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Connected Red Button: a first look at the new service on Smart TVs

Jennifer Lyons

Product Manager

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

Twelve months ago the BBC launched the new Connected Red Button service on Virgin Media’s TiVo platform. Today I am very happy to announce that we have now extended this service to more platforms by launching a beta version of Connected Red Button on a number of Sony Freeview Smart TVs. This new service will run alongside the existing Red Button service during its ‘beta period’, giving viewers a chance to try the new service whilst it is tested and refined.

Connected Red Button brings the best of the Red Button and the BBC online to your TV by simply pressing red. The service offers a lot more content including BBC TV programmes via BBC iPlayer as well as live events and the latest news, sport and weather, yet is powerfully simple for anyone to use.

The Connected Red Button is being launched as a beta service on supported Sony Smart TVs, with Samsung and LG Smart TVs launching in January 2014. Viewers will be able to try the new service, gain familiarity and provide feedback that we can potentially incorporate into the product as we continue development. They can do this while continuing to use the existing Red Button service as usual. More devices and platforms will be added in 2014.

Viewers can access the new Connected Red Button via the featured section

To access the new service, viewers with supported Smart TVs that are connected to the Internet can press red on a BBC TV channel such as BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Three, BBC Four or BBC News and BBC Parliament to access the Connected Red Button beta via the ‘featured’ menu.

Viewers of the new beta service can enjoy the following: 

• TV – including up to 10 featured BBC iPlayer programmes from the channel you are watching or explore more catch-up TV via the BBC iPlayer button

• News – keep up to date with the latest UK news and select headlines to read or news videos to watch along with a link to ‘News home’ for more news coverage

• Sport – watch live sport and highlights and read the latest sport headlines, with a link to ‘Sport home’ to access the dedicated BBC Sport application

• Weather – check the latest 5 day forecast for your location

• CBBC and CBeebies – easily get to up to 10 featured BBC iPlayer highlights from CBBC and CBeebies

The TV section in Connected Red Button

Right now Connected Red Button beta is available on selected Sony Smart TVs, with more makes and models coming soon. However, if you bought a Smart TV in the last 2-3 years, you may still be able to access BBC iPlayer, BBC News or BBC Sport when pressing red or via the TV app store. For older TVs or those that are not connected to the Internet, don’t forget you can still get the existing Red Button service for great digital text and video content from the BBC.

The Connected Red Button is built using HTML and JavaScript and supports standards-based browsers and streaming technologies. It uses a modular, scalable, shared (with Connected Red Button on Virgin TiVo) architecture that enables us to easily add features, modify sections or bring new TV platforms on board. We continue to work closely with the industry to bring Connected Red Button to a broad range of TVs, devices and platforms. Connected Red Button is built using the TV Application Layer which simplifies development, porting and certification. For more on the development of Connected Red Button visit Duncan’s blog post "Building Connected Red Button."

Sport section in Connected Red Button

As Matt mentioned in his previous blog post with up to 13 million people pressing red each week, the existing Red Button service remains very popular and we continue to support the service.

Connected Red Button represents the next step, bringing together the best of Red Button and BBC online content and services with the advantage of modern design and making the best use of the connected services that internet enabled devices have to offer.

We hope you enjoy this new service and I would like to hear your feedback in comments. There are also details on our BBC FAQ page. As the name suggests, we’re still at the ‘beta’ stage and I hope to have more updates in 2014 on the progress of Connected Red Button.

Jennifer Lyons is the Product Manager for Connected Red Button.

Update 8th May 2014: 

BBC Connected Red Button is now available on supported LG and Panasonic Smart TVs. Please see the list of supported devices to check if your Smart TV can access this new service.

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