Keep up-to-date with the latest news on Twitter @a516digital and via

Rewind 2013: part 2

a516digital continues a look back at a busy year across digital TV and radio. Read on as we remember the launch of BT Sport, lots of extra Red Button streams and listen in to DAB changes:

2013 proved to be a big year of expansion for Bauer Media. Their flagship station Kiss went nationwide on DAB and in May, two new sister stations launched: Kisstory and Kiss Fresh. Only Kisstory launched initially on Freeview; Kiss Fresh started life as a mobile/online only service.

The big story of the summer was the launch of BT Sport. In May, BT announced details of the two new channels and that it would be offering the channels for "free" to BT Broadband subscribers. Terrestrial pay TV provider Top Up TV initially stated it was in negotiations with BT over access to the channels, but the game was up when Ofcom agreed to allow the terrestrial version of BT Sport 1 and 2 (on channels 58 and 59) to switch to MPEG4 encoding - a standard that most Top Up TV compatible receivers wouldn't have been able to handle.

Football fans who didn't have BT TV waited for months to see if their digital TV platform provider would carry the channel. Sky subscribers would have to contact BT direct to add BT Sport, and Virgin Media customers didn't get the channels until mid-August. TalkTalk TV viewers remain without the channels.

Shopping channel Argos TV finally bit the dust on the 22nd May after nearly two years on air - first on Sky, then Freesat and for around eight months on Freeview.

We also learned that Freeview was moving in with terrestrial TV platform operator Digital UK, following an organisational change to Digital UK at the beginning of 2013 after the end of the digital switchover programme.

Also in May:

In June, Top Up TV finally announced it was giving up offering premium sports channels. But sports fans could rejoice at extra Wimbledon coverage via the BBC Red Button, when the BBC announced plans to offer an extra Red Button stream on Freeview, and two extra streams on satellite and cable.

BBC Red Button HD was finally confirmed, but viewers with Sky were left disappointed when the BBC's negotiations with Sky failed to bring the channel to the platform. At one point, the Freesat version of BBC Red Button HD was lost when the stream was not put through Sky's adaption hub - a key part of the infrastructure for both Sky and Freesat services on satellite. The HD stream was restored on Freesat by 21st June.

And so we entered a fortnight of big events: Wimbledon, Glastonbury, the British Grand Prix: so much live TV: and a516digital produced a guide to what was on the expanded BBC Red Button service...

Before we move on: no year is complete without an ITV cock-up: on the 4th June, ITV, STV and UTV went off-air during regional news programmes on satellite. The black-out lasted several hours and resulted in ITV re-broadcasting Emmerdale after News at Ten. Freeview viewers were unaffected.... this time....
Also in June:

In July, the promotions for BT Sport began, as Sky Sports 1 and 2 were removed from Freeview channels 41 and 42.

Sky couldn't let BT steal all of the limelight, so it announced on the 11th July that it would be offering Sky Sports 1 for free for 11 hours on the 17th August, with Swansea v Manchester United available on all platforms except Freesat via either Pick TV or Sky 2.

The 16th July was a pivotal day in the digital TV landscape. The BBC announced it would launch five new HD channels "by early 2014"; Arqiva were awarded a licence to operate two new Freeview HD multiplexes and a516digital asked "How has the BBC found space for additional HD channels?"

The predictions as to how it could launch the extra HD channels on satellite became reality by December. Nothing has come of the new Channel 4 HD channels on Freeview... yet

Sony and some other Freeview+ PVRs were hit by a bug on the 20th July. Corrupt data transmitted by Pick TV was eventually thought to be the fault.

Also in July:

Freeview viewers were greeted with a raft of changes in August: Travel Channel launched on a trial basis between 6pm and 10pm on channel 42. True Entertainment launched (except in Wales) on channel 61. Film4+1 launched at the end of the month on channel 45. So much happened that a516digital launched a new monthly guide to changes on Freeview.

BT Sport's first night was broadcast for free on Freeview channel 57. Due to a last minute frequency change, Freeview viewers had to do a retune to see the free launch night.

Digital UK announced how it would accommodate HD channels on Freeview and give space for YouView channel numbers. a516digital provided an "at-a-glance" guide to the changes.

On Freesat, Demand 5 launched on its Free Time platform. Holiday and Cruise joined the line-up,, as did radio station LBC - just as its DAB signal was being switched off in the West Midlands.

a516digital listened in to the closure announcements on DAB in the West Midlands. Listeners in North East England, the Severn Estuary and the North West all saw big changes to DAB line-ups during 2013.

Also in August:

End of part 2

Share on Google Plus