[ARCHIVE] Three new BBC HD channels to be streamed by BT

BT has confirmed that it will stream three of the new BBC HD channels launching this coming week to its TV subscribers with Vision+ boxes.

Viewers with Vision+ will see BBC Three HD streamed via the internet on channel 105, BBC Four HD on channel 106 and BBC News HD on channel 107, to match Freeview HD channel numbers. It is currently not going to offer CBBC HD, CBeebies HD or the recently launched Freeview HD service from Al Jazeera, via Vision+.

BT offers TV services via either YouView or Vision+ boxes. Unlike BT YouView boxes, the Vision+ box does not have the facility to receive Freeview HD channels over the air. As a result, BT already supplies the main Freeview HD channels via the internet.

As a side effect, the announcement will mean that viewers will be able to receive BBC Four HD and BBC News HD via Vision+ on Freeview HD channel numbers, even if they are in an area where these channels will not be available directly via Freeview HD.

The telecoms giant uses its Vision+ platform to provide access to BT TV with Sky Sports 1 and 2, something it is not able to do via its YouView platform due to commercial issues between BT and Sky. Like YouView, BT Vision+ combines TV delivered via the internet with Freeview channels through a normal aerial.

BBC Three HD and CBBC HD will be broadcast from all Freeview transmitter sites, reaching 98.5% of UK households. These channels will fill the last of the BBC's own Freeview HD slots. BBC Four HD, BBC News HD and CBeebies HD will therefore launch on commercial operator Arqiva's new Freeview HD service, which is in the early stages of roll-out across the UK, reaching 50% of UK households this Tuesday, 10th December and 70% of households by mid-2014. It is understood that there are currently no plans to increase coverage further after mid-2014.

At this stage, it is not known if BT will offer a stream of any of the new BBC HD channels via YouView. Such a move would theoretically enable YouView viewers outside of the Freeview HD coverage area for BBC Four HD and BBC News HD to access the channels, in line with the service offered to Vision+ users.
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  1. Why would BT not add CBBC HD and CBeebies HD? Perhaps worried they would out-perform their pay offerings?


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