Sky has confirmed that the BBC Red Button service will not be returning to users in the Republic of Ireland.
Access to the Red Button has been restricted this summer, with users in Ireland first noticing issues during Wimbledon. A technical change that took place on 2nd August has now fully disabled the service, stopping Sky users in the Republic from accessing additional Olympic content from the BBC.
Posting on the boards.ie forum, a representative from Sky has confirmed that the arrangement is permanent and is due to licensing restrictions. Such restrictions are often linked with sports rights.
The normal Red Button service has been replaced by an expanded BBC Olympic service, but is due to return to a one-stream service after the Rio 2016 Closing Ceremony. Ultimately, the BBC wants to close the linear Red Button service down in favour of its online-based Red Button + service, only available to UK internet users.
In Ireland, the technical change to block access to the Red Button involves keeping the Red Button linear stream off the EPG and redirecting Sky boxes to a modified version of the main BBC channels operating under a different service ID, removing the Red Button prompts, but at the same time causing series link recordings to fail.
In the future, it might be possible to block certain programnes altogether from Sky Ireland, although there is no suggestion of this happening at the moment.
All Red Button/Olympic streams are available via manual tuning in Sky's "other channels" menu (Not SkyQ - follow these updated steps instead) or via free-to-air satellite services including Freesat.
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About this update
Articles and reference guides that mentioned manual tuning on Sky were previously written to reflect the terminology used by traditional Sky boxes. Following the launch of SkyQ, individual pages are currently being revised to reflect the terminology used by the different types of Sky receiver. Pages that haven’t been updated, may still refer to terminology that does not apply to SkyQ boxes. As an interim, guidance was flagged with (not SkyQ) to avoid users following instructions not intended for SkyQ users. These references will be removed as part of the update and where appropriate a link to updated information applicable to all Sky boxes.