BBC Three to be axed as a TV channel

BBC ThreeIt’s been announced BBC Three will be axed as a TV channel and become an online-only entity from next year, subject to the approval of the BBC Trust.

BBC Director General Tony Hall confirmed BBC Three will close on all TV platforms “from autumn 2015” to make £50 million a year in savings with £30 million of that going to BBC One drama.

The BBC have stressed however this isn’t the end for BBC Three and that it will be “reinvented as a new and innovative online service”.

In addition the space freed up on TV platforms after the closure will be used “to extend CBBC by an hour a night and to provide a BBC One +1 service”.

In an email to BBC staff, BBC Director General Tony Hall said:

“I’m convinced that the BBC as a creative organisation will be able to reinvent a space for young people on the iPlayer that will be bold, innovative and distinctive. It will not just be a TV channel distributed online – it will be an opportunity to look at new forms, formats, different durations, and more individualised and interactive content. It will play to BBC Three’s strengths, offer something distinctive and new, and enhance the BBC’s reputation with young audiences. And I will challenge everyone in the BBC to spend much more time focusing on programming for young audiences. We will lead the way”.

Click here to read the press release in full.

5 new HD channels from the BBC tomorrow

The BBC have confirmed their 5 new HD channels will launch tomorrow, Tuesday 10th December.

CBBC HD, CBeebies HD, BBC Three HD, BBC Four HD and BBC News HD will all be available from tomorrow in time for Christmas – those channels were originally not due for launch until early 2014 so this is most welcome news.

The channels will appear in the following locations:

New BBC HD channels

In addition to the new high definition channel launches, it has been announced that BBC Two HD will replace the standard definition of BBC Two on Sky channel 102 (this change will take place in England only).

BBC One Scotland and BBC One Wales will also be replaced with their HD equivalents following the successful trial of swapping BBC One NI with BBC One NI HD in November.

Also from tomorrow BBC Alba, BBC Two HD and BBC Parliament will move to more prominent positions on the Virgin Media platform – BBC Alba moves to channel 161, BBC Two HD to 162 and BBC Parliament will switch to channel 605.

For more information on all of these changes click here to read the official BBC blog post.

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CBBC HD and BBC Three HD placeholders appear

Placeholders for CBBC HD and BBC Three HD have appeared on Freeview HD.

CBBC HD will be on channel 73 and BBC Three HD will be on channel 105.

You may need to rescan your Freeview box to pick up these placeholder channels.

The channel numbers may well change when the channels launch.

Both of the new HD channels will share bandwidth when they launch as CBBC airs until 7pm when BBC Three then comes onto the air (the same way their SD channels work now).

It’s not known when the channels will launch but it’s thought to be by the end of the year, or early 2014 at the latest.

The message on-screen on both placeholders reads “Coming soon, new HD channels from the BBC”.

BBC Four HD, CBeebies HD and BBC News HD are also due to launch next year.

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BBC to launch five new HD channels

BBCThe BBC have announced five new subscription-free HD channels will launch in the coming months.

BBC Three HD, BBC Four HD, CBBC HD, CBeebies HD and BBC News HD will all be made available by early 2014 on satellite, Freeview and Virgin Media.

The BBC Trust have approved the new HD channels for launch.

It’s been possible to launch these channels on Freeview thanks to new capacity made available by Ofcom – more details on this can be found on their website.

The official press release from the BBC Media Centre reports:

“The five new HD channels will be broadcast on satellite, covering approximately 99 per cent of UK homes from launch. On digital terrestrial television (Freeview HD and YouView), BBC Three HD and CBBC HD will use capacity on the BBC’s existing HD multiplex, which has 98.5 per cent coverage of UK homes. BBC News HD, BBC Four HD and CBeebies HD will use new HD capacity, which will cover part of the UK and grow in coverage over time. Further information on this new digital terrestrial television capacity can be found in the press releases issued today by Ofcom and Arqiva. The five new HD channels will also be offered to TV platform operators that run their own networks, such as cable TV and IPTV operators”.

All of the new HD channels will be simulcasts of their standard definition equivalents.

It’s also been announced “the BBC will present to the BBC Trust a proposal covering the technical options and timetable to launch English Regional variants of BBC One HD and variants of BBC Two HD for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland”.

Click here to read the BBC’s press release in full.

BBC Olympics channels now available

BBC - The Olympic BroadcasterThe 24 Olympics channels from the BBC have been added to the Sky EPG ahead of the Games opening ceremony this Friday. They are available in HD and non-HD.

HD customers will find the HD channels from 450 through to 473 and their non-HD equivalents from 474 through to 497.

Non-HD customers will have the non-HD channels show up first (450-473) and the HD placeholders further down the EPG (474-497).

The channels are also available on Virgin Media – channels 550 through to 597 – for the duration of the Games.

BBC Three also extends its hours to run 24/7 throughout London 2012.

Extended hours for BBC Three for London 2012 coverage

BBC Three will extend its broadcast hours for the duration of the Olympic Games next year.

The BBC have announced BBC Three will be on the air throughout the day to provide coverage for London 2012. BBC Three doesn’t usually start until 7pm in the evening.

BBC Three will supply extended coverage of the Games and that will continue through to 11pm each day. The channel’s normal non-sport programming will continue as normal after 11pm.

News bulletins (BBC Three’s 60 Seconds programme) will continue on the hour every hour throughout the day.

London 2012 runs from the 19th July to the 12th August.

The extended BBC Three hours means BBC Parliament will be removed from Freeview during that period due to the limited capacity on Digital Terrestrial.

BBC Three will revert back to its normal 7pm start time after the 12th August, and BBC Parliament will return to Freeview.

The BBC have also announced a new DAB digital radio station that will be on the air for around 20 days throughout the Olympics. The new station will be called BBC Radio 5 Live Olympics Extra and will run alongside BBC Radio 5 Live & BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra.

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