The BBC has teamed up with Virgin Media in a partnership that will see the BBC’s ‘enhanced Red Button’ service, and its Sport and News apps, rolled out on Virgin Media’s TiVo service.
The BBC’s iPlayer is already available via Virgin Media’s TiVo set-top box (STB), meaning that the broadcaster’s catch-up programmes can be accessed through the search, menus, and EPG, and this latest deal will see more of the BBC’s ‘next-generation’ TV services arrive on TiVo in 2012.
The two companies are working on new applications and user experiences for TiVo, and will open the doors for Virgin Media customers to gain access to the BBC’s interactive coverage of major sporting events from next year, via a ‘new Red Button experience’, covering Formula 1, Wimbledon, Euro 2012 football and the London 2012 Olympics.
The Red Button is the branding used for the BBC’s digital interactive TV services in the UK. The associated services replaced Ceefax, which was the BBC’s analogue teletext service, and is only available via digital television receivers.
A forthcoming BBC Sport app will build on these “enhanced Red Button” services to bring the so-called ‘next-generation viewing experiences’ to connected TVs in 2012. The app will pull together all the live streams from the BBC’s existing Red Button service, video streams on-demand and additional content from BBC Online, for all the major sports events next year, and it will sit alongside existing apps such as BBC iPlayer, and the BBC News app which will launch shortly on TiVo too.
The BBC News app draws from the best of BBC News on TV and online in an on-demand service, and will be accessible via the Red Button and the Virgin Media TiVo ‘Apps and Games’ section. It’s expected to launch in the first quarter of 2012.
“With its pioneering BBC iPlayer service now available on more than 300 different internet-connected TV devices, the BBC has successfully taken catch-up TV beyond the PC and into the living room”, says Jane Weedon, Controller of Business Development, BBC Future Media. “Having partnered with Virgin Media to bring BBC iPlayer to TV back in 2008, we have since brought a vastly-improved, fully-integrated experience of BBC iPlayer to Virgin Media’s TiVo Service. With the addition of the BBC News app and enhanced BBC Sport services – all accessible via the Red Button – we plan to build on this partnership and continue to innovate in connected TV through 2012.”