Rewind 2013: part 1

Another year is nearly up. And such a lot has happened. a516digital digs through the archives to revisit some of the big stories you've been reading here in the last twelve months....

tip: right click on any hyperlink to open a new tab with the featured articles to save going backwards and forwards

2013 started on a messy note for the BBC. One hour into the new year and their news channel along with international service BBC World News got into an on-screen mess.

Arson wiped out TV and radio in Bath in January 2013.
It wasn't a good start for transmission infrastructure company Arqiva either. On the 3rd January, a suspected arson attack was given as the reason for a TV and radio blackout in Bath.

Euronews celebrated its 20th anniversary on the 1st January, and a516digital marked the occasion with an excuse to look at how the channel has changed its appearance over the years.

Dave Ja Vu resumed full time service - albeit temporarily. a516digital reported on the 3rd January that a Facebook page had set up to protest against Dave Ja Vu's reduction of hours on Freeview. The channel went back to part-time hours in July 2013, when new channel Drama launched.

The first weekend of 2013 saw CITV go all retro, with the best programming from the past 30 years of CITV hitting our screens. Under the name "Old Skool Weekend", old favourites including Mike and Angelo, Fraggle Rock, Woof, Press Gang and the soon-to-be-resurrected The Tomorrow People hit the airwaves. The listings for the weekend's programmes is still in a516digital top 10 all time pageviews.

On the subject of retro... January 2013 saw the last remants of Teletext on ITV and Channel 4 withdrawn. a516digital reported its demise and snapped one of the close down messages on digital satellite.

All change mid-month for ITV1 which became just plain old ITV, or even "itv", with a controversial new logo and look for the channel and its news bulletins. Midlands stalwart Bob Warman got confused with the new regional news name, as a516digital reported on the 14th...

Sky launched its latest initiative to get viewers subscribing... for 12 weeks Pick TV's Thursday evening schedule was filled with sample programmes from Sky1, Sky Atlantic and Sky Living. Surely taking its cue from Orange Wednesdays came "Sky Thursdays".

a516digital issued its first warning that Sky Sports 1 and 2 on digital terrestrial television was on its way out on the 21st January, as BT was moving the services online for viewers with superfast broadband. A lot of speculation and uncertainty followed ahead of the removal of Sky Sports 1 and 2 from Freeview channels 41 and 42 in the summer.

We were "Watching the Neighbours" in late January, when German broadcaster RTL announced it was leaving DTT. That's like ITV saying it is going to stop broadcasting on Freeview. Interesting, just in the last few weeks, it looks like RTL is reconsidering its terrestrial future...

The mysterious MovieMix channel, which was originally "Big Deal" on Freeview channel 32 aligned its schedule with satellite channel More>Movies. Until today, both services show the same programmes. Just the bits inbetween vary. In case you hadn't noticed: the overlapping "M"s in the channel's logo have since been separated.

Also in January 2013:

February followed with the launch of at800.tv - a new website from the company responsible for ensuring that viewers with Freeview didn't get interference from new 4G services.

Following various tests in 2013, it appears that 4G hasn't affected Freeview too adversely yet. However, Digital UK noted at the end of the year that 4G transmissions in the frequencies most harmful to Freeview hadn't yet been widely rolled out.

Meanwhile, clearance retunes to move TV services off frequencies earmarked for 4G continued throughout the first part of the year. Ofcom produced this image showing when and where the airwaves were being cleared.

Freesat got its sixth HD channel, when Russian channel RT HD launched.

Major changes to ITV were proposed in February, which would see changes to ITV Border and the formal splitting of ITV West and Wales - years after the former HTV region ceased to show programmes specifically for the dual region.

Also in February:

March heralded changes to the BBC:
BBC News bulletins on BBC News Channel and BBC One moved to their new home in Broadcasting House. Bulletins would be shown in HD on BBC One only. It would be another nine months before the News Channel went HD.

BBC Two HD hit our screens on the 26th March. Before it did, the old BBC HD channel said goodbye with a night of testcards.

Further budget cuts meant more schedule changes at the BBC World Service, but new programmes such as "The Newsroom". 

The UK version of the Travel Channel got a new look on the 25th March. Little did we know at the time as to the channel's expansion plans, which saw the channel launch on all major digital TV platforms in the UK.

Planet Pop launched on Freesat in March. The beginning of an avalanche of new music TV channels on Freesat. Planet Pop replaced Massive RnB.

Also in March:

New channels were rushing to launch in April on Freesat. VIVA, Travel Channel, The Box, Kiss, Kerrang, Heat, Magic and Smash Hits all joined the free-to-air satellite provider's line-up.

Ofcom gave the green light to plans to expand national commercial DAB digital radio to Northern Ireland. But there were also plans to broadcast more DAB stations in mono in plans that didn't go down very well with some listeners and a516digital's article on the matter provoked quite a response from readers.

Planet Rock went mono, freeing up capacity for another rock music station: TeamRock, which officially launched in May.

Absolute Radio withdrew its 60s and Classic Rock stations off a number of local DAB multiplexes.

4G interference tests commenced in London. With TV services in most parts of the Capital using frequencies right at the opposite end of the frequency band to 4G, most viewers were unaffected.

Discovery launched a new channel at the end of April. Some readers may argue that TLC is not a new channel, but a resurrection of "The Learning Channel / TLC" from 1990s analogue satellite TV. In fact the new TLC had nothing in common with the old service.

How did the new channel launch? With programmes on a woman who ate cat fur and a family with 18 children. a516digital suspects some viewers were glad it didn't launch on Freeview...

Also in April


End of part one.













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