BBCi on Freesat Launched!

Published on 9 May 2008 in , , , , ,

Yep, it all happened smoothly and BBCi on Freesat is go.Although I’ll let you into a little secret – we’d been broadcasting it for several weeks anyway, so the only way that it wouldn’t have launched on the 6 May is if our Controller had run into our office area shouting “For the love of Gawd, pull the service NOW!” Which he wouldn’t have, as he doesn’t speak like that.

So if you’re the one person who has been eagerly awaiting a detailed blog post about it all, well you can now have it. Just not here.

Instead you’ll find it in the form of “corporate blogging” on the BBC Internet Blog, complete with gratuitous mention for my boss John Denton as he insisted (and indeed, he wrote that bit himself thanks to my initial attempts to comply with his wishes for a mention being far too un-subtle and therefore not escaping the savage cuts made by the Internet Blog’s editor, Nick Reynolds!) and an extremely dodgy photograph of me which makes me look like I have a dicky eye.

And lets be honest – those are the only two things you lot really care about when all is said and done!

Anyway, pop over there, read it and indeed comment too!


  • On question I can’t seem to find an answer for – will I need a new satellite dish, or will an unused Sky one be OK?
    I know, I know; you do software. 😉

  • Andrew Bowden says:

    I do software, I do software 🙂
    This should be on the Freesat website somewhere – it certainly was. An unused Sky dish should be fine.

  • Samuel Jacobs says:

    Thanks for singling me out Andrew, I’m all embarrassed now! Still great post, I enjoyed the insight.
    Simon, an old Sky Digital dish *should* be fine — a dish is a dish and Freesat comes from the same group of satellites. However, it would be wise to check that the dish is still aligned correctly, as depending on where on the building and how well the dish was installed it might’ve been knocked out. If you still have a Sky digibox, it should be fine for checking this.
    PS. Also remember that parts of the setup may have been damaged in the time the dish hasn’t been used. But as with alignment, if you can pick up BBC1 through a Sky digibox, then you’ll be able to pick up the Freesat services.

  • jonathan smith says:

    Hi Andrew
    I’m concerned that there is no video content on freesat interactive. I installed it this week for the Chelsea stuff and then for Wimbledon, Euro 2008, Olympics, etc. Freesat have referred me to the BBC….and then I found your site. What timescale are you aware of for deployment of this key digital service?!

  • Andrew Bowden says:

    One of the challenges with the BBCi Freesat project is that we had around 6 months in which to start replicating what has taken years to build on Sky and Freeview. And, alas, we didn’t manage everything in the time we had – indeed we didn’t even manage to get a Weather service up (although that will be available very soon.
    The good news on the Sport front is that yesterday (Wed 21 May) the team started on the work on the Olympics service. Unfortunately though it’s not possible to get anything up for Wimbledon and Euro 2008.
    Some of the Freesat set top boxes (namely the Humax ones) do have a “non-Freesat” mode, which means you can tune into the video streams directly, which might help in the meantime.

  • Andrew Bowden says:

    I should just correct my earlier comment – actually when you put the Humax in non-Freesat mode, the BBCi video channels actually appear as black screens which means you can’t watch them direct.

  • Hey Andrew – I’ve got a generic satellite box without any Freesat / red-button features. Are the interactive channels the ones labelled STREAM-0 – STREAM-7 with a spooky voice saying “three zero, audio one” over and over on the first channel? Or rather is that *all* of the interactive streams, or are there more? I can live without the actual interactive menus, just as long as my other half has a way of watching the other Wimbledon matches over the next 2 weeks 🙂
    Also someone might want to update this page which says BBCi services aren’t available yet.

  • Andrew Bowden says:

    Yep, those are the streams. The spooky voice is used to help people configuring services to make sure they’ve configured everything correctly.
    There are two other streams, however they’re split into 6 mini-screens (used in the News Multiscreen) and have six different audio tracks. You won’t find the tennis on there either!