72 hours after a major incident, Channel 4 is still struggling to maintain normal service as millions of viewers tune in to The Great British Bake-Off.
The public broadcaster is still unable to offer a live stream online, while viewers continue to report problems on Freeview, Sky, Freesat and Virgin Media.
These include intermittent distorted picture and poor sound quality. Meanwhile, subtitles and audio description are missing from services. Programme data is at times missing or wrong. Programme announcements have been replaced by static captions.
Engineers have been pulling out all the stops to keep the main Channel 4 service running as smoothly as possible for Tuesday night’s premiere of The Great British Bake-Off. As Channel 4’s ratings highlight, it’s the commercially most important show of the week and hotly desired by advertisers. So far since Saturday, numerous ad-breaks across Channel 4’s family of channels have been missed due to the problems.
Channel 4 service impact
The situation remains fluid, but in the last 24 hours,
- E4+1 remains off-air across the country
- 4Music has been unable to broadcast since the weekend and is simulcasting The Box.
- In some regions, Channel 4’s sister channels E4, More 4 and Film 4 are unavailable.
On cable and satellite platforms:
- Programme data on some Channel 4 services is missing or showing out-of-date information.
- Some HD services have been replaced with SD feeds.
- Kerrang TV, Magic TV and 4Music have been unable to broadcast and are simulcasting The Box.
- Box Hits is simulcasting Kiss.
- Live streams of Channel 4’s services are impacted. Viewers are being advised to switch to Freeview, Sky, Freesat or Virgin Media.
This is in addition to picture and sound problems affecting all viewers across platforms.
It follows Saturday evening’s incident at Red Bee Media, the organisation responsible for the playout and distribution of most of the UK’s biggest broadcasters, which has knocked out critical servers. Channel 4 and its services are normally played out of the facility, located in West London.
While the BBC and Channel 5 have successfully gone to disaster recovery, Channel 4 and its family of channels remain severely affected. Unlike the BBC, Channel 4 does not have a full back-up, although a 2019 contract signed between Red Bee Media and Channel 4 promised improved disaster recovery and playout facility from Salford.
Channel 5’s services are mostly running as normal, with some continuity announcements resuming today. A black and white symbol in the top right indicates a back-up disaster recovery feed. Channel 5’s online streams on My5 remained offline.
Red Bee Media has refused to comment on reports of a sonic wave caused by the fire suppression system, leaked to some media outlets on Sunday evening.
Channel 4 meanwhile has been unable to say when all the problems will be resolved.