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Itv digital

The meaning of «itv digital»

ITV Digital was a British digital terrestrial television broadcaster which launched a pay-TV service on the world's first digital terrestrial television network. Its main shareholders were Carlton Communications plc and Granada plc, owners of two franchises of the ITV network. Starting as ONdigital in 1998, the service was re-branded as ITV Digital in July 2001.

Low audience figures, piracy issues and an ultimately unaffordable multi-million pound deal with the Football League led to the broadcaster suffering massive losses, forcing it to enter administration in March 2002. Pay television services ceased permanently on 1 May that year, and the remaining free-to-air channels such as BBC One and Channel 4 had ceased when the company was liquidated in October. The terrestrial multiplexes were subsequently taken over by Crown Castle and the BBC to create Freeview later that month.

On 31 January 1997, Carlton Television, Granada Television and satellite company British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB), together created British Digital Broadcasting (BDB) as a joint venture and applied to operate three digital terrestrial television (DTT) licences.[2] They faced competition from a rival, Digital Television Network (DTN), a company created by cable operator CableTel (later known as NTL).[3] On 25 June 1997, BDB won the auction and the Independent Television Commission (ITC) awarded the sole broadcast licence for DTT to the consortium. Then on 20 December 1997, the ITC awarded three pay-TV digital multiplex licences to BDB.

That same year, however, the ITC forced BSkyB out of the consortium on competition grounds; this effectively placed Sky in direct competition with the new service as Sky would also launch its digital satellite service in 1998, although Sky was still required to provide key channels such as Sky Movies and Sky Sports to ONdigital.[4] With Sky part of the consortium, ONdigital would have paid discounted rates to carry Sky's television channels. Instead, with its positioning as a competitor, Sky charged the full market rates for the channels, at an extra cost of around £60million a year to ONdigital.[5] On 28 July 1998, BDB announced the service would be called ONdigital,[6] and claimed it would be the biggest television brand launch in history.[7] The company would be based in Marco Polo House, now demolished, in Battersea, south London, which was previously the home of BSkyB's earlier rival, British Satellite Broadcasting (BSB).

Six multiplexes were set up, with three of them allocated to the existing analogue broadcasters. The other three multiplexes were auctioned off. ONdigital was given one year from the award of the licence to launch the first DTT service. In addition to launching audio and video services, it also led the specification of an industry-wide advanced interactive engine, based on MHEG-5. This was an open standard that was used by all broadcasters on DTT.

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