In what is likely to be the first in a long series of bust-ups, the BBC is complaining that Top-Up TV, the new service run by David Chance and Ian West, will detract from the Freeview service, if the new channels are listed alongside the existing free channels.
The BBC wants Top-Up TV to have its channels grouped together on their own to distance them from Freeview. Chance and West’s new venture will initially carry ten channels for £7.99 a month, bringing subscribers E4, UK Gold, Cartoon Network, UK Style, Discovery, TCM, UK Food, Dscovery Home and Leisure, Boomerang and Bloomberg.
The whole thing reminds us somewhat of the fuss the BBC made with Sky over the Electronic Programme Guide.
Of course, the real reason that the BBC is getting sniffy about having their channels grouped with Top-Up Tv might just be that the new service is hoping to offer TVX, Richard Desmond’s porn channel, in the near future for an extra charge.
The ironic thing about the service is, despite its spangly newness, Top-UP TV can only be received on the old ITV Digital Boxes (the one you should have given back), because they’re the only ones with a smartcard reader slot on them. There are apparently some 800,000 of those boxes out in the wild, and newer hardware will have to be upgraded or replaced.