The UK broadcasting regulator has rejected Channel Five’s request for capacity on Freeview’s Multiplex B. Ofcom was not convinced that Five was fully committed to HD broadcasting. Under the rules, the bandwidth will now be allocated to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
Ofcom has to assign Freeview HD capacity to non-commercial broadcasters if the bandwidth is not being used by commercial broadcasters. Five was unable to clearly inform Ofcom of when it will begin broadcasting HD or how it plans to maintain a daytime HD schedule.
Ofcom is believed to have been planning to give the bandwidth to Channel 4 or S4C instead, but both also failed to commit to a service that would meet Ofcom’s requirements.
Five will now have to wait until 2012 when Ofcom will again allow commercial broadcasters for pitch for HD capacity.
Result for: freeview
The Office of Communications (Ofcom), the independent regulator and competition authority for the communication industries in the United Kingdom, could eventually derail the BBC’s proposed new set-top box project, dubbed “iPlayer in hardware”. The regulator wrote to the BBC Trust outlining several concerns it had about the new project and their consequences for competition.
“Commercially-led propositions which seek to compete with Canvas should not be unfairly prevented from accessing BBC content,” it read. It also has concerns about technical standards, user interface (EPG), the BBC’s partnerships with other broadcasters and program quality standards.
Project Canvas is a Linux-based box that attempts to update Freeview with PVR functionality, web access, IPTV and other features. It won’t be manufactured by the BBC, but the broadcaster wants to set a specification that other broadcasters can use. It’s also promised not to aggregate content for the box, or give preferential treatment to BBC content in the Canvas spec.
The BBC Trust has yet to determine whether to let the BBC proceed with the project. “There is a danger television viewers could ultimately be divided into two groups - those with internet connected functionality and those without,” the BBC’s Richard Halton told IPTV World Forum in February. “The BBC would like to ensure that, as before, there is a choice in TV between those who wish to take a subscription and those who don’t.”
Result for: freeview
Thanks to an apparent leak by Amazon there is now some information available on the availability of Sony’s PlayTV add-on for the PlayStation 3.
The PlayTV will turn any PS3 into a “fully-fledged digital (or personal) video recorder.” Amazon has it with a July 31st release date and with a price tag of £59.99. The gadget will boast “dual TV tuners, so all current Freeview channels will be available, and offer a 7-day EPG.”
TV programming can then be recorded to the PS3s HDD and played back whenever you choose. Sony however, has denied official comment on the release date or price.
“We have yet to make an official announcement with regards to the release date and price of PlayTV in the UK, and we do not comment on rumour or speculation,” said a Sony spokesperson.