BBC text service removal begins




Sky Q users have already lost the BBC's Red Button text service, ahead of its abolition across all platforms next year.

Following a technological deal between Sky and the BBC, announced last week, access to the Ceefax-style news and information service has been withdrawn on Sky Q receivers.

Everyone else will lose the Red Button Text service on 30th January.

Instead, pressing red provides access to the BBC's next-generation Red Button+ service, with links in to content from the BBC iPlayer and other BBC apps.

Affected users are being signposted to the BBC News Channel, as well as the iPlayer for the latest BBC News and Sport.

In September, it was confirmed that the BBC would be closing its text-based information service via the Red Button. Already, many smart TVs with in-built Freeview already default to the newer Red Button+ service that the BBC has been running in parallel with the old BBC Red Button for some time. While many smart TVs have allowed users to switch between the two types of Red Button service, some of the newest models we've tried can now only access Red Button+.

With the change on Sky Q, the BBC Red Button text service is undergoing a similar wind-down to Ceefax. When Ceefax finally closed in October 2012, most viewers weren't able to access it anymore.


Know your BBC Red Button:
Red Button (traditional version)
Based on MHEG5 on most digital TV platforms, the traditional version of the Red Button incorporates the BBC's "Digital Text" service, which replaced Ceefax with the switch to digital TV.  Due to the differences in capacity and support on different platforms, the service had a slightly different look and feel on different services, but all shared the Ceefax page numbering feature that was introduced during the digital switchover to help viewers get used to the new service after using Ceefax. This is the service that is closing.

Red Button+ (newest version)
Red Button+ has actually been around in some form or other since 2012 - originally known as the "connected red button", it linked pressing the red button with content from the BBC delivered online. Delivered on some platforms using HbbTV, the Red Button+ service brings together content found on the BBC News app, BBC Sport app and BBC iPlayer (from 30/01/20 just iPlayer). During major sporting and musical events, the Red Button+ can offer a multitude of additional live streams in HD (subject to a user's broadband speed).
And with the green button, viewers can restart a live programme with the aid of the iPlayer.

Red Button linear video streams
BBC RB1 is the BBC's Red Button videostream containing extra live content and looped recorded features. The last remnant of a multi-stream service that used to be accessed through the Red Button service on BBC channels, RB1 is now included toward the end of most channel lists and can be directly selected on a remote control. Available in standard definition only. During some events, additional Red Button streams have been made available, though usually with limited HD availability. This multi-stream service is gradually moving over to Red Button+.