Changes to BBC Sport on the red button
Next week the BBC will be making some changes to the Freeview service which will have an impact on our sports coverage.
My colleague Rahul Chakkara, who runs the red button platform for the BBC, has explained on his blog that High Definition is being launched on Freeview.
We know from the feedback we get that HD is increasingly popular with sports fans and this development will mean that even more viewers get to watch BBC Sport's big events in the best possible quality. Next year promises to be a big year for sport - the World Cup, Wimbledon and the Open golf will all now be broadcast in HD on Freeview.
What the arrival of HD does mean, though, is that there will be a reduction in the amount of capacity available on Freeview for our interactive services. So for sports fans we will not be able to offer as much additional sport as we have up to now.
Our approach to big sporting events like Formula 1, Wimbledon or the World Snooker Championships, has been to offer as much extra choice as possible - and on Freeview that has often meant providing two additional video streams. Similarly, during busy periods there are times when the red button allows us to broadcast more than one sport simultaneously.
The BBC's red button coverage is changing
With the arrival of HD, one of those red button streams will be going from Freeview. So unfortunately this will limit the number of choices we can offer.
There are some important points to make here:
Firstly, and crucially, it is worth stressing that this change only applies to Freeview. The other digital TV platforms, that is satellite (including Freesat), and cable - which for technical reasons have always offered more choice than Freeview on the red button - are unaffected.
Secondly, the sport that will be going from Freeview will still be available online. The BBC Sport website offers the full range of video streams that you see on satellite and cable - and the internet is an increasingly popular means for fans to follow their favourite sport. Hundreds of thousands of people now watch sport on this website every day.
Thirdly, we are looking to provide alternative ways to cover big events - including options to broadcast more sport on the BBC's linear digital channels.
BBC Sport has always tried hard to ensure that a schedule of sport coverage is available both Online, in TV listings magazines; within the Red Button service and via the Now/Next option on your on-screen electronic programme guides. This latter option will help you to find the Sport content that you are looking for and record it if your Freeview device allows it.
And finally we are working with colleagues in the BBC and beyond to develop the next generation of technologies that will help provide even more choice for viewers. The buzzword here is IPTV but in practical terms this simply means the amount of choice that is currently provided on the web would in future be available on TV as well. The aim is that the first set-top boxes with this kind of capability will be in the shops some time next year.
So, in conclusion, from October 27 the Red Button sport video on Freeview will be impacted - but despite the limitations of this platform, BBC Sport remains committed to finding other ways to bring the latest action to our audience.