Digital 3&4, the operator of the Freeview multiplex that carries ITV and Channel 4 service has confirmed a new contract with BT.
With the change, BT now provides Digital 3&4 with start-to-finish cloud-based processing for regionalised TV content across all channels, ready for distribution to 28 regions across the UK.
D3&4 is now using BT’s Vena smart broadcast system to deliver digital coding and multiplexing, essentially combining multiple content streams into one before distribution regionally.
This involves taking content from six playout centres and distributing it to nations and regions across the UK securely and reliably, via two of BT’s resilient datacentres. In addition, BT is providing a full end-to-end, round-the-clock monitoring service from its International Media Operations Centre.
▶ Channels carried by Digital 3&4 on Freeview
- ITV1 (STV in Central/Northern Scotland, UTV in Northern Ireland)
- ITV1+1 (STV+1 and UTV+1)*
- Channel 4
- Channel 4+1
- Channel 5
- S4C ***
*no timeshift service in the Channel Islands. **Not Wales ***Wales only
Also carries the Freeview information service/Freeview Play portal on channel 100 and the Freeview accessible guide on channel 555.
The news of the multi-million-pound contact confirms recent changes to the configuration of the Digital 3&4 multiplex, which can now carry up to 13 linear TV streams nationwide. ITVBe recently moved across from SDN to make use of the newly created stream, triggering a retune for some viewers. Otherwise, the change has no impact on viewers.
The Digital 3&4 multiplex is also known as PSB2 – the second of three national terrestrial TV multiplexes carrying public service channels.
Digital 3&4 says the the benefits of processing digital terrestrial TV via the cloud include “improving overall operational efficiency, cutting costs, lowering energy consumption, and enhancing flexibility for both production and distribution”.
The operator says this is the first time that cloud processing of digital terrestrial TV channels has been completed on this scale.
Faisal Mahomed, Director of BT Media and Broadcast & Portfolio Businesses said:
“This launch marks a major development for the TV industry as a whole. It will offer more possibilities for broadcasters to connect and interact with their audiences. …. The service, built on Vena, is only the start of what’s possible on BT’s smart broadcast network – as we continue to drive digitisation, and to innovate solutions to support TV delivery in the UK and across the globe.”
Greg Bensberg, Managing Director at Digital 3&4 commented:
“Our partnership with BT has enabled us to take a giant leap forward in delivering Freeview TV for 18 million regular viewers across the UK. This was a challenging project that required meticulous planning and execution, and we’re proud to have worked with a company that shares our passion for innovation and excellence. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with BT and driving the future of broadcasting in the UK.”
The Government recently provided the green light for multiplex operators to extend their broadcast licences into the mid 2030s, although licences could be terminated from 2030 subject to decisions made at the World Radiocommunications Conference (WRC-23).
Digital 3&4 was previously multiplexed by Arqiva.