Written by Media

BBC to Run DTT

Well, no-one can really claim to be too surprised about the BBC/Crown Castle/BSkyB consortium winning.
This is probably the best that can be done with very limited spectrum, and I’ll explain why. There were two main problems with ITV Digital/OnDigital.
1) Reception was poor. By trying to squeeze as many channels as possible onto the available multiplexes, many of the commercial multiplexes were of exceedingly poor quality. There was frequent picture break-up (and I don’t see this fully disappearing to be fair), and pixellation could be atrocious at times. All down to the fact that Digital is On or Off – no in-betweens.
2) Channel choice was limited. Yes they had the 3 Sky Sports channels, and the two movie channels, as well as Sky One, UK Gold and E4. These probably total the big multichannel services. But then compare the cost of these (and the additional channels) with the cable/Sky Digital equivalent package and the ITV Digital comes up very short on channels. ITV Digital introduced a significant number of people to the service, but then they got hooked on multi-channel telly, and aside from DTT’s technical issues, they moved to cable/digital satellite where they could get better value for money. Hence the massive churn.
There have been some complaints from people who’d like a limited package of the main channels as named above, but you run into the same difficulties as before. For every Sky One, somone else wants Sci-Fi. For every Discovery, someone else wants History Channel. There isn’t enough space.
I think that once boxes cost about �50 we’ll be in a good situation. In the meantime, I’m a little perturbed that some things are being a little mis-described. For example, everyone seems certain that we’ll get CNN, Boomerang and TCM – but they’ll all share the same channel space, so in fact we’ll be seeing something like CNN overnight and at breakfast, Boomerang throughout the day and TCM in the evenings. Expect CNN to takeover for big breaking news. UK History should prove a popular channel, and those who’ve eschewed digital so far might be persuaded by the likes of this and BBC4. BBC3 won’t be unpopular when it’s finally given the go ahead in the next couple of days either.