Connected Red Button 'just made tv better'

Connected Red Button Press red on BBC One to catch up with favourite programmes

The Red Button has been reborn as Connected Red Button.

The new service, powered by the internet rather than the broadcast signal, is designed to bring television, radio and the web together on the 'best screen in the house' simply by pressing red.

It was launched on Tuesday on Virgin Media's Tivo, which is in 1.2m homes. It will be rolled out to other internet-connected tvs next year.

Start Quote

It doesn't feel like you're using the web on your tv”

End Quote Daniel Danker General Manager, BBC Programmes and On-Demand

Pressing red - which 20m of us do every month - will connect your tv to BBC iPlayer, the BBC News app or BBC Sport app via invisible technology.

'The audience has no idea we've jumped through all these hoops,' says Daniel Danker, general manager, BBC Programmes and On-Demand. 'It doesn't feel like you're using the web on your tv.'

Curated offering

Connected Red Button allows viewers to press red during a live broadcast for a curated selection of other programmes they might want to try or catch up with.

They can press red when a channel is off air to watch previously broadcast programmes from the channel.

Sport on Red Button Sport on Red Button will include streams and video

Go to Sport - 'an incredibly powerful part of the Red Button' - and pick from live streams, sporting clips and interviews as well as latest sports news.

News delivers up to the minute text and video - with no requirement to leave the live broadcast. 'It launches the News app without the viewer even having to know that such a thing exists,' says Danker.

Weather is tailored to the user's location - not the one for all service provided by traditional Red Button - while Connected Red Button brings catch up radio to the tv set.

The television set has been the driving force behind the development, says Danker, who believes the technology on which traditional Red Button was built has become 'a bit dated'.

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92% of tv consumption is live; we want to celebrate that and bridge it to a connected world”

End Quote Daniel Danker

'92% of tv consumption is live; we want to celebrate that and bridge it to a connected world,' he reasons, adding that 'we don't want to take audiences away from the simplicity of pressing red'.

No limits

He believes the new service removes the limitations of traditional Red Button - which is delivered by a finite digital broadcast signal - and will enable the BBC's editorial teams to feel unconstrained.

'With BBC Connected Red Button, we're starting with the tv audience who love our broadcast output and we're curating online content on the big screen in ways that add value to their tv viewing,' says Victoria Jaye, head of IPTV and TV Online Content. 'The audience can sit back and relax - the internet just made tv better.'

The element of curation, she says, will complement the broadcast - 'it doesn't feel arbitrary or random'.

Tuesday's launch is just the beginning, with the service expected to be enhanced over time.

Danker, who has had a 'warm reception' from manufacturers to the development which should be widely available on other devices next year, says that it is unlikely to feature on Sky as theirs is a 'closed platform' unlike Tivo, for instance, which connects directly to BBC servers.

Red Button was introduced 13 years ago. It has proved especially popular during major events such as Wimbledon, Glastonbury and the London Olympics when 24.2m watched up to 24 live streams via the Red Button.


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