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Extra stream tested on Freeview overnight - Price Drop benefits from an extra two hours

update: 17:30

Overnight testing of a tenth stream on the post-switchover Arqiva A multiplex was observed last night. The bandwidth not being used for anything (null packets)has been reduced from 9 to 6 Mbps on the multiplex.
The extra capacity is being used by Price Drop, part of the bid shopping group of channels. It now airs from 08:00-02:00 - transmitting for an extra two hours after midnight, thus bringing its regular live hours more closely in alignment with satellite and cable outlets, where the main service has been ended at 2:00am for some time. Currently only the early live pre-8am programming is not available on Freeview.

Price Drop lost capacity on Freeview in early 2009, after a carriage agreement between multiplex operator SDN and the teleshopping company expired. The channel returned later that year, this time with a carriage agreement with Arqiva, but its hours were limited, and the channel stopped at midnight.

The extra hours are thought to only be in post-switchover regions, as the pre-switchover version of the multiplex (Mux C) has bandwidth limitations. 

Other than between 00:00 and 02:00 BST, the 10th stream lies dormant, with Arqiva A down to nine streams. However the extra stream could be used to carry TV News and TV Stars - both transmitting coming soon captions via the multiplex.

A further two streams are technically possible, using the currently unused capacity, without impacting on the bandwidth available to other services on the multiplex.

With the technical lockdown on the digital terrestrial platform starting next month for the duration of the Olympics and Paralympics, any further technical changes on Arqiva A and any changes on Arqiva B ahead of the launch of 4seven need to be made very soon.

ARQIVA A streams and users (28/06/2012)
note: streams are "virtual". Each channel has its unique channel number, video and audio code, so it can use one virtual stream for a certain duration and another virtual stream for another time. The viewer notices nothing.   The concept of videostreams allows you visualise the different services using different parts of the multiplex during the course of the day and to explain how much capacity is or even isn't being used on the multiplex. Currently, no more than 12 services can operate on this type of multiplex at the same time, so 2 streams are not being used.

1. Pick TV
2. Challenge
3. Sky News
4. Dave
5. E4+1
6. Price Drop TV (08:00-00:00) / Adult Party
7. Really / Dave Ja Vu / Adult Blue /Community
8. Gems TV
9. Create & Craft/Food Network/AdultSmile TV3/ Adult Babestn2
10. Price Drop TV (00:00-02:00)

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  1. It's probably "cleaner" to visualise Price Drop TV and Adult Party as having a stream each and not overlapping, at the moment at least.


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