Olympics coverage on Freeview and Virgin Media


The Olympics opening ceremony is this Friday on the BBC. Olympics coverage has been expanded on the Freeview platform. As previously mentioned, BBC Parliament will be used to provide an additional video feed (BBC Parliament can be used because parliament is in recess for the summer anyway). It has also now been announced the Community Channel will be off-air for the duration of the Olympics. There will be no Community Channel from the 9th to the 25th August. The space from the Community Channel will be used by the BBC to provide additional video services for the Olympics. The channel will return to air after this date in its normal timeslot. The BBC website says – “Freeview viewers will have access to at least two extra streams in addition to the offerings on BBC ONE and BBC TWO. Olympics Interactive will be a 24-hour service offering a huge choice of sports as well as a medals table, news stories and schedule. Between 0200 and 1800 BST Interactive will show the best of the day’s action, much of it live, and after that replay the major events of the day to allow viewers to catch up on any sports they may have missed”.

Virgin Media

Viewers will be able to press their red button and get up to six channels of Olympics coverage, 24 hours a day. The BBC says – “Our interactive air time will be upped from 1,000 hours of coverage at the Athens Olympics to 2,450 hours in China giving you the chance to watch uninterrupted coverage of your favourite sports”. Please note that BBC Parliament will remain on-air on the Virgin Media cable platform – it is only being taken off air on Freeview for the duration of the Olympics – not on cable or Sky.


The BBC website will be providing streaming video of the Olympics. The BBC website says – “UK users of the website will be able to watch live video of all the key action. You will be able to choose from up to seven video streams showing simulcast coverage from BBC TV and BBC interactive”.


BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra will be providing coverage of the Olympics – keeping you up to date with all the news and results. These BBC radio stations can be streamed on the BBC website. Other BBC radio stations will also provide Olympics news and results.

Read more about the BBC’s Olympics 2008 coverage – click here for the BBC website.

Search for Olympics programmes in the BBC What’s On guide.

BBC Sport Interactive on Freeview

The sports section on the Freeview BBC interactive service has been improved. When you press red from any BBC channel, you can now select Sport Home which takes you to a new and improved section. The section now links to the BBCi video streams for Interactive video services and tells you what’s on now so you can easily switch to the relevant stream you want to watch. The new Sport section also has a brand new easy-to-use menu at the bottom.

‘Rabbit’ has launched

The new interactive dating & chat service from Teletext – ‘Rabbit’ – has launched on Freeview channel 102. The channel used to be home to Teletext Cars but was renamed to ‘Rabbit’ on the EPG recently. The ‘Rabbit’ service has now launched. The service enables viewers to text in and get their messages put on-screen and also allows them to send in pictures of themselves & have them displayed on the channel. ‘Rabbit’ is very much like one of those Sky dating channels. It’s all done using MHEG technology so it’s quite impressive what features it has when you think it’s only an MHEG application.

‘Rabbit’ placeholder appears; Teletext Cars removed

Teletext Cars – the interactive service from Teletext – has been removed and replaced with a placeholder message for the new interactive dating service ‘Rabbit’ on channel 102. ‘Rabbit’ is thought to be launching this month. Teletext Cars had been dormant on Freeview for a while.

Lottery Xtra launching soon

Lottery Xtra has appeared on channel 45. It’s just an MHEG screen at the moment telling us it’s coming soon to Freeview. The channel will be on air for an hour (yes, an hour!) every day from 8.45am to 9.45am. It’s not so much a channel – just a couple of programmes. Lottery programmes have been available on Top Up TV’s Anytime download service for some time now.