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Dave, Really and Yesterday come to Now TV and Roku

On-demand content from the UKTV stable is arriving on Now TV and Roku devices, giving owners access to the likes of Taskmaster, Most Haunted and Yianni: Supercar Customiser as well as previews of new and upcoming shows on Dave. Exclusive previews that’ll be available online before they hit the airwaves include episodes of Dara O Briain’s Go 8 Bit and Cop Car Workshop, a new original documentary series offering a behind the scenes look at one of the UK’s leading police car workshops, while classic shows like Red Dwarf and Have I Got News For You will be available to stream on demand as usual. The UKTV Play app will be automatically pushed out to new Now TV Boxes and Smart Sticks from tomorrow, or it can be downloaded from the App Store now.

Roku users can add UKTV Play from the Film & TV category in the Roku Channel Store. The app is already available on YouView set-top boxes and TVs as well as Amazon’s Fire TV platform, and there are along iOS and Android apps, which let you stream over WiFi or cellular, provided you’ve got enough data. Gidon Katz, managing director of Now TV, said: “When it comes to great TV, we know choice and flexibility matters, so we’re really excited to be welcoming the free UKTV Play app onto our family of streaming devices.

Let the binging on Taskmaster and Most Haunted commence!” Roku’s director of content distribution Ingo Reese added: “Our aim is to provide our users with the best possible content line-up and easy access to the shows they love. With UKTV Play launching on Roku streaming players, we add another great option to our free-to-watch offering with top-notch content.”

The UKTV Play app hosts shows from UKTV channels Dave, Yesterday, Really and Drama including exclusive UKTV Originals and thousands of hours from the network’s extensive archive. Richard Williams, general manager for UKTV Play, revealed that last year, the on demand platform racked up 100 million views. While on the surface that doesn’t compare that well with the 272 million monthly requests racked up by BBC iPlayer in 2017, UKTV is spending around GBP150m, a year on original content; the BBC’s total TV content spend for 2017-18 is GBP1.6bn.

UKTV is 50/50 owned by BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, and Scripps Network, which was acquired by Discovery last year for £14.6bn (GBP10.5bn).

Now TV is owned by Sky and offers a way for people who don’t want a full pay TV service to get a taste of the Sky experience.

Sky also owns a stake in Roku, whose hardware often forms the basis of Now TVs own mini streamers.

Vodafone and CityFibre digging for gigabit broadband in Aberdeen

Vodafone has named Aberdeen as the next place where it’ll be installing gigabit broadband. Work with infrastructure provider and network partner CityFibre will begin on the project this July and the first customers are expected to be able to order Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) services by early 2019. Building on CityFibre’s existing fibre optic infrastructure, which has been in place since 2015, Vodafone will be able to pass a currently unnamed number of homes and businesses across the city with ‘minimal disruption’ promised.

Once finished, customers will be able to experience download and upload speeds of 1Gbps (1,000Mbps), significantly faster than the speeds currently offered by BT and Virgin Media’s G.fast[1] and HFC-based services[2]. CityFibre chief executive Greg Mesch said: “Our commitment to Aberdeen is further evidence of the action CityFibre is taking to deliver Britain’s full fibre future. Our existing network in Aberdeen provides us with an eighteen-month head-start on a full fibre roll-out to nearly every home and business in the city.

“With similar FTTP backbone networks already built in over 40 UK towns and cities, our contribution to national full fibre coverage is well underway. We are getting on with the job of building Gigabit Britain – at full speed.” Vodafone and CityFibre named Milton Keynes as the first place where it would begin work on rolling out new FTTP connections[3].

While BT is planning on passing 3 million homes with FTTP by 2020[4], Vodafone, using CityFibre’s existing networks, plans to pass 5 million by 2025, but in the shorter term, the companies expect to have passed one million homes across the UK with gigabit fibre broadband by 2021. Vodafone UK’s chief executive Nick Jeffery said: “Our Gigabit broadband services, delivered over CityFibre’s new full fibre networks, will help Aberdeen build on its credentials in innovation and as one of the best places to start a business. It will also transform consumers’ daily lives through superior Internet access.”

While CityFibre has a presence in over 40 UK towns and cities, the partnership with Vodafone will see homes and businesses in at least 10 more locations earmarked for new FTTP connections.

Customers in Aberdeen and Milton Keynes can pre-register at this Vodafone landing page here[5].

References

  1. ^ G.fast (uk.pcmag.com)
  2. ^ HFC-based services (uk.pcmag.com)
  3. ^ the first place where it would begin work on rolling out new FTTP connections (uk.pcmag.com)
  4. ^ planning on passing 3 million homes with FTTP by 2020 (uk.pcmag.com)
  5. ^ can pre-register at this Vodafone landing page here (www.vodafone.co.uk)

Freesat Denies Channel 4's All4 Price Hike Claim

Freesat has denied trying to squeeze Channel 4 for more money, claiming that its new pricing structure simply reflects the cost of running the platform. The subscription-free satellite TV service, which offers digital TV channels along with streamlined access to catch-up services, announced earlier this week[1] that Channel 4 HD and on-demand service All4 would be leaving the platform. Channel 4 then said that it was pulling the HD version of its flagship channel[2] along with All4, citing cost “significant” cost increases.

Freesat is jointly owned by the BBC and ITV and charges a broadcasters a fee for channels and apps appearing in its programme guide and menus. While all of the public service broadcasters – the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 – are required to make their SD channels available on all TV platforms, there’s no requirement for HD and catch-up services. Freesat has now responded, saying that while its fees were increasing, this wasn’t to make a quick profit from the public service broadcaster.

“Freesat’s aim is not to make a profit from these changes but simply to cover its operational costs,” a Freesat spokesperson said to broadcast industry news site SeenIt[3]. “We believe that the redistribution of fees for broadcast channels makes it a fairer system for all our partners. “Channel 4 remains an important partner for Freesat and we hope our customers are able to enjoy All4 and 4HD on Freesat again soon.”

The running costs for the Freesat platform, which delivers SD and HD broadcast and catch-up content to over 2 million UK homes, has eclipsed income for “many years”. This has prompted Freesat to review its fee structure in order to better maintain and develop the platform. But while the cost for Channel 4 HD was set to increase, Freesat’s spokesperson says there was no price rise for All4.

Yesterday, a Channel 4 spokesperson said: “We’re disappointed Freesat is changing its charging structure, leading to a very significant cost increase for Channel 4, which ultimately takes funding away from our content investment budget,” the Channel 4 spokeperson said.

“To reduce the overall burden of our Freesat costs and make internal savings we have regrettably given notice to withdraw All 4 and C4 HD while we consider our long term relationship with Freesat.”

References

  1. ^ announced earlier this week (www.freesat.co.uk)
  2. ^ it was pulling the HD version of its flagship channel (uk.pcmag.com)
  3. ^ SeenIt (www.seenit.co.uk)

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