Promotional Panel for Connected Red Button: Glastonbury and Wimbledon

Friday 28 June 2013, 08:00

Jennifer Lyons Jennifer Lyons Product Manager

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I’m Jennifer Lyons, product manager for Connected Red Button in BBC TV and Mobile Platforms, Future Media.

Today I wanted to tell you about some exciting new features in the Connected Red Button and how this is going to give viewers more access to live events on the BBC.

Connected Red Button is currently available in Virgin TiVo homes by pressing the red button on the remote when watching a BBC channel on television, much like the hugely popular traditional Red Button service.

events.jpg The promotional panel on Connected Red Button


In preparation for the big events this summer we rolled out a new version of Connected Red Button earlier this month which includes a promotional panel to the left of the main screen containing prominent links to additional BBC coverage of live action, events and programmes.

This promotional panel gives you quick and easy access to the most relevant and popular content available on the BBC and within only a few clicks on your remote you can be watching major events like Wimbledon, viewing the court of your choice, on the best screen in the house.

This new feature brings together the much loved Red Button content to the connected world, enabling us to bring the best of the BBC online and TV together.


Why press red?

You will regularly hear presenters promoting traditional red button content on air but this is the first time Virgin TiVo viewers can ‘press red’ to enjoy this additional BBC content as well.

This content will often be related to the programme the viewer has just been enjoying such as Springwatch, where you can watch the live webcams on red button, or special events such as BBC at Glastonbury and live sports coverage.

springwatch_1024.jpg Springwatch web cams on the Connected Red Button


Our target launch date for this new release was early June and with good reason. Our challenge was to ensure that our viewers had access to as much of the BBC’s coverage during this fantastic summer of live sporting and music events as possible.

This weekend we will be promoting the live tennis at Wimbledon, live stage action and highlights from BBC at Glastonbury and the Formula 1 British Grand Prix. Each of these events will be available to watch over this weekend via the promotions panel.


Bringing the best of BBC online and TV together

Since our launch in December 2012 we have continually tested our Connected Red Button service with our audience and gathered feedback. The results consistently told us that the ability to watch more live events and ‘press red’ for more programme related content was at the top of our audience’s wish list.

It was also important for us to gain some parity with the traditional red button enjoyed by viewers of Freeview, Freesat, Sky and Virgin Media. These viewers already have the additional content via the Red Button such as Radio 1’s Live Lounge, Final Score and Dragons’ Den extra footage and the Virgin TiVo audience was clearly asking for this too.

The timing of the new feature was also important as we have been working with the wider BBC Distribution team on additional Red Button streams over the summer. This will give our viewers of Connected Red Button on Virgin TiVo even more coverage of the major sports and music events, see Alix Pryde’s blog post for more information.

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We worked closely with our colleagues across the BBC to ensure that we shared this vision between us and they have been instrumental in providing the content to support this feature. See more on the Red Button editorial content in Ian's post.


More from Connected Red Button

The future of Connected Red Button is an exciting one as we develop more features for current viewers and roll out to Smart TVs at the end of this year and more operator platforms in 2014.

We hope you enjoy this new feature and are looking forward to all the BBC coverage of the events coming up this summer. I will certainly be enjoying it all from the best seat in the house, my sofa!

Jennifer Lyons is the product manager for Connected Red Button.

Find out more about Digital Glastonbury: From stage to smartphone and how the BBC are using social media to cover the weekend.

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Comments

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  • rate this
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    Comment number 1.

    I love the concept, and the connected red button app itself on tivo is great, however the video streams behind it leave a lot to be desired. Granted I've only tried using it so far to watch tennis, both at Queens and Wimbledon but the video streams just don't cut it. Questionable quality with lots of artifacts, the frame rate appears to be at lleast half what it should be end far too much buffering, at least from my experience. The concept might work well for some areas (I will be trying glastonbury over this weekend) but I've completely given up on it for the tennis.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 2.

    I agree with Jamie. Its all very well providing a vast range of content, but in these days of HD its a fine line in enjoyment between the massive quantity and awful quality.
    My other pet quibble, especially with sport, is actually finding on the BBC website (or elsewhere) a clear programme guide of coverage by event/phase live/replay platform (TV/Redbutton/Webstream).
    And finally after the (minor) trumpeting about exclusive UK rights to live MotoGP, your actual support to your coverage (as above) is abysmal. Thank goodness, as with F1, you didn't fight to retain the privilege to cover this major international sport/industry.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 3.

    Jamie and pdfbt40 - thanks for your feedback. I'm glad you like Connected Red Button and I'm sorry to hear you've had issues with the sports video stream. I have passed your feedback onto our sports team. We undertake a lot of testing on the streams to ensure their performance and following this feedback the Media services team will be able to investigate further to ensure they are performing as expected. The performance of Video delivered over the internet can be impacted by a large number of factors some of which are outside the control of the BBC so performance can vary across platform/device and throughout the UK.

    The complete listing of sports available across the various platforms are available athttp://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/17151954 . We also have a 'Live on the BBC' section on the BBC Sports home page (on the right hand side).

  • rate this
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    Comment number 4.

    Fairness where it is due, the quality of the Glastonbury streams seem to be infinitely better

  • rate this
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    Comment number 5.

    While the streams were of good quality - I was suffering major issues with browser lockup with the now/next logic and the twitter-type feed on the page. If I remember correctly, the interim updates were actually inlined with the video within the one frame - so you only had one dynamic source it was going to all the time.

    It also looks as though you were trying to serve too many users; for something as big as Glasto, you do need to provide regular Freesat-type feeds so the heavy lifting can be balanced properly.

    Basically the page needs to be as simple as the iPlayer live playback page in order to work cleanly. The other aspect (where you start low-res and ramp-up) would be a good idea when you have this type of massive load. Unless there was possibly congestion from Pilton to your playout kit...

  • rate this
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    Comment number 6.

    Re my first paragraph on #5, this inlined content was how you presented info on the Olympic Player... and is the logic to go for... rather than the basic iPlayer playback client.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 7.

    What would have also been useful would have been full EPG information on the RB feeds along with metadata sent to sites like tvguide.co.uk - int eh same way as the Olympics. I could have then recorded individual bands easily etc...

  • rate this
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    Comment number 8.

    Further to my comments - I think the main lockup was caused in retrieval of the updated channel listings as the images etc of the acts now on stage on other streams was taking its time to come down - this needs to be streamlined next time.

    I suppose that when the Olympics ran, this "now on" data was primarily textual - so if there was extra load, the page didn't lock up.. affecting other tabs the user has open.

    Also seems to be the case that the Responsive Page logic needs tightening - as this causes dynamic loads - and it's the static data that was suffering lag. Supporting pages with rich media need to be simpler when serving up something with the "footfall" that Glasto or WImbledon has.


    Am running on current Firefox version and latest Flash on Windows 7 64-bit.

    Just thought I'd suggest that...

  • rate this
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    Comment number 9.

    Jennifer Lyons - The complete listing of sports available across the various platforms are available athttp://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/17151954.

    Thanks for that link, a great weekly summary page, have bookmarked it. Always such a struggle on the cluttered BBC Sport page to find whats on where. Why is it hidden?

    My neighbors have Tivo and discussed this with me. They asked me to say as previous posters that their tennis connected button coverage last week was poor quality and they said it dropped out regularly.
    Any chance of this connected red button on sky in the future?

  • rate this
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    Comment number 10.

    I'm sorry to say that the connected red button service on VM TiVo has been and remains unfit for purpose and quite frankly, a tad amateurish in its delivery to be honest. Streams are juddery and of questionable quality and the whole application is slow and unresponsive. This has been the case for quite some time and was first reported to VM back when the snooker was on and earlier. Nothing has improved now that the tennis has come around and streams are virtually unwatchable for any length of time. It's as if you are sending down half the necessary frame rate.

    Thank goodness that VM have offered some of the red button streams on dedicated TV channels on TiVo as these work absolutely fine. Take a look at the VM support forum and see how many posts there have been relating to how poor the connected red button service performs. The old red button service worked fine so this is a step back currently not a step forward.

    Additionally, iPlayer on TiVo which is streamed from the BBC rather than VM's servers (like non TiVo iPlayer) has also been hit and miss for many VM customers for some time now, with picture breakup and buffering; even in areas like mine where the dedicated 10mb TiVo internet connection has no utilisation/capacity issues on the cable or headend. The other on demand services work fine, however iPlayer is worth avoiding - I only use it where a recording has clashed or been missed which is rare thankfully.

    I know that VM have raised fault/technical tickets with the BBC over the continued red button and iPlayer performance issues. BBC - these services are a long way off from being acceptable and reliable on TiVo and VM customers expect better. Please work with VM and your CDN providers to sort out these services once and for all as it puts neither you or VM in a good light.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 11.

    I am pleased to see that the connected red button now offers all the video streams from the traditional service.

 

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