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.
Following acquisition of the Premier Sports TV channels earlier this year, Viaplay Group has confirmed the upcoming launch of its own branded content.
Premier Sports 1 and 2 will continue largely unchanged, but will be rebranded to Viaplay Sports 1 and 2 respectively. Both will continue to be available to subscribers largely on both Sky (satellite) and Virgin Media (cable). Freesports, currently free-to-air on satellite (albeit not on Freesat EPG), will become Viaplay Extra and will broaden its programming beyond sports. It is likely that rebranded Freesports will become encrypted, following a brief period of encryption observed earlier in the year.
The re-brands will occur on the 1st November, coinciding with the launch of Viaplay’s streaming platform in the UK. This will include two packages, Films & Series which will be focused on Nordic storytelling with Viaplay and third-party content, and Total which adds the full sports line-up. These are priced at £3.99 per month and £14.99 per month respectively.