The BBC have recently released some surprising figures about tv license subscriptions. The figures released coincide with the 40th anniversary of colour broadcasts but show that there are still nearly 30,000 people watching TV in black and white.
This amount is based on the number of black and white subscriptions users are paying for and is quite surprising knowing the uptake of flatscreen tv’s and the online streaming services provided by the BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD and similar services is higher than ever.
To be able to continue to use these sets after digital switchover, a set top box will be required.
An advisory panel is making recommendations to protect certain sporting activities to be on a Free-to-air platform.
Rather than Pay to view providers snapping up all the main events, the recommendation is that certain sporting activities should be kept where everyone can view them without the need for a subscription to a pay-per-view provider.
The panel is calling for home Ashes, home national football qualifiers (World Cup and European), Wimbledon, The Open Golf and some rugby union to join a list of ‘nationally important’ sporting events.
These recommendations are good for viewers, a lot of sport is broadcast on pay to watch channels that a large percentage of the population can’t currently get so for more to be able to watch these events it can only be seen as good news.
What will be accepted onto the list of protected sports, we shall find out in due course.
Following on from the recent addition of the BBC’s iPlayer to the Playstation 3 platform, the BBC is shortly to release an updated version of the player specifically for Wii users.
The iPlayer is already available on the Wii, but users have complained about it being clunky to use via the Web Browser. Instead it will now gain its own dedicated ‘channel’ on the Wii.
The iPlayer is becoming a more important means of watching BBC TV Content, however with more users keen to use it it is placing pressure on ISPs who are limiting users connections with bandwidth caps or throttling during peak times.
This will only leave the Xbox 360 unable to receive BBC content via the iPlayer, and no sign of this being added any time soon.
From the BBC Internet Blog, the Red Button Controller has said his team will be switching off 2 of the 3 interactive streams used to deliver BBC content on Freeview. This will have the effect of removing the BBC News Multiscreen and closing the Red Button Interactive channel on Freeview.
This is being done to make way for the new High Definition services which are due to start broadcasting from Winterhill during December.
They have confirmed red button content such as sports coverage will continue to be accessible, but via a linear broadcasting channel rather than on the interactive stream.
The red button service will continue the same on Virgin Media, Sky and other services, including the BBC’s online service, this will just effect Freeview Viewers.
Due to start broadcasting from Winterhill during December this year, the Granada region will be the first to receive Freeview HD. From here, the rollout of HD will follow the nationwide digital switchover program.
The transmission systems will be upgraded to support the newer, DVB-T2 system to enable High Definition signals to be broadcast. The bandwidth for this new system will created by changing the compression of the BBC’s Multiplex B.
The downside to these upgrades however, is that not all televisions and set top boxes will be able to receive the new High Definition signals due to the change in compression needed to send the signals over the air waves.
While Sky users have access to plenty of high definition channels (via subscription), Virgin Media’s HD selection is more limited and currently Freeview has no HD support. These upgrades will mean the UK is leading then way with DVB-T2 High Definition TV support.
In a deal struck today between Youtube and Channel 4, we will see 4oD content being uploaded to watch on Youtube. Launching in the coming months, this will see Channel 4 content appearing on Youtube shortly after it has been aired on TV. Users will also be able to access over 3000 hours of archive TV via the site too.
The content will be available on Youtube for UK users only, it will probably also reduce the number of user uploaded snippets of Channel 4’s programming.
When the service launches, Channel 4 will use advertising to support the service. It isn’t an exclusive deal, so content will stay on Channel 4’s 4oD service too, however it will share the load and bandwidth requirements between its own service and Google, which should make it more available in the long run.
Relating to this, today Ofcom released figures showing that 1/3rd of online adults use video on demand systems, this is a key area of growth for the broadcasters as more people are preferring to watch TV when they want, instead of at the time it is aired.
Microsoft have confirmed the date that Sky Player will arrive on Xbox Live. The service will officially begin on the 27th October and provide Live and On Demand content to Xbox 360 users.
Content will be available on various subscriber packages and on a pay per view basis too. Xbox Live Gold will probably be required too to access the extra content, theres got to be a reason to pay £40 a year right?
I’m sure more information about the service will be released closer to the official launch.
At midday today (or there about) the update of Freeview took place, shifting a few of the channels between multiplexes and also to add a new channel from Discovery, Quest started broadcasting at midday today. To continue to receive the channels, everyone with a Freeview receiver needed to retune their box / tv / capture device.
If channels appear to be missing, try a full channel rescan to see if they re-appear and / or start working again. However, for some, this upgrade may cause the lose of ITV3/4 for some users and certain models by Daewoo, Labgear, Triax and Bush could possibly stop working entirely. A full list of problematic hardware can be found at the BBC, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/29_09_09_freeview.pdf
This upgrade is to pave the way for trails of Freeview HD later in the year.
Did you have any problems with the retune? Anything exciting to report?
Intel have unveiled how it sees TV sets changing in the future. It sees a more connected device, that is hooked up to the internet to receive extra content and communicate back to various social networking systems.
With more and more of us getting hard disk recorders (be it Sky+, a Freeview HD recorder or a Media PC) there are more options with how to connect these devices, and thus the TV to the internet. I personally like my MythTV driven media PC (www.mythtv.org), there are alternatives in the form of Windows Media Centre PCs, Apple TV boxes, and more recently other software solutions including Boxee.
Once connected, the options are limitless on what can be provided to your TV, from the plain old internet, to extra features overlayed over your current TV program, to catch up TV over IPTV.
Intel wants to be in on the action, developing and delivering System-on-Chip (SoC) style solutions to set top box manufacturers.
The TV as we know it is changing already, no longer do we have to be at the TV when we want to watch our favourite programmes, what the future brings for it is yet to be known but there are various new ideas under development.
The next Xbox 360 dash update, due out later in October is set to include the Sky Player. The October issue of Sky Magazine has stated the download will be available to download onto the console.
Currently the service will be accessible to all Xbox Live Gold Subscription members, with extra premium content (films and sports) accessible by Sky Subscribers. My guess is you will have to login to your Sky website account to link your Gamertag to your Sky account.
The Xbox update will also bring the talked about Facebook and Twitter upgrades to the dash.If you don’t have Xbox Live Gold, is it maybe time to get one now ready for when this update goes live?
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