|Alix Pryde, Director - BBC Distribution (photo credit: BBC)|
Writing in her latest blogpost, Alix Pryde, Director - BBC Distribution, confirmed that the bandwidth used by the BBC Red Button HD service would be used by BBC News HD on satellite and BBC Three and CBBC HD on Freeview HD and YouView in the near future.
Doctor Who 3D will be the last programme shown on BBC Red Button HD before it regenerates into other services.
Explaining why the Red Button HD service had to go, she said "In terms of making best use of the capacity we can afford, the five channels listed above each attract more viewers. However, it’s our ambition to repeat our experiment with pop-up streams in 2014, delivering more choice in an agile way around major sporting and cultural events. And we will continue to keep under review the value for money of expanding our HD offer in the future."
During Wimbledon and Glastonbury, the BBC created two pop-up streams on satellite and one pop-up stream on Freeview, for which the BBC and multiplex operator Arqiva were reprimanded by Ofcom for not requesting the regulator's consent beforehand.
In 2014, there is likely to be need for pop-up Red Button streams around the end of June and early July, during which Wimbledon, 2014 FIFA World Cup, Glastonbury and the British Grand Prix will all be vying for airtime.
The BBC is also due to roll-out its Connected Red Button service on YouView and Freeview during the next 12 months, having piloted the service on Virgin Media this year. Connected Red Button enables the BBC to offer as many pop-up streams as is needed via the internet, without the constraints of the cost of hiring additional terrestrial and satellite bandwidth.
On the crucial question of when the BBC's new HD services will formally launch, Ms Pryde teased: "I’m sure you’re keen to know when the launch will be but I’m afraid you’ll have to wait a little longer to find out. I’ll post again with an update towards the end of the year."
BBC Three HD, CBBC HD, BBC Four HD and CBeebies HD are currently testing on satellite, with BBC News HD expected to commence testing before the end of the month. It is reported that the channels are about to undergo a mandatory test period before they are permitted onto the Sky EPG. These channels have already been confirmed for Freesat, Freeview HD and Virgin Media.
- On last week's Points of View, Alix Pryde also confirmed that proposals to introduce English regional versions of BBC One HD, following the successful roll-out of BBC One HD in the nations, will be submitted to the BBC Trust early in 2014.