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Changes to BBC Red Button

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Tom Williams | 17:05 UK time, Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Four buttons on a TV remote

20 million people use the BBC's red button service every month

I'm Tom Williams, Development Editor for red button and dual screen in BBC Vision.

Over the next few weeks, there will be some changes made to the BBC's red button service. I'd like to explain briefly what these changes are, why they are taking place and what they mean for viewers. I also want to share our exciting plans for how we are reinventing the red button for the future, bringing audiences with internet connected TVs the best BBC content, multiple video streams and interactive services by still pressing red.

What changes are being made and why?

On 15th October the video component of BBC Red Button on Sky, FreeSat and Virgin Media will be reduced from five to one stream, bringing it in line with our Freeview offer. We are doing this because these services rely entirely on linear broadcast technologies, which are not cost-effective for an interactive service like the red button. At the end of this post, I've summarised the background to the decision and provided links to relevant documents which expand on the reasoning behind reducing the number of video streams.

What does this mean for red button?

Firstly, this change in no way signals the demise of BBC Red Button. The BBC is committed to maintaining a vibrant and popular red button service. Twenty million people a month press red on the BBC and our ambition is to develop the service and increase the size of our audience.

BBC Red Button will continue to support a wide range of television and radio output, from big events like Wimbledon and Glastonbury to more niche offerings such as triathlon or BBC Four's archive collections.

This autumn's schedule will be as rich as ever. We'll see the return of the Strictly Come Dancing live commentary and a new play-along game for Antiques Roadshow. BBC Sport output will include Formula One and extended coverage of UK Championship Snooker; there's more live music to look forward to from 1Xtra and Radio 2, and for children we've got a real treat from CBBC's Wolfblood.

Of course, the reduction in video streams will have an impact; we won't be able to offer the choice of coverage we have previously and big events will no longer be multi-screen on red button. This will be a disappointment for many viewers, particularly sports fans, but I'm pleased to say that content previously on red button will be available on BBC Online and we are developing new ways of bringing enhanced coverage of major events to your televisions in the future.

Reinventing the Red Button

Red button is central to our vision of the future of television. Even though video streams will be reduced on Sky, FreeSat and Virgin Media, we are reinventing red button for the future. In June this year, my colleague Daniel Danker outlined our plan to bring the best of BBC Red Button together with the best of BBC Online on your television - something we're calling Connected Red Button. This will take advantage of new web-based technologies that deliver richer, more visually-enticing programmes. New functions like 'live restart' will be introduced directly to your TV, meaning that next time you come in halfway through The Apprentice, you can simply skip back to the start of the programme. Or, if you don't like what's on, find your favourite programme in BBC iPlayer or catch up with the latest news and sport live and on-demand, all on your TV.

I believe Connected Red Button will be a real step forward for audiences and will lay the foundations for new creative opportunities; new ways of thinking about television and radio programmes.

The first version of the Connected Red Button launches later this year. Look out for more details soon.

I hope this short post gives you an understanding of the changes we're making to the BBC Red Button and gives you a sense of the exciting things to come. Our goal is to create the best possible TV experience for our viewers in a way that is cost effective and flexible, enabling us to update the service with new functionality in the future. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Background to the decision the reduce the number of video streams on red button

Changes to the BBC's Red Button services were first proposed in the BBC's Strategy Review (Putting Quality First) in March 2010, with a new BBC Online strategy, leading to a 25% reduction in spending by 2013/14. In January 2011, the BBC Trust approved this strategy. In November 2010, the BBC Trust Red Button Service Review highlighted the high cost of delivering content on multiple video streams. This review references plans by the BBC's Executive Board to reduce the service on satellite and cable after the Olympics to reduce costs.

The BBC's DQF proposals, published in October 2011, outlined plans to reduce the number of red button video streams from five to one after the Olympics. This was approved and published by the BBC Trust in May 2012.

The change to BBC Red Button requires a number of technical modifications that are happening over the next month. My colleague, Alix Pryde explains more about this on the About The BBC blog.

Tom Williams, is Development Editor for red button and dual screen, BBC Vision.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    We knew it was coming but was hoping that after proof beyond any doubt that viewers wanted extra content available easily via their TV (not via their TV via the net) over the summer that you'd review the decision and actually answer those who've been saying one stream isn't sufficient on Freeview for the last three years by reinstating a second, rather than closing all the other streams on other platforms and hiding behind platform neutrality.

    It's a major step back today for the BBC.

  • Comment number 2.

    Totally agree with the comment above. What you are doing my be an exciting step forward technically, but for viewers who do not have connected TV it is a backward step. Have you considered the impact to the viewers on freesat, Sky or Virgin. Reducing down to one stream restricts choice of the viewer now. More importantly what if you have a older HD freesat with IPlayer not HD Freesat + or one of the new freesat freetime boxes will the new technology be backward compatible? Have you also thought about the cost to the viewer if they have to invest in New equipment!? The above post points out the great summer of sport we have just had & how much BBC red button enhanced viewers enjoyment yet you ignore that and continue with this madness and restrict viewer choice just like sky for the haves and have nots. There are people who have freesat for the extra choice & don't have or don't want broadband yet you force their hand!

    john

  • Comment number 3.

    A step backwards for the BBC. But then, post-Beijing, with the loss of 302, no one at the BBC listened and you said it was "for the greater good". Turns out, it was an early sign of the negative change that would come about in 2012. What a shame.

  • Comment number 4.

    I am at least reassured that there is no plan afoot to further reduce the content of the Red Button Digital Text Service: however the Red Button Digital Text page 9990 is nowhere near as comprehensive as Ceefax pages 180, 695, 696 and 698 were in keeping viewers and listeners closer to the content of BBC Online's About The BBC pages, which is a real shame in my opinion, whereas the Horoscopes page on CBBC Extra page 570 ans the repeat of the singles Chart (compare Page 520's Music Charts page) would hardly be missed.

  • Comment number 5.

    The Red Button coverage over the summer was a triumph. I genuinely do not understand why you don't seem to understand that. People *like* the Red Button coverage, and want more of it, not less. Why are you taking this backwards step? Do you, at any point, ever consult users before making these arbitrary decisions?

    'Putting quality first'? Putting cost-cutting first and to heck with the viewers.

  • Comment number 6.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 7.

    In response to Sue's comments about the text service it seems so neglected now. With Ceefax gone surely it's time to get rid of the ridiculous four digit codes and streamline the numbering of pages, plus the whole service just needs a bit of TLC. Considering you would never put out sport stories online or even on Ceefax under the wrong sport heading why have you done this for years on the digital text service, while the news headlines can be a bit of a mess - for example the April Jones story was completely absent from the main headlines index for a period last night, even though it's the top story of the day.

  • Comment number 8.

    Sorry, Tom, this doesn't make sense. After the critical acclaim and renewed interest in the Red Button during the Olympics, how can you justify cutting the service to be a subset of its former self? Was the criteria for this decision data driven?

    Can you provide the raw date which justifies this decision - e.g.
    - cost per license fee viewer of Red Button streams vs Online streams?
    - % of license fee payers who can access broadcast streams but not Online streams?

    Your comments about growing the red button audience aren't congruent with Phil Fearnley's comments on this blog (the '10-4-1' strategy) which misses out red button and non-IP platforms completely.

    The message is very mixed and confusing - what's happening exactly?

  • Comment number 9.

    Thanks for your comments.
    I believe Connected Red Button will be a significant improvement to our offer, but I realise it won’t fill the gap created by the video stream reduction in the short term. Most people don’t have connected televisions and I realise not everyone has a broadband connection, but it’s worth remembering that not everyone had digital television when we launched red button. If we’d waited for 100% digital take up, red button would have had to wait until 2012 to launch. Sometimes it’s important to be ahead of audience take-up.
    I’m a huge fan of red button. I’m also proud of the service we created, that we continue to deliver and our plans for its future. I am also committed to ensuring that red button uses resources as effectively and efficiently as possible. Reducing the number of video streams will deliver a substantial cost reduction and, in my opinion, does not undermine the core offer. The decision to reduce the number of streams wasn’t taken lightly and it’s worth noting the process that led to the decision included a public consultation. The public consultation, the rationale for the decision and the broader context of the financial challenges facing the BBC are summarised in the documents linked to at the end of my post.
    I do hope you continue to press red and enjoy the line-up of events we have on offer this autumn and beyond.

  • Comment number 10.

    Thank you very much for your reply, Tom.

    Now, please might we have an updated list of Red Button Digital Text pages from those given on Andrew Bowden's Blog Post https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pressred/2009/05/pagenumberlist.shtml?

  • Comment number 11.

    Tom,
    While I'm all in favour of the shift to the connected Red Button services, how will this affect the delivery of current Red Button only live content?
    In this instance I'm specifically thinking of the F1 Forum - Having been unable to watch it via the original Red Button setup due to having VM's TiVo service which only supports the BBC Connected apps, how would I now go about watching the F1 Forum live?
    Would I have to go to the BBC website, or will the broadcast be pushed live to the iPlayer app as well?

  • Comment number 12.

    PrinterElf I am not sure what you talking about , I am sure the F1 Forum has been showing Live on the BBC Sport app.

  • Comment number 13.

    @Sue_Aitch

    We still plan to update these pages, however the single stream changes are taking priority at the moment.

  • Comment number 14.

    Thank you, James. I was doing my best to be patient, honest!

  • Comment number 15.

    I do understand Tom you have your hands somewhat tied but the argument that now Digital TV is at a point where 100% can receive it that the BBC should switch to a technology which is very much in it's infancy is just a massive step backwards.

    Since axing 302 on Freeview you've effectively had a 3 year trial of how having just one video stream affects the red button service and there are dozens of blogs here which say it is insufficient. Scaling back the satellite/cable service to save costs may be necessary - but it would be much more in the licence fee payers interests to just cut back to at least two streams, and at the time using some of those savings to reinstate a stream on Freeview (which could be done as the BBC have fewer channels on their mux than all the other muxes).

    Also after the success of the summer and to continue to provide viewers with the service they expect for events like Wimbledon and the Olympics if the BBC aren't going to permanently have the red button streams available to them they at least need to lease the space for the events which require them, certainly in the short term until connected TV truly is the norm (at which time I'm sure you'll scrap broadband streams to save costs!)

  • Comment number 16.

    Hmmmm. It looks almost as if the BBC bean counters are on the lookout for any BBC service that has the terms "award winning" or "popular" associated with it. Won an award' has it? Must be spending too much money on it.

  • Comment number 17.

    One thing that I don't think has been addressed in the comments above, is that the New Improved service delivered via the Virgin TiVo is awful. I was looking forward to all the extra streams during Wimbledon, but the quality was so poor that it was unwatchable. On the other hand, the extra streams for the Olympics were additional TV channels rather than IP streams, and so worked a treat - but these were NOT red button. If the Beeb wants to deliver content via IP in future it really has to address the shortcomings of the technology.

  • Comment number 18.

  • Comment number 19.

    Yet more discrimination against the poor, who either have no broadband or restricted capacity broadband to keep the cost down. They are also less likely to have the latest 'smart' tv sets.

    As someone who scrimped and saved to change to Freesat to preserve the interactive content I am disgusted by this. The BBC has totally forgotten that its mission is to provide the widest possible content to the majority of its viewers NOT to be continually playing around with new technology eg 3D and now this that only a minority can afford.

    We don't pay our licence fee so we then have to pay extortionate broadband costs to watch what should be available via Freeview and Freesat.

    This also penalises rural viewers who are less likely to have broadband of sufficient speed to watch TV this way in the first place.

    Stop thinking that everyone lives in cities with a well paid job and a super fast broadband connection.

  • Comment number 20.

    Once again viewers are left with obsolete equipment.

    Just 18 months I bought two Free-to-Air satellite receivers so I could directly watch the five red channels on the satellite.

    My 3 year old LCD TV is obsolete because it doesnt have Freeview HD.

    I could go on.

  • Comment number 21.

    Re 20: However my 1990's CRT TV anaolgue receiver only is fine as I use a PVR to receive all the Freeview SD Channels, then I hide all the channels I do not want on the EPG. I am in no hurry to have a thin-screened television when the old tech serves perfectly well with a Digital Terrestrial Tuner.

  • Comment number 22.

    I have to concur with the many who have posted here. A step backwards post Olympics to save money.
    As an ardent Sports fan - e.g. World Snooker and Wimbledon, I am utterly disappointed with this retrograde move to lose the additional coverage that I have been used to.

    Assuming that the take-up of connected TV will be there anytime soon is
    bordering on madness. There is a huge lag before the majority can take advantage of such new technology and the inherent costs that go with it.

    The BBC should be rationalising its regional channel coverage: this way it could reduce costs and extend its red button services on linear TV, not reduce them!!
    And this should not cost the licence fee payer any more money to receive.

    If we take my TV as an example of supposedly connected TV : A Panasonic Z1 series plasma,
    (released in 2009), the internet function (VIERA CAST) is no longer supported by this company - hardly future proof!!
    Any manufacturer can at a drop of a hat, change how they support the internet - making purchase
    of a smart TV at this stage a risky business. There is no guarantee that a TV you buy now will support the new connected Red button!!
    With Freesat and Freeview there are standards to which manufacturers must comply - this simply isnt so with Smart TVs - many different platforms that may or may not choose to roll out the new
    BBC service.

    My household has several flat TVs, only one of which has an ethernet connection - even then the modem for broadband is nowhere near it!!
    While I have tried Home Plugs (internet over AC mains), these contaminate all household
    equipment's mains supply with high frequency noise : worsening picture and audio performance!!!

    The BBC's vision for connected TV is flawed when it comes to the practicalities of getting it working with the vast majority of existing equipment already used by viewers.

    I hope the BBC reviews this strategy at some point and takes on board the comments posted here
    and those they receive once this service changes.

  • Comment number 23.

    It's worth remembering that Tom isn't responsible for these decisions. He has to carry them out. The BBC needed to save money so the red button has been neutered. It is possible that for Wimbledon and the Commonwealth Games for example the BBC could once again go to Sky and Virgin to ask for grace and favour distribution-as they did for the Olympics. But that would need clearance from on high.
    I think the red button service has historically been poorly delivered particularly the text service. It may be now that an effort will be made online to do a more professional service. I suspect however the red button text service will continue to be inferior to what Ceefax offered in the 80s.

  • Comment number 24.

    'I'm pleased to say that content previously on red button will be available on BBC Online'

    So how is that going to fit in with the 10gb broadband allowance which is all I and people like me can afford? And how is it going to perform on our .5mb minimum broadband connection that we get rurally in lot of places?

    That's right it either won't work or you won't have the allowance to spare to watch anything. Something is badly wrong here when both the BBC and the BBC trust have forgotten that the mission is to provide the best service to the whole country not for them to indulge themselves constantly with moving on the latest technologies.

  • Comment number 25.

    Like almost all of your posters I am appalled at this decision by the BBC. Many times I've flicked through my Freesat Red Button channels and found something I never would have gone looking for but found very interesting and enjoyable nonetheless.

    My broadband speed is 1.5-1.8Mbps on a good day. If I want to watch a 30 minute show on iPlayer I have to let it pre-load for a good 10 minutes to avoid any buffering and somehow, the BBC thinks that I'm going to watch live feeds this way? I'll be lucky if I can even load the feed.

    Perhaps the BBC should stop thinking about the fibre optic using, overly expensive tv brigrades in the cities and start thinking more about the majority of their viewers instead.

  • Comment number 26.

    This idea that people can stream all the sport from the bbc website is totally misguided. A large number of people have a modest 10 gb limit on their broadband and either can't afford to upgrade or choose not to. A vast number of UK residents have a a really slow broadband speed, especially those who live in rural areas. Broadband providers already choke broadband speeds for those subscribers on the cheaper broadband packages. This is definitely going to penalise the poorer license payers. I only use the BBCi Player on Freesat after midnight when I am allowed unlimited streaming/downloads but I can't enjoy the programme because I am too tired. Please rethink this retrograde decision.

  • Comment number 27.

    Definitely a retrograde step. I have 10gb limit per quarter and so do many of my elderly friends who are surviving on a state pension. How and when are they going to be able to afford to stream/download the Connective Red Button Sport from the BBC website.

  • Comment number 28.

    "On 15th October the video component of BBC Red Button on Sky, FreeSat and Virgin Media will be reduced from five to one stream". I quite understand what that means (you are reducing the number of streams by 80%), but what does that mean in actual options? When I press red on BBC One, I get News Index, Sport Index, Weather, Business and Markets, Travel News, Big Fab Extra, Sport Mutiscreen and Index. Does this mean that come October 15th all I will have is News Index and Sport Index?

  • Comment number 29.

    Very dissapointed that this has been decided
    Sport is a very important recreation to millions and after dropping for example the french and australian open tennis on the red button for ITV4 to pick up I am beggining to despair of the direction you are taking. Tennis is synonomous with the uk as is so much sport.
    I wondering again about whether the BBC is really in touch with people, because like the government you are so far removed from a cross section of the population.
    Revelations of sexual harrassment are going to seriously damage our cherished BBC unless you become a corporation for the people and demonstrate that you are not an elite mainly catering for an elite when not chucking out cheap and nasty reality TV
    I am one very unhappy freesat viewer

  • Comment number 30.

    Could it be that the incredibly popular red button is being slowly dismantled in a desperate attempt to save money after the BBC backed YouView did not come anywhere near to covering the enormous investment and start-up costs?

    The red button is relatively 'free' (as part of the licence fee) and its use during the Olympics was revolutionary, respected and much used. But there is no room for sentiment, or customer satisfaction it seems, when purse strings are being tightened. Is it not more cost effective to make cuts to the red button service and push the £300 YouView set top box to people who want more content?

  • Comment number 31.

    This is where the BBC payment model breaks down. Savings can always be made by removing a service when you are 100% guaranteed that it won't cost you any money in lost subscriptions. Effectively this decision removes a service from a section of your audience, you know this, you admit to it, but that section is unable to respond to your action by removing its business. The BBC is generally a wonderful service but without this user accountability to changes it will always have this problem.

    Suppose you were asked to refund a token £5 to everyone who could not receive your new Connected Red Button service? After all you have removed from them a service and they can now no longer receive something that others who pay the same fee can. You have created two-tier access but without two-tier pricing. So now you are faced with refunding £5 to 20% (I am being very conservative with this estimate) of your customers. All of a sudden your "saving" on removing the service has disappeared. In fact you would end up losing money. The only reason you are saving any money at all with this move is that you know nobody can actually remove from your net income by doing it.

    The BBC should only ever provide services which can be accessed by EVERYONE who pays the licence fee OR you should refund a part of that fee for any service you provide which is not available to some of your customers.

    If you want a system of two or three tier access then you must also introduce a two or three tier pricing scheme. It is unethical to expect people to pay for a service that you provide fully in the knowledge that they cannot receive it. It amounts to the same as a phone company charging a user when there is no coverage in their area.

    I fully hope someone has the courage to take this matter to court. You are knowingly defrauding anyone you make pay a full license fee in an area where they cannot receive connected red button due to internet restrictions. You are using their money to pay for a service they have no way of accessing. Contractually if a private company did this they would be in and out of court faster than Usain Bolt in a revolving door.

  • Comment number 32.

    To see the multi screen diminish is not good, this is a step back for the BBC as they should be beating the competition. They are losing a lot of sport to other channels. For me the high light is the Moto Gp season covering the Moto 3 & 2 races then the main event. Depending on time zones. But the Moto 3 and 2 racing are not covered on the iPlayer function as yet. These races tend to bring more closer racing then the main event. So the multi screen was the best way and only way to watch these races. Not everyone watches football etc, and know doubt other people's favorite programme will be effected too.. So see what happens but I don't think shrinking this service are doing the BBC any favours. Only time will tell.

  • Comment number 33.

    @31 So no iPlayer? No connected TV Apps, no 24 channels of Olympic sport and (followed to its extreme) no website? The reduction of red button channels at least means that all platforms (cable/satellite/freeview) now have a consistent level of service.

    For a private company it would depend on the contract you had with them. There is no fraud the BBC Trust proposed the changes a year ago, asked for the public to comment etc.

  • Comment number 34.

    Just a step backwards. A huge dissapointment for a big fan. The wrong descision at the wrong time for the wrong reasons.

  • Comment number 35.

    Thin end of the wedge. Look what happened to the mesageboards. Before too long its going to be Bye bye buttons.

    You can tell them till you're blue in the face and the cows have come home, they'll take no notice, they haven't up to now.

  • Comment number 36.

    Dress it up as you please but this is simply cost cutting. Pretending otherwise is just insulting

  • Comment number 37.

    @36 Yes, its cost cuttting - the BBC have said this many times. Putting Quality First was all about reducing costs. They have never hidden this...

    And yes we've all noticed the reduction in message board etc - part of the Future Media 25% budget reduction.

    All the consequence of the license fee freeze

  • Comment number 38.

    @ James Aslett

    Now that the single stream has come in, have you any forecast for when we might get the updates to the Red Button Page Numbers Lists which Andrew Bowden kindly supplied in 2009, only it would be useful for the programme https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00yqg7c to have as a document to show viewers in Northern Ireland the pages on the replacement for Ceefax.

  • Comment number 39.

    I understand that things must move on but as near as make any difference axing the red button service is a huge mistake. You might aswell stop all alternative sport coverage (F1, tennis, etc..etc..) and let other pay for view services hold the sport watching public to ransom.

    Disappointed beyond belief !!

  • Comment number 40.

    This makes sense in the long term really, in fact ditching broadcast media probably makes sense long term, but until the vast majority of the population have the bandwidth to make it feasible (and that probably means Fibre to Cabinet at minimum) then all you're doing is disadvantaging anyone who doesn't happen to live in a cabled area. Despite claimed 3mbps I still have to use iPlayer downloads to watch streamed TV, 4OD died for me the day C4 stopped downloaded content.

  • Comment number 41.

    Another sad day - I don't blame the BBC as they have to look at ways to save money and they are trying to protect core programmes. I would be happy to pay a slightly increase license fee to have kept these services but the government ensured that was not an option that was available while the broadcast rivals such as Sky can charge what they like and hence increase there portfolio of sport etc..
    Thanks for the blog Tom - must have taken a lot of re-writing to try and make it seem positive ,

  • Comment number 42.

    I will miss the sport multi-screen, Snooker coverage will never be the same again

  • Comment number 43.

    Those of us with access to Freeview only said our goodbyes to multiscreen in 2009, by the way, which is why the Olympic - thank you BBC - and Paralympic - thank you Channel 4 - coverage on TV this year was particularly welcome.

  • Comment number 44.

    @37 DBOne:-

    "Putting Quality First was all about reducing costs."

    So nothing to do with "putting quality first", and everything to do with coming up with a suitable PR-speak title to pull the wool over the eyes of the gullible, then.

  • Comment number 45.

    @44 Or spending money wisely...

  • Comment number 46.

    @45 DBOne:-
    "Or spending money wisely..."

    Indeed. But that would require the money to actually be spent wisely. I don't' see a lot of evidence of that.

  • Comment number 47.

    A big step backwards BBC after the excellent Olympics. This is very disappointing! So as sports fans, what can we expect on the 1 remaining stream in future? Will there be coverage of Rugby 6 Nations, Wimbledon and British Open Golf? Or will the 1 remaining stream be restricted to fringe arts events?

  • Comment number 48.

    Re https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/journalismlabs/2009/04/revolving_headlines_on_digital.html

    Please may we have a follow up blog saying goodbye to Ceefaxonce DSO is complete?

    Unless the BBC has other plans, it looks as though Pages from Ceefax's final broadcast is going to be next Monday on BBC Two across the nations 0445-0600.

  • Comment number 49.

    "On 15th October the video component of BBC Red Button on Sky, FreeSat and Virgin Media will be reduced from five to one stream, bringing it in line with our Freeview offer. We are doing this because these services rely entirely on linear broadcast technologies"...nice the hear a simple concise explanation. Now can I have it in English please!!!

  • Comment number 50.

    Can I just advise people to read the BBC Trust report reference .....and they clearly told the BBC that multiple red button through the air streams was not Value for Money....
    So the Executive have followed the direction at the BBC Trust gave them - AND have found a way to give MORE red button features to a wider number of people using new technology which meets the BBC sixth public purpose...

  • Comment number 51.

    For most of us the loss of multi-channel feeds, particularly as they apply to sporting events, is an enormous step backwards. Your brilliant Olympics coverage would not have happened with these "improvements" This appears to be classic case of use of 'spin' to disguise a major loss of facility somehow as a big step forwards!?

  • Comment number 52.

    You say that a public consultation was done before reaching this decision, sorry but i dont believe for 1 second that the public were consulted on this, are you seriously trying to say that whoever you consulted agreed to a reduction of streams from 5 to 1?

    Total rubbish.

  • Comment number 53.

    This sounds familiar.... 15 months ago it was showing less F1 on the BBC it will be better! Let me tell it wasn't. Now it's the same with the Red Button. Showing less on the Red Button will be better! Same silly rhetoric spouted by the BBC. How stupid do you think we are? Will we get a reduction in our License Fee for having a reduced service? No didn't think so....

  • Comment number 54.

    Just discovered why my Freesat red button has shrunk in capability. Live in an area of poor reception (SE England) and gave up on Freeview when the BBC upgraded our local transmitter for digital. Poor signal even on an upgraded aerial. BBC told me the signal was as good as it will get. Accepted the loss of multi screen on Freeview as "better thing were on the way". Only solution to signal was to change over to Freesat. Been good for reception the last couple of years and the Red Button has been a popular feature in our home although the text service coverage seems limited compared to Freeview. If the BBC now sees internet connected TV as their platform of the future (subscription BBC TV coming via the backdoor ?) please tell us now. Do not want to spend all my time using the Iplayer to watch tv to replace Red Button. The techie geeks may see internet TV as the future but I am finding the BBC (radio and TV )and tv in general playing a smaller and smaller place in my life. The funds for these developments may now be slightly smaller as I think I have just bought my last TV licence.

  • Comment number 55.

    We have a hd samsung smart tv. The first week the antiques roadshow was on, the red button worked. Since then it shows the valuations but when i try to put the answer in with the coloured button it wont work. Can anyone tell me why

  • Comment number 56.

    As most have said a step backwards.

    I think the BBC needs to decide if it wants to present programmes to people who watch television or provide internet television.

    As usual they are young, live in and around London no doubt, and use their iPhones to live and breath on. The aging population who are elsewhere don't live their lives in this way and want to watch television by flicking the remote and have to have an internet connection or an account with Facebook (sorry that's another story but something that you appear to need from birth these days to do almost anything :-( ).

  • Comment number 57.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 58.

    Why, exactly, is the BBC pandering so much to the freeloading YouTube generation, the ones who use the internet to avoid paying for a licence? I really don't understand why the BBC invested so much of our money in the iPlayer, which has effectively removed all incentive for paying for a TV Licence. And now they are going to move even more services away from the standard TV platform and on to the internet, where any Tom, Dick & Harry can access them for free. Won't be long before there will be no point in getting a TV Licence, and the BBC will have to be privatised in order to keep it going.

  • Comment number 59.

    Thanks for all your comments. You might be interested to know that the BBC Trust is reviewing the red button service and conducting a public consultation. Feedback has to be in by 23rd January 2013. You can find more information here: https://consultations.external.bbc.co.uk/bbc/online-redbuttonreview

  • Comment number 60.

    Not that I could afford one anyway but I was curious to see a friend's internet connected tv the other day - one of the new Samsung ones. They showed me iPlayer and I could see how that worked and they had a BBC Sport app which I assume is what is being referred to in this blog. I asked them to show me that, it said it was loading and then nothing, just a grey screen? We tried it a few times and the result was always the same, then we tried again and walked away for 5 mins - still just a grey screen. We have had a look on the web for answers but everything seems to refer to Olympic coverage - does the app not work any more??? If it is supposed to are its broadband requirements different from iPlayer and what are they anyway. There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of information on this which is fairly pitiful if it is the direction you want to push everyone in.

  • Comment number 61.

    Is this why I couldn't get F1 Forum on Freesat HD Red Button today ? Seems a step back rather than forward to me

  • Comment number 62.

    As otheres have said. This is discrimination again. What about people with poor broadband and in any case they have already paid a licence fee to see BBC tv including the red button.
    I DON'T WANT AND AM UNWILLING TO PAY SKY OR ANYONE ELSE FOR A SERVICE I'VE ALREADY PAID FOR.

  • Comment number 63.

    Re: 50/59

    Sadly last time round the BBC Trust listened to accountants talking about costs but completely brushed aside the thousands of comments from Freeview viewers about how the service suffered by being cut to one stream, sending out the same insulting generic (and factually incorrect) reply about how they couldn't possibly have another stream on Freeview.

    This latest review won't change their mind either - and the fact it's lumped in with internet services (and the red button questions are one page out of seventeen!) just highlights how little the BBC cares about it. The red button really should be thriving now we're at digital switchover - but it's being killed instead and has little to no investment, and even now with just one stream services which really should be offered as an MHEG overlay over the BBC1/2 picture (mainly play-a-long quizzes) still get a simulcast on the channel.

  • Comment number 64.

    have heard it will be possible to record programmes on the red button via my sky plus box how is this now possible the programme i wish to record the nfl football on monday night does still not show on my sky planner do i have to link my internet modem to my sky plus box at present i have no more terminals on my modem to do that thank you for your time jay

  • Comment number 65.

    Notice that the bowls is only on the BBC Sport website and BBC1 in Scotland and they don't seem to want to put the sport on the red button for some reason

  • Comment number 66.

    As an avid fan of motor sport and firstly Moto GP 1,2 and 3 I am very disappointed that these items have now been removed and the only way that I can view Moto 2 & 3 is if I subscribe to Sky to get Eurosport. Also the qualifying on the previous day has gone leaving me with only the main race on BBC 2 on the Sunday. I feel that all motorcycle sport is treated as second class and dropped frm broadcast in favour of any other sport that happens to be on at the time regardless of it being shown on a BBC channel at the same time. Please reinstate this for next year as it will be the first time that we have got British riders actually competing with no support from their home country.

  • Comment number 67.

    Me again. I just switched on to the red button and to my amazement I found Moto 2 actually showing. The most exciting end to the last race of the season. Marquez started from the back and passed 31 out of 32 riders and was gaining on the leader with 3 laps to go had caught him only for the BBC in their wisdom to switch coverage to The Parade of service men which was and had been for a while showing on BBC1. Was the director mad. If I wanted to watch BBC1 I would have. Where has MY choice gone. I bet it wouldnt happen on the last hole of a golf tournament. Absolutely shabby treatment which the license payer has to put up with. This wouldnt happen on a commercial station. I am pretty peeved to say the least.

  • Comment number 68.

    I have just missed the end of one of the last motorbike races of the season. Why BBC did you have to cut the stream with only a couple of laps of the race to go??? I know how important Remembrance Sunday is, but this was already being shown on BBC channel. Comments please ......

  • Comment number 69.

    I agree with #64, Jay

    Last night I tried to watch the NFL MNF on the iPlayer app on Sky and it wasn't there. It is available online, why is Red Button content not shown on the Sky iPlayer app, it's also not on the iPlayer app that comes as part of my Sony Bravia TV!

    As for the rest, I too am disappointed by the reduction of the red button streams, I suspect it will mean a reduction in the number of red button presses that the BBC gets quite substantially.

    I used to press the red button for the weather but the weather service is pointless since the video service was removed.

    I bet all of you that voted for the Tories are well proud of yourselves as Cameron and his cronies and the ludicrous decision to freeze the licence fee is now coming home to roost.....

  • Comment number 70.

    I am extremely disappointed about this change. My tv is not connected to the internet which means I will miss out on many things. The best thing about being able to have the red button service directly on tv meant that, for example, when Wimbledon was on, I could often watch matches long after the BBC2 coverage had finished and also could choose which matches to watch, now I will have to watch whatever is on the main channels. It is wrong to assume that everyone wants to watch via the internet. I am very disappointed with the BBC!

  • Comment number 71.

  • Comment number 72.

    BBC its simple for the 3001 page to become a permanent channel called BBC Sport. It would be so popular it would be unbelievable! However you obviously don't see it this way?

  • Comment number 73.

    @72 I do disagree: the itv sport Channel had to go off air a few years ago for various reasons. 301 has to cater for a diverse number of audiences.

  • Comment number 74.

    @73
    "301 has to cater for a diverse number of audiences"

    Like BBC1, you mean?

    With the demise of the other streams, they may as well just make it a regular channel (BBC 5?). They can then publish what's on in the Freeview/Freesat/Sky/cable guides.

  • Comment number 75.

    I think the reduction in the Red Button coverage is a real shame, and something the BBC should reconsider. I watch a lot of snooker on the BBC's interactive service, and they gave full coverage and when more than one match was being shown, the viewer could pick which match they wanted to view.

    The reduction to live streams means this is no longer possible, meaning fans of snooker have much less choice between what they watch.

    With the UK Championship coming up, it infuriates me that I am paying license fees only to have the programming I enjoy watching reduced.

  • Comment number 76.

    @75 ASnookerFan

    "With the UK Championship coming up, it infuriates me that I am paying license fees only to have the programming I enjoy watching reduced."

    It's called "Putting Quality First", don't you know?

    If anything was more inappropriately named, I've yet to see it. "Cutting to the Bone" or "Putting Sky and Apple users first" would be more appropriate titles for this "strategy", if you ask me.

  • Comment number 77.

    I'm not in the least bit interested in the red button but why do I have to suffer with the stupid thing de splayed in the top right hand corner of the screen is beyond me. My television handbook say that leaving a stationary picture on the screen burns a imprint on the screen thus spoiling the television and I usually turn over to ITV. Could the BBC kindly take the dammed annoying red button off the screen and stick it where the sun don't shine.

  • Comment number 78.

    Watching the UK championship without the red button coverage is a real letdown.
    Hopefully the BBC will take note of all of the comments on here, it highlights what the licence payer thinks, we pay our licence fee for to watch these services in the comfort of our front rooms on TV, not on the Internet.
    We have been promised so much by way of digital tv switch over etc etc, yet the services are now being reduced since the switch over and we are being pushed towards the Internet.
    Well I don't have a computer in my front room, so I can't watch the snooker, and later on the tennis unless I go to my bedroom which defeats the purpose of me paying a licence fee if I have to use a computer to use services that were freely available on my tv.
    I can't see how these services that have been on offer for a food many years now could have increased so significantly in cost as to make them too costly to operate now, it just doesn't make sense?
    We've had such wonderful coverage from the BBC through and such a wonderful summer of sport, instead of building on it, the BBC seem to have taken a backward step.
    Crazy.

  • Comment number 79.

    Tom Williams, I have been enjoying the red button service on freesat that you provide. Recently we had the opportunity to watch Andy Murray our number one tennis player and number three in the world play in London at the 02. Yesterday afternoon I was enjoying the snooker on the BBC. Then it was moved to the red button. Then it dissapeared completely. Do you know how frustrating that is? Only to be replaced by three people talking about football. Great if you like watching people talking about football. Believe it or not, a lot of us don't. Please, please reconsider your plans for the red button where we can all enjoy a variety of spot on several different streams. If it ain't broke don't try to fix it. Will all of our comments and opinions fall on deaf ears? I wonder.

  • Comment number 80.

    I don't suppose for a split second that my comments or rather complaint will make any difference to the decision makers at the BBC but all the same I have to say that the removal of the video streams on the red button is one of the best ways to infuriate license payers. I'm not a huge watcher of sport but I do or at least did look forward to the snooker. I discovered this afternoon that I can now only watch one table and even that can be changed by the whim of some chinless wonder at the BBC! (Davis v Carter - Trump v Joyce) Previously I could choose which table to watch and miss out on all the rubbish bits, trailers and opinions that don't interest me. It seems that the BBC assume, quite wrongly that everyone is going to rush out and buy the latest (and expensive) 'connected' TV. In addition they seem to assume that everyone has a high speed and un-metered internet connection, well I've got news for them - most won't and many don't ! I wonder if these streams, which are still produced since they are available on the internet will re-appear on Sky - for a fee of course !! I'm not against progress but how on earth can they call this progress?

    I doubt that I will be watching much snooker from now on, it's just too frustrating to suddenly have the plug pulled in the middle of an exciting match.

  • Comment number 81.

    Just read on the BBC that the Red Button service cost £1.28 a yr out of the annual licence fee in 2010, and the latest cost I cound find for it was £17.5M a year - out of total BBC revenues of £5 billion. The red button coverage of the current UK Snooker Championship has been totally ruined by the constant switching to non-sport red button coverage. As so many others have posted, this is a backward step, it is not 'Putting Quality First' - and like many others, I doubt if anybody in BBC management or at the BBC Trust actually cares. Instead of cutting back on the Red button budget and programming budgets in general, how about removing some of the multiple layers of management that have sprung up over recent years ? I am generally supportive of the BBC, but such cutbacks do not help the BBC's cause.

  • Comment number 82.

    I am sorely disappointed that the BBC has chosen to cut the number of streams to Sky and other payTV users instead of increasing those to Freeview. One of the biggest pleasures of my winter TV viewing has been the ability to watch bowls and snooker on the red button while other rubbish is being shown on TV and, more importantly, to see the end of matches cut short by other scheduling. So now we get no choice unless we choose to spend a fortune on an internet ready TV. Another portion of the TV watching public disenfranchised. Poor show BBC.

  • Comment number 83.

    Once again the powers that be at the BBC ride rough shod over the licence fee payer by cutting back services WE pay for. They get to keep hold of their over inflated salaries but cut back program quality, service and content.

    The reasons for the cut back on the red button contradict the findings in their own report.

    "27. Despite substantial costs the large number of users means that BBC Red Button’s total cost per user reached (CPUR) is low, at 6.4pii per user per week. This is low compared to most other BBC services."

    Haven't any of the bright sparks who came up with the idea of reducing content on the red button also realised that this has the knock on effect of decreasing the people who use it, which will lead to it eventually being consigned to the scrap heap.
    Or is that the overall idea?

    This is another decision that clearly shows the BBC don't care about the licence fee payer.
    They know we can't do anything about it because we have to pay our licence fee no matter what.
    Ridiculous decision, made by people who couldn't care less about content just about their own salaries.
    I wonder how many people who made this decision will be getting a bonus for coming up with this stupid idea?

  • Comment number 84.

    77 - the red button graphic can be removed with the green button, but I agree it's intrusive and unnecessary. In the early days of Freeview it would appear for the first 20-30 seconds then remove itself automatically - why the BBC ever moved away from this I don't know as surely anyone interested in the red button service is going to access it at the earliest opportunity.

 

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