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Can The Doctor Save The Day for Sky 3D viewers? Yes He Can!

Sky viewers with 3D TV's will be able to watch Dr Who 3D on Sky channel 977 after a last minute breakthrough to a stalemate which has seen previous 3D events being unavailable on the pay TV platform.

There will be 3D showings of Doctor Who on Red Button HD, simulcasting with BBC One on Saturday and BBC Three on Sunday night. The BBC will give 3D TV owners a chance to check out their set-up by broadcasting the 3D test card in advance of the programme.

BBC Red Button HD was made available to all platform operators, but Sky was the only platform operator that demanded a fee for carrying the free-to-air service. The dispute temporarily resulted in the Red Button HD service being forced off Freesat within days of its launch, when the service was not permitted to pass through Sky's 'adaption hub', a process satellite services go through for the purposes of inserting programme guide data. 

The terms of the last minute carriage on Sky are unknown, but the news comes as a relief to Sky subscribers.
Doctor Who 3D is also available on other digital TV platforms. 

Viewers with 3D TVs can switch to Freeview HD channel 303.

Most 3D TV's also have an in-built Freeview HD tuner. BBC Red Button HD is broadcast from every TV transmitter in the UK. Some high-end 3D TV's also have a Freesat tuner.

On Freesat, Doctor Who 3D will be broadcast on channel 980 or via a generic free-to-air satellite receiver via Astra 2F, 28.2 degrees East, transponder 61.

The manual tuning details for satellite TV are: frequency 11,02325 GHz (some satellite receivers only need the first five digits of that frequency), 

horizontal polarisation, 
symbol rate: 23000, 
FEC: 2/3.
About BBC Red Button HD

BBC Red Button HD was launched as way of providing extra HD coverage of the summer's major sporting and music events, including Glastonbury, Wimbledon, the British Grand Prix, Moto GP, T in the Park, RideLondon, the Reading and Leeds Festival and the BBC Proms. 

It effectively became an HD simulcast of BBC Three during the channel's music festival coverage from Glastonbury and T in the Park and simulcast BBC Four's Proms coverage.

Since the Last Night of the Proms, BBC Red Button HD has continued with coverage of Moto GP and Formula 1. The 3D Doctor Who episode will mark the end of this service. 

Virgin Media subscribers will be able to watch Doctor Who 3D on channel 994, and the 3D episode will also be available on the BBC iPlayer shortly after its showing on BBC One.

The special episode of Doctor Who will be broadcast at 7:50pm on Saturday 23rd November 2013 on BBC One, BBC One HD and in 3D on BBC Red Button HD, repeated at 7:00pm on Sunday 24th November on BBC Three and in 3D on BBC Red Button HD. In advance of Saturday's broadcast, the 3D test card will be shown to ensure 3D TV owners have their TVs correctly configured.

Doctor Who 3D marks the end of the BBC's experiments with 3D, which were officially axed earlier this year, partly due to declining interest from viewers.

Article first published 16/11/2013, and amended with the latest updates. Last updated 22/11/2013.


  1. Replies
    1. Sadly I don't know at the present.

      At the moment BBC Red Button HD does not support 5.1 audio, as it was set up as a temporary stream for the summer's sports events. The lack of 5.1. audio was critised during the Proms coverage, whereby the BBC acknowledged that the Proms were added to the BBC RB HD schedule later.

      5.1 audio is to be added at some point to all BBC HD channels.

    2. According to a comment by Alix Pryde, Director of BBC Distribution on a blog post she made, The Day of the Doctor will be available in 5.1 surround sound on BBC Red Button HD:

      "And, in answer to your question @popeye, I'm delighted to confirm that The Day of the Doctor in 3D will indeed be broadcast in surround sound. BBC Red Button HD will be Dolby 5.1 from c. 6pm this evening until it closes. That applies across DTT, satellite and Virgin Media. This is possible now partially because The Day of the Doctor is a pre-record (live events are harder) and also because we have made some short-term changes to our configurations that give us the extra bitrate we needed. I hope you enjoy it!"

    3. While brilliant to have that finally confirmed by the BBC, it's a shame 5.1 surround sound and Sky availability have only been sorted out days before the channel goes off air. Lack of 5.1 sound during BBC RB HD's Proms coverage was a bone of contention among some viewers.

  2. BBC and Sky are all knobs and morons. Stupid big wigs who cant agree and also why have BBC scrapped 3D? More morons

  3. I don't think you're correct that "Doctor Who 3D marks the end of the BBC's experiments with 3D"; according to this article in the Hollywood Reporter there is one more 3D programme the BBC has yet to broadcast:

    "The final program in the trial, a 50-minute natural history show about microscopic creatures called Hidden Kingdom, airs next year."


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