That’s Music) timeshare, and share a single 24 hour video stream. That’s TV (UK) broadcasts from 7am to 1am, with Classic Hits limited to 1am to 7am in the early hours of the morning.
PBS America, now without its Freeview only +1 channel (which broadcast for longer hours than the main channel), has extended its hours marginally. PBS America now closes down at midnight each night, instead of the previous 11pm. It would appear, that negotiations are still ongoing for future increases in broadcast hours once bandwith (space) becomes available, though this has not been confirmed.