Interesting Digital Television Launches

Published on 21 October 2003 in , , , , , ,

Couple of interesting things happened in the world of DTT (or Freeview to use it’s marketting name) over the last day or two.

Firstly, yesterday the BBC launched it’s News Multiscreen service, which can be accessed via News 24. Multiscreen is perhaps a bit over the top as a name, as it contains just two streams, and Sky viewers will probably scoff as they’ve had six streams for some time.

BBCi's multistream news application.

The new BBCi News Multistream service – two video streams sit, one on top of the other. The playing stream is highlighted, and the other stream is faded a bit.

However for DTT it’s a big move, being the first interactive to switch between two different video streams on the platform. And if it can do two streams, why not six? Well the lack of space does sort of put a dampner on that one…

Also going up (probably) yesterday is a new application on EMAP’s digital channels. EMAP has been going in for digital radio via DTT in a big way – it now has eight radio stations on the platform, and now it appears they’re trying to enhance their services with a new graphical screen.

Unlike satellite, there’s no defined system for set top boxes to handle radio stations. On satellite, they have a different style of channel banner, with some programme information. On DTT they’re just broadcast as if they’re TV stations but without vision – the vision part has been handled by a digital text screen.

When radio on DTT first launched, these were simple screens, consisting of a logo and a brief description of the station. A few weeks ago, the BBC added DABtext and now EMAP have updated their screens.

Their new service isn’t quite as exciting, offering the amazing opertunity to buy some ringtones, as well as a rather neat station chooser menu – unfortunately this takes you away from the application and then has to reload it it which is a bit of a wasted opportunity when in most cases they could simply switch audio stream (when two stations are on the same multiplex anyway).

The new Kerrang application.

The new screen, as shown here for Kerrang. Note the rather empty looking feel, as if there’s something not quite ready yet…

There’s also a definite ‘unfinished’ look about the whole thing, like this is the first step and there’s more to come (besides selling ringtones)… We’ll have to sit back and wait to see what arrives…

One thing is for sure – radio on satellite is looking distinctively dull in comparison.