YouView to adopt Freeview channel list rules
Scheme to minimise EPG envy?
Would-be standard IPTV platform YouView wants to order channels in its electronic programme guide (EPG) according to rules used by Freeview, an approach that puts the UK's main terrestrial channels at the top of the list.
The Freeview EPG channel order is specified by Digital Multiplex Operators Ltd (DMOL), which mandates so-called "public service broadcasters" (PSBs) be placed at the top of the list, which is why EPG slots one to five are used for BBC 1, BBC 2, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, respectively.
Other "general entertainment" stations follow, then kids' channels, news channels, adult stations, "test services", interactive services and, finally, radio stations.
DMOL is jointly owned by the operators of the six digital terrestrial television (DTT) multiplexes. It was set up to manage these "Logical Channel Numbers" in an impartial way.
'Channel' in the digital era is a more nebulous notion that it was in the analague age. With individual stations bundled together into multiplexes the old idea of 'one station, one channel' is outdated. Today, channel numbering is more about a station's positioning in the EPG list than anything else.
Broadcasters inevitably want as lower an LCN as possible, in order to appear as close to the top of the EPG as they can. It's widely believed that, like Google search results, channels placed toward to the top of the EPG are more likely to gain viewers than those further down.
'EPG envy' has been the cause of much friction around the YouView initiative, with potential content providers concerned that the IPTV brand's key members - the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, BT and Talk Talk - would automatically get the prime slots.
YouView undoubtedly hopes that by adopting the well supported DMOL rules it will allay such fears before its services goes live early in 2012. Clearly, its broadcaster members will get the best slots, but it will be interesting to see where the others will come - and what other content providers will take part.
And someone may yet object. YouView's EPG policy decision only exists in a draft form. The organisation is asking stakeholders and interested parties for their tuppence worth in an industry consultation that runs to 4 November. ®
Channel numbers - does anyone use them?
Maybe it's because I only have Freeview, but I don't use channel numbers at all.
My TV (which isn't that new) allows me to create a profile containing the channels ordered as I want and excluding those I don't (which is nearly all of them). So I have one that's just kids channels and another that I use most of the time - BBC1, 2, 3, 4, ITV 1, CH4, Film4 etc (under 20 I'd guess)
Although the channel numbers do appear, I always go by the channel name on the reduced EPG - I don't even know what the numbers are for a channel.
Pull your finger out!
Considering the original YouView nee Project Canvas nee Project Kangaroo was due to launch in mid 2008, to be honest I don't care what order or even colour the EPG is!
In fact I don't even give a damn if it doesn't have an EPG at all. What I do want is a simple STB which allows me to stream catch-up content from all the main "freeview" providers though a single common interface.
Is that too much to ask, or too difficult to achieve in 5 years FFS!
The Freeview EPG is awful; Freesat is the one that got it correct. Partly it's a question of timing, all the +1 and whatnot could be correctly ordered from day one rather than added over time. However, it also breaks it down in to a larger number of groups, and the shopping guff is put last.
Who the hell is Real Ale is best
I know how to Google, but this comment gives no explanation of him/her at all!
Why can't all the broadcasters get together and agree a unified numbering system?
OK, so there's EPG envy. But wouldn't it be good if the same channel was always on the same number on Freeview, Virgin, Sky, etc. It would make explaining it to my ageing mother a LOT simpler!!!