Movies On Demand – PictureBox coming soon

A new service will be added to Movies On Demand from July called PictureBox.

The official press release from Virgin Media says “Virgin Media (NASDAQ: VMED) and Universal Pictures today announce the launch of PictureBox, the leading movies-on-demand TV subscription service, on Virgin Media’s TV platform”.

The press release continues – “From July, the PictureBox service will be available to Virgin Media’s 3.6 million TV subscribers for £5 per month and provide a broad selection of recent and library feature films. Subscribers will be able to view films whenever they like from a selection of 28 films at any given time, with seven new titles being added to the line-up each Friday. Most of the PictureBox films will be available in HD and many will not yet have been seen on free-to-air television in the UK. Highlights of films that will be featured on PictureBox in the coming months include such hits as Hot Fuzz, The Bourne Ultimatum, Children of Men and The Holiday, as well as classic blockbusters such as Scarface, Total Recall, The Nutty Professor and E.T – The Extra Terrestrial. PictureBox is wholly owned by Universal Pictures Ltd”.

Freeview HD to start from December

HD will start on Freeview from the 2nd December, it has been reported on Broadband TV News. The first area to get HD will be areas served by the Winter Hill transmitter (Liverpool and Manchester), followed by other areas who have already made it through digital switchover, then other regions once digital switchover has taken place there.

Broadband TV News reports “Graham Plumb, head of distribution technology, BBC Operations Group, said that although November had been originally stated as the launch date for Freeview HD, it was subsequently realised that Multiplex B that will be used for the transmissions would not switch over until December 2”.

Create And Craft coming to Freeview from July

Create And Craft – another channel from the same group as Ideal World – will be launching on Freeview next week. The channel will become available on Freeview from the 1st July.

The official website for Create And Craft says live programmes will be on Monday-Friday from 8am to 1pm on channel 36.

It’s not clear whether the channel will just air prerecorded segments and infomercials during weekends or whether they have simply only bought the channel space for Monday-Friday, and the other free capacity on that DTT stream will just go to another broadcaster.

The channel placeholder has not yet appeared on channel 36.

More news on this launch as we get it.

Hallmark may become Universal Channel

According to Broadcast Now, NBC Universal have decided to ditch the Hallmark brand in the UK and will rename the Hallmark channel to Universal Channel.

Broadcast Now say “Internal memos seen by Broadcast outline the plans, which could be announced between 13 July and 17 August, ahead of the channel launching in the UK in October. Universal Channel currently airs in parts of Europe, Latin America and South East Asia”.

Universal Channel logo
Universal Channel logo

However, a quote on Broadcast Now’s website from an NBC spokesperson says “No decisions have been made with regard to rebranding NBCU channels. We are exploring various options and will make a decision in conjunction with our partners. No announcement is planned at this time”.

ESPN America launches on Top Up TV and BT Vision

ESPN America has launched on Top Up TV to take the place of recently-closed Setanta Sports 1. It’s also taken the place of Setanta Sports on IPTV service BT Vision.

Setanta went in to administration yesterday and its channels on DTT, BT Vision, Virgin and Sky were all closed down. ESPN America is available on Top Up TV (digital terrestrial) channel 34, and anyone with a valid Setanta card can watch it. It’s available on BT Vision channel 34 at no additional cost to all existing Setanta Sports customers.

ESPN will air Premier League football matches next season.

Setanta ceases broadcasting in the UK

Setanta Sports has gone in to administration in Great Britain. All the Setanta channels have gone off air – Setanta Sports 1, Setanta Sports 2, Setanta Sports News and Setanta Golf have all gone. Celtic TV and Rangers TV are no longer available on Virgin Media. Racing UK – part of the Setanta package – will continue to broadcast, but as a standalone channel.

A message on Setanta.com – the official website for Setanta – says “Setanta Sports Customers from England, Wales, Scotland, Isle of Man and Channel Islands, please be advised that it is with great regret that Setanta GB is no longer trading. Setanta Sports is still operating in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland only. Customers from ROI and NI should go to www.setanta.com/ie for more information”.

Media website Digital Spy reports “Deloitte was appointed by Setanta at 2:30pm today after last-ditch efforts to secure a rescue package failed. 200 jobs have been lost with immediate effect as a result of the collapse” and Setanta chairman Sir Robin Miller says “This is a sad day for all concerned”.

ESPN has picked up the rights to air 46 matches that Setanta had for the 2009/2010 football season.

Digital terrestrial customers who subscribed to Setanta should visit the help pages on the Top Up TV website for further information regarding the closure of Setanta Sports 1.

Setanta continues to operate in Ireland. A message on the Ireland page for Setanta says “Setanta Sports Ireland will now cover broadcasting in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Please note that there are different levels of coverage available in Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland, and the full programme content will be advised in due course”.

Jetix to rebrand as Disney XD

General manager of Disney Channels UK & Ireland, Boel Ferguson, has revealed kids channel Jetix will rebrand as Disney XD.

Speaking to Broadcast Now she said “it will tap into boys’ quest for discovery and their love of sports and adventure. Boys have a need for a sense of accomplishment and feeling they have reached a ‘new level’, as they do in gaming. We want Disney XD to reflect that”.

It’s thought the rebrand will take place in August.

Virgin 1 rebrand

Virgin 1 recently relaunched with a new on-screen look and refreshed channel logo. They’ve introduced a new mascot called Red who appears in the channel presentation. Click here for more information on the official Virgin 1 website. Programming changes are expected to take place later this year. Virgin 1 is available on Freeview, Virgin Media and Sky.