A number of updates to the Freeview terrestrial line up have taken place recently.Continue reading Freeview Updates
TV Player, an online streaming platform for free and subscription television has suffered a further loss of channels, as Paramount Global removes all of its remaining channels from the platform.
The channels removed are free-to-view services Channel 5, 5 Select, 5 Star, and 5 USA, plus subscription services Comedy Central, Comedy Central Extra, and MTV. It would appear that other Paramount Global (formerly ViacomCBS) channels, such as Nickelodeon and 5 Action (formerly Paramount Network), had already been removed.
TV Player is one of few places that offer online live streaming of regular TV channels found on other platforms, such as satellite, cable, or terrestrial. The website was largely unique, as it works directly with broadcasters, ensuring that consents are fully obtained and required royalties are paid.
TV Player first launched in 2014 (official launch), and has seen channels come and go since then. However, in most case channels have been removed from the platform, with the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and Discovery Inc. all having removed channels, largely in favour of developing their own platforms.
TV Player is currently owned by Alchimie, a digital content distributor, based in France. TV Player currently operates in the UK, France, Spain, and USA. UK content is now largely limited to niche market services, with most currently unavailable on other platforms.
Alternatives to TV Player have also expand in recent years. Pluto TV, owned by Paramount Global, offers several free online channels, largely unique to the service, and curated around individual TV series. These include content from Channel 5, via a range of bespoke My5 branded channels.
Kapang is another alternative, owned by View TV Group. This largely replicates traditional viewing, with live streams available for a large number of free-to-view channels found on other platforms such as Freeview and Freesat. Channels include those from the BBC and ITV, plus others operated by View TV Group themselves, including a reboot of the Men and Motors channel. View TV Group are probably most known for online motoring channel OnlyMotors, and the ill-fated digital radio station Rathergood Radio.
Viewers of Channel 4 and Channel 5 are continuing to face disruption caused by an incident at transmission provider Red Bee Media. Some BT Sport channels are also affected, as is the BBC.
Red Media Media provide playout facilities, forming part of the infrastructure that enables the channels to broadcast. An incident has caused damage to the servers which enable this.
The BBC were able to switch seamlessly to a backup service, allowing all TV channels to continue broadcasts as or close to normal. Channel 5 has also returned to air, with a black and white triangle logo in the right hand corner of the screen indicating the channel is using back up facilities.
Channel 4 and it’s sister channels (including the Box Plus Network) is experiencing the most disruption. The disruption varies from platform to platform, but E4 +1 is currently off-air on Freeview, and most Box Plus Network channels are simulcasting either The Box or Kiss. Online live streams are off-air, and viewers are reporting problems with sound and picture quality.
It is unclear what the exact cause of the disruption is, or when problems will be resolved.
My5, the catch-up service from ViacomCBS owned Channel 5, has expanded, and now includes content from CBS Reality and Horror Channel.
The move will bring an additional 400 hours of content to the platform over the next year, from the two channels which operate through a joint venture between ViacomCBS and the UK arm of AMC Networks.
My5 already hosts content from across the Channel 5 portfolio, and also includes third party content from BLAZE, BET, PBS America, Real Stories, Together TV, and Timeline, in addition to the new content from CBS Reality and Horror Channel.
American football league National Football League (NFL), and ViacomCBS have agreed a three year deal that will see NFL coverage on ViacomCBS owned Channel 5. Coverage will launch on the 13th September.
The deal sees the return of Monday Night Football live on free-to-air TV. A new Sunday morning magazine programme called NFL End Zone will also air at 11.30am each Sunday, and will be filmed in a different US location each week.
The deal will also see NFL content air across MTVs digital platforms in the UK, with MTV also being owned by ViacomCBS.
Channel 5 was previously an NFL broadcaster from 1998 to 2009.
On demand content access has improved significantly in recent years, so I thought it would be useful to evaluate if there is a point to keeping these channels.
+1 channels of the likes of ITV and Channel 4 were established to allow viewers to catch a show that they might have just missed the start of. They have historically also been used as placeholders, pending the launch of new channels. They can be found on all major TV platforms, including Freeview.
Subsequently, nearly all TV channels have developed an on demand platform. These allow viewers to catch up on missed programmes for between 7 and 30 days (sometimes longer) after they were first broadcast. Well known catch up services include BBC iPlayer and My5.
Despite this, many +1 channels still exist. For those with recorder boxes which can only record 2 programmes at one time, the +1 channels can assist with reducing scheduling conflicts. However, as programmes are often repeated several times, there are ways around such an issue without +1 channels.
With advances in 4G and 5G mobile data, catch up services are become more accessible to smartphones and tablets. Arguably, this further reduces the need for +1 channels, as TV programmes can be accessed from any location.
Ironically, Freeview frequencies are being reallocated to 5G. Therefore, many +1 channels are likely to have to make way to ensure all channels can continue to broadcast. This means, on Freeview at least, +1 channels are unlikely to stay much longer.
I can’t find a particular need for +1 channels, and while they can at times be useful, I would rather see the space occupied by these channels put to better use.