Virgin 1’s website looks set to be www.virgin1.co.uk. A holding page is now available at that address. Virgin 1 will be launching on Freeview (which will probably replace Ftn on the platform), cable and possibly Sky. Virgin 1 is Virgin Media’s answer to Sky One, which was dropped from cable earlier this year. Other rumoured Virgin-branded channels on the cards are Virgin News and Virgin Sports News.
Ofcom will be conducting a public consultation regarding Sky’s proposed move from free channels to pay channels on the Digital Terrestrial platform. Sky are hoping to close Sky Three, Sky News and Sky Sports News on Freeview and use the freed-up space to launch pay TV channels on the terrestrial platform – thought to include one of the Sky Sports channels and one of the Sky Movies channels. More information is available on the DTG website by clicking here. DTG also report Sky are questioning Ofcom’s decision to launch a consultation. It reports a Sky spokesman says the plans to move to pay TV on DTT will “increase competition and bring a better choice of programming to the DTT platform”. Read more on that on the DTG website as well – click here to go there now.
According to reports, Channel 4 +1 is to launch on all platforms this August. Channel 4 +1 will show the same programmes as Channel 4 – except one hour later. Channel 4 currently has +1 channels for their other popular channels – More 4, E4 and Film4.
A Top Up TV representative over on the Digital Spy Forums has put an end to the speculation as to why Setanta Sports is broadcasting free-to-air on DTT at the moment. It wasn’t a mistake, after all – it is unencrypted for 10 days to bring in some new subscribers. The Top Up TV source on the Digital Spy Forums said “Top Up TV Sports fans are in for treat over the next ten days. Setanta Sports Channel 34 will be broadcast unencrypted between 7pm and 10pm until June 22nd allowing all Freeview customers to view the channel for free (as long as they have rescanned their Top Up TV DTR box)”. Source can be found by clicking here.
Setanta Sports 1 is free-to-air on DTT at the moment. It’s not known whether this is a free taster to entice subscribers, or if it’s a mistake.
The official press release for Virgin Media’s new cable and Freeview channel – Virgin 1 – is now available on their website. The press release says “Virgin 1 will look to give this content the full on-demand treatment – offering viewers the opportunity to watch whenever and wherever they want. Catch-ups, previews and exclusive content will be available via broadband and Virgin Media on-demand through innovative cross-platform deals for key content that will offer richer experiences for viewers. With this approach, Virgin 1 will bring a fresh blast of entertainment into eight million Freeview homes, appealing to a broad audience with an appetite for up-front entertainment. Alongside original content, it will give Freeview viewers their first-look at some of Virgin Media Television’s hit pay-tv programming”. Read the full press release on the Virgin Media Press Office website.
The official press release states “Ftn rebranding to take the Virgin 1 name on the EPG. It will broadcast for 12 hours (6pm to 6am) on Freeview, with a 24 hour schedule on Virgin Media and satellite”.
According to a report on Broadcast Now, Virgin Media are planning to launch a Freeview and cable channel – which will probably be called Virgin 1. There isn’t much more we know at the moment, but it’s thought to be an entertainment channel to rival Sky One – so expect US blockbuster shows and plenty of good programmes to woo viewers. More news as we get it.
According to a report on This Is Money, Sky are likely to get the go ahead with launching a subscription package on DTT. Sky will be liasing with television regulator Ofcom, and is hoping to be able to launch 4 Sky channels on a subscription package on the DTT platform, using new (specially-designed) Sky DTT set top boxes. This means, it is very likely their current Freeview lineup (Sky News, Sky Three and Sky Sports News) will be removed, to be replaced by this new subscription deal. Channels thought to be high on the agenda for Sky to put on DTT are Sky One, one of the Sky Sports channels, one of the Sky Movies channels and Sky News (moving from Freeview to the subscription option).
The BBC high-definition trial on DTT has finished. The trial was available for selected viewers in the London area, fed by the Crystal Palace transmitter. BBC HD trials have been extended on Sky and cable.
Big Brother live streaming is available on E4 via the red button (and has been available since Wednesday evening when the show launched). This is the first time in Big Brother history that live video feeds have been available on NTL (now Virgin Media) at the start of the series – usually it shows up several weeks later. The Big Brother live red button feed shows the same adverts as E4 – as the live feed just cuts over the regular E4 programme when the adverts aren’t on.