BBC reaches agreement with Sky to allow Red Button HD on Freesat

  • As it stands at the moment: Sky viewers will not be able to access Red Button HD.

The Director of BBC Distribution, Alix Pryde, has confirmed that the Red Button HD stream on Freesat will return "early next week" (commencing 24th June), subject to necessary technical work by Sky.

The Red Button HD stream first appeared on the 6th June on Freesat channel 980, ahead of going live with extra sports coverage the following Thursday 13th. Then, earlier this week, it vanished as Sky appeared to block the stream for Freesat viewers after discussions over carriage on the Sky HD platform failed to reach a positive outcome for viewers.

Explaining the technicalities of the matter, Alix Pryde stated in a response to her recent BBC blogpost: "All channels which appear on the Sky platform go through an ‘adaptation hub’ where the essential information that makes the platform work, including the EPG, gets inserted. Adaption works on a per-transponder basis, so even if a channel is to be broadcast outside the Sky EPG, if it is on a transponder that contains other channels that are on the Sky EPG then the adaption hub has to be explicitly configured to pass all channels. So that's why there's a technical dependency on Sky to configure the adaption hub to pass Red Button HD for reception on Freesat." 

Options for Sky viewers
The BBC has confirmed that although the HD stream will not be available to Sky viewers, the standard definition streams will be available via the Red Button. As it stands, the streams will now not appear in the Sky Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) on the channel numbers that were previously advertised. It is understood that limitations on Sky HD receivers will prevent the manual addition of the Red Button HD stream via "other channels".

Other digital TV platforms
Viewers with Virgin Media, Freeview, Freesat, YouView and BT Vision will be able to access the streams either via the Red Button on existing BBC channels, or via their dedicated channel numbers, which will allow for easy selection of additional content and will allow viewers to set recordings.

Freeview/BT Vision/YouView
Not available
Via Red Button only
Via Red Button only
Via Red Button only
Virgin Media
*Not for viewers receiving the reduced Freeview “basic” service from a relay. Some viewers may need to retune to get the extra Red Button service.
^ BBC Red Button HD will not be available for viewers with BT Vision+ boxes, according to a recent update by BBC Reception Advice.
On Virgin Media, also available via the TiVo Connected Red Button service.

Guide to the Glastonbury weekend on the BBC Red Button >

Related article:
BBC confirms summer Red Button plans >
The BBC is expanding the Red Button for the summer and offering a stream in high definition to facilitate extra coverage of Wimbledon, the British Grand Prix and Glastonbury, which all take place at the same time.

Reference Guide:
BBC channels on satellite >
Transponder-by-transponder listing of the BBC's services on satellite.

BBC Red Button Promo

BBC / YouTube

Showing what's coming up this summer on the expanded Red Button and Connected Red Button service. Has been observed running in a loop on some Red Button streams.

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