Sky gripe grounded Freeview EPG facelift
Prøn peddler upset too
An attempt to modernise the Freeview channel listing last week proved something of a fail after a stack of planned moves did not take place, thanks to complaints from Sky and a purveyor of adult entertainment.
Originally mooted in March and confirmed with minor changes in July, the channel revamp would have seen programme genres more evenly spread throughout the 700-odd channels pegged for TV and related uses rather than have them all crammed in below 120.
DMOL, the company which manages the EPG listing, said in July that Channels 1 through 99 will become home to "general enterainment" stations. It also said HD channels would run from 101 to 120; kids' channels from 121 to 130; news from 131 to 150; and adult channels from 171 to 198.
Text services were set to shift to 200-299, just below the 300-320 band, which would continue to be home to interactive, "red button" services. A new category, IPTV services, was to be added at 400.
On the day, text services made the move, and some minor channel changes were made by the likes of Dave, Yesterday, Gold and The Food Network. Argos TV made its debut too. Channels 8 and 45 were reserved for local public service stations due to launch England and Northern Ireland, and Wales and Scotland in 2013.
No detailed reasons were initially given for scaling back the planned EPG changes, but DMOL said the "further changes announced in July are on hold pending the outcome of two channel appeals".
In fact, one of the appeals came from satellite broadcaster Sky, which shows Sky News and Sky Sports News on Freeview, putting the migration of the news channels on hold.
The other complaint, El Reg understands, came from an adult channel provider - we asked DMOL to name the company, but it was unable to do so because the appellant had requested anonymity.
A DMOL spokesman told us the adult and news channels can't be moved until the two appeals are resolved. This prevents the kids and HD channels being moved because the law insists that the adult channels come last. Ahem.
You can view the current channel layout at the DMOL website. ®
Agree with Sky on this one
Their dismantling of the DMOL argument for mucking about with the Freeview EPG again is convincing. No STB/TV I've ever seen allows the easy navigation or filtering of channels by genre, and when options aimed at this kind of thing are attempted they are inevitably clumsy, illogical and, most importantly, generally wiped out when the EPG is updated next time.
My representation to DMOL/OEMs would read like this:
1) Add 'Shopping' genre
2) Allow me to filter by genre so I can remove 'Shopping', 'Adult' and 'Topup TV'
3) Allow me to assign my own, persistent channel numbers
4) Leave the bloody thing alone
Re: Agree with Sky on this one
5) Sort it out so that the software on a Freeview receiver updates the channel list by itself. Ever seen Sky telling people to retune every time they add a channel? Or Freesat?
And yet again
I have to refresh my bloody channel list once all this is sorted out - losing all my scheduled programs. Wonderful - it's obviously the future as it's now EVEN MORE inconvenient than before, but with more flashy menus.
I remember getting excited about Channel 4 launching - how many times did I have to retune back then after than auspicious event? None? I see...
Re: Agree with Sky on this one
Yes I'm sure Sky fucked it up purely for technical reasons. I cant see any financial benefit for them for pissing freeview viewers about at all can you?
"No set-top box allows filtering or navigation by - insert standard of choice that might work but the big money wont allow to happen here."
I often wondered why TV filtering etc was so 1970's - it seems its something to do with letting the fox have a major way in henhouse design.
Sky Sports News hasn't been on freeview for ages. Dropped off when SSN went HD on Sky.