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BBC Red Button service expanded to cater for Glastonbury and Wimbledon

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Screenshot BBC RB 303 HD
The BBC gets ready for Red Button HD in June
In a surprise move, the BBC Red Button service is being expanded in time for this year's Glastonbury music festival, which takes place between 26th and 30th June 2013. Three streams are set to be available from the Red Button on satellite, cable and terrestrial (Freeview).

The BBC is using capacity on its Astra 2F transponder for an additional HD service on satellite and currently vacant capacity on the Freeview HD multiplex (channel 303) for digital terrestrial viewers. Last Friday, a516digital reported the appearance of Red Button HD channel data on satellite. It is thought that the Red Button HD service would also be able to cater for Wimbledon and future 3D broadcasts, although not yet confirmed by the BBC.

Additional capacity has been acquired on Eutelsat 28A for Sky and Freesat viewers. Here, the BBC is currently testing two video streams.

For the first time since digital switchover, one of the red button streams on Freeview will be broadcast via a multiplex does not enjoy UK-wide coverage. BBC Red Button on channel 302 is to be broadcast on the Arqiva A multiplex, which is available to around 90% of the population. Viewers in areas where only the basic Freeview line-up is available will be able to receive the extra Glastonbury coverage via satellite, via connected/smart TV and via the website.

The BBC has yet to make a comment clarifying the technical aspects of distributing extra content on the Red Button on Freeview.

  • Viewers may need to retune Freeview to gain access to the full set of Red Button streams, which were added earlier today. 
  • Red Button 308 is showing a caption (pictured) reminding viewers to retune if they see the message on channel 302.

Updated resources:

Freeview channel list  

Freeview multiplex capacity guide 

Reference: BBC Services on satellite  

Red Button channel 302 will be using currently unused capacity on the Arqiva A multiplex. In June 2012, a516digital commented that dormant capacity on the commercial multiplexes should have been used to offer some of the 24 Olympic channels. There was enough dormant capacity to increase the number of Olympic streams on Freeview from 2 (plus 1 HD simulcast) to 6 (plus 1 HD simulcast), although the extra streams would only have been available to 9 out of 10 households. While that never happened, it's encouraging to see unused capacity being put to a good use, even if just temporary.


  1. The text on the 303 silde has changed to
    'Coming soon for Summer 2013: the best of BBC Red Button in HD'


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