In the absence of much news to report on, I figured an update on what I deem to be news worthy would be useful for readers of the website.
Going forward, updates device software and firmware (including operating systems) will not be covered. This is due to many of the updates being largely focussed on user interfaces, and of little relevance to broadcasting matters. New app will on be reported on when directly related to linear TV services or a major streaming platform such as Now or Pluto TV
In a similar vein, stories relating to ratings or viewing figures will not be covered, unless this shows a major change in trends from one platform to another.
Beyond that, news coverage remains broadly unchanged, with a focus on major stories on terrestrial television, cable, satellite, and online streaming. The latter will continue to be focussed on services linked to linear TV. Having noticed that the Media Mole website has been producing high quality broadcasting stories, this website is now regarded as an information source, despite the large focus on general entertainment stories.
Lastly, I have notice that another particular website has resurfaced. Although the main stories are believed accurate, some headlines have been rather misleading. This leads me to give this commitment:
All headlines on All About Digital TV and Radio shall be accurate, and descriptive of the story in question.
Music channels Now 70s and Now 80s have swapped frequencies on the Freeview terrestrial platform. Now 70s has switched from the Greater Manchester (GMan) multiplex to the COM6 (Arqiva B) multiplex, with Now 80s making the opposite move.
As a result, Now 70s has increased its coverage area to most of the UK, with Now 80s restricted to the Greater Manchester area only.
The channel numbers have also changed, with Now 70s now on channel 76. Now 80s occupies a slightly higher position on the EPG, and can now be found on channel number 75.
GB News, the upcoming new news channel, has now confirmed its channel numbers for Freesat and Freeview.
On Freeview, the channel will be on 236, below the current news channels, and is the COM6 multiplex which offers a coverage area of around 90%. The channel is broadcasting an information slate ahead of launch.
On Freesat, the channel will be on number 216, and will broadcast in HD. It is unclear whether a standard definition (SD) simulcast will be offered for those with older equipment. Like with Freeview, GB News will appear below existing news channels on the EPG.
Sky and Virgin Media channel numbers are yet to be confirmed. For Sky, GB News has the option of buying a channel number from an existing broadcaster, so may appear in a more prominent position on the EPG.
As reported by Advanced Television BT has entered discussions over a potential sale of BT Sport. Options range from a full sale to partial sale or joint venture arrangement.
It is likely that any procceeds raising will be invested into the roll out of fibre broadband.
BT Sport currently opperate 5 channels available through BT TV, Sky, and Virgin Media, BT Sport 1, 2, 3, BT Sport Ultimate, and BT Sport ESPN. The latter is a co-branded joint venture with ESPN, showing US sport, while BT Sport Ultimate shows content in 4K resolution.
Recent changes to DAB in London have seen two Bauer Media operated stations lose stereo DAB transmissions.
Ahead of the 105.8 FM frequency switching to Greatest Hits Radio, Absolute Radio has now been removed from the London 1 DAB multiplex. The station also broadcasts on the D1 National multiplex, but unlike the former 128 kbps joint stereo slot on London 1, this is mono only.
Hits Radio (London) has also switched to 80 kbps mono from 128 kbps joint stereo, this time on the London 2 multiplex. This move has allowed Absolute Radio 70s to return to the London 2 multiplex, also using 80 kbps mono DAB. Absolute Radio 70s had previously vacated the multiplex to make way from Hits Radio to join.
Lastly, Absolute Radio 10s is now available on the London 1 multiplex, but uses DAB+ at 48 kbps stereo. Older radios may not receive this service, but listeners should get reasonable sound quality from a higher than usualy DAB+ standard bit rate. However, the new service largerly falls into the saturated pop music market.
In general, these changes mean poorer sound quality, and in the case of Absolute Radio, poorer access to services. This is partially offset by the additional services, but these bring nothing new to the saturated pop music market, and it could be argued that the changes mean a poorer DAB service for residents of the London area.
Following the Ofcom licence revocation, Chinese international news channel CGTN will resume broadcasts in the UK.
An agreement pre-dating the European Union allows TV channels licensed in France to broadcast in the UK.
As CGTN has such a license, it will resume UK broadcasts in due course, once prepartions have been made to uplink the channel from France, a requirement of the licence.
Unlike the UK France does allow state controlled TV channels, but like the UK still regulates the output of the channel. This means CGTN could find itself back in trouble, if it does not stick to the rules in France.
BET and Vice are both expected to close on linear TV platforms.
ViacomCBS owned BET, will migrate to My5 and Pluto TV, both of which are also owned by ViacomCBS.
Low viewing figures are the likely reason for both closures.
While I was away, it was confirmed that BBC Three is returning as a linear TV channel, to the Freesat, Freeview, Sky, and Virgin Media platforms.
CBBC will revert to its original finishing time of 7pm. BBC Three will feature a strand of programmes suitable for 13 to 18 year olds from 7pm to 9pm. The return of BBC Three is scheduled for early 2021.
Although frequencies are available for the return of BBC Three, the original channel numbers have been reassigned to other services. It has not been confirmed which numbers BBC Three will be given, but as a BBC service, it will be given priority for a low number high on the EPG.
BBC Four remains, but will become an archive channel, and will no longer receive new commissioned shows. Some live art programming will remain, as part of the cost reducing changes.
A new job, house move, and at times lack of internet have largely prevented updates over the past few weeks, and will also mean a reduced number of updates for a few weeks yet.
Thankfully, major news stories have been few and far between. One that has been missed is the return of BBC Three to TV platforms. BET, owned by ViacomCBS, makes the opposite move, going online only.
I’ll do a summary of these in due course, along with a couple of DAB related stories. While offline, I’ve put together some reviews of digital stations. These will also be published shortly, but scores on the doors include 4/10 for Boom Radio, and 7/10 for Union Jack Dance.
I hope you continue to find the website enjoyable, and thanks for reading.
Apologies for the delay in this post due to personal commitments.
Over the Valentines weekend of February 13th/14th, music service That’s TV re-branded as That’s 60s for the occasion, temporarily flipping to an advert free format of 60s music.
Traditionally showing music videos from the 1970s and 80s, the channel is introducing music from the 40s, 50s, and 60s for the first time, alongside local news provision.
Localised versions of That’s TV are available in some areas on Freeview channel 7 or 8, with national streamed version of the channel available on the Vision TV portal on channel number 264.