Preparations for an expanded BT Sport offering...
Licences have been issued by Ofcom for BT Sport Extra 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 (HD) alongside an Ultra HD BT Sport service.
New licences do not always mean an immediate launch of new services, but provide the regulatory green light for new channels to be distributed on digital TV platforms.
BT Sport is expected to announce details of its expanded football coverage for the 2015/16 season in the coming weeks. It has not yet publicly announced any 4K/UHD service launch date.
Ultra HD (UHD) or 4K TV is seen as the next big thing among pay TV operators, who have previously failed to gather much interest in 3D TV. Satellite and internet platforms are seen as being the most suitable for UHD transmissions at the present time, and BT Sport's existing distribution focuses on these platforms, with the BT TV service available through BT internet connections and BT Sport on Sky using satellite transponder capacity, with tests recently observed thought to be connected with these additional BT Sport services.
On Freeview, BT Sport has launched a placeholder for a Showcase channel, available on channel 59 in some locations, which is expected to provide free-to-air samples of BT's output from the next football season. It currently plans to end distribution of BT Sport 1 over the air next month, following migration of subscribers to internet streams of its sports channels. BT Sport 2 via terrestrial TV was axed earlier this year, with affected subscribers offered a free Chromecast to retain access to BT Sport in areas where broadband speeds are insufficient for the full BT TV service.
BT Sport celebrates its second anniversary this summer. The pay TV operation has become the first long-term competitor to Sky Sports, securing Premier League football for another three years earlier this year, on top of its first three year deal that started in August 2013 - in stark contrast to the relatively short-lived competition provided by Setanta Sports and ESPN - the latter now part of BT Sport in the UK.