London 2012 - BBC to show every second of Olympics

Tue, 03 Apr 11:37:00 2012

The BBC will launch 24 new HD television streams for the Olympics so that they can show every second of every event live but the public's ability to watch them will depend on their provider

Gigawave Camera in use at Beijing's National Stadium after Usain Bolt of Jamaica wins the gold medal in the men's 200m at the 2008 Olympics. - 0

Initially the BBC had only planned to provide the coverage on their website but they have now offered up the 24 streams to cable and satellite providers.

Customer will be able to access the streams by using the red button on their remote controls, however, at the moment, Sky are the only service provider that the BBC has confirmed will host all 24 streams for all their subscribers.

Cable operator Virgin Media said more than 500,000 of its subscribers who have a TiVo set-top box would be able to see the Olympic action. It was looking at ways of extending the service to all its 3.7 million customers.

Freeview viewers will have to settle for the regular BBC coverage on BBC One and BBC Three and just two extra channels, although they can access all 24 streams online via the BBC iPlayer.

"These are the first truly digital Olympics where we'll offer more choice than ever before, and the pledge we made is that you'll be able to watch sport from every venue from first thing in the morning to last thing at night," wrote BBC's director of London 2012 Roger Mosey in a blog post.

"At peak this will mean we bring in 24 HD streams of content - with the result that hockey fans can watch live uninterrupted hockey, and table tennis fans can stick all day with their sport too.

"This represents four times more channels than in Beijing, and a total of around 2500 hours of live sport - which is at least double what we've offered in the past."

The BBC have offered the full service to other providers such as Freesat and BT Vision but their level of coverage has yet to be confirmed although the CNET website reported that Freesat customers will get 24 HD channels

"Many of those discussions are still continuing, but the BBC and Sky have announced today that they've come to an agreement that will deliver the 24 channels to all Sky homes. Sky will also pick up the costs of satellite distribution, irrespective of whether other platforms join in - though we hope and believe there'll be more announcements soon," wrote Mosey.

"We're delighted by the ability to get BBC channels to as many people as possible on the device of their choosing.

"We should be clear that not every platform will be able to accommodate such a huge technical offer, which amounts to 48 channels in total if you count 24 SD (Standard Definition) plus 24 HD."


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