I’m writing with some exciting news about the BBC’s plans to offer you additional coverage of great sporting and musical events this summer, including additional HD.

There will be extra courts from Wimbledon and extra stages from Glastonbury. And on top of that, we’ll be offering you HD coverage of a range of other events too numerous to list in full, so make sure you keep an eye on the Red Button what’s on. But to give you a taster I can tell you that it will include the British F1 Grand Prix, Women’s Euros, Diamond League Athletics, Moto GP and the Confederations Cup.

The main purpose of my blog today is to explain what you will need to do in order to access the extra coverage that will be available to you.

As regular readers will know, one of the challenges we have been grappling with over the past months and years is how to get the right amount of capacity for BBC Red Button broadcast video streams. The difficulty is that the amount of content available varies across the year, typically peaking around the time of Wimbledon, Glastonbury and the British Grand Prix. Our goal is not to waste money paying for more capacity than we need over the rest of the year, but at the same time to be able to offer audiences a breadth of choice at the times that they want it most. It’s a difficult balance to get right.

In order to bring an enhanced experience to your TV this summer we are trying something different. We are trying to operate a flexible model for the BBC Red Button which expands when the content demands. And as more and more of you get HD TVs, we want to be able to offer more of these prime sporting and music events to you in HD too, beyond what you will see on BBC One HD and BBC Two HD. This summer is our first experiment, and we’ll be launching:

  • An HD red button stream on Freeview HD/Youview, Sky HD, Virgin Media and Freesat HD
  • One additional SD red button stream on Freeview/BT Vision/Youview (digital terrestrial television, DTT)
  • Two additional SD red button streams on Sky, Virgin Media and Freesat (satellite and cable)

The reason why there is only one additional SD stream on DTT rather than two is that unfortunately there isn’t the capacity available in the market to do more. That’s also the reason why the geographic coverage of that stream is a bit less than our usual coverage, c. 90% of households rather than 98.5%. The coverage of the HD stream and the satellite and cable streams will be the same as the usual BBC coverage.

The extra SD streams are timed to cover the last week of June and the first week of July as this is the busiest time of the year on the Red Button. The HD stream will start a little sooner and will be available for longer. All the events are available on bbc.co.uk as well.

We’ve listened to your feedback so we know that many of you like to be able to record what is broadcast on the red button streams. Therefore we have arranged for the streams to be listed in electronic programme guides as follows:

* - available to viewers with HD equipment only; not available on BT Vision

** - subject to commercial agreement

*** - Virgin Tivo customers will have access to event coverage via the Connected Red Button as well

In addition to finding the channels in the EPG, we are working hard to make sure you get easy access to all the coverage of a particular event, including what’s on BBC One, BBC Two or BBC Three at that time, available behind the Red Button service, which you will be able to get as usual by pressing red on any BBC channel. You may find that what you see looks a bit different from what we have done in the past. That’s all part of our experimental approach and we are interested in your feedback on it to help inform what we do in future.

The first coverage to be broadcast on the HD stream will be on 13 June. The additional SD streams will come into service on 24 June. However, the different streams on different platforms have already begun to become visible with placeholders and the rest will appear in the next few days. So here’s what to do to make sure you can watch the streams that will be accessible to you, depending on which platform you use to get your TV:

  • If you have Freeview, YouView or BT Vision+ your receiver may well pick up the changes automatically but you will likely need to do a retune if you don’t have an HD receiver. Digital UK’s TV retune website gives advice on how to retune.
  • If you have Sky, you should not have to do anything. If you do have a problem receiving any of our channels, you can try turning your Sky set top box off at the mains, waiting 30 seconds and turning it back on again. If that doesn’t resolve your problem you can find more help at www.sky.com/helpcentre.
  • If you have Virgin Media the new streams should appear automatically. If you do have a problem receiving any of our channels, you can find more help at Virgin’s website. For Virgin TiVo users the broadcast Red Button streams will still appear in the 980s while the Red Button application on our TV channels will take you to additional coverage on the Connected Red Button service.
  • If you have Freesat and you do not pick up the new channels automatically, you may need to put your digital box or TV into standby for 30 seconds and then switch it back on again. If the channels are still unavailable then carry out a 'Freesat channel retune'. Full instructions can be found in the manual for your digital TV or box. Further help with retuning can be found at www.freesat.co.uk or by calling the Freesat customer support team on 08450 990 990.

So whether your preference is strawberries and cream, cider or a meat and potato pie I hope you enjoy it in front of some excellent summer entertainment courtesy of BBC Red Button.

Alix Pryde is Director, BBC Distribution.

UPDATE, Wednesday 26 June 2013, 11.00am

Commenting on the About the BBC Blog closes automatically two weeks after publication. This morning however, we have re-opened comments for this post. I wanted to explain why I have arranged this.

First, I think it is important that we offer a space to comment on live issues so that we can hear what you think, and given that many of you were still commenting on Monday it was a pity to have the conversation end at that point.

Secondly, we are continuing to fix minor bugs in the applications delivering the additional streams on the various platforms. Your comments provide us with valuable feedback about your experiences and help us know when we have resolved issues.

Alix Pryde.

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  • Comment number 107. Posted by imac

    on 1 Jul 2013 18:59

    Unbelievable ... neither match is 'available on the red button' now ....

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  • Comment number 106. Posted by imac

    on 1 Jul 2013 18:32

    I have been trying to access tennis and glastonbury coverage via the red button to no avail. Oh I can get to the menu but that is as far as it will go .. if I select a particular match it hangs and won't load ... I am missing the Djokovic match atm .. I have missed too much already. BBC1 BBC2, the red button ... grrr . If the problem was identified last week why has it not been fixed ?

    Very disappointed

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  • Comment number 105. Posted by krish

    on 1 Jul 2013 17:44

    Hi,
    there is no option to watch the Bernard Tomic match on the red button. We are getting very frustrated as we want to watch that match! Only can see Djokovic & the doubles game. Is there a fault?

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  • Comment number 104. Posted by Delia Todd

    on 1 Jul 2013 14:09

    I'm truly at a loss.

    When you select a match to watch on the Red Button, I would expect you to stay with it without interruption. No... we're told this match is now moving to (whereever) or BBC 1 (or 2) is now ceasing transmission.

    Now we've suffered yet another fault in transmission (error 308 I believe).

    The whole thing has really been a pain this year. I am not impressed.

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  • Comment number 103. Posted by ep1987

    on 30 Jun 2013 20:42

    Alix i am a license payer and a sports fan and like many others who fulfill these criteria i have Sky. Do you not agree that it seems unfair to miss out on important features (ability to watch RB in HD or to record the streams) when the equipment i possess is fully capable of providing these functions?

    I hope that the BBC and Sky can reach an agreement because at present many license payers are ultimately the victims of an unnecessarily diminished service.

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  • Comment number 102. Posted by Alix Pryde

    on 28 Jun 2013 16:44

    As I hope you spotted in my update posted on Wednesday at the bottom of my original blog, we are continuing to fine tune the applications delivering the additional streams on the various platforms, and I am grateful for the feedback that you provide here. One issue that I am pleased to say we fixed earlier today (@neil201, you flagged this up in an early post) means that the HD stream on Freesat can now be accessed via the red button from any BBC channel. Unless there are any further significant updates to advise you on, this blog will close for comments in the next few days. If you experience any other technical glitches, please do take a look at our Reception Advice website (http://www.bbc.co.uk/reception/redbutton/) as we’ll keep it updated with the latest information on known issues and workarounds/fixes. For now, whether the red button transports you to Wimbledon, Glastonbury or Silverstone, I hope you enjoy what’s on offer.

  • Comment number 101. Posted by tenniser

    on 28 Jun 2013 16:25

    should add i also have freesat and channels 982 and 983 are not working on that either. 981 works OK. There is clearly a problem with the Red Button feeds numbers 2 and 3 and this is not down to any individual viewers TV/Satellite set up. The satellite feeds simply aren't working.

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  • Comment number 100. Posted by tenniser

    on 28 Jun 2013 16:00

    The red button service for wimbledon is a disgrace and for me is barely working at all. I have 3 sky boxes, 1 is the latest hd 2tb box, the 2nd slightly older and the 3rd about 5 years old. The service doesn't work properly and consistently on any of the boxes whichever TV i connect it to. An absolute disgrace. You have tried to expand and its all gone wrong because this is the worst red button service there has ever been for Wimbledon. Its back to the dark ages of watching whatevers on bbc 1 or bbc2.

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  • Comment number 99. Posted by darrenb

    on 27 Jun 2013 20:49

    I think using bbc3 and bbc4 would have been really good for whatever reason this didn't happen confuses me would make perfect sense, the channels don't broadcast till 7pm daily so why not.

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  • Comment number 98. Posted by Steve

    on 27 Jun 2013 17:22

    How great to see Alix Pryde regaling us with the BBC's coverage of Wimbledon. What a pity they haven't sorted out the basics! Keep 1 game on 1 channel!!! Many, many people try to avoid the news and watch the games when they get home from work, but the way they chop and change between 1 and 2 and the Red Button or not the red button it is IMPOSSIBLE!!! Why not just turn BBC2, 3 and 4 over to Wimbledon and just broadcast what is in front of them. There is no enjoyment when - for instance - the Hewitt-Brown game 'disappeared' for 20 minutes or so whilst the News was on - they have a 24 hour News Channel!! All this without even trying to keep track of who is where and when!!

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