Here in BBC Distribution, excitement is mounting with each moment as we count down to The Day of the Doctor. We’re excited enough about the special 50th anniversary programme itself. But we are also thrilled to have the responsibility of delivering the Doctor to a new dimension; to be his human assistants enabling him to burst out of your screen in 3D.

So with the time ticking away to the Time Lord’s return, it’s time for me to give you the latest advice on how best to watch it in 3D. But before I do, I want to take a little of your time to mark the achievements of BBC Red Button HD, which will undergo a regeneration of its own shortly after broadcasting the 3D special.

A Fond Farewell to BBC Red Button HD

At the beginning of the summer we started trying something new. We’ve been experimenting with pop-up red button streams to cover major events like Wimbledon, Glastonbury and The BBC Proms. And it’s clearly allowed us to deliver more value to our audiences.

During the Wimbledon/Glastonbury fortnight we had one additional standard definition (SD) stream on Freeview and two additional SD streams on satellite. Alongside these we offered, for the first time, BBC Red Button HD. By making efficient use of spare capacity we had available over the summer and autumn, we were able to keep BBC Red Button HD going for much longer than the additional SD streams and my team worked really hard with colleagues across the BBC to expand choice and quality for viewers, with really gratifying results:

  • Overall more than 3.5m viewers used the HD red button stream across Freeview HD/Youview, Virgin Media and Freesat.
  • During Wimbledon alone, 1.2m people tuned into BBC Red Button HD (with a total of 7.7m million people using the red button to access the additional matches overall; that’s the highest ever for Wimbledon).
  • We were able to broadcast about a dozen BBC Proms in HD that were otherwise destined to air in only standard definition on BBC Four. These were enjoyed by a quarter of a million people. Plus we upgraded to HD the four outside broadcasts on the Last Night from Belfast, Cardiff, Glasgow and Hyde Park London.
  • The FIFA Confederations Cup and Glastonbury attracted 650k and 300k viewers respectively while other events to benefit from coverage on BBC Red Button HD included tennis from Queens and the ATP World Tour Finals, the British F1 Grand Prix, the Women’s Euros, Diamond League Athletics, Moto GP, RideLondon, the Reading Festival and T in the Park.

Many people across the BBC, our suppliers and the TV operators we partner with worked hard to bring this experiment to fruition. So as it comes to an end, I’d like to say a public thank you to them for all their efforts.

The Day of the Doctor in 3D

BBC Red Button HD’s final mission is to showcase the 3D version of the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special “The Day of the Doctor”. This will be broadcast on Saturday 23 November at 7:50pm (simulcast with BBC One and BBC One HD) and will be repeated on Sunday 24 November at 7pm (simulcast with BBC Three). It will look fantastic in 2D but if you’d like to see the Doctor in a new dimension in the comfort of your own home, there are two ways you can join the adventure in 3D…

You can either watch the episode in 3D live via broadcast on your 3D TV or you can catch up via BBC iPlayer.

How to watch in 3D, live

To watch The Day of the Doctor live in 3D on your TV, you will need: a 3D capable TV and its 3D glasses, and you must be able to receive the BBC’s Red Button HD stream via the telly itself or a set top box.

If you’re not sure whether your TV is capable of displaying 3D, then please check your TV’s manual. When the episode is about to start either on Saturday or Sunday, just switch to BBC Red Button HD, put your 3D TV into ‘Side-by-Side’ mode, pop on your glasses and enjoy!

For viewers with Freeview HD, Youview, Virgin Media, Sky and Freesat, the channel number for BBC Red Button HD is listed below:

Freeview HD/YouView 303

Virgin Media 994

Sky 977

Freesat 980

If you want to record the episode, it’s easy to do because BBC Red Button HD is listed in the electronic programme guide for these platforms. In most cases the channel has been available for some time so you should be able to find it, but if not then you can try to retune your Freeview HD digital TV or box or you can find help at www.virginmedia.com, help.sky.com or www.freesat.co.uk.

You’ll be able to find information about how to watch The Day of the Doctor in 3D on the BBC’s Red Button text page 998. To avoid any disappointment, you might want to have a practice, in which case you can use the 3D test card that will be shown from 6pm on BBC Red Button HD before the first showing of Doctor Who 3D.

How to watch in 3D on the BBC iPlayer

It will be possible to watch The Day of the Doctor in 3D on iPlayer for 7 days from the 23 November (after the broadcast has ended).

To enjoy in 3D, you’ll need compatible 3D equipment. Your options are:

  • Connected 3DTV with iPlayer and 3D glasses.
  • Connected Set-top-Box/Blu-Ray with iPlayer, a 3DTV and glasses (3D is not available via Sky On Demand)
  • PC/Mac with a 3D Display.

TVs or displays need to be set to “Side by Side” mode for iPlayer to work in 3D, so please refer to your manual if necessary. If your TV does not allow you to switch to 3D mode when using the internal iPlayer, you’ll need to connect the 3DTV (via HDMI) to use iPlayer from either a connected set-top-box, Blu-ray player, Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. 3D is only available in the higher quality version of streaming, so you’ll need a sufficient internet connection.

PC/Mac users have the option of downloading the programme via BBC iPlayer Downloads, where the download can be kept for up to 30 days. However, once you first start to play the download, you’ll have 7 days before the programme expires.

We cannot provide specific guidance to individual set-ups, but we hope you’ll find this information useful.

What will BBC Red Button HD regenerate into?

Last July we were very pleased to announce that the BBC is to launch five new HD channels by early 2014. These will be HD simulcasts of BBC News, BBC Three, BBC Four, CBBC and CBeebies.

I’m sure you’re keen to know when the launch will be but I’m afraid you’ll have to wait a little longer to find out. I’ll post again with an update towards the end of the year. However, in the meantime, I can let you know that the capacity vacated by BBC Red Button HD will be used to broadcast BBC News HD on satellite and BBC Three HD and CBBC HD on Freeview HD/Youview.

Some of you might have liked us to create a permanent red button HD stream. In terms of making best use of the capacity we can afford, the five channels listed above each attract more viewers. However, it’s our ambition to repeat our experiment with pop-up streams in 2014, delivering more choice in an agile way around major sporting and cultural events. And we will continue to keep under review the value for money of expanding our HD offer in the future.

So as to what that future holds, I suppose there’s only one man who knows... And whichever way you choose to watch him in 3D, I hope you’ll find that the Doctor has never looked so good.

Alix Pryde is Director, BBC Distribution

Comments

This entry is now closed for comments.

  • Comment number 29. Posted by lotrjw

    on 5 Dec 2013 10:28

    @Buckle there is space for the 3 streams 5 HD channels that are needed to make the BBC nearly all HD now though, with the only exceptions being BBC parliament, BBC Alba and BBC 1 and 2 regional variations (of which the BBC plan to solve the regional variations soon).
    So there really is no need for a dedicated HD channel now as the things left will gradually get solved.
    The biggest issue is that some people may not be able to get the new HD channels, if they cant get them ether by sat, freeview HD extra MUXs or cable and I think that will be very few, as in less than 1% now, as Dsat covers about 98-99% or there about.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 29: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 29: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 28. Posted by Buckle

    on 4 Dec 2013 22:27

    With the limited capacity you describe, it seems to me you should stick with a dedicated HD channel or two so that more HD content gets to air rather than simulcasting video channels that have little HD content. And if I am permitted a vote, let's concentrate more on sound quality and multiple-channel offerings. 3D is surely dead in the home TV environment so long a special glasses are required, whereas no special aid is required to experience high quality and multi-channel sound once the equipment is set up.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 28: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 28: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 27. Posted by CJ_Epping

    on 4 Dec 2013 00:18

    Well the secret is out Alix - the 7 day EPG reveals that CBeebies HD starts at 6am on 10/12/13, with CBBC HD @ 7am, BBC News HD @ 8.30am, and BBC Three HD & BBC Four HD @ 6.58pm.

    PS. Nice new slide showing on CBBC/BBC Three HD at the moment :-)

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 27: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 27: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 26. Posted by lotrjw

    on 1 Dec 2013 19:54

    @BBCFOXHAT it sounds like the BBC really needed to have Dr Who 3D on a loop on BBC RB HD for a week instead of it being on iplayer, then everyone could see it on their TVs properly! Oh well its done now what can you say? on Dsat the bandwidth is already being used to test BBC News HD off the EPG!

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 26: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 26: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 25. Posted by BBCFOXHAT

    on 30 Nov 2013 19:41

    I have a brand new Panasonic 3D TV... The 3D works fine but do you think I can watch Dr Who in 3D on iPlayer.....of course not. And yes it is in side by side mode and yes the glasses are switched on and yes two side by side images appear on the screen.
    We hear BBC is discontinuing 3D viewing through lack of interest/support. Well if you could get the technology right we would watch it more often. Why are so many people having problems with 3D iplayer? About time I used the license fee to pay for something else I think. Such a disapointment BBC that you couln't go out on a success...DOGs an' all.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 25: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 25: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 24. Posted by lotrjw

    on 30 Nov 2013 19:30

    I would like to know if all the new HD channels the BBC is launching are definitely getting SD/HD channel swaps on Sky? I know the situation on freeview is that the kids channels are currently the only ones swapping, but it would also be good for people to know what will happen on all the other platforms too! Also what channel numbers will they be on if not swapped ect.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 24: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 24: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 23. Posted by Nigel

    on 29 Nov 2013 03:51

    Not a very good iPlayer programme. Why can't I download this instead of streaming it?

    Surely, a 3D programme requires more bandwidth than a normal programme. So, it would make sense to download this fully before watching it. I just get too many pauses and "insufficient bandwidth" messages to make this worth watching. I watched many HD programmes on iPlayer before and never had this many pauses.

    I was really looking forward to watching this again in 3D, but find that I can't.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 23: 1
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 23: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 22. Posted by KernowChris

    on 26 Nov 2013 22:01

    Are plans in hand to offer these channels to IPTV operators like BT TV so that they can be received via those platforms to placate the lack of universal coverage on Freeview.

    If not Has any consideration been given for Connected TV iPlayer users to have access directly to the HD programming live via the iPlayer apps in streaming format, bypassing the IPTV operators.

    I'm disappointed that the HD iPlayer options for these channels aren't being worked upon in parallel with playout.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 22: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 22: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 21. Posted by CJ_Epping

    on 25 Nov 2013 23:58

    Thanks for the openness Alix - hope you can get any issues sorted out in short order as it must be a priority to get the new channels on air for the Christmas season, including to serve all those new Freeview HD TVs that are going to be under (or perhaps behind) Christmas trees.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 21: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 21: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 20. Posted by Tony29

    on 25 Nov 2013 17:03

    OK enough techie stuff, just had to comment on how good Dr Who was, brilliantly crafted, written, produced, etc., etc. 3D really did add to my enjoyment. Thank you BBC.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 20: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 20: 0
    Loading…
More comments

More Posts

Previous