Ongoing discussions to restore BBC Red Button HD on satellite

There’s an update to this story

The BBC's Alix Pryde has confirmed that ongoing discussions are taking place to restore the BBC Red Button HD channel on satellite.

BBC Red Button HD first launched on Freesat channel 980 on the 6th June. Due to an apparent failure to reach an agreement with the pay TV giant, the first few days of Red Button HD from last Thursday remained absent from Sky's channel line-up.

Now the service has been withdrawn from satellite completely. Alix Pryde has confirmed that the BBC is "working with Sky" on both matters - i.e. not being available on Sky and not being available on Freesat.

It is likely that there are issues surrounding the data being sent alongside the Red Button HD service. Simply put, there needs to be two different sets of data on the same satellite transponder, enabling both Sky and Freesat receivers to access the channels via their respective Electronic Programme Guides (EPG), with Freesat data needing to pass through an adaptation hub, operated by Sky. This is because both platforms use different systems and technologies. Although Freesat operates as an independent platform, the adaptation hub stage can affect how services are launched on both Freesat and Sky. Often, new services appear on the Sky channel list first.

There have also been reports that the BBC is unwilling to pay extra platform fees for carriage on Sky. The BBC, alongside other public service broadcasters, are charged additional fees by Sky on top of the typical EPG fees charged by all digital TV platform operators. Media reports often call the extra Sky fees "retransmission fees", although Sky uses the same signal uplinked by the BBC and other public service broadcasters to satellite and used by Freesat. The BBC recently began receiving a discount from Sky after the Corporation allowed Sky to carry its catch-up portal BBC iPlayer.

The surprise removal of the HD service on Freesat channel 980 has angered various internet forum members expecting to see HD Confederation's Cup coverage via BBC Red Button HD.

While discussions are still ongoing, the BBC cannot reveal the reasonings behind the Red Button HD service removal. However, the channel may be reinstated in time for Wimbledon and Glastonbury next week  - in the meantime BBC Red Button HD continues on Freeview HD/YouView channel 303 and via Virgin Media.


BBC Reception Advice has posted the following piece of information about the current non-availability of BBC Red Button HD on satellite platforms as well as BT Vision+:

Unfortunately, we have not yet reached commercial agreement with Sky and for technical reasons this is also affecting the availability of the BBC Red Button HD stream on Freesat, which we are working together to resolve.

There are also technical capacity limitations which mean we cannot make it available via BT Vision+.

Share on Google Plus


Post a Comment

IMPORTANT: This post is open for comments for a limited period (usually 14 days) following its upload date. You can comment with a Google Account (e.g. for G+, Gmail, YouTube, Google Play)
Comment not appearing? Comments may be subject to moderation and as such may not immediately appear on the site - comments will wait in the moderation queue until they are processed. Check back later. (Comments submitted anonymously may fail the spam filters.)

Please note: Some types of comments may be removed at the discretion of a516digital. With freedom of speech comes responsibility: Keep it clean, civil and on-topic! See the "About this website" section (link at the foot of the page) for full terms and conditions about what is and what isn't acceptable on this site.