BBC Red Button 302 to return in July on Freeview; 24 Olympic channels only available via connected IPTV sets

Update 12/04/2012, 22:09: On Freeview, BBC Red Button Channel 302 has returned as a data stream in preparation for the additional Olympic coverage scheduled in July, when it will replace BBC Parliament for the duration of the games.  

Original article, published 03/04/2012:

The BBC's Roger Mosey has today been outlining plans for the BBC's coverage of the 2012 London Olympics. As previously confirmed, there will be two red button streams on Freeview, plus the coverage on BBC One and BBC Three. BBC Two and BBC Four will be Olympic free zones.

Writing in his blog, Rosey Mosey - the BBC's director of London 2012, confirmed that the additional red button stream will appear on Freeview channel 302, the previous home of the old red button stream that was broadcast until October 2009, when the HD multiplex clearance programme started.

However, BBC Parliament will be taken off air during the Olympics to cater for the extra coverage. BBC Three will use BBC Parliament's daytime capacity on the BBC multiplex for its extended hours, whereas BBC Red Button 302 will be available from 1900 hours using spare evening capacity, freed up by BBC Parliament. A retune in the lead up to the Olympics may be required for devices that don't add services automatically in order to receive BBC Red Button 302. 

It is not clear how the additional service would function in the Tyne Tees and Ulster regions, as these areas will not have completed switchover, and BBC Parliament is still housed on another multiplex. A temporary multiplex swap for some BBC services until switchover in the Autumn is likely, with a 24 hour SD stream on the BBC's second multiplex (which is converted to the HD multiplex at switchover) vacant at the moment.

Freeview HD viewers will also be able to access the coverage on BBC One HD, and those with 3D sets will be able to watch the opening and closing ceremonies, plus the 100 metres final and nightly highlights via BBC HD. The BBC is expected to use vacant capacity on the Freeview HD multiplex, currently awaiting a fifth stream to cater for the additional bandwidth requirements for BBC 3D on BBC HD.

24 Olympic channels to be available
24 HD channels - dubbed BBC Olympics 1 - 24, originally intended for online only will also be distributed on satellite and cable services. As Freeview doesn't have access to that much capacity, only Freeview HD viewers with certain connected TV platforms will be able to access the content via the web, streaming onto their TV. Which connected TV platform operators will offer this is yet unknown, but should YouView be live by July, it is anticipated that the additional Olympic channels will be available via a YouView box. 

Recommended resource:
Check the latest bitrates for the BBC-A multiplex in London, showing BBC Red Button 302 rate.
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  1. Youview will be fools not to be 'live' by then.

    Probably by May (also when Samsung - a London 2012 sponsor rumoured Galaxy S III) plus the start of Torch Relay.


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