Dr Who to retire BBC’s Red Button

This weekend’s special fiftieth anniversary edition of Dr Who will see the BBC retire its BBC Red Button HD service, which viewers will be able to use for the last time to view the episode in 3D before the button vanishes.

The button has been in use since the beginning of the summer, and saw the BBC experimenting with “pop-up red button streams” to cover major events like Wimbledon, Glastonbury and The BBC Proms. The BBC point to the following notable achievements in the Red Button’s utilisation:

  • Overall more than 3.5m viewers used the HD red button stream across Freeview HD/Youview, Virgin Media and Freesat.
  • During Wimbledon alone, 1.2m people tuned into BBC Red Button HD (with a total of 7.7m million people using the red button to access the additional matches overall; that’s the highest ever for Wimbledon).
  • We were able to broadcast about a dozen BBC Proms in HD that were otherwise destined to air in only standard definition on BBC Four. These were enjoyed by a quarter of a million people. Plus we upgraded to HD the four outside broadcasts on the Last Night from Belfast, Cardiff, Glasgow and Hyde Park London.
  • The FIFA Confederations Cup and Glastonbury attracted 650k and 300k viewers respectively while other events to benefit from coverage on BBC Red Button HD included tennis from Queens and the ATP World Tour Finals, the British F1 Grand Prix, the Women’s Euros, Diamond League Athletics, Moto GP, RideLondon, the Reading Festival and T in the Park.

Having pressed the red button on its Red Button, in early 2014 the BBC is set to launch five new HD channels: simulcasts of BBC News, BBC Three, BBC Four, CBBC and CBeebies.


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