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British television

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Public television
Television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

 broadcasting started in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 in 1936, and now has a collection of free and subscription services over a variety of distribution media, through which there are over 480 channelsTaking the base Sky EPG TV Channels. A breakdown is impossible due to a) the number of platforms, b) duplication of services, c) regional services, d) part time operations, and e) audio. For the Sky platform alone, there are basically 485 TV Stations, additionally 57 "timeshifted versions", 36 HDTV versions, 42 regional TV options, 81 audio channels, and 5 promotion channels as of mid 2010 for consumers as well as on-demand content. There are six main channel owners who are responsible for most viewing. There are 27,000 hours of domestic content produced a year at a cost of £2.6 billion.Taking the data from note 1 above, this is a very crude estimate Analogue terrestrial transmissions are currently being switched off and this is due to be completed in 2012.

Television providers


Free and subscription providers are available, with differences in the number of channels, capabilities such as the programme guide (EPG), video on demand
Video on demand
Video on Demand or Audio and Video On Demand are systems which allow users to select and watch/listen to video or audio content on demand...

 (VOD), high-definition
High-definition television
High-definition television is video that has resolution substantially higher than that of traditional television systems . HDTV has one or two million pixels per frame, roughly five times that of SD...

 (HD), interactive television
Interactive television
Interactive television describes a number of techniques that allow viewers to interact with television content as they view it.- Definitions :...

 via the red button
Red Button (Digital Television)
Red Button is a button on the remote control for certain digital television set top boxes in the UK, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and By Directv in the USA. It is for interactive television services such as BBC Red Button and Astro...

, and coverage across the UK. Set-top box
Set-top box
A set-top box or set-top unit is an information appliance device that generally contains a tuner and connects to a television set and an external source of signal, turning the signal into content which is then displayed on the television screen or other display device.-History:Before the...

es are generally used to receive these services; however Integrated Digital Television
Integrated Digital Television
An Integrated Digital Television set is a television set with a built in digital tuner, be it for DVB-T, DVB-S, DVB-C, DMB-T/H, ATSC or ISDB. Most of them also allow reception of analogue signals . They do away with the need for a set top box for converting those signals for reception on a...

s (IDTVs) can also be used to receive Freeview or Freesat
Freesat
Freesat is a free-to-air digital satellite television joint venture between the BBC and ITV plc, serving the United Kingdom. The service was formed as a memorandum in 2007 and has been marketed since 6 May 2008...

. Top Up TV and BT Vision utilise hybrid boxes which receive Freeview as well as additional subscription services. Households viewing TV from the internet (YouTube, Joost, downloads etc.) are not tracked by Ofcom. The UK's five most watched channels, BBC One
BBC One
BBC One is the flagship television channel of the British Broadcasting Corporation in the United Kingdom. It was launched on 2 November 1936 as the BBC Television Service, and was the world's first regular television service with a high level of image resolution...

, BBC Two
BBC Two
BBC Two is the second television channel operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation in the United Kingdom. It covers a wide range of subject matter, but tending towards more 'highbrow' programmes than the more mainstream and popular BBC One. Like the BBC's other domestic TV and radio...

, ITV
ITV
ITV is the major commercial public service TV network in the United Kingdom. Launched in 1955 under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority to provide competition to the BBC, it is also the oldest commercial network in the UK...

, Channel 4
Channel 4
Channel 4 is a British public-service television broadcaster which began working on 2 November 1982. Although largely commercially self-funded, it is ultimately publicly owned; originally a subsidiary of the Independent Broadcasting Authority , the station is now owned and operated by the Channel...

 and Channel 5, are available from all providers.

Main providers

Provider Years Free or pay  No. broadcast channels Households Transmission Video on demand
Video on demand
Video on Demand or Audio and Video On Demand are systems which allow users to select and watch/listen to video or audio content on demand...

 
HD
High-definition television
High-definition television is video that has resolution substantially higher than that of traditional television systems . HDTV has one or two million pixels per frame, roughly five times that of SD...

 
Red button
Red Button (Digital Television)
Red Button is a button on the remote control for certain digital television set top boxes in the UK, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and By Directv in the USA. It is for interactive television services such as BBC Red Button and Astro...

(Unbranded analogue terrestrial)
Analogue terrestrial television in the United Kingdom
Analogue terrestrial television in the United Kingdom is, traditionally, the method most people in the UK, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man used to receive television...

1964–2012 Free Up to 5 2,600,000
February 2009
Analogue
Analog television
Analog television is the analog transmission that involves the broadcasting of encoded analog audio and analog video signal: one in which the message conveyed by the broadcast signal is a function of deliberate variations in the amplitude and/or frequency of the signal...

 terrestrial
Terrestrial television
Terrestrial television is a mode of television broadcasting which does not involve satellite transmission or cables — typically using radio waves through transmitting and receiving antennas or television antenna aerials...

 
BT Vision
BT Vision
BT Vision is a hybrid IPTV-digital terrestrial television service provided by BT Group in the United Kingdom which was launched in December 2006...

 
2006- Pay 3
On-demand content via Vision On-Demand
433,000
October 2009
IPTV
IPTV
Internet Protocol television is a system through which television services are delivered using the Internet protocol suite over a packet-switched network such as the Internet, instead of being delivered through traditional terrestrial, satellite signal, and cable television formats.IPTV services...

 and digital terrestrial
Freesat
Freesat
Freesat is a free-to-air digital satellite television joint venture between the BBC and ITV plc, serving the United Kingdom. The service was formed as a memorandum in 2007 and has been marketed since 6 May 2008...

 
2007- Free 115 (TV)
38 (radio)
Around 200 additional channels available if manually tuned; see List of free-to-air channels at 28E
1,700,000
May 2011
Digital satellite
Satellite television
Satellite television is television programming delivered by the means of communications satellite and received by an outdoor antenna, usually a parabolic mirror generally referred to as a satellite dish, and as far as household usage is concerned, a satellite receiver either in the form of an...

 
Freesat from Sky
Freesat from Sky
Freesat from Sky is a British satellite television service from BSkyB. It offers over 240 free-to-air channels and 12 free-to-view encrypted channels...

 
1998- Free + PPV
Pay-per-view
Pay-per-view provides a service by which a television audience can purchase events to view via private telecast. The broadcaster shows the event at the same time to everyone ordering it...

 
240+ (TV)
80+ (radio)
597,000Derived from total free satellite households (figure 12) and Freesat sales figures (§3.13) in Ofcom report
Q4 2008
Digital satellite
Freeview  2002- Free 50+ (TV)
24 (radio)
 
9,700,000
Q4 2005
Digital terrestrial
Digital terrestrial television
Digital terrestrial television is the technological evolution of broadcast television and advance from analog television, which broadcasts land-based signals...

 
Freeview HD available in parts of the country
Sky TV
Sky Digital (UK & Ireland)
Sky is the brand name for British Sky Broadcasting's digital satellite television and radio service, transmitted from SES Astra satellites located at 28.2° east and Eutelsat's Eurobird 1 satellite at 28.5°E. The service was originally launched as Sky Digital, distinguishing it from the original...

 
1998- Pay 400+ (TV)
On-demand content via Sky Anytime
Sky Anytime
Sky Anytime is the brand-name of a range of services from BSkyB designed to compete with video on demand services currently offered by rival companies such as Virgin Media or Tiscali TV as well as Internet Television services such as ITV Player and Sky Go....


160+ (radio)
8,900,000
August 2006
Digital satellite
Top Up TV
Top Up TV
Top Up TV is a pay television service in the UK launched in March 2004, operating on the digital terrestrial platform. The aim of the service is to "Top Up" Freeview customers by providing additional channels and services....

 
2004- Pay 10
On-demand content via TV Favourites
490,000
Q3 2009
Digital terrestrial
Virgin TV
Virgin TV
Virgin TV is a cable television service in the UK, owned by Virgin Media. Its origins come back from NTL and Telewest, two largest cable operators in the country, of which the two companies merged on 6 March 2006...

 
2006- Pay 250+ (TV)
On-demand content via Virgin Central
Virgin Central
Virgin Central was a barker channel from Virgin Media Television, promoting video-on-demand content. The service was launched on the Virgin Media cable television platform on 20 February 2007. Viewers were presented with a video loop promoting the programmes available...


35+ (radio)
3,672,000This figure is from Virgin Q2 2009 results as quoted in Ofcom report
Q2 2009
Digital cable
Digital cable
Digital cable is a generic term for any type of cable television distribution using digital video compression or distribution. The technology was originally developed by Motorola.-Background:...

 

Local and other providers


The following are providers for local areas, or these that transmits TV via mobiles or the Internet.
Provider Years Free or pay  No. broadcast channels VOD
Video on demand
Video on Demand or Audio and Video On Demand are systems which allow users to select and watch/listen to video or audio content on demand...

 
HD
High-definition television
High-definition television is video that has resolution substantially higher than that of traditional television systems . HDTV has one or two million pixels per frame, roughly five times that of SD...

 
Red button
Red Button (Digital Television)
Red Button is a button on the remote control for certain digital television set top boxes in the UK, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and By Directv in the USA. It is for interactive television services such as BBC Red Button and Astro...

Households Transmission
Freewire
Freewire
Freewire is an internet based television service originally specifically targeted at students through University portals and networks. Freewire Television now reaches around 40,000 students at a variety of locations in the country, and in the process became the largest IPTV service ahead of BT...

 
Free and subscription 25 free, 19 subscription 40,000 IPTV
IPTV
Internet Protocol television is a system through which television services are delivered using the Internet protocol suite over a packet-switched network such as the Internet, instead of being delivered through traditional terrestrial, satellite signal, and cable television formats.IPTV services...

 via JANET
JANET
JANET is a private British government-funded computer network dedicated to education and research. All further- and higher-education organisations in the UK are connected to JANET, as are all the Research Councils; the majority of these sites are connected via 20 metropolitan area networks JANET...

The Internet
Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

 
Varies 17,275,660 Internet television
Internet television
Internet television is the digital distribution of television content via the Internet...

Orange
Orange United Kingdom
Orange is a mobile network operator and internet service provider in the United Kingdom, which launched in 1994. It was once a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index but was purchased by France Télécom in 2000, which then adopted the Orange brand for all its other mobile communications activities...

 
1994- Pay Mobile television
Mobile TV
Mobile television usually means television watched on a small handheld device. It may be a pay TV service broadcast on mobile phone networks or received free-to-air via terrestrial television stations from either regular broadcast or a special mobile TV transmission format...

SmallworldKnown as Smallworld Media prior to Dec 2009 Pay 99 Smallworld, Virgin and Wightcable have 3,100,000 subscribers combined according to Ofcom figures Digital cable
Digital cable
Digital cable is a generic term for any type of cable television distribution using digital video compression or distribution. The technology was originally developed by Motorola.-Background:...

T-Mobile  1993- Pay Mobile television
Vodafone  1991- Pay Mobile television
WightCable
WightCable
Wight Cable 2005 Ltd is the only provider of commercial and residential cable television services on the Isle of Wight. They also provide telephone and broadband internet services....

 
Pay 120 Digital cable

UK households receiving pay vs free TV on their main TVs
Type Percentage Households Providers
Free 50.4% 13,033,440 Freesat, Freesat from Sky, Freeview, analogue terrestrial TV
Pay 49.6% 12,826,560 Sky TV, Smallworld Cable, TalkTalk TV, Top Up TV, Virgin Media, Wightcable
UK households by broadcast/reception system on their main TVs
Type Percentage Households Providers
Terrestrial (free) 47.6% 12,300,000 Analogue terrestrial, Freeview
Satellite (free/pay) 37.1% 9,600,000 Freesat, Freesat from Sky, Sky TV
Cable (pay) 12.0% 3,100,000 Smallworld Cable, Virgin Media, Wightcable
Others 3.3% 860,000 BT Vision, TalkTalk TV, Top Up TV

Reception devices for the UK's television providers
Provider TV or IDTV STB Computer Mobile phone
(Unbranded analogue terrestrial)
Analogue terrestrial television in the United Kingdom
Analogue terrestrial television in the United Kingdom is, traditionally, the method most people in the UK, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man used to receive television...

 
Freesat
Freesat
Freesat is a free-to-air digital satellite television joint venture between the BBC and ITV plc, serving the United Kingdom. The service was formed as a memorandum in 2007 and has been marketed since 6 May 2008...

 
Freesat from Sky
Freesat from Sky
Freesat from Sky is a British satellite television service from BSkyB. It offers over 240 free-to-air channels and 12 free-to-view encrypted channels...

 
Freeview 
Freewire
Freewire
Freewire is an internet based television service originally specifically targeted at students through University portals and networks. Freewire Television now reaches around 40,000 students at a variety of locations in the country, and in the process became the largest IPTV service ahead of BT...

 
The Internet
Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

 
BT Vision
BT Vision
BT Vision is a hybrid IPTV-digital terrestrial television service provided by BT Group in the United Kingdom which was launched in December 2006...

 
Orange
Orange United Kingdom
Orange is a mobile network operator and internet service provider in the United Kingdom, which launched in 1994. It was once a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index but was purchased by France Télécom in 2000, which then adopted the Orange brand for all its other mobile communications activities...

 
Sky TV
Sky Digital (UK & Ireland)
Sky is the brand name for British Sky Broadcasting's digital satellite television and radio service, transmitted from SES Astra satellites located at 28.2° east and Eutelsat's Eurobird 1 satellite at 28.5°E. The service was originally launched as Sky Digital, distinguishing it from the original...

 
Smallworld 
T-Mobile 
TalkTalk TV 
Top Up TV
Top Up TV
Top Up TV is a pay television service in the UK launched in March 2004, operating on the digital terrestrial platform. The aim of the service is to "Top Up" Freeview customers by providing additional channels and services....

 
Virgin
Virgin Media
Virgin Media Inc. is a company which provides fixed and mobile telephone, television and broadband internet services to businesses and consumers in the United Kingdom...

 [digital]
Vodafone 
WightCable
WightCable
Wight Cable 2005 Ltd is the only provider of commercial and residential cable television services on the Isle of Wight. They also provide telephone and broadband internet services....

 

Analogue terrestrial television




VHF 405 Line Monochrome


The first regular TV broadcasts started in 1936. Transmissions were originated by the BBC, using the Band I-VHF
Very high frequency
Very high frequency is the radio frequency range from 30 MHz to 300 MHz. Frequencies immediately below VHF are denoted High frequency , and the next higher frequencies are known as Ultra high frequency...

 405-line television system. In 1955, a second commercial service was created using the higher Band III VHF
Very high frequency
Very high frequency is the radio frequency range from 30 MHz to 300 MHz. Frequencies immediately below VHF are denoted High frequency , and the next higher frequencies are known as Ultra high frequency...

 405-line television system, administered by the Independent Television Authority
Independent Television Authority
The Independent Television Authority was an agency created by the Television Act 1954 to supervise the creation of "Independent Television" , the first commercial television network in the United Kingdom...

. Both systems were superseded and finally closed in 1985.

UHF 625 Line Colour Service


A decision was made to introduce a nationally co-ordinated network of transmitters using the UHF
Ultra high frequency
Ultra-High Frequency designates the ITU Radio frequency range of electromagnetic waves between 300 MHz and 3 GHz , also known as the decimetre band or decimetre wave as the wavelengths range from one to ten decimetres...

 625-line television system. The first station to appear on this system was BBC Two in 1964. From 1969, the two VHF services also started to use this network, which took many years to complete. One reason for the long switchover period was the difficulty in matching the coverage level of the new UHF 625 line service with the very high level of geographic coverage achieved with the 405-line VHF service. Whereas the VHF system had less than 200 transmitters at approximately 100 locations at closure, the UHF systen numbered more than 4500 transmitters at over 1100 sites.

Over the next 30 years, whilst the network of transmitters expanded, two additional commercial services were offered (Channel 4
Channel 4
Channel 4 is a British public-service television broadcaster which began working on 2 November 1982. Although largely commercially self-funded, it is ultimately publicly owned; originally a subsidiary of the Independent Broadcasting Authority , the station is now owned and operated by the Channel...

 and Channel Five
Channel Five
Channel 5 is a television network that broadcasts in the United Kingdom. Launched in 1997, it was the fifth and final national terrestrial analogue network to launch. The station was branded as Five between 2002 and 2010...

).

This system is currently being phased out, from 2008 to 2012.

Since 1998, a small number of local channels have operated under Restricted service licence
Restricted Service Licence
A UK Restricted Service Licence , is typically granted to radio stations and television stations broadcasting within the UK to serve a local community or a special event...

s. These will also cease by 2012.
Common channel position Channel name Channel owner RegionsThe region counts shown are for the channel overall, and do not account for regions which have undergone digital switch-over and hence are digital-only Original launch date UHF
Ultra high frequency
Ultra-High Frequency designates the ITU Radio frequency range of electromagnetic waves between 300 MHz and 3 GHz , also known as the decimetre band or decimetre wave as the wavelengths range from one to ten decimetres...

 launch date
1 BBC One
BBC One
BBC One is the flagship television channel of the British Broadcasting Corporation in the United Kingdom. It was launched on 2 November 1936 as the BBC Television Service, and was the world's first regular television service with a high level of image resolution...

 
BBC 18 regional variations 2 Nov 1936 15 Nov 1969
2 BBC Two
BBC Two
BBC Two is the second television channel operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation in the United Kingdom. It covers a wide range of subject matter, but tending towards more 'highbrow' programmes than the more mainstream and popular BBC One. Like the BBC's other domestic TV and radio...

 
BBC 4 regional variationsCount of BBC Two analogue regional variations 20 Apr 1964 20 Apr 1964
3 ITV
ITV
ITV is the major commercial public service TV network in the United Kingdom. Launched in 1955 under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority to provide competition to the BBC, it is also the oldest commercial network in the UK...

 (on-air brand ITV1
ITV1
ITV1 is a generic brand that is used by twelve franchises of the British ITV Network in the English regions, Wales, southern Scotland , the Isle of Man and the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey. The ITV1 brand was introduced by Carlton and Granada in 2001, alongside the regional identities of their...

, STV or UTV
UTV
UTV is a television channel based in the UK region of Northern Ireland. The channel is the Channel 3 or Independent Television licensee for Northern Ireland and is operated by UTV Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of UTV Media.- Terrestrial :* Analogue: Normally tuned to 3 * Freeview : 3...

; legal name Channel 3)
ITV Network Ltd (ITV plc
ITV plc
ITV plc is a British media company that operates 12 of the 15 regional television broadcasters that make up the ITV Network, the oldest and largest commercial terrestrial television network in the United Kingdom...

, STV Group plc, UTV Media, Channel Television
Channel Television
Channel Television is a British television station which has served as an Independent Television contractor to the Channel Islands since 1962. It is based in Jersey...

)
17 regional variations (14 ITV1, 2 STV, UTV); 24 advertising regions; 13 Teletext
Teletext Ltd.
Teletext Ltd was the provider of teletext and digital interactive services for ITV, Channel 4 and Five in the United Kingdom.-Origins:Teletext Ltd started providing teletext services for ITV and Channel 4 on 1 January 1993, replacing the previous Oracle service which had lost the franchise...

 regions
From 22 Sep 1955 – 14 Sep 1962  15 Nov 1969
4 (England, Scotland and Northern Ireland) Channel 4
Channel 4
Channel 4 is a British public-service television broadcaster which began working on 2 November 1982. Although largely commercially self-funded, it is ultimately publicly owned; originally a subsidiary of the Independent Broadcasting Authority , the station is now owned and operated by the Channel...

 
Channel Four Television Corporation  6 advertising regions 2 Nov 1982 2 Nov 1982
4 (Wales) S4C
S4C
S4C , currently branded as S4/C, is a Welsh television channel broadcast from the capital, Cardiff. The first television channel to be aimed specifically at a Welsh-speaking audience, it is the fifth oldest British television channel .The channel - initially broadcast on...

 
Welsh Fourth Channel Authority
Welsh Fourth Channel Authority
The Welsh Fourth Channel Authority regulates S4C , the Welsh-language television station of Wales. It is not connected to Ofcom, or any other regulator, and exists purely to ensure the quality of the channel. The Authority's Chair and members are appointed by the Secretary of State for Culture,...

 
1 region 1 Nov 1982 1 Nov 1982
5 Channel 5  Northern & Shell  4 advertising regions 30 Mar 1997 30 Mar 1997
6 Restricted Service Licence channels Various 18 channels (approx) From Oct 1998 From Oct 1998


Analogue terrestrial transmissions are currently being switched off in phases as part of the Digital Switchover. The last region is due to be switched off in the second half of 2012. See Digital switchover dates in the United Kingdom for more information.

As of January 2009, BBC One, BBC Two, ITV and Channel 4 broadcast from a network of 1,134 transmitter
Transmitter
In electronics and telecommunications a transmitter or radio transmitter is an electronic device which, with the aid of an antenna, produces radio waves. The transmitter itself generates a radio frequency alternating current, which is applied to the antenna. When excited by this alternating...

s. Channel Five broadcasts from 52 transmitters, and the Restricted Service Licence
Restricted Service Licence
A UK Restricted Service Licence , is typically granted to radio stations and television stations broadcasting within the UK to serve a local community or a special event...

 stations broadcast from 14 transmitters. See :Category:Transmitter sites in the United Kingdom for information on some of these. The transmitters are operated by Arqiva
Arqiva
Arqiva is a telecommunications company which provides infrastructure and broadcast transmission facilities in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. The present company, with headquarters located at Crawley Court in the village of Crawley, Hampshire, was formed by National Grid Wireless...

.

NICAM-728


Without affecting the definition of the "PAL
PAL
PAL, short for Phase Alternating Line, is an analogue television colour encoding system used in broadcast television systems in many countries. Other common analogue television systems are NTSC and SECAM. This page primarily discusses the PAL colour encoding system...

-I" system, the UK also uses a digital stereo companding system on analogue terrestrial television called NICAM
NICAM
Near Instantaneous Companded Audio Multiplex is an early form of lossy compression for digital audio. It was originally developed in the early 1970s for point-to-point links within broadcasting networks...

. Standing for Near Instantaneous Companded Audio Multiplex and used for digital stereo TV broadcasts to the public, it used the NICAM digital audio system used since the early 1970s for transmitting the audio carrier signal of a broadcast between two or more regional broadcasters and sometimes to the transmitters, where it was converted back to an analogue FM audio carrier almost 6 MHz above the video carrier signal.

Reception of the NICAM signal provided the user had a VCR or a TV capable of decoding the NICAM signal, which was broadcast on a carrier 6.552 MHz above the video carrier, and thus just 0.552 MHz above the FM mono audio carrier. The first UK NICAM stereo broadcast was made in May 1986 on BBC2, NICAM slowly being rolled out across the UK and across the broadcaster's programme schedules over the next 5 years, culminating in the official launch of NICAM on the BBC in 1991, ITV and Channel 4 having begun broadcasting NICAM in 1989 and 1990 respectively.

The service is sometimes referred to by its full, official, name, NICAM-728 - the 728 denoting the datarate (728kps) of the digital stereo information. Adaptive DPCM
Adaptive DPCM
Adaptive differential pulse-code modulation is a variant of differential pulse-code modulation that varies the size of the quantization step, to allow further reduction of the required bandwidth for a given signal-to-noise ratio....

.

As of 2012, and the close of the analogue service, the NICAM
NICAM
Near Instantaneous Companded Audio Multiplex is an early form of lossy compression for digital audio. It was originally developed in the early 1970s for point-to-point links within broadcasting networks...

 digital stereo system will be obsolete. It has been superseded by digital stereo and surround-sound audio systems on digital TV platforms.

Digital terrestrial television


Digital terrestrial television launched in 1998 as a subscription service named ONdigital. Since October 2002, the primary broadcaster is Freeview, with Top Up TV
Top Up TV
Top Up TV is a pay television service in the UK launched in March 2004, operating on the digital terrestrial platform. The aim of the service is to "Top Up" Freeview customers by providing additional channels and services....

 and ESPN
ESPN
Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, commonly known as ESPN, is an American global cable television network focusing on sports-related programming including live and pre-taped event telecasts, sports talk shows, and other original programming....

 (previously Setanta Sports
Setanta Sports
Setanta Sports is an international sports broadcaster based in Dublin, Ireland. Setanta Sports was formed in 1990 to facilitate the broadcasting of Irish sporting events...

 before it went bust) providing additional subscription services.

Ofcom reports that, at the end of June 2009, there are
  • 29,700,000 television sets equipped to view digital terrestrial in the UK (directly or via a set-top-box)
  • 23,000,000 homes have main TVs equipped to view digital terrestrial
  • 18,200,000 homes using digital terrestrial equipment
  • 9,900,000 homes where digital terrestrial is the only form of digital television received

Cable television


There are three providers of cable television, targeting different geographic areas within the UK. In all cases cable TV is a subscription service normally bundled with a phone line and broadband.

Smallworld Cable is available in south-west Scotland and north-west England. Pricing ranges from £10.50 (cost of phone line with 'free' TV) to £80 per month.

WightCable
WightCable
Wight Cable 2005 Ltd is the only provider of commercial and residential cable television services on the Isle of Wight. They also provide telephone and broadband internet services....

is available in the Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight
The Isle of Wight is a county and the largest island of England, located in the English Channel, on average about 2–4 miles off the south coast of the county of Hampshire, separated from the mainland by a strait called the Solent...

.

Virgin Media
Virgin Media
Virgin Media Inc. is a company which provides fixed and mobile telephone, television and broadband internet services to businesses and consumers in the United Kingdom...

is available to 55% of UK households. Pricing ranges from £11 a month (phone line with 'free' TV) to £30.50 a month, with additional fees for premium services such as Sky Sports. Virgin also market V+, a digital video recorder
Digital video recorder
A digital video recorder , sometimes referred to by the merchandising term personal video recorder , is a consumer electronics device or application software that records video in a digital format to a disk drive, USB flash drive, SD memory card or other local or networked mass storage device...

 and high-definition receiver.

Virgin Media is the only cable provider to supply high-definition television and video on demand, although these aren't available in areas provided with their analogue TV service.

Existing Virgin Media customers can end their ongoing subscriptions, and opt for their set-top box to be configured to receive digital 'freeview' channels, giving them a freeview service via Virgin Media.

Satellite television


There are three distinctly marketed direct-broadcast satellite (DBS) services (also known as direct-to-home (DTH), to be distinguished from satellite signals intended for non-consumer reception).

Sky TV
Sky Digital (UK & Ireland)
Sky is the brand name for British Sky Broadcasting's digital satellite television and radio service, transmitted from SES Astra satellites located at 28.2° east and Eutelsat's Eurobird 1 satellite at 28.5°E. The service was originally launched as Sky Digital, distinguishing it from the original...

is a subscription service owned by British Sky Broadcasting
British Sky Broadcasting
British Sky Broadcasting Group plc is a satellite broadcasting, broadband and telephony services company headquartered in London, United Kingdom, with operations in the United Kingdom and the Ireland....

. It is the dominant satellite provider with the largest number of channels compared to other providers. As of September 2011, subscription starts at £20 per month and rises to £52 per month. Installation is from £0 to £180 depending on the chosen set-top-box. Additional pay-per-view films, events and individual subscription channels are available. Sky TV markets Sky+ and Sky+HD, digital video recorder
Digital video recorder
A digital video recorder , sometimes referred to by the merchandising term personal video recorder , is a consumer electronics device or application software that records video in a digital format to a disk drive, USB flash drive, SD memory card or other local or networked mass storage device...

s; the latter additionally provides high-definition television. Sky TV also provides video on demand
Video on demand
Video on Demand or Audio and Video On Demand are systems which allow users to select and watch/listen to video or audio content on demand...

 branded as 'Sky Anytime'

Freesat from Sky
Freesat from Sky
Freesat from Sky is a British satellite television service from BSkyB. It offers over 240 free-to-air channels and 12 free-to-view encrypted channels...

, is a free satellite service owned by British Sky Broadcasting
British Sky Broadcasting
British Sky Broadcasting Group plc is a satellite broadcasting, broadband and telephony services company headquartered in London, United Kingdom, with operations in the United Kingdom and the Ireland....

. Installation is priced at £75 or £150, which includes the receiver, dish, viewing card and access to all free-to-air
Free-to-air
Free-to-air describes television and radio services broadcast in clear form, allowing any person with the appropriate receiving equipment to receive the signal and view or listen to the content without requiring a subscription or one-off fee...

 and free-to-view
Free-to-view
Free-to-view is a term used for free of charge and encrypted audio and/or video contents transmission that do not require any form of continual subscription...

 channels in the UK. Existing Sky TV customers can also end their ongoing subscriptions, and opt for the Free-To-View viewing card, giving them the Freesat from Sky service. Freesat from Sky does not provide high-definition television or video on demand.

Freesat
Freesat
Freesat is a free-to-air digital satellite television joint venture between the BBC and ITV plc, serving the United Kingdom. The service was formed as a memorandum in 2007 and has been marketed since 6 May 2008...

is a free satellite service created jointly by the BBC and ITV. In contrast to Freesat from Sky, it does not need a viewing card. It is the UK's first provider of high definition television without a subscription; one HD channel was available at launch. Freesat now provides five HD channels, BBC One HD, BBC HD
BBC HD
BBC HD is a high-definition television network provided by the BBC. The service was initially run as a trial from 15 May 2006 until becoming a full service on 1 December 2007...

, ITV1 HD, Channel 4 HD and NHK World HD. Freesat currently provides the BBC iPlayer
BBC iPlayer
BBC iPlayer, commonly shortened to iPlayer, is an internet television and radio service, developed by the BBC to extend its former RealPlayer-based and other streamed video clip content to include whole TV shows....

 in terms of video on demand, which has been rolled out to all compatible HD receivers, and ITV Player
ITV Player
ITV Player is an online video on demand service accessible though the main ITV website. The service offers a variety of programmes from homegrown programming to imports across ITV1, ITV2, ITV3, ITV4 and CITV. Some sports programming is available to watch again via the service, the 2010 FIFA World...

 is currently testing, available only to Humax boxes at the present time. In order to access on-demand services, you must have a broadband connection of at least 1 Mbit/s, and an ethernet
Ethernet
Ethernet is a family of computer networking technologies for local area networks commercially introduced in 1980. Standardized in IEEE 802.3, Ethernet has largely replaced competing wired LAN technologies....

 connection is required (using either a cable or Homeplug
HomePlug
HomePlug is the family name for various power line communications specifications that support networking over existing home electrical wiring. Several specifications exist under the HomePlug moniker, with each offering unique performance capabilities and coexistence or compatibility with other...

 adaptors). Freesat does not give access to certain free-to-view channels which use BSkyB's encryption, including 5* and 5USA. These, however, are expected to be available on freesat by the end of 2011, due to a new narrow-beam satellite launching.

Freesat, Freesat from Sky and Sky TV transmit from SES Astra
SES Astra
Astra is the name for the geostationary communication satellites, both individually and as a group, which are owned and operated by SES S.A., a global satellite operator based in Betzdorf, in eastern Luxembourg. The name is sometimes also used to describe the channels broadcasting from these...

 satellite
Satellite
In the context of spaceflight, a satellite is an object which has been placed into orbit by human endeavour. Such objects are sometimes called artificial satellites to distinguish them from natural satellites such as the Moon....

s at 28.2° east
Astra 28.2°E
Astra 28.2°E is the name for the group of Astra communications satellites co-located at the 28.2° East position in the Clarke Belt that are owned and operated by SES based in Betzdorf, Luxembourg...

 (Astra 2A
Astra 2A
Astra 2A is a communications satellite owned by SES Astra. Launched in 1998, half its expected end-of-life capacity of 28 transponders were pre-booked by BSkyB, who utilised it to launch their new Sky Digital service...

/2B
Astra 2B
Astra 2B is a communications satellite owned and operated by SES Astra, launched in 2000 to join Astra 2A at the Astra 28.2°E orbital slot providing digital television and radio broadcast services to the UK and Republic of Ireland....

/2D
Astra 2D
Astra 2D is one of a group of Astra communications satellites operated by SES, located at 28.2° east in the Clarke Belt. It is a Hughes HS-376 craft, and was launched from the Guiana Space Centre in December 2000....

) and Eutelsat
Eutelsat
Eutelsat S.A. is a French-based satellite provider. Providing coverage over the entire European continent, as well as the Middle East, Africa, India and significant parts of Asia and the Americas, it is one of the world's three leading satellite operators in terms of revenues.Eutelsat’s satellites...

's Eurobird 1
Eurobird 1
Eurobird 1 is a Eutelsat operated Eurobird satellite, used primarily for digital television. It is located at 28.5° east in the Clarke Belt, just within the range of most satellite dishes pointed at SES Astra's Astra 2A, 2B and 2D at 28.2° east...

 satellite at 28.5° East. As the satellites are in geostationary orbit
Geostationary orbit
A geostationary orbit is a geosynchronous orbit directly above the Earth's equator , with a period equal to the Earth's rotational period and an orbital eccentricity of approximately zero. An object in a geostationary orbit appears motionless, at a fixed position in the sky, to ground observers...

, they are positioned above the earth
Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

's equator
Equator
An equator is the intersection of a sphere's surface with the plane perpendicular to the sphere's axis of rotation and containing the sphere's center of mass....

(0°N 28.2°E) approximately 35,786 km above mean sea level; this places them above the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a state located in Central Africa. It is the second largest country in Africa by area and the eleventh largest in the world...

.

IP television (IPTV)


In contrast to Internet TV, IPTV refers to services operated and controlled by a single company, who may also control the 'Final Mile' to the consumers' premises. BT Vision
BT Vision
BT Vision is a hybrid IPTV-digital terrestrial television service provided by BT Group in the United Kingdom which was launched in December 2006...

, Freewire
Freewire
Freewire is an internet based television service originally specifically targeted at students through University portals and networks. Freewire Television now reaches around 40,000 students at a variety of locations in the country, and in the process became the largest IPTV service ahead of BT...

 and TalkTalk TV are the UK's three providers of IPTV services.

BT Vision and TalkTalk TV offer a range of broadcast channels as well as additional on demand content. BT Vision also offers high-definition programmes for download and playback (near on-demand),

Freewire offers free and subscription channels to students at 40 universities. It is received on PCs and distributed via the academic computer network, JANET
JANET
JANET is a private British government-funded computer network dedicated to education and research. All further- and higher-education organisations in the UK are connected to JANET, as are all the Research Councils; the majority of these sites are connected via 20 metropolitan area networks JANET...

.

Mobile television



Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone provide mobile television services for reception on third generation
3G
3G or 3rd generation mobile telecommunications is a generation of standards for mobile phones and mobile telecommunication services fulfilling the International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 specifications by the International Telecommunication Union...

 mobile phone
Mobile phone
A mobile phone is a device which can make and receive telephone calls over a radio link whilst moving around a wide geographic area. It does so by connecting to a cellular network provided by a mobile network operator...

s. They consist of a mixture of regular channels (marketed as 'live TV') as well as made for mobile channels with looped content.

Orange provide 9 packages of TV channels, starting from £5/month.

T-Mobile provide 4 packages of TV channels, marketed as T-Mobile TV or Sky Mobile TV. The cheapest package is £3.50/month.

Vodafone provides 5 packages of TV channels collectively marketed as Sky Mobile TV, with the cheapest package at £3/month.

Sky Mobile TV News and Sports is now available on the Apple iPhone on O2 and Orange. This service can be accessed over Wi-Fi and 3G networks. The service costs £6/Month and carries Sky Sports 1, 2, 3 and Xtra, Sky Sports News, Sky News, At the Races and ESPN UK.

Internet television



Television received via the Internet may be free, subscription or pay-per-view, and use a variety of distribution methods (e.g. multicast
Multicast
In computer networking, multicast is the delivery of a message or information to a group of destination computers simultaneously in a single transmission from the source creating copies automatically in other network elements, such as routers, only when the topology of the network requires...

/unicast
Unicast
right|200pxIn computer networking, unicast transmission is the sending of messages to a single network destination identified by a unique address.-Addressing methodologies:...

/peer-to-peer
Peer-to-peer
Peer-to-peer computing or networking is a distributed application architecture that partitions tasks or workloads among peers. Peers are equally privileged, equipotent participants in the application...

, streamed
Streaming media
Streaming media is multimedia that is constantly received by and presented to an end-user while being delivered by a streaming provider.The term "presented" is used in this article in a general sense that includes audio or video playback. The name refers to the delivery method of the medium rather...

/downloaded). Playback is normally via a computer and broadband Internet connection, although digital media receiver
Digital media receiver
A digital media receiver , also commonly referred to as a media extender, media streamer, digital media hub, or digital media adapter , is a home entertainment device that can connect to a home network to retrieve digital media files from a personal computer or other networked media server and...

s, media centre
Home theater PC
A Home Theater PC or Media Center appliance is a convergence device that combines some or all the capabilities of a personal computer with a software application that supports video, photo, music playback, and sometimes video recording functionality...

 computers or video game console
Video game console
A video game console is an interactive entertainment computer or customized computer system that produces a video display signal which can be used with a display device to display a video game...

s can be used for playback on televisions, such as the Netgear Digital Entertainer
Netgear Digital Entertainer
Netgear's Digital Entertainer line of products are digital media receivers that can pull multimedia content from home computers to the typical audio/video entertainment center. There are three products in the line, the EVA700, the HD EVA8000 and the current EVA9150 Digital Entertainer Elite...

, a computer equipped with Windows Media Center
Windows Media Center
Windows Media Center is a digital video recorder and media player developed by Microsoft. It is an application that allows users to view and record live television, as well as organize and play music and videos...

, or a PlayStation 3
PlayStation 3
The is the third home video game console produced by Sony Computer Entertainment and the successor to the PlayStation 2 as part of the PlayStation series. The PlayStation 3 competes with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's Wii as part of the seventh generation of video game consoles...

.

Sky Player is available on the xbox 360
Xbox 360
The Xbox 360 is the second video game console produced by Microsoft and the successor to the Xbox. The Xbox 360 competes with Sony's PlayStation 3 and Nintendo's Wii as part of the seventh generation of video game consoles...

 providing both live and on demand catchup services.

Ofcom does not regulate Internet television, nor consider the use of Internet television in its quarterly reports of digital TV penetration.

Catch-up services


Since 2006, UK channel owners and content producers have been creating Internet services to access their programmes. These services generally block users outside of the UK. TVCatchup is the only service not owned by a current UK broadcaster.
Service name Owner Catch-up period Streamed Download Free/Pay Site Technology Notes
4 on Demand  Channel 4 Television Corp 30 days Flash
Adobe Flash
Adobe Flash is a multimedia platform used to add animation, video, and interactivity to web pages. Flash is frequently used for advertisements, games and flash animations for broadcast...

 
BBC iPlayer
BBC iPlayer
BBC iPlayer, commonly shortened to iPlayer, is an internet television and radio service, developed by the BBC to extend its former RealPlayer-based and other streamed video clip content to include whole TV shows....

 
BBC varies English Cymraeg Gàidhlig Flash Also distributes radio programmes
Clic S4C 35 days English Cymraeg Flash
Demand Five
Demand Five
Demand 5 is the brand name of video on demand services offered by Channel 5 in the United Kingdom. The service, which was previously known as 'Five Download', went live on 26 June 2008....

 
Northern & Shell 30 days Varies http://demand.five.tv/ Flash Registration required for pay content
ITV Player
ITV Player
ITV Player is an online video on demand service accessible though the main ITV website. The service offers a variety of programmes from homegrown programming to imports across ITV1, ITV2, ITV3, ITV4 and CITV. Some sports programming is available to watch again via the service, the 2010 FIFA World...

 
ITV Plc 30 days Flash
Sky Player  BSkyB SubscriptionFree content also available as part of promotions Microsoft Silverlight
Microsoft Silverlight
Microsoft Silverlight is an application framework for writing and running rich Internet applications, with features and purposes similar to those of Adobe Flash. The run-time environment for Silverlight is available as a plug-in for web browsers running under Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X...

 
Registration and application download required
STV Player
STV Player
The STV Player is a website based video on demand service accessible though the main STV website and separately in the distinct domain name stvplayer.tv. Current programmes are available for 30 days after transmission on the main STV channel, with archive programming available longer-term...

 
STV 30 days http://player.stv.tv/ Flash
uPlayer UTV 30 days http://new.u.tv/uplayer Flash

Other services



Other Internet TV services may consist of
  • Live TV streaming, in which a channel is shown as broadcast
  • On-demand video clips
  • Archive TV older than the catch-up period, which may be available free or for a fee


In July 2009, comScore
ComScore
comScore is a Internet marketing research company providing marketing data and services to many of the Internet's largest businesses. comScore tracks all internet data on its surveyed computers in order to study online behavior....

 released research on the number of online video views in the UK during April 2009, showing the Google-owned YouTube as the dominant source.
Online videos viewed, April 2009
Site / owner (top 10) Views
Google Sites 2,415,292,000
BBC Sites 79,416,000
ITV Sites 34,723,000
Megavideo.com
Megaupload
Megaupload is an online Hong Kong-based company established in 2005 for the use of uploading and downloading files. It includes a video browsing section in the site Megavideo, MegaLive, MegaPix and Megabox as well as a sister company called Megaporn which hosts user uploaded pornographic content...

31,743,000
Microsoft
Microsoft
Microsoft Corporation is an American public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through its various product divisions...

 Sites
30,205,000
Channel4 20,434,000
Dailymotion
Dailymotion
Dailymotion is a video sharing service website, headquartered in the 18th arrondissement, Paris, France. According to Comscore, Dailymotion is the second largest video site in the world after YouTube....

20,155,000
AOL
AOL
AOL Inc. is an American global Internet services and media company. AOL is headquartered at 770 Broadway in New York. Founded in 1983 as Control Video Corporation, it has franchised its services to companies in several nations around the world or set up international versions of its services...

 
19,135,000
Fox Interactive Media
Fox Interactive Media
News Corporation's Digital Media Group , also known as News Corp. Digital Media and formerly Fox Interactive Media, oversees the Internet business operations of media giant News Corporation, and was formed to oversee News Corporation's new media acquisitions, including IGN Entertainment, MySpace...

18,919,000
Facebook
Facebook
Facebook is a social networking service and website launched in February 2004, operated and privately owned by Facebook, Inc. , Facebook has more than 800 million active users. Users must register before using the site, after which they may create a personal profile, add other users as...

17,028,000

Forthcoming providers

Provider Launch date Free or pay TV No. broadcast channels VOD HD Red button Transmission Status
O2  IPTV Awaiting launch date
Smallworld [IPTV] IPTV Awaiting launch date
Virgin
Virgin Media
Virgin Media Inc. is a company which provides fixed and mobile telephone, television and broadband internet services to businesses and consumers in the United Kingdom...

 [IPTV]
2009 Pay IPTV and digital terrestrial Awaiting launch date
YouView  2012 Pay Internet TV Awaiting launch date


In December 2007, Telefónica O2 (branded O2) announced the roll out of IPTV services in 2008.

In May 2007, Smallworld Cable stated their intention to roll out an IPTV solution across their unbundled network in early to mid 2008.

In February 2007, Virgin Media
Virgin Media
Virgin Media Inc. is a company which provides fixed and mobile telephone, television and broadband internet services to businesses and consumers in the United Kingdom...

announced a hybrid IPTV and digital terrestrial service to target the half of the country unable to receive their cable TV services. In November, they stated it will be at least 2009 before launch.

Channels and channel owners



Most viewed channels


The Broadcasters' Audience Research Board (BARB) measures television ratings in the UK. The following table shows viewing shares from 1992 to 2009 of channels which have once had, or still have, a viewing share of ≥ 1.0%. The figures for 2010 only account for the weeks up until 14 November.

As of 2009, 15 channels have a viewing share of ≥ 1.0% together accounting for 67.4% of total viewing share. (4 additional channels had a viewing share ≥ 1.0% in 1992 but have since fallen below this). Of the 15 channels, 7 of these collectively had a viewing share of 79.3% in 1992, the largest of which was ITV with a share of 30.5%. As the number of channels rose and with the launch of digital television, the collective share of these channels had declined to 67.8% in 2002, and has remained at about that level ever since. ITV viewing share fell below BBC One in 2002; whist ITV viewing share declined, BBC One has remained stable at about 20% since 2001. Of these 15 channels, 4 are funded by the license fee; 2 are subscription; 7 of these channels launched after 1999. Comparing 1992 to 2009, only Channel4/S4C has seen an overall increase in viewing share.
Charts showing viewing share of channels with a viewing share of ≥ 1.0% from 1992 to 2009

Table showing viewing share of individual channels from 1992 to 2009, which either have or have had a viewing share of ≥ 1.0%. (Channels which have always had a viewing share of less than this aren't shown)
Channels 1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010*
BBC One
BBC One
BBC One is the flagship television channel of the British Broadcasting Corporation in the United Kingdom. It was launched on 2 November 1936 as the BBC Television Service, and was the world's first regular television service with a high level of image resolution...

25.0 24.5 24.4 23.8 23.6 22.1 21.5 20.8 20.0 20.2 20.0 19.3 19.6 19.3 20.0 19.9 20.4 20.0 20.7
ITV
ITV
ITV is the major commercial public service TV network in the United Kingdom. Launched in 1955 under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority to provide competition to the BBC, it is also the oldest commercial network in the UK...

Branded ITV1
ITV1
ITV1 is a generic brand that is used by twelve franchises of the British ITV Network in the English regions, Wales, southern Scotland , the Isle of Man and the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey. The ITV1 brand was introduced by Carlton and Granada in 2001, alongside the regional identities of their...

, STV or UTV
UTV
UTV is a television channel based in the UK region of Northern Ireland. The channel is the Channel 3 or Independent Television licensee for Northern Ireland and is operated by UTV Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of UTV Media.- Terrestrial :* Analogue: Normally tuned to 3 * Freeview : 3...

30.5 30.5 30.2 28.2 26.5 24.8 24.6 24.6 22.3 20.6 19.8 19.3 18.8 18.4 17.5 17.6 17.2 16.9 16.4
BBC Two
BBC Two
BBC Two is the second television channel operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation in the United Kingdom. It covers a wide range of subject matter, but tending towards more 'highbrow' programmes than the more mainstream and popular BBC One. Like the BBC's other domestic TV and radio...

7.0 6.5 6.1 6.5 6.7 6.6 6.7 6.6 6.6 6.8 7.0 7.0 6.8 6.8 6.9 7.1 6.9 6.9 6.9
Channel 4
Channel 4
Channel 4 is a British public-service television broadcaster which began working on 2 November 1982. Although largely commercially self-funded, it is ultimately publicly owned; originally a subsidiary of the Independent Broadcasting Authority , the station is now owned and operated by the Channel...

/S4C
S4C
S4C , currently branded as S4/C, is a Welsh television channel broadcast from the capital, Cardiff. The first television channel to be aimed specifically at a Welsh-speaking audience, it is the fifth oldest British television channel .The channel - initially broadcast on...

6.4 7.2 6.9 7.2 6.8 6.9 6.8 6.9 7.1 7.0 7.1 6.8 7.3 7.9 8.2 7.5 6.8 6.5 6.4
Channel Five
Channel Five
Channel 5 is a television network that broadcasts in the United Kingdom. Launched in 1997, it was the fifth and final national terrestrial analogue network to launch. The station was branded as Five between 2002 and 2010...

1.7 3.2 4.2 4.2 4.3 4.5 4.7 5.0 5.3 4.9 4.6 4.7 4.7 4.6
ITV2
ITV2
ITV2 is a 24 hour, free-to-air entertainment television channel in the United Kingdom owned by ITV Digital Channels Ltd, a division of ITV plc. It was launched on 7 December 1998, and is available on digital television via satellite, cable, IPTV and terrestrial platforms. The channel has the...

0.1 0.3 1.2 1.6 1.8 2.0 2.0 2.0 1.9 2.1 1.9
ITV3
ITV3
ITV3 is an entertainment television channel in the United Kingdom that is owned by ITV Digital Channels Ltd, a division of ITV plc. The channel was launched on 1 November 2004. ITV3 is the second largest UK multi-channel, second only to ITV2.-History:...

1.2 1.4 1.3 1.6 1.7 2.0
Sky Sports 1 3.3 1.5 3.4 3.8 3.7 3.4 2.2 2.2 1.6 1.8 1.7 1.8 1.8 1.7 1.7 1.7 1.4 1.4 1.1
CBeebies
CBeebies
CBeebies is the brand used by the BBC for programming aimed at children 6 years and under. It is used as a themed strand in the UK on terrestrial television, as a separate free-to-air domestic British channel and used for international varients supported by advertising, subscription or both...

1.1 1.2 1.3 1.3 1.2 1.3 1.3 1.3 1.2
BBC Three
BBC Three
BBC Three is a television network from the BBC broadcasting via digital cable, terrestrial, IPTV and satellite platforms. The channel's target audience includes those in the 16-34 year old age group, and has the purpose of providing "innovative" content to younger audiences, focusing on new talent...

0.7 0.9 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4
Sky1 7.1 7.0 5.4 4.9 4.7 4.2 4.3 4.0 4.3 3.5 3.7 2.9 2.4 1.9 1.7 1.1 1.0 1.2 0.9
E4 0.7 1.5 1.2 0.9 1.2 1.4 1.3 1.2 1.2 1.2
More4
More4
More4 is a digital television channel, run by British broadcaster Channel 4, that launched on 10 October 2005. It is carried on Freeview, on satellite broadcasters Freesat and Sky, UK IPTV broadcaster TalkTalk TV and on UK cable network Virgin Media and in the Republic of Ireland cable networks...

0.6 0.7 0.9 1.1 1.0
Dave 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.4 0.6 1.1 1.0 0.9
Film4
Film4
Film4 is a free digital television channel available in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, owned and operated by Channel 4, that screens films.-Programming:...

0.0 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.4 0.7 0.9 0.9 1.0
BBC News 0.6 0.7 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.8 1.0
Living 0.6 0.7 1.1 1.1 1.7 1.3 1.2 1.0 1.1 0.7 0.9 0.9 0.8 0.6 0.5 0.6 0.5
G.O.L.D. 2.8 2.7 2.4 2.1 1.9 2.1 2.3 2.4 2.2 1.7 1.5 1.3 1.1 1.0 0.7 0.6 0.5 0.5
Disney Channel 1.1 1.0 0.8 1.1 0.9 0.6 0.4 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.4
Sky News
Sky News
Sky News is a 24-hour British and international satellite television news broadcaster with an emphasis on UK and international news stories.The service places emphasis on rolling news, including the latest breaking news. Sky News also hosts localised versions of the channel in Australia and in New...

1.8 1.4 1.2 1.5 1.1 1.2 1.0 1.0 0.7 0.7 0.8 1.2 0.6 0.6 0.5 0.5 0.4 0.5 0.6
Sky Sports 2 1.1 1.8 1.5 1.2 0.8 0.8 0.7 0.8 0.6 0.5 0.5 0.4 0.5 0.4
Cartoon Network 2.4 2.4 2.0 1.4 1.1 0.7 0.6 0.5 0.4 0.3 0.3 0.2 0.2 0.2
Nickelodeon
Nickelodeon UK
Nickelodeon is a children's television channel available on Sky, Virgin Media, Smallworld Cable, TalkTalk TV and UPC Ireland in the United Kingdom and Ireland, including on demand on BT Vision. The channel was launched on 1 September 1993...

1.9 1.9 1.7 1.3 1.1 0.8 0.5 0.4 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.2 0.2
Eurosport
Eurosport
Eurosport is a pan-European television sport network operated by French broadcaster TF1 Group. The network of channels are available in 59 countries, in 20 different languages providing viewers with European and international sporting events...

1.0 1.0 1.1 0.8 0.8 0.8 0.6 0.5 0.4 0.4 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2
Sky Movies Comedy
Sky Movies
Sky Movies is the collective name for the premium subscription television movie channels operated by Sky Television, and later British Sky Broadcasting. It has around 5 million subscribers, via satellite, cable and IPTV in the UK and Ireland...

Formerly known as The Movie Channel, Sky Screen 2, Sky Premier and Sky Movies 1
3.4 3.3 3.4 3.2 3.0 2.4 2.1 2.1 1.4 1.2 0.8 0.8 0.6 0.4 0.4 0.2 0.2 0.1 0.1
Sky Movies Action & Thriller
Sky Movies
Sky Movies is the collective name for the premium subscription television movie channels operated by Sky Television, and later British Sky Broadcasting. It has around 5 million subscribers, via satellite, cable and IPTV in the UK and Ireland...

Formerly known as Sky Movies, Sky Screen 1, Sky Moviemax and Sky Movies 2
6.0 4.8 3.8 3.5 3.2 2.8 1.8 1.3 0.8 0.7 0.5 0.4 0.5 0.3 0.3 0.2 0.1 0.1 0.1
HomeFormerly known as UK Style and UKTV Style 0.6 1.0 0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.1 0.1
MTV 1.6 1.4 1.2 0.9 0.7 0.7 0.9 1.1 0.6 0.4 0.3 0.4 0.3 0.3 0.2 0.2 0.1 0.1 0.1


Since 1992, there are 11 channels which previously had a viewing share of ≥ 1.0%, but which have now fallen below. (These are depicted with grey titles in the table above). In 1992, these channels collectively had a viewing share of 12.8% via analogue satellite and cable television. This peaked in 1998 at 16.5%, coinciding with the launch of digital television. In 2009, the collective viewing share of these 11 channels is 3.5%. The largest individual loss is for a channel now known as Sky Movies Action & Thriller, from 6% in 1992 to 0.1% in 2009. With the exception of Sky News, these are all subscription channels.

Availability of channels from various providers



Availability of channels from various providers with channel numbers
Position Channel Analogue terrestrial channel Freeview channel Sky TV channel Virgin [digital] channel Virgin [analogue] channel TalkTalk TV channel Freesat Smallworld channel Wightcable channel Freewire channel Internet
1 BBC One
BBC One
BBC One is the flagship television channel of the British Broadcasting Corporation in the United Kingdom. It was launched on 2 November 1936 as the BBC Television Service, and was the world's first regular television service with a high level of image resolution...

 
1 1 101 101 1 101 101 http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcone
2 ITV1
ITV1
ITV1 is a generic brand that is used by twelve franchises of the British ITV Network in the English regions, Wales, southern Scotland , the Isle of Man and the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey. The ITV1 brand was introduced by Carlton and Granada in 2001, alongside the regional identities of their...

3 3 103 103 3 103 103 ITV1 - itv.com
3 BBC Two
BBC Two
BBC Two is the second television channel operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation in the United Kingdom. It covers a wide range of subject matter, but tending towards more 'highbrow' programmes than the more mainstream and popular BBC One. Like the BBC's other domestic TV and radio...

 
2 2 102 102 2 102 102 http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctwo
4 Channel 4
Channel 4
Channel 4 is a British public-service television broadcaster which began working on 2 November 1982. Although largely commercially self-funded, it is ultimately publicly owned; originally a subsidiary of the Independent Broadcasting Authority , the station is now owned and operated by the Channel...

 
Outside Wales - 4
Wales - N/A
Outside Wales - 4
Wales - 8
Outside Wales - 104
Wales - 117
HD - 140
104 4 Outside Wales - 104
Wales - 120
http://www.channel4.com
4 S4C
S4C
S4C , currently branded as S4/C, is a Welsh television channel broadcast from the capital, Cardiff. The first television channel to be aimed specifically at a Welsh-speaking audience, it is the fifth oldest British television channel .The channel - initially broadcast on...

 
Wales - 4
Outside Wales - N/A
Wales - 4
Outside Wales - N/A
Wales - 104
Outside Wales - 134
Wales - 194
Outside Wales - N/A
Wales - 104
Outside Wales - 120
s4c.co.uk
5 Channel 5  5 5 105 105 5 105
6 ITV3
ITV3
ITV3 is an entertainment television channel in the United Kingdom that is owned by ITV Digital Channels Ltd, a division of ITV plc. The channel was launched on 1 November 2004. ITV3 is the second largest UK multi-channel, second only to ITV2.-History:...

 
10 119 116 13 115 itv.com
7 ITV2
ITV2
ITV2 is a 24 hour, free-to-air entertainment television channel in the United Kingdom owned by ITV Digital Channels Ltd, a division of ITV plc. It was launched on 7 December 1998, and is available on digital television via satellite, cable, IPTV and terrestrial platforms. The channel has the...

 
6 118 114 12 113 itv.com
8 E4  29 136 144 14 122 http://www.e4.com
9 Sky Sports 1
Sky Sports
Sky Sports is the brand name for a group of sports-oriented television channels operated by the UK and Ireland's main satellite pay-TV company, British Sky Broadcasting. Sky Sports is the dominant subscription television sports brand in the United Kingdom and Ireland...

 
401 511 551 skysports.com
10 Sky1  106 121 353
= CBeebies
CBeebies
CBeebies is the brand used by the BBC for programming aimed at children 6 years and under. It is used as a themed strand in the UK on terrestrial television, as a separate free-to-air domestic British channel and used for international varients supported by advertising, subscription or both...

 
71 614 702 305 601
12 ITV4
ITV4
ITV4 is a British television station which was launched on 1 November 2005. It is owned by ITV Digital Channels Ltd, a division of ITV plc, and is part of the ITV network. The channel has a male-oriented line-up, including sport, cop shows and US comedies and dramas, as well as classic ITV action...

 
28 120 117 29 117 itv.com
13 BBC Three
BBC Three
BBC Three is a television network from the BBC broadcasting via digital cable, terrestrial, IPTV and satellite platforms. The channel's target audience includes those in the 16-34 year old age group, and has the purpose of providing "innovative" content to younger audiences, focusing on new talent...

 
7 115 106 19 106 bbc.co.uk
14 Dave  19 111 126 40 dave.uktv.co.uk


Availability of programming from channels through mobile and VOD providers
Position Channel Freesat VOD Virgin VOD BT Vision VOD TalkTalk TV VOD Internet VOD Orange T-Mobile Vodafone
1 BBC One
BBC One
BBC One is the flagship television channel of the British Broadcasting Corporation in the United Kingdom. It was launched on 2 November 1936 as the BBC Television Service, and was the world's first regular television service with a high level of image resolution...

 
2 ITV
ITV
ITV is the major commercial public service TV network in the United Kingdom. Launched in 1955 under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority to provide competition to the BBC, it is also the oldest commercial network in the UK...

3 BBC Two
BBC Two
BBC Two is the second television channel operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation in the United Kingdom. It covers a wide range of subject matter, but tending towards more 'highbrow' programmes than the more mainstream and popular BBC One. Like the BBC's other domestic TV and radio...

 
4 Channel 4
Channel 4
Channel 4 is a British public-service television broadcaster which began working on 2 November 1982. Although largely commercially self-funded, it is ultimately publicly owned; originally a subsidiary of the Independent Broadcasting Authority , the station is now owned and operated by the Channel...

 
4 S4C
S4C
S4C , currently branded as S4/C, is a Welsh television channel broadcast from the capital, Cardiff. The first television channel to be aimed specifically at a Welsh-speaking audience, it is the fifth oldest British television channel .The channel - initially broadcast on...

 
5 Channel 5 
6 ITV3
ITV3
ITV3 is an entertainment television channel in the United Kingdom that is owned by ITV Digital Channels Ltd, a division of ITV plc. The channel was launched on 1 November 2004. ITV3 is the second largest UK multi-channel, second only to ITV2.-History:...

 
7 ITV2
ITV2
ITV2 is a 24 hour, free-to-air entertainment television channel in the United Kingdom owned by ITV Digital Channels Ltd, a division of ITV plc. It was launched on 7 December 1998, and is available on digital television via satellite, cable, IPTV and terrestrial platforms. The channel has the...

 
8 E4 
9 Sky Sports 1
Sky Sports
Sky Sports is the brand name for a group of sports-oriented television channels operated by the UK and Ireland's main satellite pay-TV company, British Sky Broadcasting. Sky Sports is the dominant subscription television sports brand in the United Kingdom and Ireland...

 
10 Sky1 
= CBeebies
CBeebies
CBeebies is the brand used by the BBC for programming aimed at children 6 years and under. It is used as a themed strand in the UK on terrestrial television, as a separate free-to-air domestic British channel and used for international varients supported by advertising, subscription or both...

 
12 ITV4
ITV4
ITV4 is a British television station which was launched on 1 November 2005. It is owned by ITV Digital Channels Ltd, a division of ITV plc, and is part of the ITV network. The channel has a male-oriented line-up, including sport, cop shows and US comedies and dramas, as well as classic ITV action...

 
13 BBC Three
BBC Three
BBC Three is a television network from the BBC broadcasting via digital cable, terrestrial, IPTV and satellite platforms. The channel's target audience includes those in the 16-34 year old age group, and has the purpose of providing "innovative" content to younger audiences, focusing on new talent...

 
14 Dave 


British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)



The BBC is the world's oldest and biggest broadcaster, and is the country's first and largest public service broadcaster
Public broadcasting
Public broadcasting includes radio, television and other electronic media outlets whose primary mission is public service. Public broadcasters receive funding from diverse sources including license fees, individual contributions, public financing and commercial financing.Public broadcasting may be...

. The BBC is funded by a government grant; it does not carry advertising. The grant is financed by the payment of a television licence
Television licence
A television licence is an official licence required in many countries for the reception of television broadcasts...

 fee that all households with a television must pay. However, the funds do not go directly to the BBC but to the Treasury
HM Treasury
HM Treasury, in full Her Majesty's Treasury, informally The Treasury, is the United Kingdom government department responsible for developing and executing the British government's public finance policy and economic policy...

 instead, via a government body known as TV Licensing. The government has no legal duty to hand all or any of this revenue to the BBC but traditionally has done.

Its analogue channels are BBC One
BBC One
BBC One is the flagship television channel of the British Broadcasting Corporation in the United Kingdom. It was launched on 2 November 1936 as the BBC Television Service, and was the world's first regular television service with a high level of image resolution...

 and BBC Two
BBC Two
BBC Two is the second television channel operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation in the United Kingdom. It covers a wide range of subject matter, but tending towards more 'highbrow' programmes than the more mainstream and popular BBC One. Like the BBC's other domestic TV and radio...

. The BBC first began a television service, initially serving London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 only, in 1936. BBC Television was closed during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 but reopened in 1946. The second station, BBC Two, was launched in 1964. As well as these two analogue services, the British Broadcasting Corporation now also offers digital services BBC Three
BBC Three
BBC Three is a television network from the BBC broadcasting via digital cable, terrestrial, IPTV and satellite platforms. The channel's target audience includes those in the 16-34 year old age group, and has the purpose of providing "innovative" content to younger audiences, focusing on new talent...

, BBC Four
BBC Four
BBC Four is a British television network operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation and available to digital television viewers on Freeview, IPTV, satellite and cable....

, BBC News, BBC Parliament
BBC Parliament
BBC Parliament is a British television channel from the BBC. Its remit is to make accessible to all the work of the parliamentary and legislative bodies of the United Kingdom and the European Parliament...

, CBBC Channel
CBBC Channel
CBBC is a BBC television channel aimed at 6 to 12 year olds. It complements the CBBC programming that continues to air on BBC One and BBC Two. Launched on 11 February 2002, it broadcasts from 7am to 7pm on Freeview, cable, IPTV and digital satellite, occupying the same bandwidth as, but a different...

, CBeebies
CBeebies
CBeebies is the brand used by the BBC for programming aimed at children 6 years and under. It is used as a themed strand in the UK on terrestrial television, as a separate free-to-air domestic British channel and used for international varients supported by advertising, subscription or both...

, BBC HD
BBC HD
BBC HD is a high-definition television network provided by the BBC. The service was initially run as a trial from 15 May 2006 until becoming a full service on 1 December 2007...

, BBC Alba and BBC Red Button.

Independent Television (ITV)



ITV (Independent Television) is the network of fifteen regional commercial television franchises, originally founded in 1955 to provide competition to the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

. ITV was the country's first commercial television
Commercial Television
Commercial Television was the third free-to-air broadcast television station in Hong Kong. It first went on air in 1975, and ceased transmissions in 1978.-History:...

 provider funded by advertisements, and has been the most popular commercial channel through most of its existence. Through a series of mergers, takeovers and relaxation of regulation, twelve of these companies are now owned by ITV plc
ITV plc
ITV plc is a British media company that operates 12 of the 15 regional television broadcasters that make up the ITV Network, the oldest and largest commercial terrestrial television network in the United Kingdom...

, two by STV Group plc while UTV
UTV
UTV is a television channel based in the UK region of Northern Ireland. The channel is the Channel 3 or Independent Television licensee for Northern Ireland and is operated by UTV Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of UTV Media.- Terrestrial :* Analogue: Normally tuned to 3 * Freeview : 3...

  remains independent. ITV plc, the operator of all English
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, Welsh
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

, Southern Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 and Channel Island franchises, has branded the channel as ITV1
ITV1
ITV1 is a generic brand that is used by twelve franchises of the British ITV Network in the English regions, Wales, southern Scotland , the Isle of Man and the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey. The ITV1 brand was introduced by Carlton and Granada in 2001, alongside the regional identities of their...

 since 2001, with regional names being used prior to regional programmes only since 2002. STV Group plc, which operates the two other Scottish franchises, has now unified the regions under the single name of STV. UTV
UTV
UTV is a television channel based in the UK region of Northern Ireland. The channel is the Channel 3 or Independent Television licensee for Northern Ireland and is operated by UTV Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of UTV Media.- Terrestrial :* Analogue: Normally tuned to 3 * Freeview : 3...

, the Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

 franchisee operated by UTV plc
UTV plc
UTV Media is a broadcasting and New Media company based in Belfast in Northern Ireland. It is a constituent of the FTSE SmallCap Index. UTV Media's main operation is the ITV franchise for Northern Ireland, and it is also the owner of UTV Radio, which operates the UK Independent National Radio...

, uses its own name on air at all times, while the independent Channel Television
Channel Television
Channel Television is a British television station which has served as an Independent Television contractor to the Channel Islands since 1962. It is based in Jersey...

 uses the generic ITV1
ITV1
ITV1 is a generic brand that is used by twelve franchises of the British ITV Network in the English regions, Wales, southern Scotland , the Isle of Man and the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey. The ITV1 brand was introduced by Carlton and Granada in 2001, alongside the regional identities of their...

 stream and its own name prior to regional programmes. ITV has been officially known as Channel 3 since 1990, although this is seldom used to identify itself. The company also operates digital channels ITV2
ITV2
ITV2 is a 24 hour, free-to-air entertainment television channel in the United Kingdom owned by ITV Digital Channels Ltd, a division of ITV plc. It was launched on 7 December 1998, and is available on digital television via satellite, cable, IPTV and terrestrial platforms. The channel has the...

, ITV3
ITV3
ITV3 is an entertainment television channel in the United Kingdom that is owned by ITV Digital Channels Ltd, a division of ITV plc. The channel was launched on 1 November 2004. ITV3 is the second largest UK multi-channel, second only to ITV2.-History:...

, ITV4
ITV4
ITV4 is a British television station which was launched on 1 November 2005. It is owned by ITV Digital Channels Ltd, a division of ITV plc, and is part of the ITV network. The channel has a male-oriented line-up, including sport, cop shows and US comedies and dramas, as well as classic ITV action...

, Men & Motors
Men & Motors
Men & Motors was a men's lifestyle television channel in the UK. It was the last remaining station operated by the former Granada Sky Broadcasting joint venture, set up by Granada Television and satellite broadcaster British Sky Broadcasting in 1996...

, CITV Channel, some with HDTV streams. ITN, a subsidiary, currently holds the national news franchise, ITV Breakfast
ITV Breakfast
ITV Breakfast Limited is the national ITV breakfast television contractor, broadcasting in the United Kingdom...

 operates the breakfast franchise and Teletext Ltd operates the national teletext franchise.

Channel 4



Launched in 1982, Channel 4 is a state-owned national broadcaster which is funded by its commercial activities (including advertising). Channel 4 has expanded greatly after gaining greater independence from the IBA
Independent Broadcasting Authority
The Independent Broadcasting Authority was the regulatory body in the United Kingdom for commercial television - and commercial/independent radio broadcasts...

, especially in the multi-channel digital world launching E4, Film4
Film4
Film4 is a free digital television channel available in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, owned and operated by Channel 4, that screens films.-Programming:...

, More4
More4
More4 is a digital television channel, run by British broadcaster Channel 4, that launched on 10 October 2005. It is carried on Freeview, on satellite broadcasters Freesat and Sky, UK IPTV broadcaster TalkTalk TV and on UK cable network Virgin Media and in the Republic of Ireland cable networks...

, 4Music
4Music
4Music is a music and entertainment channel in the United Kingdom and available on some digital television providers in the Republic of Ireland - its web component can be found at with its own and pages. It is the only channel within the Box Television Network to be branded under Channel 4 and...

 and various timeshift services
Timeshift channel
A timeshift channel is a television channel carrying a time-delayed rebroadcast of its "parent" channel's output. This channel runs alongside their parent: the term "timeshift" does not refer to a network broadcasting at a later time to reflect a local timezone unless the parent is also available...

. Since 2005, it has been a member of the Freeview consortium, and operates one of the six digital terrestrial multiplexes with ITV
ITV
ITV is the major commercial public service TV network in the United Kingdom. Launched in 1955 under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority to provide competition to the BBC, it is also the oldest commercial network in the UK...

 as Digital 3&4
Digital 3&4
Digital 3&4 is a consortium consisting of regional Channel 3 companies and Channel 4 Television Corporation, which operates a multiplex broadcasting from a number of transmitter sites in the UK, carrying television and radio channels from both ITV and Channel 4; however three per-cent of the...

. Since the advent of digital television, Channel 4 is now also broadcast in Wales
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

 across all digital platforms. Channel 4 was the first British channel not to carry regional variations for programming, however it does have 6 set advertising regions.

Channel 5


Channel Five was the final analogue broadcaster to be launched, in March 1997. Its analogue terrestrial coverage was less than that of the other analogue broadcasters, and broadcast in re-assigned frequencies, often at a lower power from major transmitters only. The UHF analogue network was only designed for 4 channels, and so a small number of additional sites, already used for radio broadcasting, were used to boost coverage. It was also the first terrestrial broadcaster to broadcast on satellite and carry a permanent digital on-screen graphic
Digital on-screen graphic
A digital on-screen graphic is a watermark-like station logo that many television broadcasters overlay over a portion of the screen-area of their programs to identify the channel...

 (DOG). The channel was re-named "Five" in 2002, which saw an overhaul of the channel's identity and removal of the infamous DOG. RTL Group
RTL Group
RTL Group is Europe's largest TV, radio and production company, and is majority-owned by German media conglomerate Bertelsmann. It has 45 television and 32 radio stations in 11 countries...

, Europe's largest television broadcaster and a subsidiary of Bertelsmann
Bertelsmann
Bertelsmann AG is a multinational media corporation founded in 1835, based in Gütersloh, Germany. The company operates in 63 countries and employs 102,983 workers , which makes it the most international media corporation in the world. In 2008 the company reported a €16.118 billion consolidated...

, took full control of the channel in August 2005. Five launched two new channels, Five US
Five US
5USA is an entertainment television channel in the United Kingdom owned by Northern & Shell. It was launched on 16 October 2006 as "Five US" and was the second digital channel in the UK to be launched by RTL Group as part of their multi-channel strategy, the first being Five Life...

 and Five Life
Five Life
5* is a television channel in the United Kingdom owned by Northern & Shell. The channel was launched as "Five Life" on 15 October 2006, and was rebranded as "Fiver" on 28 April 2008, and "5*" on 7 March 2011. The channel is available on digital television via Freeview, Sky, TalkTalk TV and Virgin...

 (now known as Fiver/ 5*) in October 2006. All of these channels are also carried on satellite television
Satellite television
Satellite television is television programming delivered by the means of communications satellite and received by an outdoor antenna, usually a parabolic mirror generally referred to as a satellite dish, and as far as household usage is concerned, a satellite receiver either in the form of an...

, cable television
Cable television
Cable television is a system of providing television programs to consumers via radio frequency signals transmitted to televisions through coaxial cables or digital light pulses through fixed optical fibers located on the subscriber's property, much like the over-the-air method used in traditional...

 and digital terrestrial television
Digital terrestrial television
Digital terrestrial television is the technological evolution of broadcast television and advance from analog television, which broadcasts land-based signals...

 services. Channel Five also owns 20% of the digital terrestrial pay-TV provider, Top Up TV
Top Up TV
Top Up TV is a pay television service in the UK launched in March 2004, operating on the digital terrestrial platform. The aim of the service is to "Top Up" Freeview customers by providing additional channels and services....

. In July 2010, Five was sold to Richard Desmond
Richard Desmond
Richard Clive Desmond is an English publisher and businessman. He is the owner of Express Newspapers and founder in 1974 of Northern & Shell, which publishes various celebrity magazines, such as OK! and New!, and British national newspapers Daily Star and Daily Express...

's Northern & Shell which then decided to reinstate the channel's original name, "Channel Five". Like Channel 4, Channel Five does not have programming regional variations, however it does so for advertising.

Local Television in the United Kingdom


The current Secretary of State for Media, Culture, and Sport announced his intentions to set up a network of local television stations across the UK. The current plan is to create a network of local television stations, connected through a national backbone. This plan would create a television network similar to that of the network-affiliate
Network affiliate
In the broadcasting industry , a network affiliate is a local broadcaster which carries some or all of the television program or radio program line-up of a television or radio network, but is owned by a company other than the owner of the network...

 model in the United States and Canada.

The first stations will be licensed in 2012, and allowed to start broadcasting that year too.

Richard Horwood, a former Trinity Mirror executive announced that when the local television stations are first licensed he will create a television network
Television network
A television network is a telecommunications network for distribution of television program content, whereby a central operation provides programming to many television stations or pay TV providers. Until the mid-1980s, television programming in most countries of the world was dominated by a small...

 called Channel 6; this will be a network of local television stations, with Channel 6 supplying the prime time schedule (similar to the American network-affiliate model).

Another operator which has announced its intentions to set up a network of local television stations with a television network connecting them is Citytv. Citytv Broadcasting is connected to the Citytv
Citytv
Citytv is a Canadian English language television system owned and operated by Rogers Communications under its Rogers Broadcasting Ltd. division...

 television system in Canada. The first Citytv station will be based in Birmingham.

In June 2011 it was announced that the national spine plan would be scrapped, and a 'bottom-up' approach would be followed instead, were stations are individually licensed.

British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB)


British Sky Broadcasting operates a satellite television service and numerous television channels including Sky1, Sky2
Sky2
Sky2 is a British television channel originally launched on 2 December 2002 as Sky One Mix. Sky2 is now available on Sky, Virgin Media, Smallworld Cable and TalkTalk TV platforms in the UK. It is also available in the Republic of Ireland on the UPC Ireland platform.-Rebrand:Sky One Mix was...

, Sky3, Sky Movies
Sky Movies
Sky Movies is the collective name for the premium subscription television movie channels operated by Sky Television, and later British Sky Broadcasting. It has around 5 million subscribers, via satellite, cable and IPTV in the UK and Ireland...

 and Sky Sports
Sky Sports
Sky Sports is the brand name for a group of sports-oriented television channels operated by the UK and Ireland's main satellite pay-TV company, British Sky Broadcasting. Sky Sports is the dominant subscription television sports brand in the United Kingdom and Ireland...

.

UKTV


UKTV is a joint venture between the BBC's commercial arm, BBC Worldwide
BBC Worldwide
BBC Worldwide Limited is the wholly owned commercial subsidiary of the British Broadcasting Corporation, formed out of a restructuring of its predecessor BBC Enterprises in 1995. In the year to 31 March 2010 it made a profit of £145m on a turnover of £1.074bn. The company had made a profit of £106m...

, and Virgin Media
Virgin Media
Virgin Media Inc. is a company which provides fixed and mobile telephone, television and broadband internet services to businesses and consumers in the United Kingdom...

. Both companies additionally wholly own a number of other channels, broadcast domestically or internationally.

Channels under the joint venture are Alibi, Blighty, Dave, Eden, G.O.L.D., Good Food, Really
Really (TV channel)
Really is a digital television channel broadcasting in the United Kingdom as part of the UKTV family of channels. The channel launched on 19 May 2009 as the UKTV's channel for female lifestyle programming and is available on satellite through Sky, cable services primarily through Virgin Media and...

, Home, Watch
Watch (TV channel)
Watch is a general entertainment channel broadcasting in the United Kingdom and Ireland, as part of the UKTV network. The channel launched on 7 October 2008 on satellite through Sky and on cable primarily through Virgin Media.-History:...

, Yesterday plus a number of timeshift services.

Other channel owners


The most watched digital channels are owned by the six broadcasters above. Other broadcasters who have secured a notable place on British television include Virgin Media
Virgin Media
Virgin Media Inc. is a company which provides fixed and mobile telephone, television and broadband internet services to businesses and consumers in the United Kingdom...

, Viacom
Viacom
Viacom Inc. , short for "Video & Audio Communications", is an American media conglomerate with interests primarily in, but not limited to, cinema and cable television...

, Discovery Networks, Disney
The Walt Disney Company
The Walt Disney Company is the largest media conglomerate in the world in terms of revenue. Founded on October 16, 1923, by Walt and Roy Disney as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, Walt Disney Productions established itself as a leader in the American animation industry before diversifying into...

 & Turner
Turner Broadcasting System Europe
Turner Broadcasting System Europe is the company managing the collection of cable networks around Europe.Turner Broadcasting System Europe operates the following brands: CNN International, Boomerang, TCM, TNT Film, Cartoon Network, and Boing. The availability of these brands depends on what country...

.

Programming


British television differs from other countries, such as the United States
Television in the United States
Television is one of the major mass media of the United States. Ninety-nine percent of American households have at least one television and the majority of households have more than one...

, in as much that programmes produced in the United Kingdom do not generally have a long 'season' run of around 20 weeks. Instead, they are produced in a series, a set of episodes varying in length, usually aired over a period of a few months. See List of British television series.

100 Greatest British Television Programmes


100 Greatest British Television Programmes was a list compiled in 2000 by the British Film Institute
British Film Institute
The British Film Institute is a charitable organisation established by Royal Charter to:-Cinemas:The BFI runs the BFI Southbank and IMAX theatre, both located on the south bank of the River Thames in London...

 (BFI), chosen by a poll of industry professionals, to determine what were the greatest British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 television programmes of any genre ever to have been screened. Although not including any programmes made in 2000 or later, the list is useful as an indication of what were generally regarded as the most successful British programmes of the 20th century. The top 10 programmes are:
  1. Fawlty Towers
    Fawlty Towers
    Fawlty Towers is a British sitcom produced by BBC Television and first broadcast on BBC2 in 1975. Twelve television program episodes were produced . The show was written by John Cleese and his then wife Connie Booth, both of whom played major characters...

    BBC2 1975-1979
  2. Cathy Come Home
    Cathy Come Home
    Cathy Come Home is a 1966 BBC television play by Jeremy Sandford, produced by Tony Garnett and directed by Ken Loach, about homelessness. An industry poll rated it as the best British television drama ever made. Filmed in a gritty, realistic drama documentary style, it was first broadcast on 16...

    (The Wednesday Play
    The Wednesday Play
    The Wednesday Play was an anthology series of British television plays which ran on BBC1 from October 1964 to May 1970. Every week's play was usually written for television, although adaptations from other sources also featured...

    ) BBC1 1966
  3. Doctor Who
    Doctor Who
    Doctor Who is a British science fiction television programme produced by the BBC. The programme depicts the adventures of a time-travelling humanoid alien known as the Doctor who explores the universe in a sentient time machine called the TARDIS that flies through time and space, whose exterior...

    BBC1 1963-1989, 1996, 2005-
  4. The Naked Civil Servant
    The Naked Civil Servant (film)
    The Naked Civil Servant is a 1975 TV film based on the 1968 autobiography by the gay icon Quentin Crisp, also titled The Naked Civil Servant. It stars John Hurt in the title role....

    ITV 1975
  5. Monty Python's Flying Circus
    Monty Python's Flying Circus
    Monty Python’s Flying Circus is a BBC TV sketch comedy series. The shows were composed of surreality, risqué or innuendo-laden humour, sight gags and observational sketches without punchlines...

    BBC2 1969-1974
  6. Blue Peter
    Blue Peter
    Blue Peter is the world's longest-running children's television show, having first aired in 1958. It is shown on CBBC, both in its BBC One programming block and on the CBBC channel. During its history there have been many presenters, often consisting of two women and two men at a time...

    BBC1 1958-
  7. Boys from the Blackstuff
    Boys from the Blackstuff
    Boys from the Blackstuff is a British television drama series of five episodes, originally transmitted from 10 October to 7 November 1982 on BBC2....

    BBC2 1982
  8. Parkinson
    Parkinson (TV series)
    Parkinson is a British television talk show that was presented by Sir Michael Parkinson. It was first shown on the BBC from 1971 to 2004, and on ITV from 2004 to 2007.-Background:...

    BBC1/ITV 1971-1982, 1998–2007
  9. Yes Minister
    Yes Minister
    Yes Minister is a satirical British sitcom written by Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn that was first transmitted by BBC Television between 1980–1982 and 1984, split over three seven-episode series. The sequel, Yes, Prime Minister, ran from 1986 to 1988. In total there were 38 episodes—of which all but...

    / Yes, Prime Minister BBC2 1980-1988
  10. Brideshead Revisited
    Brideshead Revisited (TV serial)
    Brideshead Revisited is a 1981 British television serial produced by Granada Television for broadcast by the ITV network. The teleplay is based on Evelyn Waugh's novel Brideshead Revisited...

    ITV 1981

100 Greatest TV Moments


100 Greatest TV Moments was a list compiled by Channel 4 in 1999. The top 10 entries are:
# Programme Channel Year Moment
1 (Various) BBC One / BBC Two / ITV 1969 The Apollo 11
Apollo 11
In early 1969, Bill Anders accepted a job with the National Space Council effective in August 1969 and announced his retirement as an astronaut. At that point Ken Mattingly was moved from the support crew into parallel training with Anders as backup Command Module Pilot in case Apollo 11 was...

 moon landing
2 News 1990 The release of Nelson Mandela
3 News 1997 Michael Portillo loses his seat in the general election
United Kingdom general election, 1997
The United Kingdom general election, 1997 was held on 1 May 1997, more than five years after the previous election on 9 April 1992, to elect 659 members to the British House of Commons. The Labour Party ended its 18 years in opposition under the leadership of Tony Blair, and won the general...

, which came to symbolise the end of the period of Conservative
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 government which had begun in 1979 with Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990...

 as Prime Minister
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

4 News 1997 The death of Diana, Princess of Wales
Death of Diana, Princess of Wales
On 31 August 1997, Diana, Princess of Wales, died as a result of injuries sustained in a car accident in the Pont de l'Alma road tunnel in Paris, France. Her companion, Dodi Fayed, and the driver of the Mercedes-Benz W140, Henri Paul, were pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. Fayed's...

5 News 1989 The fall of the Berlin Wall
6 1966 FIFA World Cup
1966 FIFA World Cup
The 1966 FIFA World Cup, the eighth staging of the World Cup, was held in England from 11 July to 30 July. England beat West Germany 4–2 in the final, winning the World Cup for the first time, so becoming the first host to win the tournament since Italy in 1934.-Host selection:England was chosen as...

 
BBC One / ITV 1966 Final
1966 FIFA World Cup Final
The 1966 FIFA World Cup Final was the final match in the 1966 FIFA World Cup, the eighth football World Cup. The match was contested by England and West Germany on 30 July 1966 at Wembley Stadium in London, and had an attendance of 98,000. England won 4–2 after extra time to win the Jules Rimet...

: England beats Germany 4-2; commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme
Kenneth Wolstenholme
Kenneth Wolstenholme DFC & Bar was the football commentator for BBC television in the 1950s and 1960s, most notable for his commentary during the 1966 FIFA World Cup which included the famous phrase "some people are on the pitch...they think it's all over....it is now!", as Geoff Hurst scored...

's quotation "They think it's all over
They think it's all over
They think it's all over is a well known quotation and football chant popular in England. It is taken from Kenneth Wolstenholme's BBC TV commentary in the closing moments of the 1966 FIFA World Cup Final, where England beat West Germany 4–2 after extra time to win the FIFA World Cup.Soon after the...

"
7 Only Fools and Horses
Only Fools and Horses
Only Fools and Horses is a British sitcom, created and written by John Sullivan. Seven series were originally broadcast on BBC One in the United Kingdom between 1981 and 1991, with sporadic Christmas specials until 2003...

 
BBC One 1989 Yuppy Love
Yuppy Love
"Yuppy Love" is an episode of the BBC sitcom, Only Fools and Horses. It was the first episode of series 6, and was first screened on 8 January, 1989...

: Del Boy
Del Boy
Derek Edward Trotter, better known as "Del Boy", is the fictional lead character in the popular BBC sitcom Only Fools and Horses and one of the main characters of its prequel, Rock & Chips...

 falls through a bar flap
8 Live Aid
Live Aid
Live Aid was a dual-venue concert that was held on 13 July 1985. The event was organized by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to raise funds for relief of the ongoing Ethiopian famine. Billed as the "global jukebox", the event was held simultaneously in Wembley Stadium in London, England, United Kingdom ...

 
BBC One 1985 The multi-venue rock concert to raise funds for the famine of Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

9 Blackadder Goes Forth
Blackadder Goes Forth
Blackadder Goes Forth is the fourth and final series of the BBC situation comedy Blackadder, written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, which aired from 28 September to 2 November 1989 on BBC One....

 
BBC One 1989 Goodbyeee: The protagonists go over the top
10 News 1963 John F. Kennedy assassination
John F. Kennedy assassination
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the thirty-fifth President of the United States, was assassinated at 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time on Friday, November 22, 1963, in Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas...


List of most watched television broadcasts



In 2005, the British Film Institute compiled a list of programmes with the biggest audience since 1955. The top 10 are:
Rank Show Episode Number of Viewers Date Network
1 1966 World Cup Final 32.30 million 30 July 1966 BBC/ITV
2 Funeral of Princess Diana 32.10 million 6 September 1997 BBC1/ITV
3 British Royal Family
British Royal Family
The British Royal Family is the group of close relatives of the monarch of the United Kingdom. The term is also commonly applied to the same group of people as the relations of the monarch in her or his role as sovereign of any of the other Commonwealth realms, thus sometimes at variance with...

 documentary
Documentary film
Documentary films constitute a broad category of nonfictional motion pictures intended to document some aspect of reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction or maintaining a historical record...

30.69 million 1969 BBC1/ITV
4 EastEnders
EastEnders
EastEnders is a British television soap opera, first broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC One on 19 February 1985 and continuing to today. EastEnders storylines examine the domestic and professional lives of the people who live and work in the fictional London Borough of Walford in the East End...

Den
Den Watts
Dennis Alan "Den" Watts is a fictional character from the BBC soap opera EastEnders, played by actor Leslie Grantham. He became well known for his tabloid nickname, "Dirty Den"....

 divorces Angie
Angie Watts
Angela "Angie" Watts is a fictional character from the BBC soap opera EastEnders, played by Anita Dobson from the first episode of the show until 1988 when the actress decided to quit and the character was written out....

 
30.15 million 25 December 1986 BBC1
BBC One
BBC One is the flagship television channel of the British Broadcasting Corporation in the United Kingdom. It was launched on 2 November 1936 as the BBC Television Service, and was the world's first regular television service with a high level of image resolution...

5 Apollo 13
Apollo 13
Apollo 13 was the seventh manned mission in the American Apollo space program and the third intended to land on the Moon. The craft was launched on April 11, 1970, at 13:13 CST. The landing was aborted after an oxygen tank exploded two days later, crippling the service module upon which the Command...

 splashdown
Splashdown (spacecraft landing)
Splashdown is the method of landing a spacecraft by parachute in a body of water. It was used by American manned spacecraft prior to the Space Shuttle program. It is also possible for the Russian Soyuz spacecraft and Chinese Shenzhou spacecraft to land in water, though this is only a contingency...

28.60 million 17 April 1970 BBC1/ITV
6 FA Cup replay
FA Cup Final 1970
The 1970 FA Cup Final was contested by Chelsea and Leeds United. The match took place on 11 April 1970 at Wembley Stadium and ended 2–2, making it the first FA Cup final to require a replay since 1912...

: Chelsea
Chelsea F.C.
Chelsea Football Club are an English football club based in West London. Founded in 1905, they play in the Premier League and have spent most of their history in the top tier of English football. Chelsea have been English champions four times, FA Cup winners six times and League Cup winners four...

 vs. Leeds
28.49 million 29 April 1970 BBC1/ITV
7 Royal Wedding of Charles
Charles, Prince of Wales
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales is the heir apparent and eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Since 1958 his major title has been His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. In Scotland he is additionally known as The Duke of Rothesay...

 & Diana
Diana, Princess of Wales
Diana, Princess of Wales was the first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales, whom she married on 29 July 1981, and an international charity and fundraising figure, as well as a preeminent celebrity of the late 20th century...

28.40 million 29 July 1981 BBC1/ITV
8 Wedding of Princess Anne
Anne, Princess Royal
Princess Anne, Princess Royal , is the only daughter of Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh...

 and Mark Phillips
27.60 million 14 November 1973 BBC1
9 Coronation Street
Coronation Street
Coronation Street is a British soap opera set in Weatherfield, a fictional town in Greater Manchester based on Salford. Created by Tony Warren, Coronation Street was first broadcast on 9 December 1960...

Alan Bradley
Alan Bradley
Alan Bradley is a fictional character from the British soap opera Coronation Street. He was played by Mark Eden.Alan is one of the most famous villains in the history of the Street. He made his first appearance in 1986 when his wife Pat was killed in a road accident...

 killed by tram
26.93 million 8 December 1989 ITV
ITV
ITV is the major commercial public service TV network in the United Kingdom. Launched in 1955 under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority to provide competition to the BBC, it is also the oldest commercial network in the UK...

10 Coronation Street
Coronation Street
Coronation Street is a British soap opera set in Weatherfield, a fictional town in Greater Manchester based on Salford. Created by Tony Warren, Coronation Street was first broadcast on 9 December 1960...

Hilda Ogden
Hilda Ogden
Hilda Alice Ogden is a fictional character from the television series Coronation Street, one of the best-known of all the regular characters in the soap opera, whose name became synonymous with a certain type of working-class woman...

 leaves
26.00+ million 25 December 1987 ITV
ITV
ITV is the major commercial public service TV network in the United Kingdom. Launched in 1955 under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority to provide competition to the BBC, it is also the oldest commercial network in the UK...