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BBC explains why Red Button HD never made it to Sky

A BBC producer has today revealed more information as to why the temporary Red Button HD service never made it on to Sky.

The BBC's Matt Visser confirmed in a response to his blog post about Red Button Proms coverage that "Sky was the only TV platform operator that wanted to charge the BBC for the EPG listing of the Red Button HD stream".

"We were unable to reach an agreement on these grounds; however we continue to evaluate ways to make the stream available."

The failure to reach a commercial agreement resulted in the HD service being blacked out for Freesat viewers in mid-June, until Sky made technical changes to allow the stream to pass through its "adaptation hub", needed for EPG / programme data on Freesat and Sky.

Matt Visser also confirmed that due to the temporary nature of the BBC Red Button HD stream, it had been decided to only offer standard stereo sound, disappointing viewers hoping for surround sound on the BBC Proms HD simulcasts. He confirmed that "the addition of the BBC Four Proms [on Red Button HD] came later, and although they would obviously have benefited from surround sound, we decided that it would still be of value to provide viewers with high definition pictures on BBC Red Button HD even though the audio would remain the same as on BBC Four."

BBC Red Button HD launched as a temporary service in June to offer HD coverage of Women's Euro 2013 football, Wimbledon, Glastonbury, Formula 1, Moto GP,  T in the Park, RideLondon, the Reading and Leeds Festival and now the BBC Proms.

Ahead of the launch of BBC Three HD and BBC Four HD, expected by early 2014, the BBC Red Button HD channel simulcasts sports and music events from BBC Three and Four in HD, as a well as certain events from the standard definition Red Button stream. Information published on the BBC Reception website earlier this summer suggested the HD service would end on 9th September, but reference to this date now appear to have been removed, although Proms coverage until the 6th September has now been confirmed.


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