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BBC to reduce satellite transponders from seven to six on 7 October 2011

To reduce the BBC costs of "red button" service distribution, the number of satellite transponders used by the corporation will be reduced to six.

To reduce the BBC costs of  red button  service distribution, t
published on UK Free TV

The BBC will close two underutilised "red button" video streams at the start of October 2011. This is because the BBC Trust has required the cost of the "red button" services to be reduced - BBC Trust - Trust review of Red Button finds service has high reach but should look to tighten focus and reduce costs.

The following services will be changed by the BBC:

From 19th September 2011-08-26

The following services will be moved from Astra 2A, transponder 13 (11.95350GHz horizontal)

BBC News will move to Astra 2D, transponder 47 (10.80275 GHz horizontal)
BBC Parliament will move to Astra 2D, transponder 46 (10.78800 GHz Vertical)
BBC ALBA will move to Astra 2D, transponder 48 (10.81750 GHz vertical)

From 26th September 2011

Five interactive screens will move to Astra 2A, transponder 13 (11.95350 GHz horizontal)

Two interactive video streams will close, plus one multiscreen streams (on transponder 13), the "news multiscreen" remains (on 13).

7th October 2011

BBC closes on Astra 2B transponder 38 (12.441 GHz vertical)

How the change effect viewers

Sky (and fSfS) viewers will have the changes applied automatically.

Freesat viewers should find the changes happen automatically. If they do not, then power off and then on again your Freesat box.

If you have a generic free satellite receiver, you will need to perform an automatic scan, or apply the above changes manually.

Virgin Media will make changes to their services in their network, no user action needs to be taken.

Freeview viewers are unaffected - Freeview has only one (compared to the now five satellite) interactive screens.

Only the BBC radio (apart from Radio 5 Live and BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra) and the interactive services will be on the pan-European beams: BBC News and BBC Parliament will be on the UK-focused Astra 2D satellite.

BBC transponders after move

Astra 2D, transponder 45 (BBC DSAT1)

BBC One London, West, East (Oxford), Channel Islands; BBC Two England; CBBC/BBC three; red button text; Channel 5 (for Freesat).

Astra 2D, transponder 46 (BBC DSAT5)

BBC Parliament; BBC One West Midlands, East Yorkshire, East Midlands, East (Norwich), Wales; BBC Two Wales

Astra 2D, transponder 47 (BBC DSAT2)

BBC News; BBC One Scotland, North West, Yorkshire, South East; BBC TWO Scotland; BBC FOUR/Cbeebies; Radio 5 Live, 5 Live Sports Extra

Astra 2D, transponder 48 (BBC DSAT6)

BBC Alba; BBC One South, South West, North East, Oxford, Northern Ireland; BBC TWO Northern Ireland

Astra 2D, transponder 50 (BBC DSAT4)

BBC One HD; BBC HD; ITV 1 HD Meridian South East

Astra 2B, transponder 13 (BBC DSAT7)

BBC Red Button x 5; BBC "news multiscreen"; BBC Radios 1, 2, 3, 4, 4LW, Scotland, Wales, Ulster, Asian Network, World Service, Cymru, 1Xtra, 6 Music, 4 Extra, nan Gaidheal, London

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Friday, 26 August 2011
Trevor Harris

8:35 PM

Whenever the BBC makes a change like this one wonders what is the real reason for the change. Of course it will save money but is that the real reason? Frankly I don't know.

One thing is sure picture quality is going to be reduced even more on three transponders. SD is becoming more and more unwatchable on large screen televisions.

The only thing I watch on the red button is the F1 practice sessions. The Five Live commentry and the F1 pictures make quite an interesting combination. Next season though we will get the practice sessions in HD on Sky.

This progressive reduction in services makes it very difficult to justify the continuation of the licence fee.

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Trevor Harris's 367 posts GB
Nick Wilcock

9:14 PM

Does anyone actually use this irritating 'Red Button' nonsense?

Teletext, while less pretty, was a heck of a sight easier to use. Germany still uses it on digital platforms.

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Nick Wilcock's 44 posts GB

9:19 PM

Nick Wilcock: BBC Trust report, as linked above

"It found that the [red button] service is used by a broad cross-section of the population, with an average of 12.7 million users every week - 5 million Red Button users do not use BBC Online "

"cost per user is low compared to other BBC services, at 6.4p per week"

"Red Button's digital text service, providing news stories, weather updates and sports results, draws the most visitors; its additional coverage of live events such as Glastonbury, Formula 1 and the Olympics - is also popular with audiences."

"User figures peaked at 14.7m in summer 2010 during Glastonbury and Wimbledon"

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Briantist's 38,844 posts GB

9:27 PM

Trevor Harris: A satellite transponder costs about £4m a year to hire, and it's probably more when the BBC doesn't own it direct, but via Sky.

Knock £4m out of a distribution budget of £20m - that's a "required" saving of 20%.

The "content" budget for "red button" is £14.9m, which makes the service cost more to distribute than provide content for. The only other services that do this are BBC HD (£2.1m content, £8.2m distribution) and BBC Parliament (£2m content, £4.7m distribution).

Most services are content-cost heavy: BBC One, for example content is £1131m, distribution £51m (4.5%); BBC Two £421 and £21m, (4.9%), BBC Three £84.7m and £3.9m (4.6%).

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Briantist's 38,844 posts GB

9:28 PM

If you want to look at the figures for the other services, see page F7 of….pdf .

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Briantist's 38,844 posts GB
Mark Aberfan Aerials

9:28 PM

Hi all,

This reduction of service was forced on the bbc by the bbc trust who are under constant pressure from some those that abuse their expenses & those that hack everyones phones who all hate the bbc & do everything to undermine them that they can. Thankfully this site hasnt suffered from the constant bbc bashing trolls like some others have.

Mark Aberfan Aerials

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Mark Aberfan Aerials's 1,059 posts BG

9:57 PM

Mark Aberfan Aerials : I think the general way the "wind is blowing" is that these "interactive streams" are seen as offering poor value.

They were set up in the pre-PVR pre-YouTube world, where they were a way to offer "interactive" content in so much as they offered a little bit more choice.

I suspect that, with many people now being able to watch TRUE on-demand (and not NVOD, near-video-on-demand) services, these extra streams are of little use outside the odd major sports event (every couple of years).

For example, BBC Parliament is off-air during the Olympics so BBC three can expand into an all-day service. Most of the stuff that would have gone on a "red button" service will be on a "proper" channel - one with EPG listings and that appears in newspaper listings.

It would be much better for the BBC to make these savings and use the money saved to provide HD versions of the other BBC services, especially the "national" ones, BBC three/CBBC, BBC FOUR/Cbeebies and BBC News (when they move to Broadcasting House).

The "red button" services do offer a little something for 5 million non-Internet homes, who can't cope with anything more complex than super-Ceefax.

BBC Red Button must be come bottom of most people's idea of what the BBC does - it lacks a clear purpose.

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Briantist's 38,844 posts GB

10:00 PM

Even now, I can't understand why the BBC doesn't use the five remaining satellite streams to provide BBC three+1 and BBC FOUR+1 for the majority of the time, at least people would understand what they were for.

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Briantist's 38,844 posts GB
Saturday, 27 August 2011
Nick Wilcock

11:11 AM

You are absolutely right, Brian!

I used to find the old Ceefax news headline option quite useful, as was the ability to check TV programme times without leaving the programme I was watching. But that was about all...

The BBC still provide an excellent service in the main, although I still think that their DAB aspirations are very much pie-in-the-sky....

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Nick Wilcock's 44 posts GB

3:18 PM

Nick Wilcock: The EPG on most systems (with the exception of course of "classic Sky" boxes) allow you to see the full seven day EPG without leaving what you are watching.

For this reason the BBC dropped the programme listing on the "red button".

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Briantist's 38,844 posts GB
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