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BBC starts tests for expanded Red Button service

Summer has arrived, with the BBC preparing again to offer viewers extra coverage of the summer's sporting and music events.

Test transmissions containing extra Red Button videostreams that will becone available to Sky and Freesat viewers during Wimbledon and Glastonbury have now commenced on satellite.

As yet, the BBC has not confirmed the extent of its Red Button service for this summer, but the tests show five additional standard definition streams and one HD stream on top of the permanent Red Button channel, known as BBC RB1.

The extra Red Button feeds on satellite are primarily needed for Sky boxes and users of older Freesat receivers; neither type of equipment is compatible with the newer, connected Red Button service that allows viewers to stream additional content via the internet. The scope of Freeview's Red Button service this summer is also as yet unknown, but many current smart TV models as well as Freeview Play and YouView boxes support the internet-delivered Red Button, which is free of the capacity restraints of Freeview, which typically can only offer a fraction of the expanded Red Button content on offer.

The BBC has been offering temporary pop-up Red Button streams every summer since 2013, following a review of the Red Button service in 2012, which saw the service reduced to one stream for most of the year.

The streams will be added to Sky and Freesat receivers once testing is complete. Alternatively, they can be manually tuned in on satellite receivers using the following parameters:

BBC Red Button 2-6 and BBC Red Button HD - Summer 2017

Satellite:    Astra 2 28.2-5°E
Frequency:    12
Polarisation: Horizontal
Symbol Rate:  27500 (27.5 Mbaud)
FEC:          5/6 
Mode:         DVB-S, QPSK
Service ID:   6802-6806 (SD);
              6811 (HD)

Early reception reports suggest the normal loop containing images from Cornwall isn't being shown on the test transmissions this year.