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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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Saturday, 27 August 2011

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 38,915 posts GB flag

3:32 PM

Briantist You said 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.

Why should hire of the transponders have anything to do with Sky as SES-Astra own the satellite and the BBC channels are compatible with the Sky EPG as they are on the Freesat one? As far as I know, it was not launched on their behalf and even on Astra 1A, they only had 4 of the 16 transponders initially.


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DaveCheltenham's 35 posts GB flag
Mike Dimmick

3:34 PM

Let's hope that Sky move some encrypted services off 2D and onto the transponder that's freed up. reckons that transponder is leased and operated by Sky and the BBC are renting it from them. The Disney channels on 10862 H would be a good candidate, or Sky Movies Box Office on 10921 H. That would then free up one British Isles transponder for new FTA services.

I recall reading - but can't now find - a press release saying that ITV plc were going to rent three more transponders from SES Astra in addition to their existing six. They're probably coming from Astra 1N once it finally gets in position (estimate, about 45 days, as it's at 5.5°E now according to LyngSat and moving at a rate of 0.5° per day) but an extra one on 2D wouldn't go amiss.

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Mike Dimmick's 2,486 posts GB flag
Mike Dimmick

3:43 PM

Another consequence could be that the five streams that *do* move could become available for Freesat viewers. My hypothesis has always been that Sky wouldn't add the Service Information data necessary for them to appear on Freesat to this Sky-operated transponder. On a BBC-operated transponder, this may no longer be a problem, although Sky do still have a long-winded change control process for anything that could affect their platform.

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Mike Dimmick's 2,486 posts GB flag

8:34 PM

Why was the BBC News channel even FTA on Astra 2A anyway? I thought they didn't have the rights to broadcast on a Europe wide beam? And if they broadcast the BBC News channel on a Europe wide beam, why couldn't they make the geo-block restriction extend so that both the UK and continental Europe can watch the live feed of the BBC News channel on their website?

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Josh's 97 posts GB flag
Josh's: mapJ's Freeview map terrainJ's terrain plot wavesJ's frequency data J's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Trevor Harris

11:23 PM

I think Mike that you might have mis-understood what the BBC is doing here. The BBC has said they are reducing services to save money and to decrease disparity with Freeview. So even if Sky were to free up space on 2D the BBC wouldn't take it. It looks as though Freeview will not be able to expand till 2016 so the BBC will not need any more space till then. It is not certain that the BBC will be able to expand either on freeview or satellite in 2016. It all depends if the Government allows an increase in the licence fee.

My guess is that the BBC are unlikely to apply any of the space on 1N. They simply cannot afford it.

I think that your hypothesis that Sky wouldn't add the Service Information data necessary for them to appear on Freesat to this Sky-operated transponder to be incorrect. My understanding is that Sky are legally obliged to provide this service.

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Trevor Harris's 367 posts GB flag
Sunday, 28 August 2011

8:20 AM

DaveCheltenham: Back in the misty recesses of 1998, Sky analogue was in about 1 million homes, and the only "terrestrial" broadcaster using a satellite transponder was Channel 5.

Before Sky Digital launched on the Astra 2A satellite, Sky had pre-booked a lot of the capacity, and resold this, along with their new digital encryption services, to various broadcasters.

The BBC didn't really have it's eye on the ball at this stage, as satellite was, back then, a bit "low end", so the BBC made an agreement with Sky to put a number of channels (BBC One UK-wide, BBC Two UK-wide, BBC News 24 (launched Nov 97 on cable), BBC Choice (Sept 98 on cable), BBC Parliament (Sept 98 on cable, replacing The Parliament Channel)) on a Sky transponder using encryption, for which the BBC was to pay Sky £5 a year per viewer.

Eventually after some prodding (not least from me) the BBC moved their services to Astra 2D (which didn't launch until December 2000), saved themselves £60m quid, and eventually launched all the BBC One/Two regional versions.

However, there was a legacy, which were the "interactive streams". Sky rather insisted, in the way that they do, that because these used the "OpenTV" (an oxymoron for a fully proprietary system) that they remain on a Sky transponder. It is for this reason, rather than one of actual rights, that the BBC continued to use a Sky-owned transponder, on a long lease.

Under the EU "single market" rules, there is no requirement for the BBC or any other broadcaster to restrict their satellite footprint to a single country, the only people who did this are the "right holders" who flout these regulations insisting on breaking the "single European market" into bits, so they can profit from rich countries like the UK.

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Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag

8:30 AM

Trevor Harris: It is more than likely that if the new Freeview 600MHz capacity becomes available that Ofcom will deem one (C37) for "public service broadcasting", so it will then be shared 50% BBC, 25% ITV, 25% Channel 4. This will be to "compensate" the BBC for the loss of half of multiplex BBCB, and to allow the other two public service broadcasters to double their high definition output. This would be in-line with the legal requirements in the Broadcasting Act 1996.

As ITV2HD and E4HD already exist, and the BBC already requires delivery of all programmes to it in HD, the need for another PSB HD multiplex would not therefore require Ofcom to make any charge for it.

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Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag

8:32 AM

Josh: Under the EU broadcasting rules, there is no requirement for any channel that is broadcast free-to-air in a member state to restrict broadcasts to within that member state by the use of encryption or any other method.

In fact, other states have a legal duty to allow rebroadcast of such channels, as long as no payment is demanded for reception of such re-broadcasts.

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Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag

8:35 AM

Mike Dimmick: It's here SES Contracts New Capacity with ITV | Business Wire

"SES Astra announced today that it has signed an agreement for satellite capacity with ITV, the UK commercial broadcaster. The long-term agreement provides for the renewal of ITV's existing capacity and for additional capacity to support future development with ITV's channel offer. ITV currently utilizes six transponders at ASTRA's prime 28.2 degrees East orbital position, serving the UK and Ireland. Under the new contract it will progressively activate three further transponders."

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Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag
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