« Previous | Main | Next »

Football scores and Freeview set top box issues

Post categories:

Andrew Bowden Andrew Bowden | 15:27 UK time, Monday, 23 March 2009

Normally our services run without problems, however we've recently had two issues which some users will have noticed - one for football scores, the other relating to problems on some Freeview boxes.

Football Scores

The first was a problem with Football scores not updating correctly in our sport section.

The problem was inadvertently introduced as part of a change to one of our publishing systems.

Traditionally the sports scores and results data has been supplied by the same systems that publish Ceefax. However the process of converting the Ceefax pages to digital was often slow and prone to mistakes.

In order to improve the reliability and speed of the service, the sports feeds have been moved to a new XML based system which has given a huge speed improvement - previously updates to BBC Red Button could sometimes appear 20 minutes after the same update had appeared on Ceefax. This has now been reduced to seconds at most, and updates are now sometimes appearing on BBC Red Button before Ceefax.

There is still some reliance on the old system, as not all the scores come via the new XML process. It was a code error indavertantly introduced in the processing of data from the old system that resulted in the football scores not updating on screen.

When it was spotted on Saturday, an interim fix was deployed to ensure the scores updated properly. The same problem also occurred on Sunday, with the fix again being applied.

Our engineers have now deployed a permanent fix which should stop this particular problem happening again.

Freeview issues

The second problem occurred on Friday and saw a small number of Freeview boxes crash when tuning to a BBC channel - according to a thread on the Digital Spy forums, boxes made by Wharfdale, Tevion and Nichimen were amongst those affected.

When you tune to a BBC channel on Freeview, a hidden application is run in. This application adds the ability to press red to access BBC Red Button - there would be no way to do this otherwise.

A code change was made to the application last week, and it's this change that appears to have caused problem. As soon as we heard reports of boxes crashing, we reverted back to an earlier code version which we knew should work fine.

We're working to find out why these particular set top boxes didn't like the code change. We test all our changes extensively before launch in order to prevent such issues arising.

We also work very hard to ensure our code is completely standards compliant, which means it should work perfectly on any set top box or TV which carries the Digital Tick - this appears on digital equipment which has been tested and confirmed that it will work correctly during and after digital switchover.

There are hundreds of different Freeview boxes and TVs and because of this, it is not possible for us to test each and every one. We test on a large, representative sample of the boxes on the market, and unfortunately this did not include any of the affected boxes.


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.