This may not mean much to readers outside of the UK, but within the UK this is big news. Virgin Media is finally rolling out Red Button services on TiVo units. The first services are linked to Sky Sports, but additional services for F1 and BBC are in the pipeline.
Being a Yank I’m not very familiar with Red Button myself, but from what I’ve seen I’m a bit jealous, we don’t really have services like it in the US. Basically it is the future of interactive television that we’ve been promised for years, but we never seen to get. Red Button services can provide interactive features on television, such as calling up scores and stats during sporting events. Or more advanced features such as alternate camera angles or feeds of an event.
Red Button services first became available to subscribers of Sky Sports and Sky Sports HD on Friday. The next roll out will be for subscribers of the Sky Sports F1 channel, which is coming soon to Virgin Media. And Red Button services for the BBC are planned for an April roll out.
Great news! The wait is nearly over for our TiVo customers who’ve been waiting for Premier League Red Button coverage.
What are we launching?
Starting with Background Events so that our Sky Sports customers on TiVo can follow over-running, clashing and extra live Sports that won’t fit on Sky Sports 1-4. And then shortly followed by Football First for extended highlights of every Premier League match played on the day.
When are we launching?
MBE (Multiple Background Events) will launch on March 2nd and Football First on March 3rd. After that we’ll be launching Formula 1, Tennis will be coming later in the summer and both Champions League and Heineken Cup will be there for the start of the next season.
Please note: events are subject to change without notice
What channels will Sky Sports interactive be available on?
The interactive Red Button application will be available, for TiVo customers on the following Sky Sports Channels.
Sky Sports 1 511 & Sky Sports 1HD 517
Sky Sports 2 512 & Sky Sports 2 HD 518
Sky Sports 3 513
Sky Sports 4 514
Sky Sports F1 (when it launches)
I don’t subscribe to Sky Sports, how can I do this to take advantage of the Red Button services that will be available on selected events?
All you need to do is arrange an upgrade to Sky Sports, the Red Button service (available on selected events only) will be available at no extra charge.
When will BBC red button interactive services launch?
More good news! We’ve been working with the BBC to launch Red Button services on TiVo and we’re hoping to start the roll out in April. This service will launch a menu over BBC channels.
We’ll be communicating further interactive service launches as and when they happen – so watch this space!
Help & Support Forum Manager
I know the lack of Red Button support has been a major, perhaps the major, gripe about Virgin’s TiVo offering in the UK. It may be hard to understand for those of us who have never had access to the service, but Red Button users are very passionate about it. So the introduction of Red Button services to TiVo should go a long way towards making those users happy, especially as Virgin expands support to additional content sources and channels.
Now, if we could only get a system like this in the states. I mean widespread, not just limited trials.