BBC reducing Red Button TV services to a single video stream

BBC reducing Red Button TV services to a single stream
No more multi-screen for broadcast TV viewers

The BBC has announced that it is cutting back the popular Red Button service to just one video stream on October 15.

The service, which proved hugely useful during the 2012 Olympic Games coverage, currently offers up to five streams simultaneously, enabling multi-view for big events.

The BBC said, as the service runs on linear broadcast technology, it is no longer a cost-effective solution, which is sure to displease the license payers who make use of the Red Button.

Instead, it will be directing Sky, FreeSat and Virgin customers (Freeview users only have one stream) to the BBC website and Internet TV apps in order to continue making use of extended Red Button coverage.

Not the beginning of the end

"This change in no way signals the demise of BBC Red Button," wrote Tom Williams, Development Editor for red button and dual screen in BBC Vision, on the BBC's Internet blog.

"The BBC is committed to maintaining a vibrant and popular red button service. 20 million people a month press red on the BBC and our ambition is to develop the service and increase the size of our audience," he said.

Later, he continues: "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."

Live restart on your TV

Those new ways include the Connected Red Button, announced back in June, which will launch later this year on for the BBC Online app for connected televisions.

This, according to Williams, "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."

For a full outline of the BBC's decision to trim back Red Button services, which is sure to be a huge disappointment for those without connected televisions, follow the link in the hat-tip below.

Via BBC Internet blog

Chris Smith

A technology journalist, writer and videographer of many magazines and websites including T3, Gadget Magazine and He specializes in applications for smartphones, tablets and handheld devices, with bylines also at The Guardian, WIRED, Trusted Reviews and Wareable. Chris is also the podcast host for The Liverpool Way. As well as tech and football, Chris is a pop-punk fan and enjoys the art of wrasslin'.