The BBC Is Changing Up The Red Button

By Jon Partridge on at

It looks like the BBC will be making some changes to the Red Button service over the next few weeks, chopping up a few things, but also adding a few new things for our brightly Internet-connected future.

October 15th will see the video component of the Red Button on Sky, FreeSat and Virgin Media reduced from five streams to a paltry one, which brings it in line with what the Beeb is offering on Freeview. The reason for this is because those services rely on linear broadcast technologies, which apparently, aren't quite so cost-effective for a service like the red button.

This doesn't mean the end of the Red Button, nope, the BBC is still committed to giving a diverse and vibrant red button service. Over 20 million people press that little red button, and the BBC aim to develop the service and increase the size of the audience.

Auntie plans to continue supporting television and radio events such as Wimbledon and Glastonbury, as well as smaller events like triathlon, as well as bringing in extra content in the autumn. Of course, the the reduction in video streams will definitely have an impact on coverage, and the service will no longer be able to present multi-screen offerings, which is disappointing to sports fans. However, content previously on the service is going up on the web and will be accessible via BBC Online.

With the reduction of streams on more premium services, the BBC are however, going to be reinventing the red button for the future. The Beeb is going forward with something called the Connected Red Button, which will combine the best of Red Button content with the best of BBC Online and will bring it to the television too. This will take advantage of web-based technologies, and will include some new functions, such as 'live restart', meaning you can simply start from the beginning of a programme if you've come in midway.

While many will not be impressed with the downsizing of video streams, at least the Beeb are making up with some new added features and content, and maybe the additional video coverage might make come back in web form. [BBC Internet Blog]

Image credit: Coffee Lover from flickr